The Master of Arts in Design and Innovation provides students an opportunity to learn about a human-centered design process, innovation frameworks, and creative confidence. The professional world is looking for innovation leaders; learning these skills will provide students with an advantage in industry. Whether you are planning a startup or hoping to revolutionize industry from within, MADI is a great place to start.

The mission of the MADI program is to prepare mindful problem-solvers to take on systemic, meaningful challenges with creativity and confidence. MADI will provide students with an innovation framework based on human-centered design, a process which values solutions that balance human desirability, market viability, and technical feasibility.

With a strong emphasis on the values of design-thinking and entrepreneurship, (teamwork, iteration, action-bias, and responsiveness), the program is focused on preparing students to enter the professional world with confidence in their ability to solve meaningful, complex problems.

The MADI degree will serve to enhance students’ skills in key areas using a cross-disciplinary approach. The core MADI program consists of a three-course foundation series and two studio courses. The remaining courses are chosen by each student: two from an approved list of courses known to reinforce the competencies MADI wishes to instill, and two from approved campus offerings according to the individual student’s interests and anticipated professional pursuits.

Take a look at the MADI 2016-2017 Yearbook


Students will develop skills and techniques throughout the design process. Skills developed by the student will fall into the following areas:

Design Research   The ability to research and synthesize information from a breadth of sources, including primary field research.

Problem Definition and Solution Frameworks   The ability to use design research to accurately define the problem and understand where solutions may lie within the framework.

Idea Generation   The ability to creatively generate ideas.

Iterative Prototyping   The ability to iteratively develop innovative design solutions that meet three main goals: desirability, viability, and feasibility.

Communication   The ability to effectively communicate ideas and articulate design solutions through visual, oral, and written skills.

Collaboration   The ability to work jointly with and contribute to a multidisciplinary team.

Craftsmanship  The ability to meet aesthetic expectations of professional design work.

Action-oriented behavior ensures that this is not “just” a design-thinking degree, but rather a program rooted in progress, creation, and making. Students will learn a set of skills for making things REAL. This could mean rapid product fabrication, the generation of robust financial models, or the ability to sketch and render. Most importantly, this value promotes movement through any fear of putting ideas into the world.


Emphasis on action over discussion

Complex and ingrained problems require a means through which to discover the way to a solution. Across several key courses (Human-Centered Design and Studios) students will learn a consistent design process. This process provides a way to move forward even when the solutions might not appear obvious.


Confidence in the design process to develop original ideas and overcome problems that lack obvious solutions



Reverence and recognition of the historical, cultural, political, emotional, ecological and contextual environment in which a problem is set

Design decisions fit into a larger context which includes history, politics, sustainability, ethics, relationships and aesthetics. Courses work to ground students in a world bigger than their own through an understanding of design impact.


Awareness of the broad challenges and the universal potential for design solutions to meet human needs

The processes and tools of this program serve to equip students with the ability to solve most complex issues. Our Studio courses, in particular, tackle issues of social and/or public impact—issues facing citizens of our city. Furthermore, the students’ freedom to choose two electives from various disciplines (business, engineering, anthropology, etc.) allow students the opportunity to make the degree meaningful to them.