Design, Environment and the Arts (Digital Culture in Design), PhD

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The PhD in design, environment and the arts with a concentration in digital culture in design focuses on the role of computational systems in enhancing creativity and the quality of human design. Graduates of the program should be thinkers as well as doers; they should learn to question the existing paradigms that govern the digital world as they impact design and the arts; they should be able to analyze systematically how digital tools affect the way designers and artists think, conceptualize, create and evaluate their designs and artwork; and, as a result, they should be able to come to a unique synthesis, leading the way in these fields.

This concentration program primarily explores the impact of digital culture on how built environments, products and visual communications are designed and analyzed by design professionals and are utilized by their intended audience. Students should be able to systematically question existing paradigms and ontologies of digital tools, evaluate the new paradigms that emerge as a result of digital culture, and propose new frameworks for design disciplines. Issues such as user interface design for new products, computer simulation of performance of buildings and products, effects of digital tools on architectural form giving, digital design processes, better incorporation of human factors into design tools, usability and interaction design are some examples of faculty expertise and areas of focus.

Program offered

Design, Environment and the Arts (Digital Culture in Design), PhD

Offered by
Herberger Institute for Design & the Arts


Plan of study

The Plan of study is the required curriculum to complete the program.

View Plan of Study

Program requirements

Required Core (6 credit hours)
EPD 700 Research Methods (3)
EPD 710 Current Research in Design (3)

Required Concentration (12 credit hours)

Research and Approved Electives (24 credit hours)

Culminating Experience (12 credit hours)
EPD 799 Dissertation (12)

Other Requirements (30 credit hours)
a previously awarded master's degree or approved relevant coursework (30)

Additional Curricular Information
Students must be thoroughly familiar with design and the arts and are expected to demonstrate a high level of academic maturity before being admitted to the program. Up to 30 credit hours from a previously awarded master's degree can count toward the requirements of the doctoral program.

Of the 54 credit hours remaining after the master's degree, 12 must be dissertation credit and 12 may be research. These 24 credit hours plus the remaining 30 credit hours must be completed after admission to the program. No transfer credits are allowed to fulfill the 54 credit hour minimum requirement completed after admission to the program.

The student is required to take 12 credit hours in the concentration and a minimum of nine credit hours of specialized coursework outside the concentration; a minimum of six credit hours in current research and research methods is required.

Each student entering the program is required to submit a plan of study during the first year.

Information about this program

Visit the School of Arts, Media and Engineering website for full details.