Research / Areas of ResearchDesign
Design is the place where engineering comes together with other disciplines such as business, the arts, and the social sciences to tackle complex problems. The designer, therefore, must not only be creative, but also skilled at understanding diverse perspectives, able to develop well-framed problems, and thrive in the face of uncertainty.
Our department, partnered with the Segal Design Institute, has an enviable record of leadership in creating and directing award-winning interdisciplinary design education and research programs.
- Master of Science in Product Design and Development (MPD)
- Master of Science in Engineering Design and Innovation
- Design for America
- Predictive Science and Engineering Design Cluster
Strong research themes Include:
- Human-centered design
- Computational design
- Predictive design
- Design informatics
- Human-machine interaction
- Social computing
Students interested in design research may have the opportunity to work with these groups at Northwestern:
Directed by Professor Wei Chen, Integrated DEsign Automation Laboratory (IDEAL) focuses its research in rational design method based on mathematical optimization techniques and statistical methods.
Directed by Professors Ed Colgate, Kevin Lynch, and Michael Peshkin, Laboratory for Intelligent Mechanical Systems (LIMS) focuses on research in human-machine interaction, motion planning and control, and self-organizing robotic systems. LIMS actively works with Rehabilitation of Chicago's Sensory Motor Performance group on many rehabilitation robotic projects.
Directed by Professor Elizabeth Gerber, the Human Centered Design Research Group investigates human-centered design and work practices through a behavioral science lens.
In addition, these programs and institutes at Northwestern work closely with students pursuing design research:
Professor Ann McKenna co-directs the Northwestern Center for Engineering Education Research. Its mission is to conduct research on how to best educate engineering students as adaptive experts who can solve and anticipate global technological challenges.
Professors Walter Herbst and Rich Lueptow co-direct the Master of Science in Product Design and Development (MPD2) program. In MPD, mid-career professionals learn about managing creativity and design, form and function, project management, customer-focused innovation, research, and financial issues, all from the perspective of product development. This two-year, part-time program helps enhance the current skills of professionals by learning from professionals and professors.
Professor Ed Colgate co-directs the Segal Design Institute, which is responsible for implementing design throughout the curriculum in McCormick. Segal administers the Design Thinking and Communication course, offers an undergraduate Certificate in Engineering Design, as well as a bachelor's degree in Manufacturing and Design Engineering.