Making a Difference by Design (DEA 1110) focuses on how leaders in a variety of fields use design as a social change agent. This course connects theories of leadership and creative problem-solving through case study examinations of a range of design innovations in technology, communication, business, education, medicine, human development, and ecology. Students learn how design affects their daily lives. Additional topics include nurturing creativity, visual communications, values-led entrepreneurship, and designing across cultures.
Introduction to Environmental Psychology (DEA 1500) focuses on how environments (from residential to urban to natural settings) affect human health and well-being. Students examine how human attitudes and behaviors affect environmental quality, with examinations of environmental justice and culture. This course brings a new sensitivity to how design decisions can have positive and negative outcomes on human behavior and the planet.
Human Centered Design Methods (DEA 2730) explores the use of design methods to generate ideas and evaluate designed objects, environments, and interfaces. Lectures cultivate an understanding of these methods, while hands-on activities provide opportunities to apply these methods to the design of artifacts and their interactions with people and things.
Materials for Design & Sustainability (DEA 3030) emphasizes the potential that a sustainable approach to the evaluation and selection of materials and finishes for creating products and places for people has to ensure the future survival of our planet. This course provides an introduction to basic material properties and asks students to morph the materials’ sensibilities, understand performance testing, building codes, and formulate a life-cycle cost analysis. There is a focus on “green” methodologies and assessment, including LEED building rating systems.
Awareness of design as a social art is integral to the mission of D+EA. Multiple courses have engagement and extension components through which students work on real, everyday problems in communities to gain experience creating impact.
Students learn in the classroom, but also through hands-on learning, building, and making. Students have access to excellent studio spaces, research labs, computer facilities, and fabrication shops including 3-D printing, laser cutters, and student-work assembly spaces.
D+EA students can also take advantage of multiple international exchange study opportunities.
Community engagement and extension examples
Opportunities to support community organizations and individuals in need of design and research solutions are incorporated through design studio and lecture courses. In past semesters, students have:
- Partnered with community and corporate contacts on design, wayfinding, and branding projects;
- Conducted Health Impact Assessments (HIA) to examine potential effects of locally proposed policies, programs, and buildings on human health;
- Engaged with healthcare clients to apply evidence-based design in care settings;
- Provided design consulting services for local non-profits; and
- Applied design skills to the adaptive reuse of long-vacant historic buildings.
Design Intern, Stantec Interior
Design Strategy Intern, Perkins and Will, HDR
Research Intern, Laidlaw Research and Leadership Program
Research Intern, Regenerative Andean Agroforestry Landscape
User Experience Design Intern, ChaseDesign, Honeywell, Tesla
Workplace Design Intern, Gensler
D+EA faculty use qualitative and quantitative methods and draw on approaches grounded in the social and biological sciences, humanities, and design. They conduct research ranging from creative endeavors, such as children’s playgrounds and graphic design, to empirical sociological and psychological investigations. Faculty are engaged in cutting-edge technologies and computer-aided design.
Undergraduate participation in research can be organized around independent studies and research assistantships.
- Assessing evidence-based design in mental and behavioral health facilities
- Designing public spaces for young people: processes, practices, and policies for youth inclusion
- VR Social Interaction: Social VR experiences to increase interaction among older adults
The D+EA Honors Program recognizes students who have demonstrated excellence in their academic work and their capacity for independent research. In addition to fulfilling the requirements for the major, students in the honors program prepare an honors thesis based on original research on a topic chosen by the student. Honors students work with a research mentor throughout the process. Students apply to the Honors Program during their junior year.
D+EA students and alumni are part designer, psychologist, researcher, and business strategist. The breadth and depth of their unique education coupled with their practical experiences result in careers that span a range of professional opportunities.
Graduates of the program are highly sought after and valued for their intellectual range, their systems approach to problem identification and solving, and their strong analytical skills. They are collaborative and responsive leaders who bring innovation and social responsibility to practice.
In recent years, graduates have been offered admission to a number of graduate programs including Masters in Architecture programs at Columbia University and Cornell University, as well as a Masters in Professional Studies in Information Sciences.
Sample Career Paths
Business Analyst, Deloitte
Creative Strategist, IA Interior Architects
Entrepreneur, Theo Kondos and Associates
Ergonomist, Cleveland Clinic, HumanScale
Facility Planner, Urban Green Council
Furniture Designer, StandAndBuild
Interior Designer, Tony Chi + Associates, HOK
Lighting Designer, U.S. Green Building Council
User Experience Designers/Researcher, Google; IDEO; Facebook
Workplace strategists, CBRE; Louis Vuitton; Herman Miller