Big Data & Design – English

We believe that you, as a future specialist in any field, need to acquire the necessary skills to work with data. Employers are not only desperately looking for specialists with practical knowledge of data, but also to people who can translate insights into creative data-driven designs. 

In the minor Big Data & Design, you learn to work on projects and relevant topics during in-depth classes. During 1-week design crunches you will work on assignments for real clients and develop your own start-up ideas. We will work from your background and motivation to use data in your context and focus on current technologies, look at future possibilities from a design, technical, business, and ethical point of view. You will learn basic programming in python, which will help you feel comfortable when working with data and prototyping your concepts, but you do not need to be a hardcore computer scientist to do this!  

Companies in all domains are looking for go-getters with practical knowledge of data and skills to translate insights into solutions. What are you waiting for!?  

Deze minor kan je ook in het Nederlands volgen.  


There are no entry requirements for this minor program. 

The Examination Board determines which minors do not have a higher professional education level and/or have an unacceptable overlap with the compulsory curriculum of your own study programme. Check at the page Not allowed minor courses under your institute which minors are not allowed. This page will be updated from 25 February 2023 for the 2023-2024 minor offer. 


Data is everywhere. We create more than 2.5 trillion bytes of data every day. This data comes from everywhere: sensors in your smart energy meters, your public transport chip card, your e-reader, or the GPS data of your favourite running route, to name just a few. This data is Big Data. 

In addition, the number of ways and speed we can analyse data is also increasing. With big data we can automatically compile personal profiles, determine the sentiment of users, and predict next actions, sometimes even better than we can predict them ourselves. All this has its effect on the design of applications and user interfaces, which become smarter every day. They predict what users want, adapt automatically to its preferences, and creates a more natural ways of interacting (for example through voice). However, it is still a challenge for organizations to use all that data, and design valuable new perspectives.  

During this minor you will learn all steps within the data cycle: from collecting data to designing a service / product using data. You also learn about the impact of data on the world, companies, and the behavior of individuals. You learn to look critically at this and apply data (techniques) appropriately.  

Learning objectives

After this minor you can: 

  1. Critically examine the impact of big data on our society. 
  2. Use design research to create innovative data-driven concepts. 
  3. Collect, clean, analyse and visualise data from various sources through tools and basic programming. 
  4. Create and communicate insights, predictions and actions from data using basic machine learning techniques and statistics. 
  5. Learn new skills and methods within design research and data science using a self-directed, experimental, inquisitive learning style. 


We distinguish 3 components which will come together in projects, hackathons and design crunches. To prepare you for these projects and design crunches, you work on smaller assignments and take part in workshops, discussions, and lectures.  

Design class
Since we focus on data-driven concepts and smart applications in these classes, you will need to gain some elementary design skills. You will also learn to understand data from multiple perspectives (economical, philosophical, and ethical) and form your own opinion by reading relevant literature, having discussions, and attending workshops. Research is also important in this minor, starting from data informed research and ending with research through design.

Technical class 

In these classes you will learn to work with Python to collect, analyse and visualize data using various algorithms, tools, and techniques. From block two you will learn to make predictions based on data and explore more advanced technologies such as facial recognition, object detection and language processing. 

Combined class (Data research lab) 

Both the technical, and the design teacher are present in these lessons. Here you can continue working on your research and assignments and delve deeper into the tools to get to know the domain of big data and design better. 

Beside the 12 to 16 hours of classes divided over three days you should count around 24-28 hours of self-study. You are encouraged to further explore topics of interest to developing stronger technical and design skills.  


You will be assessed at the end of the semester in an oral assessment and portfolio. Every 6 weeks we will give you clear feedback to make sure that the assessment at the end does not come as a surprise. If you fail on one or more learning objectives at the final assessment, you will be given an opportunity to resit these with an assignment.  


The field changes rapidly and every year we decide on new literature to support the learning objects. You will receive a definite reading list before the start of the minor.  


This course takes place in period C/D, starting in February.  

With the exception of the first teaching period of the academic year (starting September), the lesson and test schedules are always posted on Mijn Rooster four weeks before the start of each teaching period. The schedule for the first teaching period of the academic year can be found on the site three weeks before the start. The most up-to-date schedule is always visible on Mijn Rooster. 

At HU, full-time education may be scheduled between 08:30 and 19:00.

Additional costs



This minor course is marked by the Green Office as a sustainable minor. This means that by participating in this minor course, you can contribute to one or more of the Sustainable Development Goals from the UN.


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