Innovating a Large Design Education Program at a University of Technology

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Over the last half century, design education has diversified and developed considerably, in part in the arts academies, and increasingly in universities and vocational technical education. The TU Delft design program was founded in 1969, and has since grown quickly into a large, university-based, technology-aligned set of programs presently housing 2000 students and 100 academic staff. In the 50 years the Delft program changed due to: (1) changes in societal demand (from products, via services, to the systemic level of societal challenges), (2) the maturing of design as an academic discipline between science and engineering, and (3) international developments of the educational system (e.g., the Bologna agreement). In this paper we describe the development of this program within the broader disciplinary context of TU Delft, and how it brought together engineering, social sciences, and business studies in project-based education. We draw lessons from a unique position, made possible by this large scale and positioning next to engineering sciences. This position supported a large pool of in-house expertise; it fostered an intertwining of education, research, and practices in the industrial and wider societal context. And it also posed challenges of making design education work at a large scale.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-66
Number of pages17
JournalShe Ji
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Design and society
  • Design education
  • Integrated design
  • PhD in design


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