Master of Professional Studies

The Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Design for Interactions is a one-year degree for students with an undergraduate degree in design or previous design experience. The degree enables students to expand on prior design experience and develop an expertise in design for interactions, within two areas of design focus: design for services and design for social innovation.

Program Structure

The MPS degree consists of the first year only of the MDes program, without the second year thesis option. 

Fall Semester Year One: Core seminars and studio courses provide the intellectual and practical foundation of the program by:

  • Familiarizing students with design for interactions, design for service and design for social innovation
  • Demonstrating design’s impact in both the business and public policy sectors
  • Strengthening students’ skills in communication and interaction design

Spring Semester Year One:  Students continue to investigate service and social innovation design opportunities within the business and public policy sectors through:

  • research-based team projects 
  • study of the essential elements of communication for designers

The diagrams below provide an overview of MPS coursework. A complete listing of MPS course descriptions is available for download in a PDF.

MPS: Year One

Students are introduced to design for interactions through services and social innovation with potential impact in business and policy, while expanding their skills in communication and interaction design.

1 Fall

Seminar: Interaction & Service Design Concepts

Investigate the history, current state, and future of interaction design practice and research.

Studio: Designing for Interactions

Envision preferred futures by giving form to the behaviors and interactions of products, services, and systems.

Interaction Design Lab

Prototype for interaction design using sketches, wireframes, storyboards, video, animation and code.

Communication Design Studio: Theory & Practice

Use design strategies to decode complex information and to communicate messages clearly.

Colloquium (Optional)

Lectures from faculty about their research.

Students investigate business and policy opportunities in design for services and social innovation through research-based team project work, and prepare a thesis proposal.

2 Spring

Seminar: Transition Design

Explore new frameworks, mindsets, and processes through which designers can catalyze environmental and social change toward more sustainable futures.

Studio: Research-Based Design for Interactions

Tackle a client-sponsored team project using integrated research and design process.

Design Research Methods

Learn and apply a range of participatory methods for exploratory, generative, and evaluative research and design.


Recommended in business, policy, service, social innovation, interaction or communication design, or professional writing.

© School of Design, Carnegie Mellon University, 2014

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