Oct 18, 2019  
Rensselaer Catalog 2019-2020 
    
Rensselaer Catalog 2019-2020

Design, Innovation, and Society


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The Design, Innovation, and Society (commonly referred to as 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, electronic arts, building sciences, management, STS, sustainability studies, and others. Most dual-major programs can be completed in eight 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
  • Science Core Elective Credit Hours: 4
    (See footnote 1 below)

Spring


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

Second Year


Fall


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

Spring


  • Design Elective Credit Hours: 4
    (See footnote 3 below)   
  • STS Advanced Option Credit Hours: 4
    (See footnote 4 below)   
  • Science Core Elective Credit Hours: 4
    (See footnote 1 below)
  • Complementary Area of Study Credit Hours: 4
    (See footnote 2 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 a listing of the exception process go to: http://info.rpi.edu/arch/students/#ExceptionProcess.

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

Fall OR Spring


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

Fourth Year


Fall


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

Spring


  • Capstone Design Elective Credit Hours: 4
    (See footnote 6 below)   
  • Free Elective Credit Hours: 4  
  • Free Elective Credit Hours: 4

Footnotes


  1. 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, or others. 
  2. The Complementary Area of Study (CAS) is four related courses, usually from a single department, two of which must be at the 4000-level. Dual majors automatically satisfy this requirement. 
  3. Students are advised, but not required, to pursue a design-oriented elective during this semester, to be discussed with the adviser.
  4. Any STSS or STSH 4000-level course with the exception of STSS 4980 Research Design and STSS/STSH 4970 Design and Innovation Senior Project.
  5. DIS Majors are required to take two Advanced Studio options, fulfilled by the following courses: DIS Studio A, DIS Studio B, or DIS Studio C.
  6. Any 4000-level course that serves as a culminating design experience, approved by the adviser. 

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