Our part-time Master’s flex programme Data-driven Design is for those who want to understand, design and reconfigure data concepts for our continuously changing society. The programme is for those who want to learn how this data-driven world works, how to distinguish themselves in this fast-paced environment and how to shape the future translating society's needs into concepts of tomorrow.

The curriculum is largely based on the demands and challenges of real companies. This means that you will have the opportunity to work on developing real solutions for real businesses, using their official data. In this setting, you quickly develop a good sense of what you have to offer as a digital creative, as well as how to position yourself within a multidisciplinary team of professionals. To learn about possibilities to follow a personal programme and how to apply see the admission requirements, download the brochure or contact us.

To those who can’t take part in the full-time Master Data-driven Design we offer the opportunity to design a personal programme and obtain a Master’s degree in 2-3 years depending on your background and objectives. If you’re interested in the full-time programme please visit the full-time programme information.

Personal advice

Do you have any questions? Please contact cooridinator Sabrina Luppers via datadrivendesign@hu.nl. We are happy to help you!

Send an e-mail

Want to know more?

In our brochure you can read more details about the programme.

How to apply

Want to apply for the Master Data-Driven Design? Send an email to datadrivendesign@hu.nl. We will contact you and discuss which personal programme will fit your requirements

Useful to know

Application Deadline 31th of Augustus
Start date September
Course dates Depending on the chosen programme (see brochure)
Study investment 1 of 2 days a week (depending on the chosen programme)
Attendees Together with full-time students
Location Heidelberglaan 15 Utrecht
Programme level Master of Arts
Price info

Each year you will receive an invoice for the courses that you subscribe to. Further terms and conditions apply, the Master's programme will inform you on these before application. 

Application is possible for students who are eligible for the legal college fee only. Check which fee applies to you, with our tuition fee calculator.


The curriculum of the Master Data-Driven Design (MDDD) is built on three learning tracks: Concepts, Technology and Humanity. Each track contains various aspects of data-driven design. After completing the various modules, you will go on to develop a proposal for your thesis project.

In the learning track ‘Concepts’, you will develop a multidisciplinary point of view that is at the core of your work as a digital creative.


  • Philosophy of a Digital Society
  • Smart interfaces
  • Digital Transformation and Scalability
Course descriptions

The learning track ‘Technology’ is all about data; you will learn and practice different data science techniques for collecting, cleaning, transforming, analysing, and visualizing data.


  • Fundamentals of Data Science
  • Fundamentals of Machine Learning
  • State of the Art Technology
Course descriptions

The learning track ‘Humanity’ is about understanding people, specifically in our relation to media. You will learn about the ways in which media and communication technologies are part of our lives, and how to utilize this knowledge in order to create new opportunities.


  • New Media Psychology
  • The User-Experience Ecosystem
  • Creative Research
Course descriptions

The final course of the MA programme the Graduation Project (GP). For the GP, you work on a data-driven solution for a practical problem. It consists of two parts: an academic paper and a prototype. You write a research proposal as the basis for both already in the Creative Research course.

The GP asks students to discover how data-driven design can enrich users lives and create value in a domain of their choice. They need to connect their diverse skills in creating data-driven solutions, critical thinking, creativity, and research to complete this challenge.

Course description

Flex programmes

You'll need approximately 14 hours per course per week, including self study and classes on Campus. There will be lectures, the Coding Club for extra support with coding assignments and several guest lectures.

You will follow courses together with full-time students, therefore we cannot take your personal availability into account with scheduling the classes.

Admission requirements

After your admittance on Studielink, you will receive all the specific information and details about the matching process. Without proof of your English language skills and the coding assignment, you’re not admissible to this master’s flex programme. The text below is to give you an idea of what you can expect, the matching process includes:

  • Coding assignment, an online course in Python to give you an idea of what to expect during the master’s programme.  
  • Writing an English motivation letter (300-400 words) about your motivation, previous experience and expectations of this programme

Based on your conding assignment and motivation letter, you will get one of the following non-binding types of advice:

  • Based on the coding assignment and your motivation letter we have not found any risks of you dropping out or falling behind in your studies;
  • Based on the coding assignment and your motivation letter we would like to draw your attention to some issues, to make sure that you have the proper attitude and (educational) experience for this specific degree programme;
  • Based on the coding assignment and your motivation letter we believe that you run a great risk of dropping out or falling behind in your studies.

The coding assignment is a qualitative requirement for admission to the master's flex programme Data-driven Design. The prospective student gets two chances to obtain a pass for this requirement. If the prospective student fails to obtain a pass, they are not admissible and will not be able to enrol in the programme. They also won’t receive an advice for the matching process.

  • Some experience with a programming language (e.g. JavaScript or Processing). You need to understand that programming consists of:
    • creating simple statements by using various datatypes (integers, booleans, floats, array, characters, strings);
    • using conditional statements (if-then-else);
    • controlling flow statements (for or while loops and switch expressions);
    • developing and using functions (sub-routines).
  • Ability to solve computer problems by searching for solutions (e.g. StackOverflow).
  • Or the ability and interest to acquire the competences and skills mentioned above.

All students, except for students with a relevant Dutch diploma, must prove that they have good writing and conversation skills in English. During the matching process we will review your English skills as well.

HU accepts one of the following documents as proof of English proficiency:



Minimum score

Minimum score
Reading and writing

Certificate of TOEFL Internet-based 80 20
Certificate of IELTS
Academic 6.0 6.0
TOEIC Test of English for International Communication 670-290
Cambridge English Certificate in Advanced English (CAE) Grade C scale 180 - 184 180

Cambridge English First (FCE) Grade C scale 169 - 172 169

Some international students are granted exemption from the English language test:

  • Students who have obtained a Bachelor diploma in the UK, US, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand or Australia.
  • Students with an accredited international American or British Bachelor Diploma. 

Do you need to take an English-language exam? You can get information on test dates, scheduling and costs at the respective websites of TOEFL or IELTS, or Cambridge English.

  • For Chinese students, it is obligatory to present an IELTS or TOEFL test result. Since you’ll need this for your Nuffic certificate which is mandatory for your visa application at IND (Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service).

Please contact HU International Office (stip@hu.nl) if you have any questions regarding your English proficiency.


Bob Cruijsberg, lecturer Master Data Driven Design

Bob Cruijsberg

Senior lecturer

Bob is senior lecturer and coordinator at the BA Communication and Multimedia Design programme, as well as at the master Data-driven Design.

He is specialized in User Experience Design and Interaction Design and curriculum design, with a lot of experience in coaching students who work on projects for clients. Bob has been committed to the HU since 1996 and has helped designing the curriculum of several programmes, including International Communication and Media (currently called Creative Business), and Communication and Multimedia Design. For the latter he received the ‘HUgenotenprijs’ of 2010, an award for outstanding performances by staff members and students of the HU.

Erik Hekman, lecturer Master Data Driven Design

Erik Hekman

Lecturer, researcher

After his master's in Media Technology, Erik developed and taught different technology related courses at the HU.

He has been a lecturer at the programmes Communication and Multimedia Design, Digital Media and Communication and International Communication and Media (currently called Creative Business). He is one of the developers of the master Data-driven Design and his activities consist of supervising students and coordinating the entire programme. Erik is also a researcher at the research group Human Experience & Media Design. His research focuses on how technology shapes public value.

Dennis Nguyen, lecturer Master Data Driven Design

Dennis Nguyen PhD

Senior lecturer, researcher

Dennis Nguyen received his PhD in media and communications from the University of Hull, UK. His thesis discusses online public spheres and political communication, with emphasis placed on transnational political discourses.

Since 2015 he works as a senior lecturer, researcher, and graduation coordinator for the BA Creative Business programme (formerly International Communication and Media) and the Data-driven Design programme at the HU. His current research focuses on the impact of digital media and datafication on public discourses and data ecologies.

Further fields of interest and expertise include media convergences, citizen journalism, conflict research, and empirical methods for media analysis. Aside from his academic endeavours, he was able to gather practical experience in journalism, public relations, online marketing, and academic research projects. You can read more on his ideas and publications at www.dennis-nguyen.com.

Rhied Al-Othmani


Rhied Al-Othmani has diverse graphic design experience, having worked on projects ranging from print to web and branding for a wide variety of clients. 

In 2011, Rhied received her BA in Digital Communication from HU and in 2020 her MA degree in Data-driven Design. Her enthusiasm for user experience, combined with an insatiable thirst for knowledge, drew her gradually into research and education. Along with her current position as a lecturer at BA CMD, the Master, she is also the Study Career Counsellor for the students and a member of the Study Programme Committee. 

Her other interests are the development of conversational agents, open government data, and the knowledge and tools necessary to comprehend, interpret, and apply open data.

Simone de Droog PhD


Simone de Droog obtained her PhD in Communication Science at the University of Amsterdam and works as a senior researcher in the research group Human Experience & Media Design (HEMD). She has a broad background in media, behavioral psychology and marketing communication, and specific expertise about youth (2-21-year-olds), social marketing (interventions), experimental research, and relationships with characters, robots and other forms of non-human communication. 

She has worked for many years as a researcher and teacher at the University of Amsterdam, Radboud University Nijmegen and the University of Applied Sciences Utrecht (Communication, CMD, Master DDD). The courses she taught are very diverse. For the Master Data-driven Design, she is the coordinator and teacher of the course Creative Research, in which students are prepared for graduation by writing a convincing and feasible graduation proposal. The course focuses heavily on academic writing. She is also an examinator of the graduation projects. 

Her ambition is to use her knowledge to improve the wellbeing of young people, working on projects that concern health, happiness, empowerment and play. She also tries to learn Italian, hoping to someday speak it fluently... 

Aletta Smits, lecturer Master Data Driven Design

Aletta Smits


Aletta is one of the developers of the master Data-d Driven Design and a real all-round teacher (and student). Since 2011, she has had different positions within the HU. She is researcher in the research group Human Experience and Media Design and specializes in Data Mining and Engagement Metrics. 

Next to that, she teaches data science, machine learning, user experience design and psychology. In her spare time, she studies Cultural Sciences at the Open University and gives presentations on the development of the adolescent brain.

After your graduation

Upon graduation you will receive a Master of Arts in Data-driven Design degree, together with the International Diploma Supplement (IDS) in English. This degree opens the door to an exciting international career.

For the digital creative, data analysis is not a final goal, but rather a means to create innovative concepts that create value within a digital society.

Additional information

Download the brochure for more information.

Students and lecturers form an active learning community in which we aim to develop  strong social cohesion There will be lectures, the Coding Club for extra support with coding assignments and several guest lectures You will also participate in design sprints and pressure cookers, during which you will work in a team on design processes.

We expect you to give form to your own learning process. An important tool for this, is our digital learning environment (DLE). The DLE enables you to prepare for classes, alone, or in groups. Not only does this grant you a lot of flexibility as to when and where you study, but face-to-face teaching time is also much more valuable when you come to class well-prepared.

Interacting with professional creatives is an important aspect of the curriculum. You will work with professionals and companies on a variety of real-world challenges that these businesses encounter, or that are present in society at large.

Why study Master's programme Data-Driven Design at HU?

  • An integrated approach that combines various disciplines

    This programme distinguishes itself from existing master programmes by combining media design and business.

  • A solid connection to relevant businesses

    The programme was developed in co-creation with representatives of the professional field. Our education and research are firmly rooted in the local business environment.

  • A seamless continuation of your HU-bachelor

    The programme is a perfect follow-up to bachelors in Communication and Multimedia Design, Creative Business and Journalisme. But it also fits well with other programmes of other Universities and Universities of Applied Sciences.

Direct contact

Master Data-driven Design

Nina Jakobs

"Because of the cultural differences, you will hear many new views on a solution you may not think of if you’re working in your own bubble."

Nina Jakobs (22) Student
Freek Plak

"This Master programme is both refreshing and expanding on experience design and, at the same time, it shows you how to combine this with a data-driven approach."

Freek Plak (31) Student

Interested in the Master's programme Data-driven Design?