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MDes for HCI and Emerging Technology

Design the future of technology.

The two-year, STEM-designated Master of Design for Human-Computer Interaction and Emerging Technology at WashU offers an innovative approach to digital product design, prioritizing societal issues, ethical and moral concerns, and the larger implications of technology.

Situated within a tier-one research institution, students collaborate with researchers from across campus to explore emerging technology’s impact while advancing team-building and leadership capabilities.

Graduates will be positioned to take their career to the next level as a senior UX designer or product designer, an entrepreneur, part of a startup team, or an academic — ready to tackle the societal challenges that matter most.

“By leveraging multiple schools across campus, graduates of the MDes program will gain a depth and breadth of experiences in tactics, strategy and societal context, a combination unrivaled in the current academic landscape.

This program isn’t for those who want to fit a mold. It’s for those looking to forge their own paths to redefine what design can do for the world.”

Graduate Program Summer Open House

Take the first step in leveling up your design career at our July 26 Open House.


Curriculum graphic - 40% collaborative research; 30% design, engineering, and technology studios; 15% history, ethics, and leadership; 15% electives

The curriculum emphasizes robust product design and development skills in parallel with critical thinking, speculation, entrepreneurship, and collaboration — including a two-year, continuous studio that mirrors industry timelines.

Jul 26, 12 – 4pm • Sam Fox School

Sep 20, 6:30 – 9pm • Kansas City


Faculty from across WashU in the Sam Fox School, McKelvey School of Engineering, and College of Arts & Sciences lead the design labs and core curriculum. All have robust, rigorous research agendas integrating technology, design, and social impact. Core faculty — in addition to industry sponsors and content experts — mentor individual and collaborative projects throughout the two-year program.

Jonathan Hanahan, Chair

Penina Acayo Laker

Ian Bogost

  • Professor and Director of Film and Media Studies, Arts & Sciences
  • Professor of Computer Science and Engineering, McKelvey School
  • Philosopher, computationalist, game designer

Caitlin Kelleher

  • Associate Professor, McKelvey School
  • User-centered design and evaluation
  • Looking Glass

Alvitta Ottley


Design doesn’t happen in a vacuum. We build active partnerships with tech companies, healthcare institutions, and community organizations to address some of the most challenging problems of our time.


  • WashU Medicine
  • WashU Institute of Public Health


  • WashU McKelvey Engineering
  • Skandalaris Center for Interdisciplinary Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • Growing start-up culture in St. Louis
  • WashU Digital Solutions Studio


  • Office for Socially Engaged Practice

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Scholarships and fellowships

Over 92% of incoming graduate students at the Sam Fox School received a partial or full-tuition scholarship.

Socially engaged practice

The Office for Socially Engaged Practice brings faculty and students at the Sam Fox School together with communities to work on socially engaged projects in St. Louis and around the world.


Schedule a campus visit or take our virtual tour! There’s no better way to get a feel for the program and what opportunities WashU and St. Louis has to offer.