Design Thinking

“Students who become really good at design become experts at a process that they can apply to anything, from designing medical devices to improving the lives of infants in their car seats. The same process can be applied, no matter what the problem is.” —Professor Peter Robbie

Engineering products, services, structures, tools, and electronics that people love to use takes more than math and science. It takes an understanding of human nature, needs, habits, desires, abilities, and cultures.

At Dartmouth we give students the skills to assess those human factors and incorporate them into technological design.

Courses that emphasize engineering design include:

Human-Centered Design Minor

The minor in human-centered design is an interdisciplinary program focused on the process of innovation for addressing human needs.

"Human-centered design, Robbie said, has recently become a dominant branch of engineering sciences. In the past, he said, engineering was focused on technology, but improving how humans interact with technology and creating products that fit human needs has become increasingly important." —The Dartmouth

"I was introduced to human-centered design by taking the product design class—ENGS 75 with Professor Peter Robbie and Professor John Collier, and that class changed my life. It changed the way I understand engineering as addressing human needs and engineering problem solving as coming from a place of empathy with your users. It was one of those 'a-ha moments' where you see how all of my technical expertise that I had been learning in other classes connected to real human needs." —Hilary Johnson ’15, Thayer Design Fellow

Senior Design Challenge

In the Senior Design Challenge, multidisciplinary teams of seniors, supported by the Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning (DCAL), tackle real-world problems through partnerships with businesses and nonprofits. Engineering faculty Eugene Korsunskiy and Peter Robbie developed the course to be a new kind of culminating experience for seniors to build their design skills, work in interdisciplinary teams, and have impact beyond the classroom.

Engineering Modified with Studio Art

Studio art is the most popular subject to combine with engineering for the modified engineering sciences major, and works well for students interested in architecture or product design.