Brand-new Cambridge Design degree brings the arts and science together

by Carl Wright

Brand-new Cambridge Design degree brings the arts and science together

A brand-new Cambridge degree - the first undergraduate course ‘designed from scratch’ for many years will merge arts and science in one degree.

For the first time, the Design Tripos brings together Architecture, Engineering and Materials Science in a single degree. Blending technical content with design freedom, the course will offer a different kind of creativity, and a new approach to tackling societal and environmental issues, including poverty and climate action.

Using practices of design and our understanding of how they influence people, economies and the natural world, the four-year Master of Design (MDes) degree will be structured around hands-on, problem-based learning projects.

Studio work and practical skills, including drawing, writing, coding, and fabricating, will complement taught courses in the humanities, social and natural sciences, and mathematics - bringing historical, cultural, ecological and economic context.

“It’s pioneering – we’re merging the arts and sciences under the umbrella of creativity and design, and constructing the course to be as open and interesting as possible,” said Professor Michael Ramage, Director of Cambridge’s Centre for Natural Material Innovation, and Professor of Architecture and Engineering in the Department of Architecture.

“We don’t know of any other single degree course that brings these three subjects together like this.”

The Design Tripos – which will start in October 2024, and lead to a Master of Design (MDes).

The blended nature of the Design Tripos will appeal to a wide range of students, and aims to help address gender disparity in design fields.

Over the past three years, fewer than 40% of applications to Engineering and Physical Sciences at Cambridge have been from female students.

Professor Graham Virgo, Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education, said:

“The Design Tripos will teach both the ‘know-how’ and the ‘know-what’ to help develop the next generation of pioneers and leaders in industry, public service and society. We also know that employers are increasingly looking for multidisciplinary knowledge and team-working skills, and so the Design Tripos also anticipates the hybrid jobs of the future.”

Find out more about the course and how to apply here:


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