Foundation Sequence

Foundation Sequence Overview

For promising and motivated students who do not have a formal design background, IIT Institute of Design provides a one-semester sequence of courses taken before entering the MDesMDes + MBA or MDes + MPPA degree. Foundation covers the essential design theories and techniques required to succeed at the master’s level in design. Foundation students have gone on to become some of the school’s most successful graduates, serving as thought leaders and change agents at leading design firms and corporations around the world.

  • Students without an undergraduate degree in industrial or communication design are required to enroll.
  • Some students with design degrees may be required to take Foundation courses to build competency in certain areas.
  • Master of Design Methods (MDM) students do not take Foundation courses.
  • The Foundation sequence is not offered as a standalone program.

Curriculum + Courses

Foundation courses are taught by full-time faculty and a diverse adjunct community of practitioners. Students taking Foundation courses are grouped into a single cohort to maximize collaboration. All programs at the Institute of Design share the same studio, labs, and classrooms to create a vibrant community of peer-to-peer learning and exploration.

Foundation Courses



The Foundation + MDes program can be completed in five semesters (Design courses are not held during the summer terms).

Students placed in the Foundation program must begin in the Fall term. This aids summer internship opportunities over the summers and positions the student to complete the degree in the shortest amount of calendar time.


Join Our Graduate Program

Get complete information on application requirements.

Application Deadlines

Spring 2023 admission
October 26, 2022
Fall 2023 admission
January 20, 2023 (early round)
March 3, 2023 (final round)
Admission to the MDes program with Foundation is offered for the fall semester only. You will receive an email confirmation when all of your materials have been received. Admission decisions will be communicated roughly four weeks after this confirmation.

Have a Question?

Visit our FAQ page for more information. If you have additional questions regarding our application process or requirements, please send an email to or call us at 312-595-4900.