The Design + Environmental Analysis (DEA) Challenge is required of all first-year and transfer DEA applicants. This submission will be considered along with your required application materials. Applications to the DEA major will not be considered without the submission of a DEA Challenge

Submit your DEA Design Challenge via SlideRoom. Mailed materials will not be accepted, reviewed, or returned.

The goal of the DEA Challenge is to communicate your point-of-view. The work you submit should say something about who you are, your opinions, and your personal goals. There is also an optional category if you wish to submit additional examples of your creative expression. Be sure to review the DEA Challenge instructions carefully and thoughtfully prepare your materials. 

DEA Challenge Deadline
Your DEA Challenge must be submitted to SlideRoom by the application deadline that corresponds with your application status. Late submissions will not be considered.

Required for all first-year and transfer DEA applicants: The DEA Challenge
The DEA Challenge consists of the following three components. Applicants must complete and submit all three components. All work must be original and produced by the applicant. Submissions found to have significant similarity to work posted on the internet or from other sources will not be accepted.

  1. the written challenge,
  2. the two-dimensional challenge, and
  3. the three-dimensional challenge
  4. Optional — Your own creative samples

DEA Challenge Instructions

Answer the following question.

  • Which of DEA’s three academic themes [design strategy & innovation, sustainable futures, or health & well-being] interests you the most and why? Your essay should not exceed 300 words. Upload one essay to Slideroom.

Diagram a task/process of your choice without using words or text to convey a message. Consider the sequential steps, context, and objectives involved while doing the task. Create a 5-step diagram, i.e., similar to a comic book strip layout, that communicates the process and the message. Use any two-dimensional media: pen, pencils, markers, digital camera, computer software, etc. The creative presentation of the sequence and the quality of visual communication will be evaluated. Submit the finished work using Slideroom.

Design and build a three-dimensional “gift” that captures, engages, ignites, celebrates, and/or reflects the human spirit. Briefly describe what the gift is, who the recipient is, and its intended impact/effect. Limit your response to 100 words including a title. Your gift may be for someone you know, a person(s) yet to be known, or to a collective group. Use any type of material(s) to create the form: clay, wood, cardboard, etc., or construct your object using digital media. Produce a maximum of eight (8) still images of your gift for Slideroom submission. Consider what the images depict and how they describe your idea. Explore views from diverse angles. Always submit high quality images that are well lit and large enough to easily be seen by reviewers.

Submit up to four (4) additional images of prior creative work for consideration. Submissions might range from poetry or videos to a photography drawing or built objects. For each image, provide a title, a short description and a reflective statement about the outcome or process. Also submit these via Slideroom.

Frequently Asked Questions

It is one determinant in learning who you are as a person, understanding your point-of-view, and recognizing how you might fit within DEA. DEA faculty review and evaluate the DEA Challenge. Faculty feedback is included in the full review of the application. The DEA Challenge is required of all DEA applicants.

No. Separate CDs of student work will not be accepted. All DEA applicants must complete the DEA Challenge and submit their work via

Not necessarily. Your creative thought processes and written rationale are as important as aesthetic aptitude. DEA accommodates students with a wide range of creative talents and experiences.

Yes. Your submissions may be digitally or manually produced using any material of your choice.

No. Adhere to the number of images designated in each category.

No. There is no one type of correct or successful submission. Consider your submissions as exercises in experimental thinking and risk-taking more than final presentations or examples of technical proficiency.

We are not scheduling faculty appointments at this time. You can email DEA’s Academic Programs Coordinator with questions about the program and/or Design Challenge.