Comprehensive Design (B.S.)

A hands-on, multifaceted approach to the design process

In this unique interdisciplinary program, students explore the links between many different areas of art and design, including objects, furniture, interiors, architecture, public art, and the urban environment. The curriculum focuses on the concept of design thinking—a fundamental process of problem-solving that addresses social challenges and the tangible needs of users. While other majors emphasize specialization, the Comprehensive Design major fosters a multifaceted understanding of the design process and equips students with valuable skills to reach across disciplines and collaborate with individuals from varied backgrounds.

Students cultivate their ability to define a design problem, study precedents from history, ideate many solutions to the problem, devise and construct a variety of prototypes, and refine and implement the most effective design solution. They develop their curiosity, empathy, and observational skills as they engage in research and employ creative applications of technology. They learn how to thoroughly test a design solution and draw conclusions from their findings. There is emphasis on process over product.

B.S. in Comprehensive Design curriculum

In addition to the CASE Credit Hour and Residency Requirements, students must complete the following requirements:

  1. Foundations
    1. CASE English Composition
    2. Mathematical Modeling
  2. CASE Foreign Language. Choose from:
    1. CASE Foreign Language: proficiency in a single foreign language through the second semester of the second year of college-level coursework.
    2. Proficiency in a single foreign language through the second semester of the first year of college-level coursework in addition to the completion of the CASE Culture Studies requirements (both CASE Diversity in the United States and CASE Global Civilizations and Cultures).
  3. CASE Intensive Writing
  4. CASE Breadth of Inquiry
    1. Arts and Humanities: 4 courses
    2. Social and Historical Studies: 4 courses
    3. Natural and Mathematical Sciences: 3 courses
  5. CASE Critical Approaches
  6. CASE Public Oral Communication

Students pursuing the B.S. in Comprehensive Design must also complete the following requirements:

  • SOAD-A 100 Pathways: Introduction to Art, Design and Merchandising
  • SOAD-A 101 Creative Core: Color
  • SOAD-A 211 Cross-Disciplinary Workshops in Art, Design, and Merchandising (complete 2 times with a different topic)
  • SOAD-A 201 Forum of Exchange I (complete 2 times for a total of 2 credit hours)
  • SOAD-A 401 Forum of Exchange II (complete 4 times for a total of 4 credit hours)

Complete any two (2) Art History (ARTH) courses at the 300–400 level

  • SOAD-C 181 Design: Creative Revolution
  • SOAD-C 280 Introduction to Comprehensive Design
  • SOAD-C 380 Topical Issues in Comprehensive Design
  • SOAD-C 381 Topical Issues in Collaborative Design
  • SOAD-D 304 Critical Theory, Writing and Thinking for the Studio Practice
  • SOAD-C 480 Special Problems in Comprehensive Design
  • SOAD-C 481 Intensive Seminar in Comprehensive Design
  • SOAD-X 373 Internship in Professional Practice

Students must complete a semester-long immersive design experience in which students choose between supervised studio work with a professional designer, participation in a study abroad program, a design-related internship in the private sector.

The degree culminates in a two-semester independent capstone experience in which you devise, research and execute your own project to demonstrate linkages between art and design disciplines of your choice.

Sketch + render + build

When pursuing a major Comprehensive Design, you'll investigate both analog and digital applications of drawing, 2D composition, and 3D construction, utilizing more complex methods to realize your designs.

You will develop free-hand sketching and hard-line rendering skills, and create prototypes of objects and spaces using traditional building techniques while also employing the latest 3D modeling and 3D printing technology.

Comprehensive design internships

Many students begin exploring internship opportunities as early as their first year, though many employers prefer students who are juniors or seniors.

IU provides networking opportunities and career services through the College of Arts and Sciences Walter Center for Career Achievement. Students can schedule an appointment to meet with a career coach affiliated with their major to discuss the process of researching internships and preparing effective resumes and cover letters.

Additionally, the Comprehensive Design faculty provide opportunities for networking with industry professionals through job shadowing, field trips, and guest speakers in the classroom. They are also available, by appointment, to assist in resume and portfolio preparation for internships.

Comprehensive Design students earn credit for an internship by enrolling in SOAD-X 373 Internship in Professional Practice. They can pursue internships with architectural, interior designer, product design or design strategist firms. A sample of possible firms include: