Press Room

Weitzman School of Design and the College of Arts and Sciences  Launch New Undergraduate Design Major 

The University of Pennsylvania Stuart Weitzman School of Design and the College of Arts and Sciences have announced the launch of an undergraduate major in Design, beginning in the fall of 2019.  The new major will allow students in the liberal arts to explore the expansive nature of contemporary design and its relationship to the humanities, the sciences, and emerging technologies.

 “From teamwork and critical thinking to iterating and prototyping, the study of design offers students powerful ways to give form to their ideas,” says Fritz Steiner, dean and Paley Professor at the Weitzman School.

Paul Sniegowski, the Stephen A. Levin Family Dean of the College, says that “engaging with the principles and concepts of creative problem solving provides students with a valuable set of skills that support the goal of all majors in the College—preparing students for a lifetime of success in a range of careers. We are excited by the ideas and expertise our colleagues in the Weitzman School are bringing to College undergraduates through this new option.”

The 16-credit Design major brings together different disciplinary approaches that respond to complex social, cultural, and environmental challenges. Students will acquire contemporary representation, prototyping, and fabrication skills, while engaging with theoretical frameworks yielding advanced research and knowledge production. Like all majors in the College, the Design major will also be open as a second major to students in the School of Engineering and Applied Science. 

In addition to launching the new major, Matt Neff, director of the Undergraduate Fine Arts and Design Program, reports that enhancements have been made to the existing Fine Arts major. Both the new Design and the enhanced Fine Arts majors offer students access to a range of resources and engagement opportunities with arts-based communities on campus and in Philadelphia, as well as programs that bring a diverse range of prominent artists and designers to campus for lectures, workshops, and studio visits.  

“In the next five to 10 years, we’ll see design practices evolving and expanding, and opportunities for designers to contribute in fields we haven’t even considered before,” said Neff. “Penn graduates will help lead those changes.”

Prospective students who are interested in learning more about the Design and Fine Arts majors can schedule a program tour and information session by contacting Julia Fox at juliafox@design.upenn.edu. Prospective students who are interested in learning about the Penn undergraduate admissions process should visits the Penn Admissions website.