Jul 20, 2024  
2023-2024 University Catalog 
2023-2024 University Catalog

School of Design

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Mark Tocchet, School Dean


Introduction to the School

Today’s designer must work together with others in teams, combining all of their unique skills in cross collaborations to succeed. With this new reality in mind, the School of Design has re-envisioned its curriculum to initiate innovation and empower students to pursue their passions, build core values, broaden their design exposure and become the design leaders of the future.

The School of Design’s key innovation is a celebration of the reality that the boundaries between all sorts of contemporary design practices are more permeable than ever before, and that a modern designer needs a greatly expanded skill set at his/her disposal. The school is comprised of programs that work together, providing students depth in their discipline while broadening their design experience. Today’s designer may shoot the photos, draw a set of icons, create museum exhibits, develop the sound design for an environment and generate a complex multi-part branding system involving print, digital, motion and experiential aspects. With this in mind, programs give students both the broad strokes in time-honored skills of their discipline and a set of fine brushes in whatever specialization appeals to each individual. This academic model best prepares students for future career opportunities. Our long-standing Design Internship Program gives students valuable, real-life experience in their discipline.

The School of Design Core introduces key principles of design, making, thinking, marketing and business and promotes peer interaction, encourages cross-disciplinary activity and prepares students for professional possibilities.

The School of Design 1st Year Core is a unique and critical 1st year experience for all 1st year design majors. These collaborative courses expose students to multiple modes of practice and technologies while providing a solid grounding in design thinking, drawing as thinking, communication, audience & meaning, design technology, and collaboration & team building. All 1st year design students also take course modules in the university’s Center for Immersive Media and Albert M. Greenfield Makerspace, where students gain an understanding of the digital technologies available for fabrication including computer driven mills and 3D scanners and printers.

The School of Design hosts numerous exhibitions, lectures, workshops and field trips to forge relationships between students and creative professionals. Our largest events, DesignPhiladelphia and Liftoff, the Spring Exhibition, showcase student work for hundreds of alumni, potential employers and businesses. This not only connects our students to important employment opportunities at the very start of their careers, but also establishes the School of Design as a significant member of Philadelphia’s design community.

The School of Design. What it means to Make. Become.

School Objectives

  • Build components of a shared culture within the School of Design among students and faculty
  • Introduce students to issues, methods, and professional aspects of contemporary design practices by leading practitioners, as well as the history and theory of design
  • Promote essential literacy in all aspects of design principles, processes, methods, and tools, while imparting to students a common critical vocabulary for design thinking, making, and discourse
  • Promote interaction between students of all design majors and encourage cross-disciplinary activity within the School


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