Graduate Program

In Fall 2014 the School of Design will introduce an exciting new suite of modular master's and doctoral degrees that offer multiple pathways to designers and non-designers alike. The aim of these degree programs is to elevate the careers of those with design experience, as well as those looking to switch into design careers from other disciplines, or add a design complement to their existing professional profile. 

Our masters and doctoral students engage in Design for Interactions through research in the areas of Design for Services, Design for Social Innovation, and Transition Design. See the sections on Research Foci for more information about these important areas for design.

Graduate Degree Options

Our degree options provide students with a high degree of flexibility and choice in planning their higher or continuing education experience. Students from diverse non-design backgrounds are encouraged to seek admission into the one-year Master of Arts (MA) in Design program, with opportunities to transition from the MA into the one-year Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Design for Interactions, the two-year Master of Design (MDes) in Design for Interactions program, or the PhD in Design Studies.

Students with prior design degrees and experience are encouraged to apply to our two-year Master of Design (MDes) in Design for Interactions program, or the one-year Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Design for Interactions.

 Graduate Degrees Path

© School of Design, Carnegie Mellon University, 2014

Design for Interactions 

To design for interactions is to shape and influence the everyday behavior of products, services, environments, and systems. Our model of designing for interaction involves multidisciplinary teams working together on the research, planning, concept ideation, iterative refinement, prototyping, evaluation, and communication of novel solutions. These design solutions enhance the quality of people’s lives while acknowledging that the ‘natural world’ or environment is the greater context for all design.

We promote a holistic design process that integrates perspectives and approaches from the humanities, social sciences, business, engineering, and design.

Through graduate work, our students gain an analytic and empathic understanding of the past and present to better envision what could and should be. We encourage our students to engage in radical invention as they become active creators of a better future.

Students develop a wide variety of skills. In their fieldwork, they adopt methods that expose the joys and challenges facing people in specific contexts. They apply diverse approaches to framing a problem space, from sketching and diagramming to “bodystorming,” “speed dating," and “experience prototyping.”

Our students investigate emerging design opportunities in social, mobile, cloud, and ubiquitous computing, and they practice prototyping to develop fluency with leading-edge technologies. Working directly with high-tech companies as clients, they gain insights into current industry development practices and concerns. At each stage of the design process they practice communicating their ideas through critiques, pitches, talks, specifications, videos, demonstrations, and articles.