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Interdisciplinary Design

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The Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Design is a 122.5-credit non-professional undergraduate degree program that combines design studios and the liberal arts in a four-year curriculum focused on educating students to use design and critical thinking skills to generate ideas, solve complex problems and be creative and innovative makers. The program provides each student flexibility in exploring across multiple disciplines to learn design methods, theory, and application that drive the design process. The core of the degree program is a series of lectures, seminars, and studios. Students have hands-on experiences grappling with design challenges that vary in complexity and scale. Courses are taught by faculty from multiple design disciplines. Seniors complete a capstone project, called Launchpad, and a portfolio and professional development course in preparation for graduate school or the job market. The program works well with a second major or a minor, can be completed on a part-time schedule, and is transfer-friendly. Students with transfer credit should speak to academic adviser about how these credits can apply to degree requirements.

The curriculum developed out of a shared philosophy across the college's disciplines that designers have the capacity to think strategically and creatively about society's increasing economic, social and environmental challenges. Innovation and entrepreneurship are encouraged, integrated, and valued. Our graduates pursue a wide range of professional career paths in design practice, digital media and entrepreneurship. Upon completion, students may enter graduate programs in the design professions or other fields in which design thinking, skills in making, and critical analysis are valued.

Curriculum for Bachelor of Arts in interdisciplinary design

Total Degree Requirement: 122.5 cr.

Only 65 cr. from a two-year institution may apply which may include up to 6 cr. in Design History/Theory/Criticism and 6 cr. in Design Skills credit; 16 technical cr.; 21 P-NP cr. of free electives; 2.00 minimum GPA average; completion of all requirements listed below.

International Perspective: 3 cr.

U.S. Diversity: 3 cr.

Communications: 13 cr.
(C or Better in ENGL 150 and ENGL 250)

ENGL 150Critical Thinking and Communication3
ENGL 250Written, Oral, Visual, and Electronic Composition3
SP CM 212Fundamentals of Public Speaking3
LIB 160Information Literacy1
3 credits selected from:3
Business Communication
Proposal and Report Writing
Technical Communication
Total Credits13

 *Mathematics/Physical Sciences/Biological Sciences: 9 cr.

9 cr. from approved list

*Social Sciences:  9 cr.

9 cr. from approved list

*Humanities:  6 cr.

6 cr. from approved list

 *At least 3 credits in Mathematics/Physical Sciences/Biological Sciences, Social Sciences, or Humanities must be above 300-level.

Design Core Program: 11.5 cr.

DSN S 102Design Studio I4
DSN S 115Design Collaborative Seminar0.5
or DSN S 110 Design Exchange Seminar I
DSN S 131Drawing I4
DSN S 183Design in Context3
Total Credits11.5

Interdisciplinary Design Concentration: 32 cr.

DES 230Design Thinking3
DES 241Interdisciplinary Foundation Studio I4
DES 242Interdisciplinary Foundation Studio II4
6 credits:6
DES 250Design Forum (*)2
DES 330Visual Literacy for Design Critique3
4 credits:
DES 340Design Studio II4
DES 491Portfolio and Professional Preparation4
DES 495Capstone Experience4
*2 cr. of DES 250 can be substituted with approved equivalent.
Total Credits32

Design Skills: 12 cr.

Select 12 credits from approved list12
Total Credits12

Design History/Theory/Criticism: 9 cr.

9 cr. selected from approved list.

Minor and/or Electives:  21 cr.

Interdisciplinary Design, B.A.

First Year
DSN S 102 or 1314DSN S 131 or 1024
DSN S 115 or 1100.5-1DSN S 1833
DSN S 1833
or Minor/Elective
or Minor/Elective
 ENGL 1503
ENGL 1503
or General Education
or General Education
 General Education3
General Education3PSYCH 101. PSYCH 230, or SOC 1343
LIB 1601 
 14.5-15 16
Second Year
DES 2303DES 2424
DES 2414DES 2502
Design Skills3ENGL 2503
General Education3History/Theory/Criticism3
History/Theory/Criticism3MATH, PHYS 101, STAT 101, or STAT 1043-4
 16 15-16
Third Year
DES 3402DES 2502
DES 2502DES 3303
SP CM 2123DES 3402
ENGL 302, 309 or 3143Design Skills3
History/Theory/Criticism3General Education6
 13 16
Fourth Year
DES 4914DES 4954
Design Skills3Design Skills3
 16 16

Expand all courses


Courses primarily for undergraduates:

(3-0) Cr. 3. F.S.

Introduction to the phenomenon of design thinking as it appears in various design fields, including methodologies of reasoning and problem solving; patterns of creativity and individual style; and the interaction of art, science, and technology.

(0-8) Cr. 4. F.

Prereq: Completion of College of Design Core Program.
Integration of contemporary strategies, methods, and approaches to design. Move through cycles of ideation, iteration, communication and revision, including the use of non-traditional materials and processes. Emphasis on the specific issues of interdisciplinary design practices and an ethical understanding of the materials of drawing.

(0-8) Cr. 4. S.

Prereq: Completion of College of Design Core Program.
Development and practice of mental flexibility in creative processes leading to high-quality design solutions and develop fluency in "bias toward action." Move conceptual works quickly into visible and tangible forms that can be shared, tested, and evaluated based of quality. Multiple studio projects that will move at a fast pace and be iterative.

(2-0) Cr. 2. Repeatable, maximum of 6 credits. F.S.SS.

Prereq: DSN S 102, DSN S 131, DSN S 183 and credit or concurrent enrollment in DES 230
Introduction of themes and issues that are relevant to the design fields through theoretical readings, case studies, and visiting lecturers.

Cr. R. Repeatable.

Prereq: Enrollment in or 2 credits of DES 240.
Off-campus tours of areas of interest within the design professions such as design offices, museums, buildings, and neighborhoods. Offered on a satisfactory-fail basis only.

(3-0) Cr. 3. S.

Prereq: DSN S 102 or DSN S 183 or 3 credits of ART H or equivalent.
Students will learn to interpret, analyze and evaluate visual materials, use images and text effectively to communicate ideas, and understand issues surrounding the creation and use of images and visual media for design critique. Precedent study and critique of sample student design work to understand principles of visual literacy and how to apply them to the presentation of design work. Emphasis on peer-to-peer discussion and in-class participation. Lecture and discussion format.

(Cross-listed with DSN S). (3-0) Cr. 3. S.

Prereq: DSN S 232 or equivalent.
Introduction to various time-based digital media tools to develop basic skills including sequencing, storytelling, animation, sound editing, and video production.

(0-8) Cr. 2. Repeatable.

Prereq: 4 credits of DES 240 or equivalent.
Half-semester course. Studio projects of increasing complexity requiring interdisciplinary approaches to contemporary challenges and opportunities. Continued development of students' abilities to generate ideas and communicate those ideas visually, orally, and through writing. Field trip.

(2-4) Cr. 4. F.

Prereq: classification as DES major; 4 credits of DES 240
Preparation of printed and online portfolio of student work and materials for job search and/or graduate school applications. Guidance for interviewing, professional networking, business etiquette, and resume writing. Workshops and lectures.

(1-6) Cr. 4. S.

Prereq: classification as DES major; 2 credits of DES 340
Launchpad to design careers. Comprehensive interdisciplinary design work in three areas: design research, design management, design leadership. Demonstration of design skills and project planning and development.