Design at the University of Notre Dame lays emphasis on the art, science, and practice of building platforms and experiences that create tangible communication between content and users through traditional and contemporary media. The design programs are established around human-centered design principles. Design training focuses on building a deep empathy with stakeholders and solving wicked problems with contextual solutions that derive from a holistic vision. The Visual Communication Design program offers instruction in areas of packaging, scale-graphics, UX/UI, social design, visualization of data, and user-centered design that explore research, process, and methods in design. The Industrial Design program offers research and course topics that include social innovations, UX, health care, product automation, digital modeling and visualization, and cultural divergence. The design division has over 150 majors and minors, many of whom have a second course of study in business, engineering or humanities. The department encourages multi-disciplinary learning with faculty and students actively collaborating with various departments and colleges across campus including the College of Engineering, Keough School for Global Affairs, Mendoza Business School, The School of Architecture, College of Science, and IDEA Center at Innovation Park.

Design programs enjoy significant funding support for internal and external projects, summer internships and study abroad opportunities. The program’s long standing engagement with social design projects both locally and abroad in Nepal, Haiti, South Africa and India support a core mission to create design solutions for underserved populations, turning scholarship into service, and using design to make a difference in the lives of others.

The design division (Industrial Design and Visual Communication Design) offers degree programs leading to the MFA, BFA, and BA degrees in design. The division also offers a Minor in Collaborative Innovation. The Collaborative Innovation Minor is a dynamic catalyst for process-based, cross-disciplinary collaboration between various academic departments across the university. Utilizing a design thinking methodology, courses in the Minor brings together divergent stakeholders in a dynamic, iterative and deeply human process that accelerates innovative thinking and making. Design is part of a multi-disciplinary creative studies department that includes studio artists and art historians all committed to a collaborative teaching and learning environment within the context of a liberal arts education.

Degree Concentrations

Degrees Offered

Declaring the Major or Minor

Students may declare the Major only after having completed one of the foundation courses (Drawing I, 2D, or 3D), or while currently enrolled in one of those courses. Students may declare the Minor only after having completed Design Matters, or while currently enrolled in the course. Declare the Major or Minor in the departmental office, 306 Riley Hall of Art. 


Students are required to seek program advising for the B.A. and B.F.A. majors from the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) or an assigned advisor. Students are not required but it is highly recommended to seek program advising for the Minor from the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) a design faculty member.


Questions about design? General questions can be sent to, or, you can contact Director of Undergraduate Studies, Elyse Speaks. If you have specific questions about design, feel free to contact a faculty member directly.