Master of Design/MBA Dual Degree

The first program of its kind in the world, IIT's Master of Design/Master of Business Administration (MDes/MBA) marks an important milestone in the co-evolution of design, management, and innovation. Offered in conjunction with the IIT Stuart School of Business, the MDes/MBA dual-degree program combines graduate professional education in both design and business. As design becomes regarded as an essential business resource, professional education that links the two fields is becoming increasingly important.

"Today my title at the Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation is Service Designer, but it doesn't begin to speak to what I actually do. I think change maker—or some might say meddler—is a little more appropriate, because our charge is not just to design the future of health care, but to make it."

Matthew Gardner
Service Designer, Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation
MDes/MBA 2009 

The dual-degree program integrates the Institute of Design's user-centered, methods-based approach to innovation with core management education in marketing, project accounting, and organizational behavior from IIT's Stuart School of Business. This course of study provides students with a unique and powerfully broad perspective on the innovation process. Upon graduation, MDes/MBA graduates are uniquely qualified to lead collaborative, interdisciplinary, innovation initiatives in global organizations.

Students with a design background can be awarded both the MDes and MBA after two years plus one quarter, rather than the three years of continuous study required if they are pursued separately. Students without a bachelor degree in design must complete an intensive two-semester foundation sequence before beginning the main MDes program.  MBA courses can be taken during this time.

Those interested in applying for this degree must also apply with the Stuart School of Business here.

MDes/MBA Dual Degree Schedule

2 years + 1 quarter (+1 year foundation*)


30 credit hours


Internship / Research Projects

Main Program:
Year One

44 credit hours

36 credit hours


Internship / Research Projects

Summer classes

Year Two

Continuing Studies

Continuing Studies



Summer classes

* The Foundation program is a two-semester introductory course for students who need additional experience in design before beginning their graduate degree. Students without an undergraduate design degree are required to enroll. Click here for more information.

Please note that the MDes degree is not offered in part-time or online formats. 

MDes/MBA (based on the 2011-2012 incoming class)



Average Age




Academic Information

  • Undergraduate degree in design: 75%
  • Undergraduate degree in non-design: 25%
  • Average GPA: 3.44/4.0
  • Average GMAT score: 650
  • Average GRE score: 310/340
  • Average TOEFL score: 106.5/120






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Expenses for Financial Affidavit


Download  International Student Financial Affidavit 
Tuition for 9 months, 2014-2015* $57,620
Living expenses, books, + supplies for 9 months* $13,500
Mandatory health insurance $950
Other student fees $220
Total* $72,290

Application requirements 

  • Completed on-line application form (instructions for submitting remaining materials included)
  • Four-year bachelor’s degree from an accredited educational institution with a minimum cumulative GPA 3.0/4.0 or equivalent
  • Official (hard copy) transcript from institution where degree was earned
  • Completed statement of education and career goals 
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Resume of work experience: 2-5 years typical
  • GRE (minimum 310/340, 3.0/6.0) or GMAT (minimum 600/800, 3.0/6.0) for applicants without a degree in industrial/product or communication design
  • Portfolio (5-15 pages) for applicants with a design degree in industrial/product or communication design
  • TOEFL (minimum 100) or IETLS (minimum 7) for international applicants without a bachelor's degree from an accredited English-speaking university
  • Interview (in person, telephone or Skype) if deemed necessary by the Institute of Design
  • Application fee of $100