The MDes curriculum at the Institute of Design is dedicated to teaching students how to address increasingly dynamic and complex challenges with rigor, depth, and imagination. Graduates with an MDes degree produce sharp insight, tangible options, and actionable directives to substantially impact the world.
The MDes curriculum is roughly organized across three stages of study: Entry, Core, and Concentration. Each stage is made up of groups of courses (modules) that have been arranged to deliver the highest educational impact for ID students and their goals.
The modules of courses in the Entry stage include Foundation, Fundamentals, and Bootcamp courses. They are intended to help a student fill any gaps they have in their education or practice coming into the school and also serve to orient students to ID’s specific philosophy and culture. All students are advised as to which courses in these modules are most appropriate for their situation and goals.
The courses in the Core modules are vital to developing a student’s critical competency for nearly any type of design practice. The modules include courses to deeply understand complex challenges, to creatively explore options, and to develop impactful and resilient solutions. By the end of the program, students are expected to establish competence and demonstrate mastery in each core module.
The Concentration modules are focused on application skills. They are oriented towards specific design practice roles like Design research & insight, Product-Service delivery, Innovation strategy, and Product management. Students are encouraged to choose 1–3 Concentration modules as a part of their overall plan, though students are free to take courses within and amongst any of the Concentrations as they desire.
ID courses come in roughly four structural types. These types help to explain the nature of how specific classes are conducted and the commitment needed to maximize learnings. Below are the typical characteristics of each type. Occasional divergence from the norm does happen. Full-time students typically take a balance of each class type during a semester (e.g., 1 studio + 2 workshops + 4 seminars).
Regardless of the structural type, all courses at ID emphasize a grounded application of methods and theories with “real-world” problems. Every course strives to encourage critical conversations around the appropriateness of problems and possible solution paths while also making room for students to get their hands dirty, prototyping and making ideas real. The difference in types above reflects the amount and nature of commitment necessary for each course.
Browse courses offered in the MDes program.