The Master in Design Engineering (MDE) program prepares a new generation of leaders to create transformative solutions that address societal grand challenges.
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.
Zeerak Ahmed (MDE ‘18) launches Matnsaz
Matnsaz is a breakthrough keyboard for the Arabic script. Zeerak Ahmed moves forward with his IDEP research on Urdu software and typography to advance new software paradigms for an entire region.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
“GSD faculty have worked for years with scientists from SEAS. During this time, we learned that combining engineering and design opens up entirely new opportunities for rethinking today’s challenges. With the formation of the MDE program taken this approach, greatly expand it, and educate highly motivated individuals to lead the most innovative teams that seek solutions for challenging, multi-layered problems.”
– Martin Bechthold, MDE Program Co-director, GSD
“Engineers and designers learn to tackle important problems using very specific tools, which are shaped, in large, by the education in their respective fields. However, the grand societal challenges, due to their complexity and inherent interdisciplinarity, call for integrated approaches, whereby technical and design solutions are intertwined and feed off each other. This is where our MDE program, which emerged from successful collaborations between Harvard SEAS and GSD, provides a natural fit and unique opportunity. We are extremely excited to integrate the great assets of our two schools with the educational opportunities provided by other Harvard schools and contribute to educating leaders who will be well prepared to solve complex challenges of the future in the most effective ways.”
– Joanna Aizenberg, MDE Program Co-director, SEAS