Graduate Certificate in Design Thinking

Be a catalyst for change and drive innovation

Now more than ever, “T-shaped professionals” are in high demand for their ability to collaborate across disciplines, build relationships, and advance innovation. These contemporary workers are characterized by the possession of deep skills in a specialty as well as the knack for solving problems in other areas of expertise, allowing them to move beyond boundaries.

The emerging field of Design Thinking responds to this paradigm shift as a human-centered approach to connecting the dots.

This certificate program introduces a mindset as well as core skills in creative problem solving that can be applied to any discipline or field. Knowing how to investigate innovative solutions will enable you to actively apply, connect, and produce knowledge that meets complex human needs.

Fall semester

You will be introduced to the “wicked” nature of human problems through strategic thinking and visual sensemaking. You will learn techniques to decode complex challenges and leverage these skills through case studies, group and individual projects.

  • Intro: Design Thinking for Tackling Wicked Problems/Sensemaking (3 credits)
  • Design Methods for Framing Problems (3 credits)

Spring semester

Your coursework will focus on ideating and rapid prototyping. You will develop your creative confidence while exploring tangible solutions or outputs that result from your design thinking process. Courses will involve group and individual projects.

  • Design Methods for Ideating (3 credits)
  • Design Methods for Prototyping (3 credits)


In your final course, you will apply the Design Thinking process to a challenging area of interest within the context of your professional specialty or an entirely new field. This course will provide an opportunity for you to engage with real world problems in partnership with community members.

  • Practicum (6 credits)*

* If enrolled in another academic program, you may substitute a related course within your academic program for 6 credits of practicum either online or offline.

Ideal candidates

This certificate program is intended for IU graduate students and working professionals with several years of teamwork experience who wish to explore new approaches and design processes for catalyzing positive change. Completion of an undergraduate degree is mandatory. No prerequisite or prior experience in design work is required.

If you enjoy diving deep into the challenges of insight-driven innovation, then you may be an ideal candidate for this program. We invite you to join a cohort of diverse peers with experiences across a broad range of disciplines.

What I love about the design thinking certificate program is that I was able to make a direct correlation to my work, the very first week of class. The tools and methods you'll master while in this program can be used to approach and solve any kind of problem – whether it be in the office or at home. The confidence you'll gain as a creative problem-solver is invaluable.

Heather Edelblute, assistant director of client relations and strategic partnerships, IU Communications

Join Indiana’s premier school of art and design