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Design

Engineering By Design

Great engineering is more than math and science. It requires a deep understanding of human need, habits, and desires within the context of the local culture and community. At Dartmouth, we empower students and faculty to bridge the gap between technology and humanity with a full spectrum of design thinking tools to create, build, test, and implement innovative solutions to local and global challenges.

With our human-centered approach integrated through our curriculum and research, faculty and students draw on skills from engineering, social sciences, psychology, art, design, and business to address complex problems with creativity and compassion.

Engineering a Better World

At both the graduate and undergraduate level, our collaborative, project-based approach to education and research provides the perfect environment for design thinking to thrive. Our students and faculty collaborate across disciplines to solve real problems that improve the lives of people around the world—from creating sustainable energy solutions for indigenous people in Greenland to developing the Mobile Virtual Player to reduce traumatic brain injuries.

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Peter Robbie design thinking

Design Initiative at Dartmouth

The Design Initiative at Dartmouth (DIAD) is building interdepartmental collaborations to bring more design tools and mindsets to all corners of campus. From new courses and collaborative programs, to interdisciplinary research efforts and off-campus projects, DIAD is developing a system for human-centered design creativity accessible to everyone.

Human-Centered Design Minor

Designing new products, technology, and systems requires understanding and empathy for the people they impact most. For Dartmouth undergraduates looking to transform their approach to problem-solving, the Human-Centered Design minor is an interdisciplinary program focused on the process of innovation and integrates the human perspective at every step to develop products, tools, and systems to effect positive change.

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Cook Engineering Design Center

Dartmouth’s Cook Engineering Design Center (CEDC) connects industry sponsors to advanced engineering students enrolled in the ENGS 89/90 engineering capstone to help design solutions to real-world challenges. In recent years, students have designed low-sensory pods for special needs children for the Children's Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock, a greenhouse on Mars capable of growing food to sustain a small crew of astronauts for the NASA Big Ideas Challenge, and the Mobile Virtual Player to simulate tackling to reduce injuries and concussions.


”Design begins with developing understanding and empathy for the human experience. Truly effective and life-changing products not only include the best of science and technology, but also insights from the humanities and social sciences. This is essential to process of innovation.”

—Professor Peter Robbie ’69

Courses with Design Emphasis

While design is infused throughout our curriculum, numerous undergraduate and graduate courses have intentional emphasis on engineering design or on design thinking.

  • ENGS 2: Integrated Design: Engineering, Architecture, and Building Technology
  • ENGS 12: Design Thinking
  • ENGS 15: Senior Design Challenge
  • ENGS 21: Introduction to Engineering
  • ENGS 44: Sustainable Design
  • ENGS 75: Product Design
  • ENGS 89: Engineering Design Methodology and Project Initiation
  • ENGS 90: Engineering Design Methodology and Project Completion
  • ENGS 146: Computer-Aided Mechanical Engineering Design
  • ENGG 176: Design for Manufacturing