Emerging Design and Research, Certificate

Today’s design problems require crossing disciplines. They continuously challenge us to apply new skills, methods, tools, and techniques to situations that cannot be addressed with the expertise of a single domain. As designers develop new intuitions to respond to emerging problems, they often need to extend their vocabulary to work in a wide variety of media— ranging from print and screen-based interfaces, mobile applications, responsive materials, and urban-scale installations to programming the behavior of organic matter. In addition to such broad literacy, it also becomes increasingly necessary to understand how design interacts with society at large and resonates with the cultural, political, economic, and environmental realities of 21st Century.

The Emerging Design and Research Certificate credentials an area of concentration that addresses the need for such a design culture. It teaches the theories, techniques, and technologies required for a new breed of artists, designers, and researchers to be equally versed in visual communication, physical prototyping, software, hardware, and interaction design. For today’s cultural producers, the program fosters a pedagogy in which individuals can design their creative expressions, resistances, responsibilities, and critical attitudes as a response to the society they are living in. In addition to taking classes, students are expected to propose and realize a research project under the guidance of the Certificate director and to follow a study plan that includes the courses necessary to realize their project. In the Certificate program, students are able to study visual communication and take graphic design classes, but can also expand their studies by taking other types of design classes offered across the Weitzman School of Design.


A total of 5 course units are required to complete the Certificate program..

Required Courses 1
Core Courses
DSGN 5002Design 21: Design After the Digital1
FNAR 9999Independent Study1
Select 3 course units from the following:3
Design of Contemporary Products: Design for Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility
Image, Object, Architecture
Art, Design and Digital Culture
Art of the Web: Interactive Concepts for Art & Design
3-D Computer Modeling
Open Book
Advanced 3D Modeling
Graphic Design II
Cultures of Making
Biological Design
Information Design and Visualization
Interfacing Culture: Designing for Mobile, Web and Public Media
Total Course Units5

Substitutions must be approved in writing by the Director and submitted to the Weitzman School of Design Office of Student Services. Students enrolled in the Master of Fine Arts program at the Weitzman School of Design may double count these courses towards their graduate degree.

Students enrolled in other programs at the Weitzman School of Design or at Penn must receive permission from their graduate degree program director to apply these courses to their primary degree.

The degree and major requirements displayed are intended as a guide for students entering in the Fall of 2023 and later. Students should consult with their academic program regarding final certifications and requirements for graduation.