Graduate Programs


The Stamps Master of Design (MDes) in Integrative Design emphasizes a dynamic mix of cross-disciplinary collaboration and problem-based inquiry, aligning graduate education with the best in emerging professional practice.


The program’s structure is project-based and student-centered, bringing together working teams of graduate design students with university and industry professionals to engage complex social problems that require development of new knowledge and integrative design solutions.

“Wicked Problems”

Each cohort will employ integrative design methods and practices to address one complex social issue. Students will work collectively and in collaboration with a broader community of professionals and stakeholders to address existing problems or identify yet-to-be-defined issues under this umbrella issue, also known as a “wicked problem.” A wicked problem is a social and/or cultural challenge that is difficult or impossible to solve. It is multi-causal and socio-culturally complex, it may involve changing attitudes and behaviors and have unforeseen outcomes, and the definition of the problem itself depends on who is doing the defining. Solutions are not true-or-false, right-or-wrong, but instead are better or worse.

2015-16 Wicked Problem: 21st Century Healthcare

In healthcare, there are no quick fixes and no simple solutions: aging populations, chronic diseases, and lack of access to comprehensive services are just some of the urgent problems that need to be addressed. Questions include:

  • How best can we deliver a continuum of care among healers from doctors, to nurse practitioners, to dietitians and everything in between?
  • How might we enable patients to be stewards of their own health by making better lifestyle choices?
  • How can we integrate the caregiver, their friends and family as a personal network of care?
  • How can we balance financial challenges, hospital productivity, regulatory standards and patient satisfaction?
  • How can we improve healthcare through effective product, communication, and interaction design by taking an integrative, human-centered approach?

in 2015 and 2016, Stamps MDes Integrative Design graduate students will work with diverse stakeholders to identify and test possible responses and actions regarding 21st Century healthcare. In addition to developing and testing solutions, they will explore the practice of design including processes of decision-making, collaboration and team management; the materials and techniques of production; and the technical and aesthetic requirements of the field.


Graduates of the program will gain experience building cross-disciplinary design skills, working on client-based, open-ended, and complex problems that integrate both theory and practice. They will have engaged deeply in project-based learning and creative collaboration to prepare them for more ethical and entrepreneurial roles in today’s unpredictable environment, with a unique set of skills and capacities that will help them meet the growing demands of companies seeking employees with new and more creative, nimble and team-based capabilities. They will:

  • think critically, analyze and engage complex, real-world problems
  • find, evaluate, and use appropriate research resources
  • understand collective and collaborative approaches to working
  • demonstrate effective communication skills
  • be prepared to participate in and lead cross-disciplinary teams
  • have experience exploring environmentally-sound, socially-responsible solutions
2015 MDes Brochure