Cornell University
 

Special Populations

There are many population segments that deviate from the healthy norm in society due to stage in human development, injury, disease, congenital condition, or genetic abnormalities. People in these special populations can be relegated to low levels of functionality or function at a high level depending in part on the supportiveness of the settings in which they live. That support is achieved through good design—design that has the capacity to accommodate functional needs and the potential to lift the human spirit above the mundane.

The Design for Special Populations area of study invites critical examination of interior design processes and products for accommodating specialized needs. Populations being addressed include frail elderly, people with Alzheimer’s or related dementias, and preschool children. Research approaches being taken include preparation and evaluation of design guidelines for a specific population, critical assessment of a design process for responding to specialized needs, and conception, imaging, and testing of a design for a special population.

Suggested Coursework

Referring to the Summary of Curriculum at the end of this information sheet, courses taken to fulfill the 3-4 course requirement for the research specialization Design for Special Populations vary depending on the special population being addressed. These courses are selected through consultation with the student’s graduate thesis committee. Examples of two special populations, Elderly and Children, and associated courses from which to choose are shown here.

Elderly
DEA 4720 Environments for Elders: Housing and Design for an Aging Population
DEA 6600 The Environment and Social Behavior
DEA 6610 Environments and Health
HD 2510 Social Gerontology: Aging and the Life Course (also SOC 251)
HD 4180 Aging: Contemporary Issues
PAM 4570 Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Health Care Industry
PAM 4350 The U.S. Health Care System
PSYCH 4310 Effects of Aging on Sensory and Perceptual Systems

Children
DEA 6600 The Environment and Social Behavior
HD 2420 Participation with Groups of Young Children
HD 3460 The Role and Meaning of Play
HD 3680 Children's Development in Different Cultures
HD 6460 Seminar in Early-Childhood Development and Education

For other or more specific special populations you work with your graduate thesis committee to determine an appropriate set of courses in this requirement category.

Careers

Graduate study in Design for Special Populations connects to a number of valuable employment opportunities and career paths. With this research specialization, graduates are prepared for professional practice in an area of design specialty. Examples include healthcare design, design of residential settings for the elderly including assisted living facilities and nursing homes, or design for child daycare. For graduates planning a career in higher education, this specialization can set the direction for scholarship pursued in an academic appointment.

M.A. Requirements

Required DEA field course audits:

DEA1110

Making a Difference: By Design

3 credits

DEA1500

Intro to Human Environment Relations

3 credits

Research & design methods courses:

(choose 2 -- 1 research method and 1 design method)

DEA6450

Dancing Mind (design method)

3 credits

DEA6500

Programming (design method)

4 credits

DEA6560

Research Methods in Human Environment Relations

4 credits

Varies

Qualitative Methods (research method)

4 credits

Varies

Historiography (research method)

4 credits

Behavior & social responsibility courses:

(choose 1 course)

DEA4220

Ecological Literacy

3 credits

DEA6510

Human Factors: Ergonomics-Anthropometrics

4 credits

DEA6520

Human Factors: Ambient Environment

4 credits

DEA6530

Planning and Managing the Workplace

4 credits

DEA6600

Environment and Social Behavior

4 credits

Studio-based courses:
(choose 1 course)

DEA4300

Furniture as a Social Art

3 credits

DEA6000

Special Problems for Grads (project-based)

variable credit

DEA6480

Virtual Design, Analysis & Representation

3 credits

DEA6540

Facilities Planning and Management Studio

4 credits

History theory & criticism course:

DEA6680

Design Theory & Criticism Seminar

4 credits

Required course:

DEA8990

Master Thesis

1-15 credits

Summary of Curriculum

Number of Courses

Total Credits

Required DEA field course audits

2

[6] audit

Research Methods & Thesis

2-3

10-12

Required M.A. courses

5

20

Courses in minor

1-2

3-6

Courses in research specialization

3-4

12-15

Additional courses (if not TA)

1-3

3-9

 

 

Total: 48-62


NOTE: Effective as of Fall 2007, a minimum grade of B- is required for courses taken within this major.