Master of Design Methods (MDM)

Design isn’t just for designers.

Develop the 21st century skills that will take your career to the next level.

IIT Institute of Design’s MDM is a master's program for experienced professionals (5+ years), both designers and non-designers.

The MDM program will challenge you and accelerate your professional growth, regardless of where you’ve made your career.

Plus, our popular part-time option allows you to take what you learn one evening in class to work the next day.

The creative alternative

Often students consider the MDM as a creative alternative to an MBA.

The only design school in the US devoted completely to graduate students, ID offers a unique professional school experience.

We take an expansive approach to design education, balancing:

  • Empathy and logic
  • Thinking and doing
  • Collaboration and leadership
  • Creativity and rigor
  • Theory and practice

Why study design?

Design’s power is in its position as a nexus. That’s why at ID, we integrate other disciplines and domains—anthropology, architecture and urban planning, behavioral science, computer science, engineering, ethnography, marketing and communication—into our studies. And that’s why we encourage a vast array of professionals to pursue graduate study in design.

Food scientists and marketing managers, human resource professionals and venture capitalists—all can benefit from learning design competencies, especially strategic thinking, and all can bring them to benefit their everyday work.

Our part-time MDM program is built for working professionals who are leaders in their field. Offered on a part-time or full-time basis, the program can now be taken fully remote to accommodate a wider range of students.

Flexible curriculum

We are known for our pioneering, human-centered approach to design. This—our human-centered design sequence—is the cornerstone, and only requirement of, our MDM program.

For their remaining courses, students are encouraged to customize their own path at ID, mixing and matching according to their professional goals and interests.

To focus their studies, students choose from two of the following five concentrations (more information about each available below):

  • Service + Systems Innovation
  • Cross-functional Collaboration
  • Business Management and Leadership
  • Social Systems
  • Data + Design

Concentrations + courses

Most courses are seminar-based, with hands-on exercises regarding real-world challenges. Some courses are run as workshops with a focus on applying theory to resolve larger, more complex problems. Courses are either a full semester long (14 weeks) for 3.0 credits or one half a semester (7 weeks) for 1.5 credits.

See the modules and courses below.

Human-centered Design
For professionals who are looking to be more fluent in the field of design, these courses cover the fundamental philosophy and principles of modern user-centered design practice.
  • Analysis + Synthesis (3.0)
  • Intro to Observing Users (3.0)
  • Prototyping Methods (1.5)
  • Modes of Human Experience (1.5)

Students then choose two other modules from the list below:

Service + Systems Innovation
For professionals who want to drive large and substantial change through established organizations or start-ups, these courses cover the best practices and techniques to foster innovation within teams and organizations
  • Innovation Frontiers (1.5)
  • Strategies for Open Innovation (1.5)
  • Innovation Methods (3.0)
  • Service Systems Workshop (3.0)
Cross-functional Collaboration
For professionals who are tasked with breaking down functional silos, these courses cover the methods and practices of interdisciplinary collaboration and innovation.
  • Agile Culture (1.5)
  • Facilitation Methods (1.5)
  • Activating Design-led Innovation (1.5)
  • Engaging Stakeholders in Innovation (1.5)
  • Managing Interdisciplinary Teams (3.0)
Business Management and Leadership
For professionals who are looking to enhance their ability to build or grow businesses, these courses explore how design contributes to creating new value in both established business and entrepreneurial contexts.
  • New Venture Design (3.0)
  • Business Models & Value Webs (1.5)
  • Planning & Implementation (1.5)
  • Product Portfolio Planning (1.5)
  • Organizational Models for Innovation (1.5)
Social Systems
For professionals interested in larger societal issues, these courses explore emerging design practices targeted at addressing socially oriented challenges.
  • Social / Civic Design (1.5)
  • Adaptive Leadership (1.5)
  • Behavioral Economics (1.5)
  • Activating Design-led Innovation (1.5)
  • Service Systems Workshop (3.0)
Data + Design
For professionals looking to better leverage the emerging world of data in their practice, these courses provide an introduction to data-oriented issues and emerging techniques in design.
  • Data Literacy & Analytics (1.5)
  • Evidence-based Design (1.5)
  • Modeling for Insight (3.0)
  • Generative Design Workshop (3.0)


  • 2 semesters in the sabbatical (full-time) format OR
  • 4–5 semesters in the professional (part-time) format (courses are typically taken in the evenings)
  • 30 credit hours


Learn more about Financial Aid

Full-time sabbatical format

Tuition (2021-2022 rate) $29,395 per semester
Miscellaneous class costs and supplies  $650* per semester
Living expenses (room & board) $6,750* per semester
Health insurance $1,896* per year

Part-time professional format

Tuition (2021-2022 rate) $1,958 per credit hr
Miscellaneous class costs and supplies  $650* per semester
Health insurance (can be waived) $1,896* per year


Career services

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.

Graduate outcomes

ID graduates have a greater than 95 percent placement rate and report high job satisfaction. Students come out of ID with lasting skills and the ability to apply design methodology to a wide range of challenges within large and small enterprises.

ID alumni make up a strong network—a uniquely skilled set of more than 2,400 people across 32+ countries who deal with difficult issues and navigate them with clarity, purpose, and discipline.

Our graduates create ideas, products, solutions that are not only new and original, but also effective and scalable in a variety of industries. And our humanistic approach makes social innovation and civic design a natural fit for our graduates, whose placement in the public and nonprofit sector increases every year.

ID alumni hold positions of influence in companies and design firms such as:
Amazon / Apple / BDC / 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


Part-time + Remote

Enhance your leadership acumen with the remote MDM option. You can complete the program part-time while working from anywhere.

Join our Graduate Program

Click here for complete information on application requirements.

Application Deadlines

Fall 2022 admission
January 19, 2022 (early round)
March 2, 2022 (final round)
Spring 2023 admission
October 26, 2022
Late applications may be considered, please contact us
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.

Student Projects

Explore projects and discover recent student work in the End of Year Show.

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 Krista Roble or call us at 312-595-4900.