A rotating carousel of images representing learn, imagine, build. The first image is of four people investigating a red and white structure in the Hybrid Formations course. The second image is a group of students pinning postits of ideas on the wall for critique. The third image is of a student helping place a VR headset on another for a project presentation.


The Master in Design Engineering (MDE) program prepares a new generation of leaders to create transformative solutions that address societal grand challenges.

A red lap desk with a propped up workspace and side tray, designed by Naya Studio

These Harvard grads want to turn your doodles into gorgeous custom furniture

Naya Studio, a startup created by Saad Rajan (MDE ’19) and Vivek Hv (MDE ’19), uses artificial intelligence to turn client ideas into real products. The startup grew out of the duo’s Independent Design Engineering Project in the MDE program.

A close up angled shot of the Urdu keyboard on an iPhone

Zeerak Ahmed (MDE ’18) brings software innovation to Urdu

In this essay, Zeerak Ahmed (MDE ‘18) writes about his journey to modernize software for the Urdu language, and the Arabic script.

A rendering of the SEC campus. The adjacent Greenway offers a continuous park-like setting that joins neighborhoods, public parks and facilities, University spaces, and commercial development emphasizing civic engagement, urban recreation, and relaxation.

Science and Engineering Complex named one of the world’s healthiest lab buildings

Harvard University’s Science and Engineering Complex (SEC) has been certified by two international building certification programs as one of the healthiest, most sustainable, and energy-efficient laboratories in the world. The MDE studio space is located in this complex.

An infographic representing the iterative process of the program. Three white dots point to the next with a red arrow in a continuous cycle.

Working through iterative cycles of understanding, imagining, and building, our integrated approach to design and engineering is uniquely positioned to address the world’s toughest challenges.

Our world’s increasingly complex problems demand a deep understanding of underlying problem architecture, the capacity to imagine bold futures, and the ability to build and test prototypes geared toward maximum impact.

Interdisciplinary work is at the core of MDE. Our faculty and students navigate multiple disciplines and fields when setting out to investigate problems, ask better questions, and build novel, real-world solutions.

Two schools at Harvard University – the Graduate School of Design (GSD) and the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) – are equal partners to support the collaborative MDE program.

The MDE program combines GSD methods of analysis, visualization, conceptual inquiry, and open-ended exploration with the rigor and quantitative power of the engineering disciplines at SEAS to address problems far beyond traditional design and engineering fields.

White logos for the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and Graduate School of Design (GSD) with a red plus sign between them.


Our students become thought leaders in a variety of roles. The MDE program supports a broad set of career goals, ranging from roles in industry, government, and NGO’s, to the academy and startups.


Graduates between 2018 and 2021 who joined or launched startups within three years of graduation. Startups include Hyka, TOP-YARD, and DayToDay Health.


Graduates between 2018 and 2021 who became product managers or product designers. Employers include Spotify, Amazon, Pocket Gems, the U.S. Department of Defense, and HP.


Graduates who became researchers or strategists, including at IDEO, Deloitte, Johnson & Johnson, the MIT Lincoln Laboratory, and Stanford University.

Ed Bayes sitting at a blue table smiling at the camera.

Meet Ed Bayes


Before coming to the GSD, Ed Bayes (MDE ’22) studied law and anthropology and worked in law and public policy in the UK, where he advised the Treasury and the mayor of London on tech, business, and climate policy.

A watercolor portrait of Nupur Gurjar by Chidy Wayne.

Meet Nupur Gurjar


A short interview with Nupur Gurjar about bringing in skills that are creative, critical, analytical, technical, and non-technical to the MDE program.

2019 Civic Digital Fellow Kiran Wattamwar presents her work with a large screen behind her at Demo Day in Washington, D.C.

Meet Kiran Wattamwar


Kiran Wattamwar (MDE ’19) is a former Civic Digital Fellow and reflects on her experience in this interview for the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

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