IIT Institute of Design was the ﬁrst design school in the US to create a doctor of philosophy (PhD) in design, and it continues to have the largest doctoral program in design. Our PhD is a program for those who wish to teach or conduct fundamental research in the field of design. The program culminates with a dissertation that extends the body of knowledge about design theory and process. Much of our faculty and students’ research is funded through a variety of grant and fellowship programs.
Applicants to the PhD program must have a demonstrated interest in a research area that aligns with research currently being conducted by PhD faculty at IIT Institute of Design (see faculty profiles below). Admitted doctoral students will be required to submit and obtain approval for a program of study and pass a foreign language requirement. Within two years of being admitted, students take a comprehensive examination. After the comprehensive examination, students will be considered candidates for the PhD degree.
Students who have earned their PhD degree have gone on to lead design programs at other universities, teach, consult, and guide global corporations in their pursuit of innovation and value.
|Doctoral candidates (2015 academic year)
|Students per PhD advising faculty||2-5|
|PhD degree granted since program’s inception in 1992||23|
|PhD alumni holding faculty positions in universities||75%|
|PhD alumni working in major corporations||25%|
PhD Faculty Advisors
|Stan Ruecker, Associate Professor
PhD program coordinator
|currently accepting students|
|Keiichi Sato, Charles Owen Professor||not accepting students|
|Laura Forlano, Assistant Professor||currently accepting students|
|Tom MacTavish, Assistant Professor||currently accepting students|
Course work includes credit hours transferable from the Master’s program (32 credit hours maximum). Classes include full- or half-semester courses selected from the university’s course oﬀerings to complement objectives of the student’s program. They include 15 credit hours of required courses and 12 credit hours of elective courses (determined in consultation with advisor). Most course work credits are earned within the ﬁrst three terms of enrollment.
The research component starts small and grows as the student progresses through his or her candidacy. The dissertation created from this work is intended to create a substantial and original contribution to design knowledge. Typically, 12 credits are earned over the ﬁrst three terms; the remainder is earned over, at minimum, three additional terms.
- 6 semesters (beyond Masters degree)
- 107 credit hours (32 Masters, 27 course work, 48 research)
- Full-time residency is required for first 4 semesters
|Tuition (2015-2016 rate)||$23,787||per semester|
|Student fees, books, and supplies||$1,835||per semester|
|Living expenses (estimated room & board)||$6,000||per semester|
|Health insurance||$1,439||per year|
While the majority of PhD students are self-funded, ID occasionally awards a limited amount of funding, consisting of 3 terms of tuition remission, to highly qualified applicants; every student who is accepted to the program is automatically considered.
To complete your application you will need to provide the following:
- Research Proposal. 3-5 pages including career goals and reasons for studying at the Institute of Design. Guidance for the proposal can be found here. An additional interview (by phone, Skype, or in person) may be required.
- Portfolio of work or published material. 5-15 pages that demonstrate critical thinking, concept exploration, and proposed solutions (may include non-design projects).
- Resume or Curriculum Vitae. 2-4 years of professional practice is typical, but not required. Include peer recognition (e.g., publications, lectures, awards).
- 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, IETLS minimum 7.)
- Letters of recommendation. Three letters from professional or academic references commenting on your goals and abilities.
- GRE test scores. Minimum 310/340 or 3.0/6.0
- Application fee. $100.00
See additional information and commonly asked questions