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Design science studies the creation of artifacts and their embedding in our physical, psychological, economic, and social environment. Traditional science studies the world as we found it; design science studies the world as we make it. In an increasingly designed world, good design is the means to improving this world through innovative, sustainable products and services, creating value, and reducing or eliminating the negative unintended consequences of technology deployment.

The Design Science PhD Program at the University of Michigan offers the opportunity to study the discovery of principles and methods for the systematic pursuit of design knowledge. As in all sciences, such discovery involves the recognition and formulation of design problems, the formulation and testing of hypotheses, and the collection of data through observation and experiment. The Program adopts a strong interdisciplinary context using theories and methods from diverse fields such as architecture, art, behavioral, social and cognitive sciences, business, computer science, engineering, life sciences, and product design.

The Program places an emphasis on quantitative and analytical approaches and seeks contributions to knowledge in the participating disciplines as well as in their integration. Example research areas include integration of marketing, economics and engineering, sustainable and life-cycle design, aesthetics, design of highly customized products, designing for an aging population, design and policy, design innovation and the psychology of design.