Graduate Programs in Design

I’m frequently asked about graduate programs in design. The program foci vary from management and design to art and design.  The best way to understand the nature of a program is to visit, talk with current students, faculty, and recent alums. Here is a brief (and incomplete list) to get you started.

Northwestern’s MS-Engineering Design and Innovation (EDI): For recent grads in engineering or other technical disciplines; provides a broad understanding of human-centered design process and focuses on hands-on project work.


Northwestern’s Masters of Product Design and Development (MPD): a P/T program for mid-career professionals, often referred to as an “MBA for designers”–focused on managing the new product development process.

Northwestern’ MMM (Dual-degree MBA and MS program): Two degrees in 2 years: a traditional
Kellogg MBA + a MS Engineering that focuses on innovation and operations management.

Northwestern’s Master’s of Engineering Management (MEM): This is *not* a design-related program at all, but rather a traditional MEM program similar to those offered by schools across the country.  Many MEM students at NU have taken design classes as electives, however, in order to tailor the experience towards more design-centric roles.

University of California Berkeley Masters of Design through the Jacobs Institute of Design prepares students for creative and technical roles at the intersection of design, policy, and activism.

University of Washington’s Masters of Science in Human Centered Design and Engineering: HCDE Master’s students solve real-world problems with our award-winning interdisciplinary faculty and students from diverse professional backgrounds. A flexible schedule allows students to attend part time or full time. Courses are offered in-person and cannot be completed online.

Carnegie Mellon’s Master of Design through the School of Design is a two-year program in design for interactions that immerses you in a research-based approach to design within the context of services and social innovation.

Carnegie Mellon’s Master of Product Development – a joint program between their ME Dept, School of Design and Tepper School of Business. Their capstone Integrated Product Development course – which indicates their focus – has student teams work with an industry partner to develop product concepts all the way to form/function protos, a manufacturing plan and marketing plan.

 MIT’s Integrated Project Design and Engineering Management  combines the methods taught in the world’s best design schools, with the systematic, analytical methods of the world’s best engineering and business schools

RISD’s Masters of Industrial Design – Judging from their loft space and the profile of enrolled students, it’s primarily meant as an professional development course for those with a formal ID background + ID work experience.

Stanford’s Design Impact Engineering Program: This program attracts students who are interested in working on the world’s biggest challenges. They believe that designers need to be responsible for the “last mile” of design. They are educating the next generation of designers and leaders who will innovate and implement, and funding the next generation of researchers who will generate novel solutions to the complex problems facing our society and our planet.

University of Pennsylvania’s Masters of Integrated Product Design (M:IPD) The M:IPD is intended for students with a non-engineering background or students with an engineering background who wish to build their skills in other disciplines. The curriculum is designed to provide students with an interdisciplinary perspective of product design. Students build skills in conceptualization, ideation, human-product interaction, aesthetics, manufacturing, marketing and business planning. M:IPD students will take courses in The School of Design, The School of Engineering, and The Wharton School.

University of Pennslyvania’s Master of Science in Engineering in Integrated Product Design (MSE:IPD).The MSE:IPD is intended for students who possess an undergraduate degree in engineering. The degree emphasizes technology and manufacturing processes, including coursework in advanced CAD/CAM and mechatronics. MSE:IPD students will take the majority of their courses within The School of Engineering and pursue engineering-oriented Final Projects.