Professor speaking to students in class


This program is 30 credits, offered in-person as a full-time, one-year (12-month) accelerated program, with three semesters of coursework beginning in the Fall and finishing the following summer.

There are a few core courses required for every student that provide them with the foundations to launch their design and innovation career. Students also have the unique opportunity to specialize in a specific area within the industry or mix and match classes from each specialization to design their own MDI experience:

UW Guide

Learn more about the program curriculum and major requirements by visiting the UW Guide

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Required Courses

18 of the 30 credits are core, required courses, designed to introduce students to human-centered design from the five schools and colleges that make up the program: College of Engineering, School of Human Ecology, School of Business, the Art Department within the School of Education, and the Information School in the College of Letters & Science. 

View program requirements

Advanced Design Thinking for Transformation

Students utilize advanced design thinking techniques to enhance creative analysis and problem solving to address real-word problems, real-world constraints and the limitations of technology during a series of projects.

Tools for Prototyping and Manufacturing

Students will work with tools for prototyping and manufacturing physical objects along with some of the underlying theory for how the tools work during a series of assignments and projects.

Managing by Design

Exploration of design as a new practice in management that serves the need for identifying innovation opportunities in all types of organizations. Students learn through case studies, real-world projects, and the utilization of design thinking.

Collaborative Capstone I

Begin the collaborative design thinking process by exploring current state, empathizing with users, and defining opportunity areas for design. Students will practice behaviors of design thinking – ethics, critique, and storytelling.

Collaborative Capstone II

Similar to Collaborative Capstone I, students will take on interdisciplinary design challenges to come up with innovative solutions that solve current user needs.

Choose One:

  • Data Visualization and Communication for Decision Making
  • Visual Thinking for Problem Solving
Nadia Tahir


“The MDI program is designed differently— the program design itself reflects the design thinking process. That being said, head into this program open minded. Expect a hybrid of traditional and non-traditional learning. This is a unique opportunity to play career legos— get creative in designing your own curricula”.



The remaining 12 credits of the program are electives across all five participating schools and colleges and allow students to design their own MDI experience. There are four different specialization areas that students can choose from, but specializations are optional —students can take courses within one area or mix and match and take courses across them.

View all program electives

Product Design

Product design is the process of creating goods that solve a specific user need. In this specialization, students will investigate market trends, study product development, and learn how to bring their innovative ideas to life.

Popular Classes

  • Human Factors Engineering
  • Product Design
  • Wearable Technology
  • Venture Creation
  • Technology Entrepreneurship

UX/UI Design

UX/UI Design is the study of user behavior in digital environments and designing experiences that cater to user needs. Students in this specialization will learn frontend design, the research process, and how to connect interactions between users and their interface.

Popular Classes 

  • User Experience Design 1
  • User Experience Design 2
  • Intro to Info Architecture and Interaction Design for the Web
  • Virtual Reality

Communication Design

Communication Design is a mixed discipline between design and information-development, where designers learn how to connect media with the people around it.

Popular Classes

  • Basic Graphic Design
  • Digital Fabrication Studio
  • Virtual Reality
  • Visual Thinking for Problem Solving 2

Design Strategy

Design Strategy is the discipline of aligning business needs and design processes. In this discipline, students will learn how to study consumers and provide fresh business solutions.

Popular Classes

  • Consumer Design Strategies & Evaluation
  • The Global Consumer
  • Product Development Strategies in Retailing
  • Consumer Behavior