Editor’s note: This listing was updated on November 2, 2022.
Moving beyond a focus on the design of static objects, Carnegie Mellon University teaches students to craft products, communicate concepts, and develop complex systems under the rubric of design for interactions. This framework considers design’s larger role in interpersonal interactions, and its various impacts from the built world to the natural world. Undergrad students can choose from among three tracks – products, communications and environments (both physical and digital) – and learn to apply their newfound skills in three broader contexts: design for service, design for social innovation, and transition design. All are focused on solving societal problems that often go overlooked; graduate students have presented theses on patient-centric services and systems for the elderly and new futures for ASL.
Lessons learned in the field are highly valued at CMU. To wit, MDes aspirants are required to have at least one year of professional experience. And in the spring, the School of Design hosts Confluence, which is attended by more than 70 top companies and helps undergraduate students land summer internships (particularly after the second and third years in the program). Study abroad opportunities are also available to undergraduate students during the junior year.
Fred Gilbert of YouTube, Simon King (former design director of IDEO), Chad Thornton (former head of product design at Dropbox), Younghee Jung of Facebook, Vinita Israni of Qantas
Stuart Candy, Terry Irwin, Marc Rettig, Dan Boyarski (Professor Emeritus)