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Dartmouth Engineer - The Magazine of Thayer School of EngineeringDartmouth Engineer - The Magazine of Thayer School of Engineering

Curriculum: Human-Centered Design Minor


Students who want to learn a process of innovation for addressing human needs have a new curricular option: a minor in human-centered design.

The six-course minor combines Thayer engineering and design-thinking courses with a wide range of cultural, behavioral, and artistic offerings in anthropology, sociology, geography, psychology, computer science, public policy, film studies, and studio art.

According to Professor Peter Robbie ’69, who teaches design courses at Thayer and led the development of the new minor, studying human interactions with products is essential for successful design. “If you observe the points at which people get frustrated or where things become disconnected, those then become points where you can innovate and improve,” he says.

The minor will prepare students for the problem-solving challenges they’ll face in industry and other professional settings, Robbie says.

“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,” he says. “The same process can be applied, no matter what the problem is.”

—Kathryn LoConte Lapierre

Categories: The Great Hall, Curriculum

Tags: curriculum, design, faculty, students

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