About Our Programs

In fall of 2014 the School of Design will launch exciting new programs that respond to significant changes in the design disciplines and the changing role of design in the 21st century.  Our programs prepare students for careers in the commercial, non-profit, and academic worlds, and position them to act as catalysts for positive social and environmental change.

Carnegie Mellon is one of the only design schools in America to offer a full spectrum of educational programs (from pre-college through doctoral studies) within a multi-disciplinary research university.

Our programs offer hands-on experiences that require students to learn and apply a variety of design processes and research methods. These are coupled with visual and technical skills that uniquely enable students to explore meaningful problems and critical issues that confront society.

Undergraduate Degrees

Our undergraduate programs prepare students for entry-level employment across a diverse array of design professions. Students can choose between an undergraduate degree with a variety of design foci or a broad liberal arts emphasis:

  • Undergraduate Degree in Design (BDes):  Students learn how to design for interactions through products, communications, and complex physical and digital environments. This program equips students with the problem-solving skills and principles they need for entry-level employment. 
  • Undergraduate Minor in Design: The design minor is a great way for students to diversify their studies and incorporate design skills and thinking into their overall academic experiences. 
  • Undergraduate Interdisciplinary Degree (BXA):  The BXA design program provides students with a broad exposure to the humanities or sciences, as well as design.

Graduate Degrees

Our graduate programs are tailored to designers who would like to pursue master’s-level research , and to students and professionals from other disciplines who want to study design. Several pathways are available to students:

  • MDes degree (Master of Design): This two-year degree provides students with previous design experience a core of studio and coursework in design for interactions, with an emphasis on design for services and social innovation, combined with electives and a full year of in-depth research culminating in a thesis.
  • MPS degree (Master of Professional Studies):  This one-year degree enables students to expand on prior design experience, focusing on design for interactions, service and social innovation, through the first year studio and coursework of the MDes program.
  • MA degree (Master of Arts in Design): This one-year degree introduces students with no previous design experience to design for interactions. It can serve as a pathway to other degrees within the School of Design or other departments in the university.
  • MII-PS degree (Master of Integrated Innovation for Products & Services):  This one-year degree is a joint program between the School of Design, the Department of Mechanical Engineering, and The Tepper School of Business. For more information, please visit the MII-PS Website.

Doctoral Degrees

The School of Design is one of the few programs in the country in which students can pursue doctoral studies in design. Students with previous substantial design experience and/or a master's level design degree can undertake creative research to advance the practice of design.

  • DDes degree (Doctor of Design)This three-year structured research program with residential intensives enables working design professionals to transition their ways of working toward more innovative and responsible practices.
  • PhD degree: A four-year research degree through which candidates develop new ways of understanding design. The program involves one year of coursework and includes instruction in design education and experience in teaching studios and seminars. 

Pre-College Program

Our summer programs introduce design to high-school juniors and seniors, and can be valuable experiences for students who think they might be interested in undergraduate degrees. The six-week program offers courses in Art and Design, which are taught within two different schools in the College of Fine Arts. The program acquaints high school juniors and seniors with the differences between the two programs while exploring traditional tools and new technologies in a variety of media.  

Continuing and Executive Education

The School of Design often works with companies to provide customized educational experiences for employees in the areas of:

  • Design Thinking: Innovation, Strategy and Communication
  • Design Thinking for Business
  • Design Leadership and Change