PhD Research Curriculum

Design Cluster fellows take graduate-level courses in the following core areas to receive significant training in formal, methodological, and design approaches.

Cluster students are expected to take at least one course from each core area.

View Segal's course descriptions

Core Area One: Human-Centered Design

This core area provides training in the many stages of the design process with an emphasis on better understanding users, tasks, and goals. These courses use the design process as a systematic way for making decisions about the design, development, and deployment of new artifacts or systems.

Example courses include:

  • COMM ST 395 / EECS 395 Technology and Human Interaction
  • COMM ST 525 Theories and Practice of Computer Mediated Communication
  • DSGN 401-1 Human-Centered Design Studio, Product Design
  • DSGN 492 Designing and Leveraging Organizational Networks
  • LS 425 Introduction to Design for Learning Environments
  • LS 426 The design of technological tools for thinking and learning
  • LS 429 Design of Learning Environments
  • LS 452 - Constructionism (seminar)
  • MTS 495 / EECS 495 Designing Gesture-Based Interaction
  • MTS 525 / EECS 495 Social Interactions Online
  • MTS 512 Technology and Organizing
  • PSY 495 Design of Visual Information Displays
  • PSY 495 Insight, Problem Solving, and Creativity

Core Area Two: Computational Thinking and Computational Design

This core area trains students in the many ways of applying and using computation to support design research. This involves algorithmic thinking, computational simulation and modeling, and state-of-the-art statistical and computational methods for design.

A number of these approaches derive from thinking computationally, meaning both the use of computation as a vocabulary for understanding design phenomena (often referred to as “computational thinking”) and also the use of computation as a tool for thinking, analyzing, and decision making.

Example courses include:

  • EECS 472 - Design of multi-agent models
  • MECH ENG 341 Computational Methods for Engineering Design
  • MECH ENG 441 Engineering Optimization for Product Design and Manufacturing
  • SESP 495 Digital Design for Social Change
  • COMM ST 525 / IEMS 441 / MTS 525 Social Network Theories and Methods
  • BMD ENG 495 Computational Neuromechanics and Neuroethology

Core Area Three: Design Skills and Methods

This core area provides the practical skills that are needed for design-based research. These courses emphasize the skills and techniques needed for performing user-based, empirical (both qualitative and quantitative) evaluations of designs, as well as practical skills in areas such as prototyping and scenario design.

Example courses include:

  • MTS 590 Communication Design
  • COMM ST 495 Applied Research Methods for Technology and Social Behavior
  • LS 495 / EECS 495 Tangible Interaction Design
  • Theatre 442 Studies in Theatre Practice: Research for Designers
  • JOUR 490 Collaborative Innovation in Media and Technology