Interdisciplinary Design

View PDF


Design plays a crucial role in innovation, imagination and human creativity. The secondary major in Interdisciplinary Design is an asset on any resume. It offers courses for students interested in pursuing careers and futures related to creative leadership, design for social change, disruptive innovation and user experience (UX), and provides the knowledge and skill sets necessary to address complex challenges and contemporary societal problems using key innovation and entrepreneurial concepts.

Interdisciplinary Design explores the central principle of human-centered experiences, and how people — users, customers, markets, audiences — are at the core of all creative activities and endeavors. Interdisciplinary Design dives deeply into the fundamental concepts that explain creative processes, from collaboration to iteration to implementation.

This program provides a strong foundation in creative problem solving, design thinking, strategic design, leadership and project management and new product development. Interdisciplinary Design builds an understanding of the innovation journey through design tools and techniques for ideation, insights forecasting and prototyping with users. This is the place to initiate a project, explore how to take an idea to execution and discover how to turn an insight into a reality.

The Interdisciplinary Design curriculum is built around a set of required innovation and design entrepreneurship-focused interdisciplinary studios and other required and elective courses, with many options for students across all university majors.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the Interdisciplinary Design degree program, students will be able to:

  • Generate ideas and be creative and innovative makers who use design methods, theory, and applications from multiple disciplines;
  • Think strategically and creatively about society's increasing economic, social, and environmental challenges across scales and levels of complexity;
  • Integrate and apply principles, values, and mindsets of innovation and entrepreneurship;
  • Synthesize knowledge from many sources and work collaboratively within interdisciplinary teams; and
  • Work with confidence in contexts where design thinking, skills in making, and critical analysis are valued.

Secondary Major

The secondary major in Interdisciplinary Design requires a minimum of 30 semester credits. Students seeking a secondary major in Interdisciplinary Design must complete:

Anchor Courses: 18 cr.

DES 1500Introduction to Innovation and Design3
DES 2300Design Thinking3
DES 2400Design Innovation Studio3
DES 3400Design Entrepreneurship Studio3
DES 4950Design Innovation Launchpad6
Total Credits18

Other Required Courses: 9-10 cr.

For majors outside the College of Design
3 credits in a design history course
3 credits in Communications; choose from SPCM 2120, ENGL 3020, ENGL 3140
For College of Design majors
Design Studio I
Design in Context
3 credits in Communications; choose from SPCM 2120, ENGL 3020, ENGL 3140

Electives: 3 cr.

DES 2500Design Intersections3
Or approved elective(s) from a College of Design department (please consult with academic advisor to choose an approved elective that enhances depth of knowledge in first major)