Master of Design + MBA

Master of Design + MBA Program Overview

The IIT Institute of Design (ID) Master of Design + Master of Business Administration (MDes + MBA) program combines a user-centered, method-based approach with core management education. That makes this program ideal for professionals who aspire to lead collaborative, interdisciplinary innovation initiatives within global organizations. In this unique program, MDes + MBA students pursue two graduate degrees simultaneously, one with ID and one with IIT Stuart School of Business.

Founded on the belief that design connects and enhances every aspect of life, ID is dedicated to preparing students to effectively address dynamic and complex business, civic, and social challenges with rigor, depth, and imagination. Our MDes + MBA program curriculum gives students the real-world skills needed to integrate, interconnect, and innovate beyond the current practices of design.

ID students are taught to shape compelling opportunities through actively developing insight from multiple perspectives, exploring options through aggressive prototyping and critique, and identifying valuable directions that prompt action and support resilient change. Students learn through hands-on projects and real-world challenges, both individually and in team collaborations.

Program Extensions

Students with no formal design training are also encouraged to apply, as our Foundation program provides prerequisite skills and experience.

STEM Qualification for International Students

The MDes + MBA degree qualifies as a STEM degree which allows international students to apply for a 24-month extension to the typical 12-month optional practical training (OPT) period. This means students completing this degree may be eligible for up to three years of work in the US. Please see the US government website for more information.

Curriculum + Courses

  • The MDes + MBA is a two-year, 78-credit-hour degree program.
  • Customizable study: Over 80 percent of the courses in the MDes program are electives (seminars and workshops).
  • Core course modules include Insight Development, Human Advocacy, Prototyping, Critique, Systems Thinking, and Adaptive Leadership.
  • Concentration modules include Stakeholder Research, Communication Design, Design Futures, Policy Systems, Interaction Design, Service Design, Product Design, Systems Thinking, Business Innovation, Design Management, and Collaborative Design.

See the MDes curriculum overview or the full list of courses for more information.


  • 4 semesters, including summer sessions, depending on MBA scheduling (one semester additional with the Foundation program, the MBA can be taken in parallel).
  • 42 credit hours for Institute of Design (15 credit hours additional if student is required to take the Foundation program).
  • 36 credit hours for IIT Stuart School of Business.
  • Full-time residency is required.


Learn more about Fellowships + Financial Aid

Tuition (2020-2021 rate)$59,350*per year
Student fees, books, and supplies$1,200*per year
Living expenses (room & board)$6,750*per semester
Health insurance$1,687per year


Life + Career After ID

ID graduates have a greater than 90 percent placement rate and report high job satisfaction.

Our career services include structured programs like recruitID and careerID, as well as an active and engaged alumni network and robust events and programming, including our annual Design Intersections conference.

Our partnerships with organizations across Chicago and beyond give ID students a range of experience, building their resumes even before graduation.

ID graduates hold positions of influence in companies and design firms such as:
Amazon / Apple / BCG / Doblin / EY / Fjord / Google / IDEO / INSITUM / Logitech / McDonald’s / McKinsey / Motorola / Microsoft / Salesforce / SapientRazorfish / SC Johnson / Steelcase / Verizon

Organizations hire ID graduates for a wide range of roles:
Design Planner / Design Strategist / Senior Innovation Strategist / Director of Product Development / Director of Innovation Methods / Director of User Research / Brand Strategist / Director of Interaction Design / Senior Information Architect / Director of Strategy and New Business Development / Digital Enterprise Strategist / Director of Experience Design / Senior UX Researcher and Strategist



Click here for complete information on application requirements

Join our Graduate Program

Click here for complete information on application requirements.

Application Deadlines

Spring 2021 admission
October 30, 2020
Fall 2021 admission
January 22, 2021 (early round)
March 5, 2021 (final round)
Late applications may be considered, please contact us
Admission to the MDes program with Foundation is offered for the fall semester only. Your application must be completed by 5pm (CST/Chicago time) on the due date to be considered for that round. 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

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.

IIT Stuart School of Business

If you have additional questions about the MBA portion of this program, please contact Alexandra Case.