Design Thinking student presenting to faculty and students

Certificate in Design Thinking

Certificate in Design Thinking

Design Thinking is a multidisciplinary approach to problem solving that focuses on developing solutions based on human-centered needs. Through the practice of design thinking, students develop the important skills and mindsets of problem identification, collaborative problem-solving, empathy, iteration, and a bias toward action. This certificate emphasizes the importance of rigorous research as well as developing oral and visual communication skills. This 6-course certificate draws on a core of design thinking courses plus a choice of electives across a variety of disciplines. Through completion of this certificate, students will build a strong understanding of the process, mindsets, and methods and tools used in the application of design thinking. 


Students will: 

  • Define key concepts and mindsets of design thinking using language appropriate to the subject 
  • The students are able to approach community members with empathy and humility, working to understand their needs within a historical and cultural context 
  • Apply and evaluate a systematic, iterative, and reflective process of design thinking to identify and test innovative solutions to human problems in a real-world setting  
  • Develop an appreciation for the importance of team creation, project management, collaboration, and professionalism 

Four Required Courses

A poster of the Design Thinking process.


IDS 1000
Introduction to Making (3 credits) 

IDS 2050
Designing for Change (3 credits) 

Professor in the FabLab.


IDS 3300
Designing with Community Partners (3 credits) 

IDS 4500
Internship (1-3 credits) 

Students working in the FabLab.

Two Electives

These courses have been selected as electives because of the ways in which parts or all of the design thinking process has been built into portions of the course, or because of the ways in which the course content can support the application of the design thinking process.  
Interdisciplinary Tools and Applications Courses (Choose 2 electives)


ART 2030
Color and 2/D Design

ART 3115
Interior Space and Design (3 credits)   

ART 3110
Art, Fashion and Design (3 credits)   

ART 5047
Art, Design and The Computer (3 credits)   

ART 3125
Toy Design (3 credits)   

CAM 2010
Interpersonal and Intercultural Communication (3 credits) 

CAM 2090
Public Speaking (3 credits)   

CAM 3072
Social Media (3 credits) 

DGMP 2016
Computer Graphics (3 credits)   

DGMP 2047
Motion Graphics (3 credits)   

DGMP 2050
Intro to Video Production (3 credits)   

DGMP 4004
Graphic Design (3 credits)   

DGMP 4086
Constructed Images/Studio (3 credits) 

DGMP 4067
Digital Photography and Imaging (3 credits) 

DTH 1000
Creative Process  

DTH 2030
Directing I (3 credits) 



DTH 2540
Costume Design (3 credits) 

DTH 2530
Concepts in Scene Design (3 credits) 

GINS 2021
Ballots, Bullets, and Barricades (3 credits)  

MATH 1040
Mathematical Games (3 credits)  *No prerequisite 

MGT 1004
Principles of Entrepreneurship (3 credits)   

MGT 2029
Business Start-Up (3 credits) 

MKT 1003
Introduction to Marketing (3 credits)   

MKT 2024
Consumer Behavior (3 credits)    

Curatorial Seminar (4 credits) 

MUAT 2021
Computer Music  

MUAT 2011
Audio Production  

MUAT 1007
MIDI and Music  

Interactive Music  

MUA 4475
Musical Performance (Design Thinking) (1 credits)   

MVL 2015
Foundations of Leadership (3 credits) 

SPRT 3015
Sport and Social Change (3 credits)   

Internship as elective in any department, but it must include a Design Thinking application, thus should be approved by Director of Design Thinking program prior to completion.


Contact Us

  • Center for Design Thinking

    Alison Carson
    Professor, Associate Provost for Academic Innovation, and Director of the Center for Design Thinking