The students, faculty, staff, and researchers in the Design Studies department at UW–Madison study the production, process, and impact of design. Through scholarship, analysis, curriculum, and outreach, we advocate design as an encompassing discipline central to every aspect of life. We emphasize and promote a multi-disciplinary, global approach to design, and we value connections, nationally and internationally, with other campus, community, and professional programs.
Resources and areas of specialization
Design Studies faculty include interdisciplinary scholars associated with the arts and humanities, the social sciences, and the physical sciences. While the backgrounds and scholarship areas of the faculty are diverse, we are tied together by an interest in the relationships between humans and the objects and environments that they design and use. Our areas of specialization include:
Sustainable Design Materials and Practices
Historical and Cultural Studies
We also boast within the School of Human Ecology the Center for Design and Material Culture (CDMC), which is home to two galleries, one of the largest university-held textile collections in the world, material culture studies, and the school’s design thinking initiative. Center leadership includes executive director Dr. Sarah Anne Carter and faculty directors Dr. Anne Smart Martin (material culture), Dr. Marina Moskowitz (textiles), and Dr. Jung-hye Shin (design thinking).
Our graduate program offers a holistic approach to design that considers both theory and practice, while our undergraduate majors prepare students to take leadership positions in the fields of design. Learn more about graduate study opportunities here (PDF brochure).