Are you a designer? Are you interested in learning about design opportunities at MIT? Join us at DesignPlus!

We are a new First-Year Learning Community at MIT and we are recruiting members of the Class of ’25 to be part of our exciting inaugural year. 

Design is an interdisciplinary field and way of working that spans many departments and schools at MIT. This new community helps first-year students learn the design process, connect with design-oriented peers and faculty, and learn about ways to build design into the rest of their MIT education, regardless of major. The academic program is flexible to account for diverse student interests within the field of design, and students will work with advisors to select a mix of academic and experiential opportunities. DesignPlus is limited to 30 students.

Earlier in the semester, we circulated a questionnaire to current MIT undergraduates that both participated in a first-year learning community (Concourse, ESG, or Terrascope) and have been actively involved in design-related undergraduate majors, minors, classes, organizations, and or activities. Responses to our survey are being used to plan out some of the details and activities of our DesignPlus first year (design) learning community. Both the questions and the student responses hint at and suggest some of the activities/resources we will be incorporating into our DesignPlus First Year (Design) Learning Community this coming school year.

Activities Currently Being Considered For DesignPlus Fall/Spring 2021/2022:

  • Presentations/conversations with current MIT faculty that teach design classes
  • Presentations/conversations with MIT alumni active in the fields of design
  • Presentations/conversations with current MIT graduate/PhD students active in design research
  • Presentations/conversations with current MIT faculty that offer design related UROPs
  • Presentations/conversations with MISTI representatives familiar with design-related MISTI opportunities
  • Scheduled trips to design offices, museums, design walking tours around Boston/Cambridge, etc.
  • The DesignPlus community comes together to hang out & eat (free food) on Fridays!
  • A common space to work on assignments/psets and just hang out with other first years in the community, A space on campus only for this community
  • Academic advisor within the learning community (in addition to regular academic advisor)
  • Regular casual events with members and staff of the learning community (as well as guests on occasion) to help students get to know everyone and form relationships
  • Maker space training and access/hours in a maker space designated only for this community (wasn't in my learning community but would be fitting!)

Questions About DesignPlus?

Q: Are there any required GIR classes for DesignPlus students?

A. DesignPlus will not have required GIR classes during its first year. We are talking about whether this might change in the future.

Q: Are there any course requirements for students enrolled in DesignPlus?

A: There are no course/class requirements for students enrolled in DesignPlus.

Q: It seems that many undergraduate design-related classes at MIT are designed to be hands-on. Would you say that description is accurate, and could you elaborate on how hands-on projects are used to enhance the learning of undergraduate class content?

A: Hands-on design/making opportunities can be found in a variety of departments, classes, majors, minors, and extracurricular activities/groups at MIT. DesignPlus students will work with first-year advisors to select their unique collection of GIR, major/minor specific classes, elective classes, and/or experiential opportunities. DesignPlus faculty, advisors, and associate advisors will be able to work with DesignPlus students to identify the classes within their anticipated major/minor that place an emphasis on making as part of the learning process.

If you have additional questions about DesignPlus please contact Paul Pettigrew at