Ask DN: Master's degree with great focus on design thinking

almost 8 years ago from , Mobile Developer & UX Designer


I have graduated a year ago with a bachelor of science in electronics engineering. Since then, and maybe even before, I have been reading/learning/applying design thinking and got an internship as a UX. I would love to get some help on what programs that focus on design thinking to pursue, to be formally taught to think like a designer vs an engineer. I think the program should have a very tight link with the industry and a lot of hands-on projects.

After reading, two popular programs that focus on design thinking are Stanford's and CMU's, I know that joining these is a bit tough and would appreciate it if you can guide me to other similar programs. I am open to global programs.

Thank you


  • Alex PaxtonAlex Paxton, almost 8 years ago

    I've been working in Design professionally for about 10 years now, and have never met another designer with a Master's degree. I've learned so much from hands on experience—and looking back at it—no program in any school could have replaced that, let alone exceeded it. Blaze your own trail man, don't let your parents throw away money

    4 points
    • Ahmed Baracat, almost 8 years ago

      Thank you Alex for your comment. I completely agree with you. Do you mind me asking if you have an undergraduate degree in design or did you start your career with another degree, science or engineering?

      0 points
      • Alex PaxtonAlex Paxton, almost 8 years ago

        I went to school for a BFA in Design & Digital Photography, but had a website design side business the whole time, next thing I know I'm doing a little frontend work

        0 points
  • Michael B., almost 8 years ago

    Save your money and dive right in. There's nothing a course can teach that you can't find online, books, or designing a real world experience.

    Reply if you feel like you need further guidance on what to do next.

    3 points
    • Ahmed Baracat, almost 8 years ago

      Thank you Seb for your reply. I completely agree with you and would love to have some guidance. However, the problem is that I live in a country where degrees are overrated and my parents are not only pushing me to pursue a masters degree, but are willing to pay for it. That's the only reason why I am looking for one :)

      1 point
      • Austin Tindle, almost 8 years ago

        A Masters in Human Computer Interaction comes to mind. I considered it as a followup to a degree in the arts and humanities myself.

        0 points
        • Ahmed Baracat, almost 8 years ago

          I think there is a broad range of HCI degrees from CS focused to design focused. I am looking for a design related one. Do you have any specific program in mind?

          0 points
  • Drew ShimomuraDrew Shimomura, almost 8 years ago
    • d.school at stanford is big on design thinking, but it offers no degree--just open to masters students in other disciplines (unless that's changed?)
    • Check out CCA's design MBA program -- i know design thinking's a big part of their MO.
    • CMU has an IxD program AND an HCI program. check out both.
    • SVA offers an IxD program that has a great reputation. they're very connected.

    I think where you apply should depend on what you want to learn but also what you think you want to do afterwards. do you have an idea of what you want to be doing after you apply/attend/graduate?

    1 point
    • Ahmed Baracat, almost 8 years ago (edited almost 8 years ago )

      Thank you Drew. Will definitely check these out.

      I am not sure yet, but most probably I wouldn't continue in the academic/research track and would start using what I learnt to design better products mostly mobile apps because that's what I have already been doing in the past 4 years.

      0 points
  • Steve CordovaSteve Cordova, almost 8 years ago

    I'd look at the ITP program at NYU.

    0 points
  • Jahit JJahit J, almost 8 years ago

    I have a masters degree in Digital Design and Branding which I got exposed to Design Thinking heavily in solving digital problems, personally I can tell you a masters degree will only benefit you at high end companies like Google and Microsoft but end of the day its all about the experience that you have on your CV/Resume. I managed to complete my masters this year and prior to that I was doing an undergrad degree in Multimedia Computing and got a first class (not sure how the american grading system works but in the UK its an A*).

    If you want to do a masters degree I say go for it but having experience is more beneficial in the design industry and you have electronics engineering as your background so you could most surely get into product/industrial design as a field.

    Note: I'm 24/5 so my life is starting with the design/development industry - currently working as a digital design developer at Brunel Union.

    0 points
  • Jeff Kahn, almost 8 years ago

    Definitely a topic with many opinions.

    Check out Northwestern's EDI program. Don Norman started the program years ago and could be great fit for you.


    0 points
  • Owen McFadzenOwen McFadzen, almost 8 years ago

    The d.School is the most well known, however it is just classes/courses that many different degrees can take. If you want a focused course on DT than the worlds best would have to be the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design (www.ciid.dk). It was started after Interaction Design Institute Ivrea closed and former members relocated to Copenhagen to keep the dream alive. Otherwise Hyper Island has also begun to teach masters degrees focused around Design Thinking entitled Digital Media Management.

    0 points
  • Jared CJared C, almost 8 years ago

    Check out the HCDE and HCI+D programs at the University of Washington, very much in line with what you are looking for. Let me know if you have any specific questions.

    0 points