Graduate Certificate in Design Thinking

Apply to Herron's graduate certificate in design thinking program

We believe that innovation comes from diverse perspectives. Herron welcomes applicants from any discipline who want to be a catalyst for change and drive people-centered innovation. Successful program candidates value academic rigor, professionalism, cross-disciplinary collaboration, and interdisciplinary exploration.

By the end of the program, you will be able to:

  • Engage with complex problems, ambiguity, and uncertainty in a creative problem-solving process through interdisciplinary teamwork.
  • Demonstrate keen sensitivity and empathy toward people and contexts in which problems are situated.
  • Recognize and apply appropriate methods to frame problems, generate ideas, and evaluate solutions.
  • Move beyond theory and develop facilitation skills to empower stakeholders and implement solutions.

You need a bachelor's degree to be eligible for Herron's graduate certificate in design thinking. There is no requirement for a degree in the field of design and diverse backgrounds are expected.

Application components

To begin the application process, visit IU Indianapolis' online graduate application.

Apple Safari and Google Chrome users must enable pop-ups and third-party cookies for the application to function properly.

Upload a personal statement explaining why you want to pursue the certificate and how it will benefit you professionally and academically. The statement must be 500-750 words in length.

You must submit three projects as samples of your work. However, the nature of these projects depends on the nature of your experiences.

If your academic or professional experience is in design, your portfolio will most likely represent the best of your visual works. Concentrate as much communication as possible on showing your design processes. Do not create a portfolio containing only designed products. Submitted projects should show how you think and how you make them. Include design "briefs" that define the problem or opportunity statements and communication objectives, as well as the audience and context for each project, so your work can be evaluated meaningfully.

If your academic or professional experience is not in the design field, submit projects that reflect your academic and past professional experience. Include a description of each project that clearly articulates the significance and outcomes. Collaborative work should be identified, including your role in the project.

Use these design criteria as your guiding principles:

  • The projects should represent your abilities as a strategic problem solver.
  • The projects should represent your abilities as an information organizer.
  • The projects should represent your ability to structure communications appropriately to demonstrate your interest in collaborative innovation.

Official transcripts from each institution you attended must be sent to Herron's Office of Admissions and Student Services. Official transcripts must demonstrate a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale and completion of a bachelor's degree.

If you are in the process of completing a bachelor's degree when you apply, a transcript showing your academic record through your current term of study is acceptable. If admitted to Herron, you must submit a final, official transcript verifying the completion and award of your degree.

For international students, if the original documents are not in English, a verified translation must be sent with your official transcripts.

Submitting electronic transcripts

If your institution(s) can submit official transcripts electronically, they can be emailed to

If your school sends limited-time login credentials that allow us to access their transcript system, be sure to make your request during regular business hours (Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. EST).

Emailed unofficial PDFs of transcripts will not be accepted.

Submitting mailed hard copies

If an extenuating circumstance prevents official electronic transcripts submission, contact the Office of Admissions and Student Services at with an explanation, and a representative will provide detailed mailing instructions.

Proof of English proficiency is required for international students unless the applicant’s undergraduate degree is from a university in a country where English is the official language.

Most commonly, students submit TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System) scores. TOEFL scores must total 79 or higher on the internet-based test (550 or higher on the paper-based test). IELTS scores must total 6.5 or higher.

Applicants must request that an official copy of their test results be sent directly to IUPUI by the testing agency. The IUPUI reporting code for TOEFL is 1325. Other tests or ELS coursework may be accepted to verify English proficiency.

For a list of all options and minimum scores required, please see the IU Indianapolis Office of International Affairs English Requirements.

Please visit the IU Indianapolis Office of International Affairs for a full list of required documents.

Application fees

  • IU online graduate application fee: $70 for all applicants

Application deadlines

This program has rolling admission. Students can apply at any time for the upcoming semester except for the summer semester.

  • Spring admission: Opens May 1, 2023, and closes Dec. 11, 2023
  • Fall admission: Opens Sept. 5, 2023, and closes Aug. 10, 2024


Ask an admissions advisor, or contact Herron's Office of Admissions and Student Services directly at 317-278-9400 or