Information Design and Technology (MS)

Offered Online Only


The Master of Science in Information Design and Technology (IDT) offers an interdisciplinary examination of the role of digital information and emerging media within contemporary culture and communication. Students develop a specific area of practice or research to suit their unique professional or academic goals. Through practice, design, theory exploration and research, students examine the complex relationship between diverse types of information and the technologies that are used to work with and communicate that information. The IDT program combines historical perspective, technical exposure and design instruction to create a broad multi-dimensional understanding of the social and cultural impact of new and emerging information technology.

The IDT program, offered exclusively online through asynchronous classes, accommodates both full-time and part-time students. Full-time students can complete the program within a 24 month period. Part-time completion will vary based on the total number of credits taken each term.

Information about the IDT program is available on the SUNY Poly IDT program page.

Career Paths
The skills and knowledge taught in the IDT program are interdisciplinary and can be adapted to many fields and careers. The following are examples of the types of work graduates of the IDT program can do:

  • Digital or Social Media Strategist
  • Instructional Media/Educational Technology
  • Teaching/Training using Information Technology
  • Information Designer
  • Web Developer and Designer
  • Professional Communicator
  • Community and Public Relations
  • Digital Exhibitions and Publications
  • Information Help Desk
  • Interactive Media Designer and Writer
  • Online Community Organizer / Analyst
  • Blog/Wiki Specialist

Program Requirements

The M.S. in Information Design and Technology consists of 33 credit hours distributed as follows:
IDT Core Courses:  12 credit hours
IDT Electives:  
12 credit hours
Unrestricted Electives:  
6 credit hours
3 credit hours

IDT Core Courses (12 credit hours)

  • IDT 501 Social Information Theory
  • IDT 507 Information Technology
  • IDT 534 Information Design
  • Research methods. Students may choose one of the following courses to fulfill research methods:  IDT 530 IDT Research Methods, IDT 539 Digital Ethnography, IDT 551 Evaluating Information Technology, or IDT 569 Visual Methods. Students make take additional research methods courses as electives.

During their final semester, students take IDT 599 IDT Capstone course (previously called IDT Thesis/Project) in which they design and implement a digital media project or complete a research-based thesis.

With an adviser’s approval, students may be able to transfer a research methods course from another graduate program at SUNY Poly.

IDT Electives (12 credit hours)
Complete 4 courses from the following:

  • IDT 503 Human Factors with User Experience in Information Design
  • IDT 515 Massive Online Collaboration
  • IDT 519 Gamification
  • IDT 521 Global Communication
  • IDT 523 Digital Narratives
  • IDT 530 IDT Research Methods
  • IDT 535 Typographic Design and Communication
  • IDT 536 Graphic Design
  • IDT 539 Digital Ethnography
  • IDT 541 Instructional Design
  • IDT 545 Informational Technology and Organizational Change
  • IDT 548 Contemporary Trends in Data Visualization
  • IDT 551 Evaluating Technology
  • IDT 553 Principles and Projects in New Media (may be taken twice)**
  • IDT 554 Web Development and Design
  • IDT 555 Ethical and Legal Issues of the Information Age
  • IDT 560 Digital Photography
  • IDT 569 Visual Research Methods
  • IDT 575 Interactive Texts
  • IDT 585 Seminar in Emerging Technologies
  • IDT 590 Topics in Information Design and Technology*
  • IDT 591 Independent Study
  • IDT 592 Internship

* Students may take additional sections of IDT 590 as long as the topics covered are not the same.
**Students may take IDT 553 two times for credit, as long as the projects are different.

Unrestricted Electives (6 credit hours)

In consultation with an adviser, students choose two additional graduate-level electives or an internship and one elective. These can be additional IDT courses from the list above or courses from another accredited graduate program that are approved by an adviser.

Thesis/Project (3 credit hours)

  • Thesis/Project” with “IDT Capstone Project

Working with faculty member teaching the course or an adviser, students design and implement a digital media project or complete a research-based thesis.

Degree Requirements Overview & Program Notes

  • Students must receive a “B” (3.0) or better in all core courses.
  • Unless otherwise noted, all graduate courses are 3 credit hours.
  • Over the course of their studies, students can only apply two “C” grades in courses taken toward the degree.
  • All students must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher to graduate.
  • With prior permission, students may transfer up to six credit hours, if applicable, from another graduate program.
  • Students must maintain continuous registration, equal to or greater than one credit while working on their final thesis or project. MS IDT students can do this by registering for CMT 600 – Continuous Registration. This may be taken for up to six semesters at which time it is expected that all program requirements will have been met.  Students must be registered at SUNY Polytechnic Institute during the term they intend to graduate.