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Design Strategies

Creativity and problem-solving have become necessary skills in today’s world. Businesses, non-profits, and entrepreneurs have embraced human-centered design to solve product, systems, service, and social problems. The Design Strategies BDP provides a multidisciplinary framework for undergraduate students to master design thinking skills outside of traditional departmental programming to better prepare them to tackle real-world wicked problems. The curriculum engages students in a design process that includes research and insights; creative problem solving; prototyping and testing; and implementation and presentation—all while learning to apply a critical lens to the social context within which design takes place.

The Design Strategies BDP is offered in collaboration with the Center for Integrated Design.

For a complete list of courses and requirements, view the Design Strategies BDP curriculum sheet.


With 19 credit hours of coursework and Connecting Experiences, students may earn a BDP certificate in Design Strategies.

Courses counting toward a BDP in Design Strategies may also satisfy core, major, and elective requirements in a student’s degree plan. With planning, the BDP should not add time to students’ UT careers, but instead helps students choose the courses they already have to take in an integrated way.

Foundation Courses [7 hours]

Through multidisciplinary foundational courses, students in the Design Strategies BDP develop a design thinking toolbox and learn about the social context of design.

  • Forum Seminar
  • Design Thinking Foundation Course
  • Skills Foundation Courses

Courses in a Strand [6-9 hours]

In strand courses, students enhance their understanding of various disciplinary approaches to human-centered design. Courses may come from Communication, Fine Arts, Liberal Arts, Natural Sciences, Architecture, Business, Engineering, or Information.

Connecting Experiences [3-6 hours]

The Design Strategies BDP culminates in a capstone project in which teams of students from different majors work together to apply what they’ve learned and present their work. In addition, students have the option of completing a second experience, which may be an internship or research.

Integration Essay

Students write a three to four-page essay written at the end of the BDP experience, drawing together the different pieces of the BDP.

Faculty Panel

An interdisciplinary faculty panel guides students in choosing courses and identifying connecting research and internship experiences that allow them to explore issues related to Design Strategies as they connect to students’ majors and career goals.