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Bachelor of Arts in Design Studies

At the core of Design Studies is an investigation into the formative role of design in shaping human values and experiences.

The Bachelor of Arts in Design Studies is geared towards students who are interested in an interdisciplinary orientation to design and material culture. At the core of Design Studies is an investigation into the formative role of design in shaping human values and experiences by engaging students in the critical evaluation of design through research, writing, and exhibition. In addition to design history, theory and criticism, students in Design Studies also engage in applying design processes and methods to fields outside of design, such as business, education, social causes and cultural initiatives. Design Studies produces students who are fluid in working with designers because of their insight into the design process.

Design Studies is a non-studio-based program offered ONLY at the undergraduate level.

About the Program

The Bachelor of Arts in Design Studies is a non-studio undergraduate-only course of investigation, however, 12 to 18 credit hours of application (making) are required to help students gain insight and practice in design methods and processes.

The Design Studies curriculum develops the following core competencies:

  • Design Thinking
  • Design Research
  • Design Process and Methods
  • Design Writing and Criticism

These core competencies extend across all of the design disciplines and can also be applied to fields outside of design. Recent graduates from the Design Studies Program have gone on to careers as user experience researchers, design strategists, media production managers and museum conservationists, to name a few.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Whose interests and talents in design lie in a critical analysis and cross-disciplinary application;
  • Passionate about issues of material culture;
  • Wanting a blend of formal, cultural, historical, social, physical, technological, ecological, economic and entrepreneurial knowledge;
  • Seeking a design-based education to develop innovative practices in fields outside of design.

While students majoring in Design Studies do go on to advanced study in studio-based design, the BA in Design Studies is not a preparatory program for the practice of design. Students wishing to enter the studio program may apply during their First Year in Design Studies.

Design Studies offers a number of specific focus areas. In addition, students are encouraged to choose a minor as a way to construct a unique, and individual concentration within design studies.