Design + Innovation

Master of Science in Design + Innovation

UW-Madison professor and student talk in the Makerspace

The collaborative Master of Science in Design + Innovation integrates aspects of design techniques and tools from multiple perspectives, including engineering, design thinking, business, visualization, social science, art and more.


Is this program right for you?

The University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Master of Science in Design + Innovation is an interdisciplinary and collaborative program created to teach students to understand multiple perspectives of design to find new and creative solutions to real-life issues.

Offered on campus, our program follows an accelerated 12-month schedule. Students must complete required core courses and then may choose elective courses from four specialized learning tracks. Our core courses provide students with shared foundational knowledge applied to team-based design projects. Our specialized learning tracks provide students with depth in areas of application such as Product Design, UI/UX Design, Communication Design, and Design Strategy.

Upon completion of our Master of Science in Design + Innovation program, students will graduate with cross-disciplinary skills applicable to a range of creative design career opportunities.

Is this program right for you?

The University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Master of Science in Design + Innovation is an interdisciplinary and collaborative program created to teach students to understand multiple perspectives of design to find new and creative solutions to real-life issues.

Offered on campus, our program follows an accelerated 12-month schedule. Students must complete required core courses and then may choose elective courses from four specialized learning tracks. Our core courses provide students with shared foundational knowledge applied to team-based design projects. Our specialized learning tracks provide students with depth in areas of application such as Product Design, UI/UX Design, Communication Design, and Design Strategy.

Upon completion of our Master of Science in Design + Innovation program, students will graduate with cross-disciplinary skills applicable to a range of creative design career opportunities.

Admissions requirements

All applicants must:

  • Have a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field with a minimum 3.0 GPA.
  • Non-native English speakers must take the TOEFL, if applicable. For score reporting, use UW–Madison institution code 1846.

To apply:

  • Online application.
  • Statement of purpose.
  • CV/Resume.
  • Unofficial transcripts.
  • Two letters of recommendation.

Application deadlines

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, Design + Innovation is opening admissions for Fall 2020 and Spring 2021. Please contact enrollment coach Zach Benson at zach.benson@wisc.edu for details about starting these terms.

The application deadline for Fall 2020 admission is July 1, 2020. The application deadline for Spring 2021 admission is October 15, 2020.

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Program Overview: Engineering Data Analytics

June 16
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Join Susan Ottmann, program director, and Ellen Bartkowiak, student service coordinator, to get more information about the Engineering Data Analytics master's program including details on curriculum, learning outcomes, and the application process.
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Program highlights

  • Because our program is cross-disciplinary, you learn to approach a problem from multiple perspectives, including engineering, design thinking, business, visualization, art, and more.
  • The program is collaborative: You complete team-based projects throughout the degree, mimicking real-life scenarios and allowing you to network and collaborate with peers in your field.
  • Specialized learning tracks provide students with depth in areas of application such as Product Design, UI/UX Design, Communication Design, and Design Strategy.

How you'll learn

  • On-campus courses begin in the summer semester.
  • Work within interdisciplinary teams to complete real-world projects in conjunction with industry partners.
  • Explore unique career paths within the fields of Product Design, UI/UX design, Communication Design, and Design Strategies.

Sample curriculum

Core courses

  • Advanced Design Thinking for Transformation
  • Tools for Prototyping and Manufacturing
  • Managing by Design
  • Collaborative Capstone I
  • Collaborative Capstone II

Select one of the following:

  • Data Visualization and Communication for Decision Making
  • Visual Thinking for Problem Solving

Product Design Specialization

  • Introduction to Human Factors
  • Human Factors Engineering
  • Introduction to Robotics
  • Redesign and Prototype Fabrication
  • Product Design
  • Wearable Technology
  • Human Factors Engineering Design and Evaluation
  • Venture Creation
  • Technology Entrepreneurship
  • Creating Breakthrough New Products
  • Basic Graphic Design
  • Digital Fabrication Studio
  • Digital Imaging Studio
  • 3D Digital Studio I
  • Global Artisans
  • Consumer Behavior

UI/UX Design Specialization

  • User Experience Design 1
  • User Experience Design 2
  • User Experience Design 3
  • Introduction to Information Architecture and Interaction for the Web
  • Information Ethics and Policy
  • Virtual Reality
  • Introduction to Human Factors
  • Wearable Technology
  • Human Factors Engineering
  • Venture Creation
  • Technology Entrepreneurship
  • Basic Graphic Design
  • Digital Imaging Studio
  • History of Graphic Design and Typography

Communication Design Specialization

  • Introduction to Video, Performance & Installation Art
  • Basic Graphic Design
  • Digital Imaging Studio
  • 3D Digital Studio I
  • Virtual Reality
  • Culture and Built Environment
  • Visual Thinking for Problem Solving
  • Data Visualization and Communication for Decision Making

Design Strategy Specialization

  • Communication with Key Audiences
  • Consumer Strategy & Evaluation
  • Retail Channel Strategy & Omni-channel retailing
  • The Global Consumer
  • Product Development Strategies in Retailing
  • Consumer behavior
  • Bridging the Gap Between Research and Action
  • Global Artisans
  • Culture and Built Environment
  • Product Design
  • Strategic Management of Innovation
  • Business Strategy
  • Venture Creation
  • Technology Entrepreneurship
  • Creating Breakthrough New Products
  • Introduction to Video, Performance & Installation Art

Ready to learn more about Design + Innovation?
View the UW-Madison Guide

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Connect with our enrollment coaches

Our friendly, knowledgeable enrollment coaches are here to answer your questions. Contact an enrollment coach to:

  • Learn how to make this program work with your life/schedule
  • Verify credit transfers
  • Get help with your application
  • Determine if financial aid is available

Visit with our coaches on campus or at an upcoming student fair in your area. Search student fairs & events

Connect with a coach