Master of Design Methods Overview

The Master of Design Methods (MDM) program is for exceptional professionals of any discipline with proven  innovation and design experience. Graduates further accelerate their careers by building lasting skills and knowledge applicable to a wide range of challenges within large and small enterprises.

Throughout the Master of Design Methods program students collaborate with each other, and students from other programs, to dissect and solve complex problems. Hands-on exercises and team-based projects foster deep learning and enhance collaboration skills.

There are two specific tracks to choose from as an MDM student:

Design-Driven Innovation – for professionals of any discipline looking to boost their impact with an astute understanding of how to leverage design and innovation methods within their organization.

Design Strategy – for seasoned design professionals looking to enhance and extend their ability to address the complexities of today’s design challenges.

Common courses include (not all courses are offered every term):

  • Adaptive Leadership
  • Principles and Methods of User Research
  • Intro to Observing Users
  • Intro to Design Planning
  • Prototyping Methods
  • Diagram Development
  • Innovation Methods
  • Modes of Human Experience
  • Behavioral Economics
  • Communication in the Planning Process
  • Modeling Complexity
  • Service Systems Workshop
  • Organizational Models of Innovation

Design-Driven Innovation courses include:

  • Analysis + Synthesis in Design
  • Strategies for Open Innovation
  • Interaction Design Methods
  • +2 electives

Design Strategy courses include:

  • Platform-based Design Strategy
  • Interactive Space
  • Designing Futures
  • +2 electives


  • 2 semesters in the sabbatical (full-time) format
  • 4-5 semesters in the professional (part-time) format (courses are typically taken in the evenings)
  • 30 credit hours


Based on 2017-2018 student body backgrounds and prior education
  • Engineering
  • Business Consulting
  • Industrial Design
  • Communication Design
  • Marketing
  • Education
  • Average age: 39 yrs
  • Female 48% / Male 52%

Learn more about our students


Students and graduates of ID become members of a very accomplished, well-connected network of people spanning the globe. Graduates of ID hold positions of influence in companies such as SCJohnson, Wrigley, Northern Trust, UnitedHealth Group, Kraft, and Boeing and consultancies like IDEO, Doblin/Deloitte, and IA Collaborative .

Organizations have employed MDM graduates as:

  • Associate Partner, Director of Strategy
  • Global Director of Experience Design
  • Senior Director of Innovation
  • Senior Service Designer
  • Senior Technologist
  • Director of Strategy and New Business Development
  • Director of Product Development
  • Director of Retail Design
  • Director of User Research
  • Director of Interaction Design

Learn more about our alumni 


Full-time Sabbatical format

Tuition (2018-2019 rate) $29,395 per semester
Student fees, books, and supplies $1,268* per semester
Living expenses (room & board) $6,750* per semester
Health insurance (can be waived) $1,441* per year

Part-time Professional format

Tuition (2018-2019 rate) $1,958 per credit hr
Student fees, books, and supplies $600-800* per semester
Health insurance (can be waived) $1,483* per year


Learn more about Fellowships + Financial Aid

To Apply

Start your application to the Master of Design Methods program today! It only takes a few minutes. If you don’t have all of your materials ready, don’t worry. You can add them when you are. To complete your application you will need to provide the following:

  • Portfolio of work. 5-15 pages that demonstrate critical thinking, innovation management, and problem/concept exploration.
  • Statement of educational objectives. 1-3 pages including career goals and reasons for studying at the Institute of Design. An additional interview (by phone, Skype, or in person) may be required.
  • Resume or Curriculum Vitae. 8-10 years of professional practice is typical, minimum of 5 years experience (in a leadership or management role) is required. Full-time internships, volunteer work, and freelance projects will be considered.
  • Transcripts from all prior degrees. Degrees must be from an accredited educational institution with a minimum cumulative GPA 3.0/4.0 or equivalent. For international applicants without a bachelor’s or master’s degree from an accredited English-language university, a TOEFL or IETLS test is required. (TOEFL minimum 100,  IELTS minimum 7.5, Scores below will be required to enroll in English programs.)
  • Letters of recommendation. Three letters from professional or academic references commenting on your goals and abilities.
  • Application fee. $100.00

See additional information and commonly asked questions

Apply Now


Application Deadlines

Fall 2018 admission
April 19, 2018 (final round)

Late applications may be considered, please contact us.

Spring 2019 admission
September 21, 2018 (early round)
November 2, 2018 (final round)

Your application must be completed by 5 p.m. (CST/Chicago time) on the due date to be considered for that round. You will receive an email confirmation when all of your materials have been received. Admission decisions will be communicated roughly four weeks after this confirmation.

More Information

For more information or if the application deadline for your desired start date has passed, please contact: