Graduate Certificate in Design Thinking

Accelerate innovations in your field

Now more than ever, contemporary workers are characterized by the possession of deep skills in a specialty as well as the knack for solving problems in other areas of expertise, allowing them to move beyond boundaries.

The emerging field of design thinking responds to this paradigm shift as a human-centered approach to connecting the dots.

This certificate program introduces mindsets, core skills, and methods for creative problem solving that can be applied to any discipline or field. Knowing how to investigate innovative solutions will allow you to actively apply, connect, and build knowledge which responds to complex human needs.

Fall semester

You will be introduced to the "wicked" nature of human problems through strategic thinking and visual sensemaking. You will learn techniques for decoding complex challenges and leverage these skills through case studies, as well as through group and individual projects.

  • Intro: Design Thinking for Tackling Wicked Problems and Sensemaking (3 credits)
  • Design Methods for Framing Problems (3 credits)

Spring semester

Your coursework will focus on ideating and rapid prototyping. You will develop your creative confidence while exploring the tangible solutions or outputs that result from your design thinking process. Courses will involve both group and individual projects.

  • Design Methods for Ideating (3 credits)
  • Design Methods for Prototyping (3 credits)


In your final course, you will apply the design thinking process to a challenging area of interest within the context of your professional specialty or a completely new field. This course will provide an opportunity for you to engage in real-world problems in partnership with community members.

  • Practicum (6 credits)*

* If you are enrolled in another academic program, you can substitute 6 practicum credits online or offline for the related course within your academic program.

At a glance

  • The graduate certificate in design thinking is a program offered by IU Online.
  • Applicants must either be currently enrolled in an IU graduate program or hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution.
  • No prerequisite or prior design experience is required.
  • 12 credits are intended to be taken online; the 6-credit practicum may be completed online or in residence.
  • Courses cost $400 per credit hour or $2,400 per semester.

Ideal candidates

If you enjoy plunging into the challenges of insight-driven innovation, you may be the ideal candidate for this certificate program. IU graduate students and working professionals wishing to pursue new approaches and design processes are welcome to join a diverse group of peers from a variety of backgrounds.

Current IU graduate students can also pursue this program as a minor.

What I love about the design thinking certificate program is that I was able to make a direct correlation to my work, the very first week of class. The tools and methods you'll master while in this program can be used to approach and solve any kind of problem – whether it be in the office or at home. The confidence you'll gain as a creative problem-solver is invaluable.

Heather Edelblute, brand marketing leader and business design lead, IU Studios


For questions about the graduate certificate in design thinking, contact Youngbok Hong at 317-278-9443 or

Join Indiana’s premier school of art and design