Design 790

DSN 790: Research Project/Thesis

Prerequisite: Graduate standing, MFA – Design Thinking program concentration; ART 550/DSN 550, ART 555/DSN 555, DSN 575, DSN 600, DSN 605, DSN 640, DSN 670, DSN 700, and DSN 770

Credit Hours: (1-9)

Development of a graduate project, or thesis, to be arranged with the approval of the student’s thesis supervisor, advisor, and the dean of the Graduate College. See Graduate School’s requirements for a graduate project or thesis.

Detailed Description of Course

Content: A project or thesis direction determined by the student in consultation with and approved by thesis committee.

Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

This is an online course. The student will explore in-depth a particular topic to its conclusion.  The outcome may either be a graduate project or thesis that demonstrates an expertise in design thinking.  The final research thesis or project will be presented to the project/thesis committee in a synchronous, online format.

Goals and Objectives of this Course:

To demonstrate a mastery in the design thinking process, the student must:
    1. demonstrate the use of design thinking strategies and to solve a complex problem;
    2. apply, identify and define relevant aspects of a design problem;
    3. determine the appropriate and necessary information and research findings to solve the problem;
    4. articulate the ideation phase of evaluating, selecting, and applying information and research findings to design solutions;
    5. use the ideation phase of design including: generation of multiple concepts and/or multiple design responses to programmatic requirements;
    6. show how the “solution” has been tested through prototyping;
    7. articulate the solution’s constraints including desirability, viability, and feasibility;


The student will be able to:
1. communication techniques and technologies appropriate to a range of purposes and audiences;
2. express ideas clearly in oral, written and graphic formats;
3. apply design solutions through a variety of mediums;
4. allow project thinking to grow and trace that growth through the generation of artifacts for review;
5. write a project brief;
6. process information using convergent/divergent thinking and analysis and synthesis strategies; and
7. understand design issues in order to define the problem in a manner appropriate to the client’s needs.

Management Strategies

The student will be able to apply:
    1. the elements of design management strategies [business development, financial management, strategic planning, and/or project management];
    2. professional ethics; and
    3. an understanding of market types and client types

Global context

The student will be able to describe:
    1. the influence of globalization and its implications for the practice of design thinking;
    2. sustainability concepts, theories, issues and applications related to design thinking; and
    3. historical precedent to inform design solutions; the major social, political, and physical influences affecting historical changes in art and design

Research methods

The student must be able to:
    1. use basic observation strategies, methods, and techniques;
    2. apply human behavioral theories;
    3. apply search engine strategies for information gathering;
    4. apply the research process of identifying and articulating a problem, preparing a literature review, and collecting and analyzing data;
    5. identify sampling techniques and measurement instruments;
    6. include both qualitative and quantitative techniques;
    7. illustrate the reliability and validity of study; and
    8. apply design theories.


The student must demonstrate the ability to:
    1. develop assignments using multiple digital formats.•    

Assessment Measures

May include either a project, or thesis.

Other Course Information