Master of Science in Design Technology: Bridging Science and Design for Innovation




The Master of Science in Design Technology (M.S. DT) program is a two-year research and project degree jointly offered by the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning and Cornell Tech. It is designed to empower students to bridge disciplines and domains, generating innovations that merge the worlds of science and design. This program aims to equip students with the skills and knowledge necessary to create digital tools, products, responsive materials, and transform the built environment. Whether you are passionate about exploring cutting-edge technologies or envisioning novel design solutions, the M.S. DT program offers a unique opportunity to explore the intersection of science and design.


A Collaborative Journey


The program is structured to provide students with a comprehensive learning experience that spans two years. During the first year, all students are based in Ithaca, where they immerse themselves in a vibrant academic community. This period allows students to build a strong foundation in design thinking and research methodologies. They engage in interdisciplinary coursework, collaborating with faculty and peers from diverse backgrounds. This collaborative environment fosters a rich exchange of ideas and perspectives, setting the stage for cross-disciplinary exploration.


Exploring the Intersection of Disciplines


The second year of the M.S. DT program offers students the opportunity to further specialize and apply their knowledge in a specific track. Depending on their interests and goals, students can choose to spend the second year either in Ithaca or at the Cornell Tech campus. This flexibility ensures that students can tailor their educational experience to align with their aspirations. Whether you prefer the tranquil surroundings of Ithaca or the bustling tech hub of Cornell Tech, both locations offer unique advantages and resources for design and technology enthusiasts.


Researching Innovation


Central to the M.S. DT program is the focus on research and innovation. Students are encouraged to pursue research projects that push the boundaries of traditional disciplines and explore uncharted territories. This emphasis on innovation allows students to develop a deep understanding of the latest advancements in technology and design. By actively engaging in research, students have the opportunity to contribute to the growing body of knowledge in the field and make a meaningful impact on society.

Department of Design Tech

Areas of Focus


The M.S. DT program encompasses a wide range of areas that bridge science and design. Students have the freedom to choose their research focus based on their interests and career goals. Some of the key areas of focus within the program include:


1. Digital Tools and Technologies


In an increasingly digital world, the ability to create innovative digital tools and technologies is crucial. Students in the M.S. DT program have the opportunity to explore emerging technologies such as virtual reality, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. By leveraging these technologies, students can develop cutting-edge tools that enhance the way we live, work, and interact with the world.


2. Product Design and Development


From consumer electronics to healthcare devices, product design plays an integral role in shaping our daily lives. The M.S. DT program equips students with the skills to create innovative and user-centered product designs. Students learn how to incorporate human factors, aesthetics, and functionality into their designs, ensuring that the products they create are both visually appealing and practical.


3. Responsive Materials and Fabrication


The field of responsive materials explores how materials can adapt and respond to external stimuli. Students in the M.S. DT program delve into the world of smart materials and fabrication techniques to create dynamic and responsive designs. By harnessing the properties of these materials, students can develop products that can change shape, color, or texture in response to different environmental conditions.


4. Built Environment and Sustainable Design

Department of Design Tech

The built environment encompasses the physical spaces in which we live, work, and play. The M.S. DT program emphasizes sustainable design practices, equipping students with the knowledge and skills to create environmentally conscious and energy-efficient designs. Students explore concepts such as biomimicry, renewable energy, and green building practices, with the aim of shaping a more sustainable future.


Admissions Process


If you are intrigued by the possibilities offered by the M.S. DT program, here is an overview of the admissions process:


  • Application: Begin by submitting an online application through the official M.S. DT program website. Take your time to carefully fill out the application, ensuring that you provide all the required information and supporting documents.


  • Transcripts and Test Scores: Official transcripts from all previous academic institutions must be submitted. Additionally, standardized test scores, such as the GRE, may be required. Check the program’s specific requirements for more information.


  • Statement of Purpose: Craft a compelling statement of purpose that highlights your passion for design and technology, as well as your goals and aspirations. Use this opportunity to showcase your unique perspective and why you believe the M.S. DT program is the ideal fit for you.


  • Letters of Recommendation: Request letters of recommendation from individuals who can speak to your academic abilities, work experience, or potential for success in the program. Choose recommenders who can provide valuable insights into your qualifications and potential.


  • Portfolio: Depending on your chosen track, a portfolio showcasing your design work may be required. Your portfolio should demonstrate your creativity, technical skills, and ability to think critically about design challenges.


  • Interview: Shortlisted candidates may be invited for an interview as part of the selection process. This interview provides an opportunity for the admissions committee to get to know you better and assess your fit for the program.


  • Final Decision: After a thorough evaluation of your application, the admissions committee will make a final decision. If accepted, you will receive an offer of admission to the M.S. DT program.




The Master of Science in Design Technology program at Cornell University offers a unique opportunity for students to bridge the worlds of science and design. By exploring innovative technologies, products, materials, and sustainable design practices, students in this program develop the skills and knowledge necessary to drive meaningful change in the field. Whether you envision yourself creating cutting-edge digital tools or shaping the future of sustainable architecture, the M.S. DT program provides a supportive and collaborative environment to bring your ideas to life. Apply now and embark on a journey of interdisciplinary exploration and innovation.


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