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Design Program

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The mission of the Design (formerly Product Design) program is to graduate designers who can synthesize technology, aesthetics, and business factors in service of human need.  Students emerge with both a strong engineering depth and technical know-how, as well as creative, visual thinking abilities and a deeply human-centered orientation to problem-solving.  Their ability to seamlessly integrate across these two “right brain / left-brain" ways of thinking empowers them to make and build products, services, and experiences with transformative potential in service of people and planet. 

With the transition from Product Design to Design, the degree continues to provide a strong technical engineering foundation, while expanding both the ways of making and domain application areas for design.

You’ll find everything you need to know about the undergrad Design degree on this page.  Please also visit our undergraduate Design program site to learn more about the program vision, explore the Domain areas, and discover more resources and support. If you’re looking for more information on the graduate Design program, please go here

Completion of the undergraduate program in Design leads to the conferral of the Bachelor of Science in Design (DESIGN-BS). Going forward, all freshman or sophomores declaring design will receive the new Design degree.  Product Design has been retired.

The Design major has three possible Methods tracks:

  • Physical Design + Manufacturing
  • AI + Digital User Experience
  • Human Behavior + Multi-stakeholder Research

In addition to the Methods tracks listed above, students will also choose from one of four Domain Focus spheres:

  • Designing for the Planet
  • Designing for Health
  • Designing for Social Impact
  • Designing for Biological Futures

See Requirements below for detail on each Method and Domain, and specific course options and requirements. Important Note: There are three versions of Program Sheets to reflect the three Method Depths offered.  Some of the Math, Science, and SoE Fundamentals vary depending on Method Depth.  Use the information below as a general guide, but please refer to the individual program sheets for the most precise look at requirements.

Program Sheets and 4-Year Plans are available now

Find current major requirements for this and all other School of Engineering major programs at Explore Degrees

2023-24 Requirements

Math, Behavioral Science, and SoE Science must reach a combined total of 30 units minimum. See Note 1 below for using AP or IB credit to satisfy major requirements.


15-20 units minimum (requirements vary slightly by Method Depth; see Note 1)

  • STATS 60/160 (recommended) or STATS 110
  • MATH 19, 20, 21 Calculus
  • MATH 51 or CME 100 (required for Physical and Digital Methods Depths only)

Behavioral Sciences

Choose 1-2 courses of 3-5 units each from the following list (no more than 2 courses apply to 30-unit minimum):

  • BIO 150 / HUMBIO 160: Human Behavioral Biology
  • MS&E 180: Organizations: Theory and Management 
  • MS&E 184: Future of Work: Issues in Organizational Learning and Design
  • PSYCH 1: Introduction to Psychology
  • PSYCH 30: Introduction to Perception
  • Psychology course numbered 31-180 listed for at least 3 units

Note that PSYC (Psychiatry) courses are not acceptable substitutes. 

Additional SoE Math and Science

Additional approved courses from SoE-approved lists to reach the required 30 unit minimum (No additional social or behavioral science courses are allowed)(see Note 1).

  • PHYSICS 41 is required for the Physical Design + Manufacturing track
  • CS 103 and/or CS 109 recommended for the Digital Methods track

Technology in Society

  • Choose one course from list of SoE-approved courses on Approved Courses; the course must be on the list the year it is taken.

Engineering Fundamentals (2 courses required)

  • CS 106A Programming Methodologies required for the Digital track
  • ENGR 14 Intro to Solid Mechanics required for the Physical Design+Manufacturing track
  • Check Methods and Domains in Design Depth for suggestions within each track and domain

Design Core (all required)

DESIGN 1Introduction to Design (See Note 2)4A,S
DESIGN 11Visual Thinking (same as ME 101)4A,W,S
DESIGN 101 History and Ethics of Design (same as ME 120)3W
DESIGN 121 Introduction to Human Values in Design (same as ME 115A)4A/S
DESIGN 131 Advanced Product Design: Needfinding (same as ME 216A)4A
DESIGN 141Product Design Methods (same as ME 115B)4W
DESIGN 151 Business Design: Impact and Implications (same as ME 115C)3S
DESIGN 160RDesign Formation (see Note 4)1A,W
DESIGN 170 Visual Frontiers (same as ME 125) or other visual expression elective (see Note 3)3W,S

Methods Depth 

Students will get to sharpen making skills and abilities and gain professional fluency by choosing one of following three Method Depths tracks.  

(A) Physical Design + Manufacturing 

Methods range from classes on materials and mechanisms to understand what is possible with physical design, to manufacturing processes and supply chain logistics to understand how physical design is implemented.

One of the following foundational classes in making with physical materials:   

  • ME 80: Mechanics of Materials    (3 units)
  • CEE 101a: Mechanics of Materials (4 units)

Both applied classes in aspects of physical manufacturing:   

  • ME 102: Foundations of Product Realization (3 units)
  • ME 103: Product Realization: Design and Making (4 units) 

(B) AI + Digital User Experience 

Methods range from foundational classes on programing methodologies and human computer interaction to applied courses on digital prototyping, user experience design, and incorporating AI and data science. 

The following foundational class in programming:   

CS 106B: Programming Abstractions (5 units)       

One of the following applied classes in artificial intelligence:   

  • CS 129: Applied Machine Learning (3-4 units)   
  • CS 131: Computer Vision Foundations and Applications (3-4 units)
  • CS 124: From Languages to Information (3-4 units)
  • CS 223A: Intro to Robotics (3 units)

One of the following applied classes in human augmentation or interaction:   

  • Any CS247 class (ex: CS 247A: Design for Artificial Intelligence)    (3-4 units)
  • SYMSYS 245: Cognition in Interaction Design (3 units)
  • CS 448B: Data Visualization (4 units)
  • CS 278: Social Computing (3-4 units)
  • CS 347: Human-Computer Interaction: Foundations and Frontiers (3-4 units)
  • CS 377Q: Designing for Accessibility (3-4 units)   

Optional but suggested additional applied course in AI + Digital Experience:   

  • COMM 172: Media Psychology    (5 units)
  • PSYCH 30: Introduction to Perception (4 units)
  • BIOMEDIN 220: Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare (BIODS 220, CS 271) (3-4 units)
  • CS 372: Artificial Intelligence for Disease Diagnosis and Information Recommendations (3 units)
  • PSYCH 293: What makes a good explanation? Psychological and philosophical perspectives

(C) Human Behavior + Multi-stakeholder Research

This method depth is an opportunity for students to develop an understanding of how to build the body of knowledge that will allow them to execute effective design AND how to use research to modify and evolve design directions as they manifest in the world.

One of the following foundational classes in social theory:   

  • COMM 1: Introduction to communication (5 units)
  • MS&E 180: Org Behavior (4 units)
  • MS&E 184: Future of Work (4 units)
  • ANTHRO 1: Introduction to Cultural and Social Anthropology (3-5 units)
  • SOC 1: Introduction to Sociology (5 units)
  • SOC 180A: Foundations of Social Research (4 units)
  • PSYCH 70: Social Psych (4 units)
  • PSYCH 75: Cultural Psych  (5 units)
  • PSYCH 80: Personality and Affective Psych (3 units)

One of the following qualitative methods courses:   

  • HUMBIO 82A: Qualitative Research Methodology (3 units)
  • EDUC 450C: Qualitative Interviewing (ENVRES 231) (3 units)
  • ANTHRO 91: Method and Evidence in Anthropology (5 units)

One of the following quantitative methods courses:   

  • ANTHRO 116: Data Analysis for Quantitative Research (5 units)
  • COMM 106: Communication Research Methods (5 units)
  • MS&E 125: Introduction to Applied Statistics (4 units)
  • PSYCH 290: Natural Language Processing & Text-Based Machine Learning in the SocSci (4 units)
  • STATS 191: Introduction to Applied Statistics (3 units)

Optional but suggested additional applied course in applied research:   

  • CS 377U: Understanding Users    (3-4 units)
  • CS 347: Human-Computer Interaction: Foundations and Frontiers (3-4 units)
  • CS 278: Social Computing (3-4 units)
  • COMM 124/224: Truth, Trust, and Tech (5 units)
  • MS&E 92: Introduction to Health Policy Modeling

Domain Focus Area

Along with building a depth in selected methods of design, students will also get to take courses in chosen domain focus area, and have the opportunity to apply these frameworks for problem solving in another field. This is a chance for students to explore an area of interest to them, and to apply their design abilities in context. Taking courses in a domain area encourages a design practice that values curiosity, deep immersion, and x-disciplinary collaboration. 

Students are encouraged to use their domain coursework to prepare them for their senior capstone project if they choose, but domain coursework does not prescribe capstone direction.The focus areas described below include class options for students to take three courses: one foundational, one applied, and one that examines future horizons. 

Explore all of our domain course offerings within each of the spheres on our Domain Course Appendix. You’ll also find sample 3-course pathways that correspond to focused application areas on our domain landscape maps. We invite and encourage you to submit a Domain Petition form to propose classes that may fit in our domain spheres, but are not already on the list.

  • Designing for the Planet: a domain sphere including Climate, Environment, Oceans, and Energy (and more)
    Gain knowledge around environmental problem solving at macro and micro scales, on all corners of our planet.
  • Designing for Health: a domain sphere including Healthcare & Health Technology Innovation (and more)
    Gain understanding in anatomy, physiology, healthcare systems, and health technology while exploring a new era of personalized, accessible, and patient-centered care.
  • Designing for Social Impact: a domain sphere including Global Development, Social Systems, Social Inequity (and more)
    Investigate domestic and global governance and their intersection with development, economics, and a more equitable society.
  • Designing for Biological Futures: a domain sphere including Living Matter and Synthetic Biology (and more)
    Learn about biofutures and explore the possibilities of building with biology.


For their Capstone, students will scope and execute design work that integrates and draws upon what they’ve learned across their methods depth and potentially their domain focus area, as well.

  • DESIGN 161A:  Advanced Design: Capstone 1 (req'd; see Note 5) (same as ME 216B)
  • DESIGN 161B:  Advanced Design: Capstone 2 (req'd; see Note 5) (same as ME 216C)


  1. Math and Science: The School of Engineering list of approved math and science courses can be found on the Approved Courses page of the UGHB website. 
    • Take all three of MATH 19/20/21 or may use 10 units AP BC and/or transfer credit AND placement into MATH 51/CME 100. If 6-8 units AP or IB credit is used, must take Math 21 as neither test covers 21 content (and 21 may not be skipped using Math Diagnostic Placement results). In rare cases, a student may have covered the material in Math 21 without unit credit, and be able to present evidence of this in a petition to waive out of the course. Otherwise, taking Math 53 or CME 102 as a replacement course for 21 is allowed (since the material in 21 is built upon in these courses). 
    • Breadth course (Math, Science, Fundamentals, & TiS) AP or transfers must be approved by the SoE Dean's office. AP approval process & transfer credit information available at Transfer credits in Design Depth must be approved by the major advisor. Breadth (Math, Science, Fundamentals, & TiS) course AP or transfers must be approved by the SoE Dean's office. AP approval process & transfer credit information and petitions are available on the Transfers-AP-Exceptions pages. 
    • See Courses page for additional approved Science, Fundamentals, and TiS courses. Additional math and science must be from SoE-approved list, and no further Behavioral Science courses are allowed to count toward the 30-unit math/science minimum.
  2. DESIGN 1 is required for all Design majors, but is waived as a requirement for students graduating in 2024 and 2025.  It should be taken early in a student’s academic career. No prerequisites. 
  3. Choose DESIGN 170: Visual Frontiers, or one 3-5-unit course from the following: DESIGN 60: Visual Expressions (new), DESIGN 172: Design Sketching and DESIGN 173: Digital Design Principles and Applications (take both if using this option),  ARTSTUDI 185: Interactive Storytelling, AFRICAAM 186: Black Experimental Narrative (ARTSTUDI 186), ARTSTUDI 287: Animation II, or CS448B: Data Visualization (SYMSYS 195V).
  4. DESIGN 160R is a required one-unit advisory class taken junior year that will guide students in exploring personal and purposeful work.  It is waived as a required course for students graduating in 2024.
  5. DESIGN 161A & B (ME 216B & C) together meet the Writing in the Major (WIM) requirement.
  6. Cumulative GPA for all courses within the ENGR Fundamentals and Engineering Depth categories must be at least 2.0; all courses listed must be taken for a letter grade (except those taken pandemic quarters Spring 2020-Summer 2021).

How Do I Learn More?

Discover the Major Night Recording Available

In this informational event on February 7, 2023 we talk about the vision for the program and its graduates, get into the details of the core classes, hear from the faculty representing the new Method and Domain options for students, and highlight advising resources.

Office Hours
Both faculty advisors and peers advisors will be hosting regular Office Hours sessions.  Please view the current OH Schedule here. For advising questions, please email us at  We’ll be checking messages and responding on a weekly cadence.


Design students looking to submit a petition to deviate from any curricular requirements may navigate the following steps below.  Please allow the entire petition process to take at least three weeks.  Note that Domain Course Petitions are a separate form, and will be reviewed on a quarterly basis.  To apply AP or IB credit towards major requirements, you may submit to the Design: Petition Form or email your completed program sheet and unofficial transcript to Darlene Lazar ( 

 Step 1: Fill out an updated Program Sheet and download your Unofficial Transcript.

  • Design Program Sheets: Available here
  • Unofficial Transcript: Download from Axess

 Step 2: Attend your Faculty Advisor’s Office Hours to discuss your petition.

Step 3: Submit your petition request to Design: Petition Form

Instructions for Declaring the Design Major

Expect for the whole declaration process to take at least 2-3 weeks depending on your preparation and planning, and your advisors’ availability.

1. Declare "Design" in Axess

2. Select a Program Sheet that overlaps your matriculation

  • Design Program Sheets: Available here
  • Unofficial Transcript: Download from Axess

3. Fill out your Program Sheet
Complete a program sheet with courses you plan to take as well as those you have already taken. List all course numbers and names along with their units (and grade, if already completed).

4. Meet with us at Office Hours
Refer to our current Office Hours information.

  • First attend Office Hours with a Peer Advisor to have your Program Sheet checked, and to receive your Faculty Advisor assignment.
  • Second attend Office Hours with your assigned Faculty Advisor to complete a final review and sign off on your Program Sheet 

5. Submit your signed Program Sheet and unofficial transcript

When you are ready with your declaration materials, please submit them to our Design: Declaration Form.  Student Services will complete your declaration processing in Axess.  We may follow up with you if there are any questions.