Jul 18, 2024  
Rensselaer Catalog 2024-2025 
Rensselaer Catalog 2024-2025

Design, Innovation, and Society / Mechanical Engineering, B.S.

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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 and can be pursued as a dual major with Mechanical Engineering. 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). The course sequence when paired with Mechanical Engineering is outlined below. 

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

Second Year

Third Year

Please note: The third year of the program varies depending upon which semester the student chooses to take away following The Arch Summer Semester classes. Please note the following differences in curriculum:

  • If students are going to be away during the Fall semester of their junior year, they should take the listed courses for each term and any courses under the Fall Away Track for year three of their program.
  • If students are going to be away during the Spring semester of their junior year, they should take the listed courses for each term and any courses under the Spring Away Track for year three of their program.

The Arch Summer Semester*

*For more information on the ARCH process, please click here: The Arch 

Fall or Spring

Fall or Spring

Fourth Year


  • STS Advanced Option Credit Hours: 4 1, 2, 12



  1. These six courses satisfy the 24 credits of the HASS Core.
  2. These required courses may be taken in any order in the academic year shown (or in a previous year) given the prerequisites are met.
  3. Choice of ENGR 1200 , ENGR 1400 , or CIVL 1200 ; EG and CAD is preferred for Mechanical Engineers. 
  4. This course satisfies the HASS Inquiry requirement.
  5. This course satisfies Professional Development: Tech Issues and Solutions requirement (STSO 4100 ).
  6. These courses are options that may be taken in the Arch Summer semester (if the summer schedule permits).
  7. Choose from ENGR 2050  and MANE 2220 ; both have Professional Development I embedded in them.​
  8. Students must take two Design & Innovation (D&I) Studio Advanced Options. D&I Studio A, D&I Studio B, and D&I Studio C; each satisfy one D&I Studio Advanced Option. Students dual-majoring with the School of Engineering must select ENGR 4610  as one of their D&I Studio Advanced Options.
  9. Choose from Design & Innovation Studio A (Summer only) or Design & Innovation Studio B (Fall only);
  10. If the student chooses to be away spring junior year, ENGR 4610 will move to Spring of senior year, and ENGR 1600  and an STS Advanced Option will move to Fall of the junior year.
  11. These laboratory courses may be taken any semester in the junior or senior year, provided all prerequisites have been completed.

  12. Any 4-credit STSO 4000-level course with the exception of STSO 4970  , STSO 4980 , STSO 4990 . Students may take the final D&I Advanced Studio (that they have not taken to fulfill the advanced studio requirements) to fulfill the Advanced STS requirements if they so desire.
  13. Computation and Technical Electives for DSIS+MECL Dual Majors:
    • The Computation Elective must be chosen from the following list of courses:  MANE 4140 , MANE 4280 MANE 4240 ,or MTLE 4500 .
    • The first Technical Elective must be taken from any upper-level (4000 or above) MANE course (which does not include independent study or research).  MANE 4610 is recommended for DSIS+MECL dual majors.
    • The second Technical Elective is satisfied by ENGR 4610 (spring only).
    • Computational and Technical Electives may not be taken on a Pass/No Credit basis.

  14. Mechanical Engineering students may alternatively take MANE 4220 , MANE 4210 , MANE 4230  or MANE 4850, provided all prerequisites have been completed.  

  15. DSIS+MECL dual majors should declare the HASS Integrative Pathway “Design, Innovation, and Society.” These three courses satisfy that pathway.  

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