Dec 18, 2018  
Rensselaer Catalog 2018-2019 
    
Rensselaer Catalog 2018-2019

Design, Innovation, and Society


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The Design, Innovation, and Society (DIS) bachelor’s degree program provides creative, socially conscious students a broad education in design. Offered by the Department of Science and Technology Studies, the program adopts a social-scientific approach to design that integrates creative, technical, and organizational/entrepreneurial dimensions. This unique bachelor’s program includes project-based design studios, discussion-focused seminar courses, and a cumulative senior project that integrates all aspects of the student’s education.

In the DIS studio sequence, students address real-world social and environmental challenges with innovative products, services, systems, and environments. Students also learn about the diversity of design professions and their place within them. Seminar courses facilitate systematic exploration of the many intersections among science, technology, design, and society. Students explore personal, professional, and social values throughout their coursework. The curriculum prepares graduates to work effectively in a variety of job settings, including design consultancies, non-profits, corporate contexts, start-ups, educational institutions, and government research agencies. Graduates are also prepared to enter graduate programs in design, social sciences, engineering, environmental studies, and management. 

The DIS curriculum entails a sequence of 10 courses (40 credits) that include the design studio sequence (20 credits), seminars (16 credits), and the senior project (4 credits). DIS is designed to encourage dual majoring with programs such as engineering, computer science, arts, building sciences, management, communications, STS, sustainability studies, and others. Most dual-major programs can be completed in 8 semesters.

Outcomes of the Undergraduate Curriculum
 

Upon successful completion of the DIS program, students will demonstrate the ability to:

  • formulate design problems, based in social-science research, that challenge conventional assumptions and respond to root causes.
  • analyze and apply design methods that identify key factors (e.g., economic, technical, environmental, cultural, etc.) that shape problems and potential solutions.
  • realize innovative design concepts through visual representations, physical prototypes, and user testing.
  • collaborate with diverse stakeholders throughout the design process. 
  • write and present effectively about their understanding of complex social problems and how those problems can be addressed through thoughtful, socially conscious design solutions  

First Year


Fall


  • HASS Core Elective Credit Hours: 4
    (See footnote 1 below)
  • Math Elective Credit Hours: 4
    (See footnote 2 below)

Spring


  • HASS Core Elective Credit Hours: 4
    (See footnote 1 below)
  • Math Elective Credit Hours: 4
    (See footnote 2 below)

Second Year


Fall


  • HASS Core Elective Credit Hours: 4
    (See footnote 1 below)
  • Science Core Elective Credit Hours: 4
    (See footnote 2 below)
  • Complementary Area of Study Credit Hours: 4
    (See footnote 3 below)   

Spring


  • Design Elective Credit Hours: 4
    (See footnote 4 below)   
  • STS Advanced Option Credit Hours: 4
    (See footnote 5 below)   
  • Science Core Elective Credit Hours: 4
    (See footnote 2 below)
  • Complementary Area of Study Credit Hours: 4
    (See footnote 3 below)

Third Year


The Arch Summer Semester*


*For students who have applied for and been granted an exception, The Arch Summer courses would be taken during the fall semester. For listing of the exception process go to: http://info.rpi.edu/arch/students/#ExceptionProcess.

  • PDI Studio Advanced Option Credit Hours: 4 
    (See footnote 6 below)  
  • STS Advanced Option Credit Hours: 4
    (See footnote 5 below)   
  • HASS Core Elective Credit Hours: 4
    (See footnote 1 below)
  • Complementary Area of Study Credit Hours: 4
    (See footnote 3 below)

 

Fall OR Spring


  • PDI Studio Advanced Option Credit Hours: 4 
    (See footnote 6 below)  
  • Science Core Elective Credit Hours: 4
    (See footnote 2 below)   
  • HASS Core Elective Credit Hours: 4
    (See footnote 1 below)
  • Complementary Area of Study Credit Hours: 4
    (See footnote 3 below)

 

Fourth Year


Fall


  • Science Core Elective Credit Hours: 4
    (See footnote 2 below)  
  • HASS Core Elective Credit Hours: 4
    (See footnote 1 below)  
  • Free Elective Credit Hours: 4

Spring


  • Capstone Design Elective Credit Hours: 4
    (See footnote 7 below)   
  • Free Elective Credit Hours: 4  
  • Free Elective Credit Hours: 4

 

 

Footnotes


  1. Guidelines for the HASS Core requirement:
    -8 credits from humanities courses (ARTS/COMM/IHSS/GSAS/LANG/LITR/PHIL/STSH/WRIT)
    -8 credits from social science courses (COGS/ECON/IHSS/GSAS/PSYC/STSS)
    -Max 12 credits at the 1000-level
    -Minimum of 1 4000-level course (4 credits)
    -Two-course (8-credit) depth sequence (same department prefix, only 1 at 1000 level).
  2. All Rensselaer students must complete a 24-credit “Science Core.” This includes at least 2 mathematics courses (8 credits), such as MATH 1010, MATH 1020, MATH 1500, MATH 1520, MATH 1620, or others with approval of adviser. Dual majors should follow the Science Core requirements of their other major.
  3. The Complementary Area of Study (CAS) is equivalent to a minor outside of DIS: four related courses, usually from a single department, two of which must be at the 4000 level. Students are encouraged to earn an official minor with this sequence. Dual majors automatically satisfy this requirement. Formerly Technical Option.
  4. Students are advised, but not required, to pursue a design-oriented elective during this semester, to be discussed with the adviser.
  5. Any STSS or STSH 4000-level course with the exception of STSS 4980 Research Design and STSS 4990 Senior Project.
  6. DIS Majors are required to take two PDI Studio Advanced options, fulfilled by the following courses: PDI Studio A, PDI Studio B, or PDI Studio C.
  7. Any 4000-level course that serves as a culminating design experience, approved by the adviser. 

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