Want to infuse design innovation into your undergraduate curriculum? We believe that linking domain expertise with a broad base of design skills and approaches powerfully prepares you for innovation. Below, you can learn about several programs at Berkeley that offer opportunities to complement your major, exploring design in depth.
Many of the courses that count toward these certificate and course thread programs take place in Jacobs Hall (see the current listing of courses held in Jacobs Hall here) or otherwise have connections with the Jacobs Institute’s interdisciplinary community. To learn more about design opportunities or talk about which might be the best fit, contact Amy Dinh, the Jacobs Institute’s student services advisor.
Two unique programs — the Berkeley Certificate in Design Innovation (BCDI) and the Course Thread in Human-Centered Design — offer pathways for undergraduate students in all majors to explore design. BCDI courses will be largely project-centric, allowing you to gain skills for design innovation and culminating in an interdisciplinary course in which you will tackle a “wicked problem.” The course thread program focuses on how design draws on different bodies of knowledge across the university; you will synthesize diverse course experiences in a talk at a symposium. Read more about each program below.
In today’s world, innovations require weaving together the knowledge, theories, and skills of different disciplines. The Berkeley Certificate in Design Innovation, launched in 2017, introduces design as the creative and critical means to innovate — to define, to imagine, and to advance a globally just future. This undergraduate certificate program assumes that innovation will not come from any one discipline, but rather from the meaningful integration of methods, technologies, knowledge, and thought from a wide range of different disciplines. As such, the certificate connects the design approaches and disciplines from four schools (College of Engineering, College of Environmental Design, College of Letters and Science – Arts and Humanities Division, and the Haas School of Business) to ensure that students know how to innovate. The program trains students to take responsibility for the entire life cycle of innovation, from idea to execution and beyond.
The course sequence for the certificate consists of four courses: one foundation, two design skills, and one advanced design. The certificate allows students to take a range of courses outside of their major disciplines to introduce them to, or expand, their context for design. Approved courses include existing courses in a variety of departments as well as newly developed courses in Design Innovation (DES INV). To learn more about the certificate curriculum and how to enroll, visit the BCDI website.
Created by the Townsend Center for the Humanities, the course threads project is an opportunity for Berkeley undergraduates to trace intellectual themes — or “threads” — as they wind their way through multiple departments on campus. The Course Thread in Human-Centered Design connects a rich offering of courses to a core question of design: “Who does what with which tools?” Linking historical and visionary contexts with theoretical and practical contexts, the course thread includes a mix of courses from engineering to cognitive science, reading-intensive to practice-driven.
All undergraduate students are eligible for the course thread program. To complete the course thread, students will complete at least three courses (from at least two different departments); explore courses that count toward the course thread here. After completing these courses, they will discuss their experiences and insights at a semester-end symposium. Once these steps are complete, students will be awarded an official certificate of completion. Undergraduates interested in this course thread should contact Euiyoung Kim, Jacobs Institute postdoctoral design fellow, who serves as advisor for the program.
In addition to these design-focused programs, several certificate programs are run by centers with which the Jacobs Institute often partners and focus on skills frequently used in design fields.
Certificate in New Media: Offered through the Berkeley Center for New Media, this undergraduate certificate program emphasizes the critical understanding and practice of new media through interdisciplinary perspectives. Learn more.
Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Technology: The Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology’s certificate program allows students to explore technology-centric entrepreneurship and innovation. Learn more.