Undergraduate Degrees

Why design?

At its heart, design is about solving problems. It’s no wonder businesses and institutions are embracing the value of design, and the demand for design professionals has never been greater. In our undergraduate programs, you will learn to design products (industrial design), communications (graphic design), and environments (both physical and digital).

Our graduates go on to positions with leading companies, design firms, start-ups, and nonprofits. Some start their own businesses, while others become design researchers and educators. The career possibilities—and your potential to make a positive impact on the world—are limitless.

What kind of designer do you want to be?

Look around you. Almost everything you see was designed by someone. Products and communications are all around us, and they come together in both physical and digital spaces, or environments. Our undergraduate program offers three complementary tracks in Products, Communications, and Environments. You may choose to specialize in one of the three areas, or pursue a more interdisciplinary focus by combining two of the three.

Whether you want to create the next iPad app, the next generation mobile device, a new social networking site, or even a line of sustainable furniture, the BDes degree has you covered. You will learn about the tools, culture, and practice of design. Most importantly, you will learn to see and think design.

Customize your degree.

As the demand for design increases, so does the range of design expertise. Some designers concentrate in a single area, while others choose to broaden their expertise. Designers frequently work collaboratively in transdisciplinary teams. Our program offers multiple undergraduate degree options, and allows you to customize your degree according to your goals and interests.

Undergraduate design majors at Carnegie Mellon earn a Bachelor of Design degree (BDes). This degree is equivalent in rank to a BFA, but acknowledges the growing importance of the design disciplines as separate and distinct from Fine Art. You can customize your degree by choosing among studio courses in each of our three tracks (Products, Communications, and Environments).

For students interested in a pursuing a broad liberal arts emphasis, we offer an Interdisciplinary Degree (BXA) and a Minor in Design. The BXA program provides students with the ability to evenly balance their study of humanities or sciences with design, while the design minor is for students admitted to other programs on campus who are interested in gaining fundamental design skills and exposure to design.

CMU also offers a unique program called Integrative Design, Arts, and Technology (IDeATe), which allows student to concentrate their studies on cross-campus industry themes like game design, animation and special effects, innovation and entrepreneurship, intelligent environments, and learning media design.

Study with renowned faculty, work with corporate clients.

Our faculty members bring an array of impressive skill sets from a variety of academic and professional backgrounds. They are known experts in industrial, communication, and environmental design, as well as design research, fine art, philosophy, human-computer interaction, and business.

We have a solid history of successful collaboration with leading companies, nonprofits, and academic partners. Studio courses and research frequently include real-world projects. You’ll have the opportunity to interact with and present to clients, or even work as a research assistant.

Our programs are unified by a framework that responds to changes in design, while also seeking to shape the future of the discipline and advance the field as it matures. Whatever your focus, our approach prepares you for top jobs in leading companies and organizations today—while teaching you to design with future generations in mind.

Information for High School Educators

We frequently offer information sessions for high school educators looking for more information on the career opportunities that are possible with an education in design. Please check here for info on the next session.

Ready to take the next step?

We're excited to learn more about your design aspirations and how our undergraduate programs can help you achieve them. Whether you're a high school student just starting to explore your options or a transfer student looking to make a change, we encourage you to connect with us.

Here are a few ways to get started:

  • Attend an information session: This is an excellent opportunity to learn more about our programs, meet our faculty and staff, and ask any questions you have.
  • Schedule a campus visit: Immerse yourself in the CMU Design School community by taking a tour of our facilities, meeting current students, and attending a class.
  • Request more information: We'd happily send you brochures, program descriptions, and other resources to help you learn more about our school. Please email info@design.cmu.edu
  • Fill out our inquiry form: This is the quickest and easiest way to contact us. We'll respond to your inquiry within two days during standard business hours and answer any questions you have.

We look forward to hearing from you!