Doctor of design degree receives state approval

SPOKANE, Wash. — Washington State University has become the second university in the nation to offer a doctoral degree in professional design. The new degree program was approved late last month by the Washington State Higher Education Coordinating Board.

Offered through the Interdisciplinary Design Institute at WSU Spokane and available on both the Spokane and Pullman campuses, the new doctoral program will be the only one of its kind in the Western United States and Canada. Harvard University is the only other university in the nation offering a similar degree.
Intended for persons who are well-versed and professionally advanced in a design profession, the doctorate will serve students who seek to make collaborative, original contributions to their fields. Students will undertake critical assessments and synthesis of their fields and the ecological, cultural and physical contexts in which they function. 

The degree program will be directed by faculty from both WSU Spokane and the Pullman campus and will draw from faculty in related disciplines, including the program in environmental sciences and the Department of Natural Resource Sciences in Pullman.

“With the increasing demands from the public sector for the design professions to demonstrate evidence-based design, the doctorate of design is well suited for seasoned professionals who are looking to make original contributions to their fields, as well as traditional graduate students in the design disciplines who seek a doctoral degree,” said Nancy Blossom, assistant director of the Interdisciplinary Design Institute and chair of WSU’s nationally recognized department of interior design.

Students in the degree program will be required to take a set of foundation courses to provide a common base of understanding and to pursue an area of specialization within one of the three areas of concentration: history, theory and criticism; physical design; and people and place. Their studies lead to highly specialized and original dissertation research. 
The Interdisciplinary Design Institute houses the architecture, construction management, interior design and landscape architecture programs. These four programs strive to enhance the quality of people’s lives in the built and natural environments.  State-of-the-art studio facilities allow students and faculty to work together in a professional environment for learning and research, with a particular emphasis on engaging with the community as the basis for their creative work. WSU faculty and students regularly win national and international awards for their design work, and faculty are widely published in peer-reviewed design journals.

Those interested in applying to the new doctoral program should contact Jaime Rice, Academic Coordinator,, (509) 358-7945.

Related Web Links:

* Interdisciplinary Design Institute:
* News releases on awards and publications by faculty and students:

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