M.A. in Design and Innovation

Supported by the Lyle School of Engineering and the Meadows School of the Arts

A Graduate Degree in Human-Centered Design

What We Are

MADI is a two-year, full-time graduate program in Human-Centered Design that teaches the value of the design process in any field, enables the practicing of empathy with and for clients, and explores ambiguity to find meaningful solutions rooted in evidence. MADI is a non-traditional program that attracts students from all walks of life. 

What We Do

We research through design and design through research. Our goal is to provide active and engaged learning environ-ments that encourage students to learn by doing and foster a bias to action. Our curriculum is primarily focused on rigorous projects and group work. Every semester, students work with new, real-world clients in both the private and public sectors to gain first-hand experience.

Who We Are

MADI is a mix of design professionals and novices who want to grow skill-sets in order to foster a new mindset toward innovation. A degree or background in design is not required for admission. However, a desire to learn design and its ability to effect change is a prerequisite. 

Why We Do It

We believe that a design approach can be used in any field. By applying a mastery of the Human-Centered Design process, supported by various professional and educational experiences, we further the field of design in new and unexpected ways that are established through evidence.


MADI 2021-2022: A Year in Review

Core Values

We train students in the Human-Centered Design process and then quickly move to applying this new knowledge in exercises and projects. Students quickly jump into action to practice new methods, immerse themselves in field research, and quickly build and test prototypes in order to further develop their designs.

We believe that the most equitable, sustainable, and viable design is rooted in research. We use and teach qualitative research methods in order to understand the problem we're designing for and to accurately account for the audience we're designing with.

True innovation can be achieved through pushing boundaries and surfacing assumptions. We do this through our intentional effort to bring together multidisciplinary student groups that work on projects that are not always in a familiar field.

We strive to be an academic program with open doors to professional practice and a space where our professional partners are fully welcome in our academic spaces. Students work on real-life projects from the beginning of the program as well as opportunities for other projects as they become available.

Recognizing the importance of asking the right questions is no easy task. We train our students in seeing that the best solution is determined by having the best questions.

Human-Centered Design incorporates several different design crafts and relies heavily on clearly and cleverly communicating our design stories. We approach all phases of the design process with great attention to detail and execution. Everything from low-fidelity prototypes to refined reports, craft is everything!

The first design idea is never the only option. We work to answer questions through building, testing, and learning from every prototype. Our assumptions are put to the test and lead to continuous improvement through these iterative steps.

The MADI Book

Welcome to the Master of Arts in Design and Innovation (MADI) five-year book: The MADI Book! We have taken great care to truly design a graduate program like no other, and in the same way we expect our students to be great storytellers, we are excited to share our own story as well.