Design Engineering

Sc.B. in Design Engineering

Design engineering is a practice-based field at the intersection of many existing engineering fields and related disciplines  (Mechanical Engineering, Engineering Design, Electrical Engineering, Computer Science and Human Computer Interaction, User experience and User Interface Design (UX/UI), Product Design, Graphic Design, Organizational Psychology, and Data Science).

The curriculum in Design Engineering is intended to provide students with a broad interdisciplinary foundation; encourage working across differences to both understand and develop innovative approaches to a full range of societal issues - as well as the underlying causes, structures and systems. Design Engineering will teach students to understand not just the How and What, but the Why and Why Not, of what is being created, the strategic implications and consequences, as well as the suitability of proposed solutions. Students in this concentration will learn how to discover a design problem (as opposed to being given a specific problem) from the various angles that affect the creation and adoption of a solution. They will also be able to  understand and translate between engineering and design language. Design Engineering is a new field of educational and professional opportunities that results from  the growing interdependence of design and technology. The program offers a wide range of specialized tracks within design engineering, allowing students to design a program tailored to their individual goals.

The design engineering concentration has 19 required courses.

There are 12 core requirements, including 3 social science courses:

  • An introductory engineering design course
  • 3 courses in mathematics
  • 1 engineering gateway course
  • 1 natural science course
  • 1 computer science course
  • 2 engineering design courses (ENGN 610: Systems Thinking and ENGN 620: Design Brief)
  • 3 cognitive, psychological, or social science courses (either from a list provided or per concentration advisor approval)

Building on the core, every Design Engineering concentrator pursues an upper-level pathway consisting of 6 additional courses plus 1 capstone design project. The upper-level pathway consists of a coherent set of:

  • 6 upper-level courses curated by a student's chosen pathway focus from which 4 must be engineering courses 
  • 1 capstone, design, or independent study experience

Examples of possible pathways include:

  • Energy and Environment
  • Energy and Electricity
  • Sustainable Design
  • Industrial Design

These are just examples of possible pathways, and other options are possible. For the full requirements please consult the University Bulletin.

For complete requirements, please see the University Bulletin.

I ENGN 0032 Introduction to Engineering: Design
  CHEM 0330 or BIOL 0200 Equilibrium, Rate, and Structure or The Foundation of Living Systems
  MATH 0190 or MATH 0200 Single Variable Calculus, Part II (Physics/Engineering) or Multi-Variable Calculus (Physics/Engineering)
  Social Science/Context Course  
II ENGN 0040 Dynamics and Vibrations
  MATH 0200 or APMA 0350 Multi-Variable Calculus (Physics/Engineering) or Applied Ordinary Differential Equations
  CSCI 0111 Computing Foundations: Data or Introduction to Scientific Computing
  Social Science/Context Course  
III ENGN 0610 Systems Thinking
  ENGN 0310 or ENGN 0490 or ENGN 0510 Mechanics of Solids and Structures or Fundamentals of Environmental Engineering or Electricity and Magnetism
  APMA 1650 or 1655 Statistical Inference I or Honors Statistical Inference I
  Social Science/Context Course  
IV ENGN 0620 Design Brief
  Pathway course  
V Pathway course  
  Pathway course  
VI Pathway course  
VII Capstone (can be one or two semesters)  
  Pathway course  
VIII Capstone (can be one or two semesters)  
  Pathway course  

Note that from semester four through eight, students must take 6 pathway courses and 1 capstone, design, or independent study course. 

Suggested pathways
These are provided for guidance only. The requirements allow you to construct plans with other focus areas. For full requirements, please see the University Bulletin.

Energy and Environment 

1. ENGN 0490 – Fundamentals of Environmental Engineering 

2. ENGN 0720 – Thermodynamics  

3. ENGN 1931P – Energy and the Environment 

4. ENGN 1931R – The Chemistry of Environmental Pollution 

5. ENVS 1247 - Clearing the Air: Environmental Studies of Pollution 

6. ENVS 1350 – Environmental Economics and Policy or ENVS 1925 – Energy Policy and Politics 

Energy and Electricity  

1. ENGN 0510 – Electricity and Magnetism 

2. ENGN 0520 – Electrical Circuits and Signals 

3. ENGN 0720 – Thermodynamics 

4. ENGN 0410 – Materials Science 

5. ENGN 1590 – Semiconductor Devices 

6. ENGN 1690 – Photonic Devices or 

ENGN 1931A Photovoltaics Engineering 

Sustainable Design 

1. ENGN 0410 – Materials Science 

2. ENGN 0490 - Fundamentals of Environmental Engineering 

3. ENGN 0720 – Thermodynamics 

4. ENGN 1340 – Water Supply and Treatment Systems 

5. ENGN 1931P - Energy and the Environment 

6. ENVS 1400 – Sustainable Design in the Built Environment 

Industrial Design 

1. ENGN 0410 – Materials Science 

2. ENGN 0500- Digital Computing Systems 

3. ENGN 1740 – Computer Aided Visualization and Design 

4. ENGN 1930M- Industrial Design 

5. ENGN 1931D - Design of Mechanical Assemblies 

6. RISD Special Topics Studio