Graduate Certificate in Design Thinking

Certificate benefits

The certificate program not only provides you with advanced training that can be applied across multiple disciplines but also creates opportunities for you to engage in collaborations across cultures and industries.

By the end of the program, you will be able to:

  • Engage with complex problems, ambiguity, and uncertainty in a creative problem-solving process through interdisciplinary teamwork.
  • Demonstrate keen sensitivity and empathy toward people and contexts in which problems are situated.
  • Recognize and apply appropriate methods to frame problems, generate ideas, and evaluate solutions.
  • Move beyond theory and develop facilitation skills to empower stakeholders and implement solutions.

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.

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

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.


Director of Graduate Programs in Visual Communication Design | Indianapolis, Indiana

Youngbok Hong is an associate professor of Visual Communication Design and graduate program director of Design Thinking and Design Leadership at Herron School of Art + Design. Prior to academia, she worked in the area of interactive media design and new media product development at Samsung. Hong views design as a form of inquiry seeking for insightful solutions. Her research interest include processes of reasoning and action involved in designing, visual sensemaking in qualitative research, and visual communication in collaborative problem solving. Through applying the design research methodology, she has conducted numerous interdisciplinary studies and projects in diverse contexts.

Senior Analyst, Visual SenseMaking at Johnson & Johnson | New York, New York

For the past ten years, Valentina Miosuro’s research and practice have focused on data visualization, information design, sensemaking, strategy development, and simplification. She has worked across industries with a focus and passion for challenges faced by healthcare industries. Miosuro’s professional experience includes working as a visual sensemaker for Humantific and an information architect for Siegel & Gale.

Social Innovation and Service Design Professional | Berlin, Germany

Rashid Owoyele is a Nigerian-American transdisciplinary designer and social innovation expert with experience in the fields of social innovation, service design, urbanism, and strategy. He works at the intersection of social justice and design, employing a process that depends heavily on human-centered practices to develop an understanding about a context, product, or design brief.

Design Consultant at Doblin | Chicago, Illinois

Claire Hevel is a design consultant at Doblin Deloitte where she brings a strategic and visual design lens to help clients solve complex problems and keep up with today’s rapidly changing social and technological landscape. Hevel has focused her energies in the healthcare sector, helping organizations to re-examine their services and operations from a human-centered perspective. She has collaborated on projects with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Humana, St. Joseph Hoag Health, and the Veterans Affairs Medical Centers.

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