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Program Overview

Creating the next design community and designing the next creative community

Our program integrates aspects of design techniques and tools from multiple perspectives, including engineering, business, visualization, social science, art, and more.

We’re left-brained + right-brained

The program combines depth with breadth and inspiration with rigor drawing from the expertise of five schools within the university—the College of Engineering, the Wisconsin School of Business, the School of Human Ecology, the Art Department in the School of Education, and the iSchool in the College of Letters and Science. 

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We’re thinkers + makers

Rooted in human-centered design principles, the program opens up all five disciplines while also providing clear pathways to employment in product design, user experience, communication design, and design strategy. 

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We’re hard workers + fun-havers

We love to get stuff done, but know how to have a good time, also. We create things we’re excited about while showing off our passions. Our community of designers and innovators aren’t afraid to step outside of their comfort zone or think outside the box. We believe you can have your head in the weeds and the clouds at the same time.

Program Highlights

  • Because our program is cross-disciplinary, you learn to approach a problem from multiple perspectives, including engineering, business, visualization, art, and more.
  • The program is collaborative: You complete team-based projects throughout the degree, mimicking real-life scenarios and allowing you to network and collaborate with peers in your field.
  • Specialized learning tracks provide students with depth in areas of application such as Product Design, UI/UX Design, Communication Design, and Design Strategy.

How you’ll learn

  • On-campus courses begin in the Fall semester.
  • Work within interdisciplinary teams to complete real-world projects in conjunction with industry partners.
  • Explore unique career paths within the fields of Product Design, UI/UX design, Communication Design, and Design Strategies.
  • Work within interdisciplinary teams to complete real-world projects in conjunction with industry partners. Read a case study from a recent project where MDI students devised ways to improve diabetes care for Black Wisconsinites.
John Zeratsky

“UW-Madison’s approach to this program is truly cross-disciplinary- not just in name. It’s a deep and real collaboration between the university’s engineering, business, and human ecology schools. Students will have access to faculty and ideas from across the university. UW-Madison’s program is also unique in the level of acess it provides o alumni and to leaders in industry and community”.

JOHN ZERATSKY | MDI ADVISORY BOARD MEMBER and AUTHOR of “Design Sprint” and “Make Time”