Design Thinking

“Students who become really good at design become experts at a process that they can apply to anything, from designing medical devices to improving the lives of infants in their car seats. The same process can be applied, no matter what the problem is.” —Professor Peter Robbie

Engineering products, services, structures, tools, and electronics that people love to use takes more than math and science. It takes an understanding of human nature, needs, habits, desires, abilities, and cultures.

At Dartmouth we give students the skills to assess those human factors and incorporate them into technological design.

Courses that emphasize engineering design include:

BusinessWeek ranks Thayer School among the top 60 design schools in the world.

Engineering Modified with Studio Art

Studio art is the most popular subject to combine with engineering for the modified engineering sciences major, and works well for students interested in architecture or product design.

Human-Centered Design Minor

The minor in human-centered design is an interdisciplinary program focused on the process of innovation for addressing human needs.

"Human-centered design, Robbie said, has recently become a dominant branch of engineering sciences. In the past, he said, engineering was focused on technology, but improving how humans interact with technology and creating products that fit human needs has become increasingly important." —The Dartmouth

Design for America

Dartmouth is an official Design for America (DFA) workshop. Founded by Elizabeth Gerber ’98 at Northwestern University in 2009, DFA uses human-centered thinking to improve communities. Members collaborate with community organizations and nonprofits to solve real-world problems. Dartmouth’s chapter meets weekly and consists of 60 students from such diverse areas as environmental studies, economics, art, sociology, anthropology, and cognitive science.

In 2010, 12 members of the group competed in a DFA challenge for college students across the country to invent easy ways to conserve water. All ideas were submitted as two-minute videos. Dartmouth’s DFA group won the grand prize and $1000 for its video, “GreenScore,” which illustrated a scoring system for food products based on water and carbon footprint: