Doctor of Design Program

Doctor of Design Frequently Asked Questions

We are excited about your interest in the Doctor of Design (DDes) program at NC State!  Below are answers to some frequently asked questions.

TUITION. We are proud that NC State is ranked one of the best values among public universities in the United States:

Tuition rates depend on residency (whether you live in North Carolina or out-of-state), how many credits you are taking, and length of study. For instance, full-time in-state residents in the DDes program will pay around $7500 per semester or $15K per academic year. For full-time out-of-state or international students, program costs are about $15,200 per semester or $30,500 per academic year. To complete the program efficiently in six semesters might therefore total either $45K or $91K in round numbers. These numbers do not include other costs such as travel or lodging during required visits to campus.

You can find current rates for the Doctor of Design (DDes) program here:

You can learn more about online fees and tuition here:


FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE. The Doctor of Design is primarily a distance education program. Typically, tuition assistance is not offered to students who are unavailable to teach or conduct research in traditional proximities. On the other hand, because on-line studies and research investigations can be conducted flexibly in and around a student’s professional life, students may want to discuss a financial plan with their current employers. Many students can expect to continue to receive close-to-normal or perhaps semi-reduced income even as they are earning an advanced degree.


ACADEMIC ADVISING & SERVICES. The Director of the Doctor of Design program serves as the main academic advisor for all incoming students in the first year. The Program Director is happy to help applicants explore specific ideas in order to find a fit between student interests and institutional resources.


ADVISORY COMMITTEE FORMATION. For applicants to become informed about faculty strengths and resources, it is best to begin with a search of faculty pages at the College of Design to understand faculty publications as well as other design accomplishments. A list of faculty currently participating in the DDes and PhD programs is maintained:

During the application process, individuals submit a detailed research proposal. The proposal precisely describes the topic to be studied, proposed evidence/data/methods to be applied, anticipated products/result of study, and its expected impact on relevant design practice. Once an applicant advances through initial screening, DDes program advisors and/or and supporting committee members may then be suggested. Once admitted to the program, students work with the Program Director to shape their advisory team.


PROGRAM LENGTH & STRUCTURE. While the DDes program is structured to be completed over six semesters, under a variety of mitigating circumstances it may be extended upon the request of students or faculty.  Full time study requires a minimum of 9 credits per semester. Required online courses are only offered during the normal academic year, however, with prior approval of the Program Director and Deans’ office, students may request supervision from the faculty advisor in order to conduct independent research during summer semesters.