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The Department of Design|at UC Davis
Overview

The Department of Design
at UC Davis

The Department of Design offers a creative, challenging, and flexible approach to the study of design with emphasis on socially responsible, human-centered, and sustainable practice.

  • A computer desktop organized personally for you to find things the way you remember best: visually, spatially, temporally or textually.
  • A business fashion line for professional women with disabilities, revolutionarily fitted on a custom-made dress form whose legs bend to model a seated body.
  • A shipping container housing complex for lower-income families for San Francisco’s Tenderloin district.
  • An exhibition design strategy that maximizes effective communication of culturally sensitive and controversial subject matter.
  • Cutting-edge LED lighting systems that significantly cut a business’s energy costs.

The Department of Design offers a creative, challenging, and flexible approach to the study of design with emphasis on socially responsible, human-centered, and sustainable practice.

  • A computer desktop organized personally for you to find things the way you remember best: visually, spatially, temporally or textually.
  • A business fashion line for professional women with disabilities, revolutionarily fitted on a custom-made dress form whose legs bend to model a seated body.
  • A shipping container housing complex for lower-income families for San Francisco’s Tenderloin district.
  • An exhibition design strategy that maximizes effective communication of culturally sensitive and controversial subject matter.
  • Cutting-edge LED lighting systems that significantly cut a business’s energy costs.

These all have resulted from design research by UC Davis Department of Design graduate students and faculty striving to create thoughtful human-centered designs. Pursuing your MFA in Design or majoring in Design as an undergraduate offers you the chance to make a difference through design, combining your artistic skill and training with experience in practical and commercial applications. Under the guidance of the Design faculty, you will learn to give the products of your imagination a tangible shape and put your creativity to use solving real-world problems.

The UC Davis Department of Design is the only comprehensive academic design department in the University of California system. We deliver a research-focused graduate (MFA) and undergraduate (BA) curriculum that fully integrates design history, theory and criticism with design thinking, making, writing, visual literacy, and creative practice. Studio courses include design as practiced in exhibition, lighting, fashion, textiles, information and visual communications (digital, environmental, print), interior architecture, and product design. We stress strategies of sustainability, reuse of materials, and inclusivity.

 Our curriculum encourages students to work interdisciplinarily across different areas of design in order to solve particular problems that demand skills and techniques across disciplines. Students will be introduced to computing skills in all course work without sacrificing knowledge in handcraftsmanship. The department has dedicated studios and computer labs where projects can be constructed in a very collaborative environment. We welcome you to explore our website and to contact and join us, to advance design in the ways you see it needs to grow.

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