Center for Socially Engaged Design

The Program in Socially Engaged Design is an academic program that allows undergraduate engineering students to focus on techniques of socially engaged design and earn the following notation on their transcript: “Program in Socially Engaged Design”. The program can be completed without exceeding the 128 credits required for a BS/BSE and provides students the opportunity to organize their elective courses around the theme of socially engaged design. Students from all disciplines are invited to complete the program.


To complete the Program in Socially Engaged Design, students must declare the program and complete all of the requirements. Declaring to the program does not guarantee notation on a student’s transcript. There are four requirements to ensure program completion:

Foundations Course (3 credits)

  • ME499/599 – Front End Design with Prof. Shanna Daly OR ENGRX55: Finding Genuine Fieldwork Opportunities

Supporting Design Course (3 credits)

  • Students must complete one course supporting design course to deepen their education of socially engaged design practices.  See “Approved Course Lists” below.

Breadth Course (3 credits)

  • Students must complete one breadth course to broaden a student’s education outside of the College of Engineering.  Students are encouraged to choose a course in the thematic area of a design project they are engaging in at the curricular or co-curricular level. See “Approved Course Lists” below.

SEDA Learning Blocks (For completion – not credit-bearing)

  • Students must complete two Socially Engaged Design Academy (SEDA) learning blocks from the list of approved learning blocks. SEDA blocks will serve to round out a student’s SED knowledge and skills, by providing instruction and assessment on topics that are currently not covered or are covered in a limited manner at a curricular level within the CoE, i.e., there is no stand alone SED course and therefore it is unlikely that a student will be able to engage with a broad spectrum of SED topic areas in their coursework alone.

Approved Course Lists

Supporting Design Courses

This is a selection of pre-approved courses.  You may petition to use another course.

  • ENGR 355: Intermediate Multidisciplinary Engineering Project
  • ME 455: Advanced Multidisciplinary Design Project
  • ME 589: Sustainable Design of Technology Systems
  • NRE 550: Systems Thinking for Sustainable Development
  • SI 512: Designing for Engagement
  • ME 581: Global Product Development
  • SI 422: Needs Assessment and Usability Evaluation
  • CEE 265: Sustainable Engineering Principles
  • SI 582: Introduction to Interaction Design

Breadth Courses

This is a selection of pre-approved courses.  You may petition to use another course.

  • AOSS 530: Engineering Climate Change
  • ARCH 509: Design Activism and Social Change
  • INTMED 387: Implementation solutions for global health equity (for a student working on a global health project)
  • ENVIRON 304 Topics in Culture and Environment (for a student working on an environmental project)
  • ANTHRCUL 256: Culture, Adaptation, and Environment
  • HISTART354: Art, Science, and Technology
  • STRAT 562/TO 563: Strategies for Enhancing Growth and Improving Access in Emerging Markets
  • NRE 514: Environmental Impact Assessment
  • NRE 560: Behavior and Environment
  • SI 648/748: Infoculture: Theory and Methods in the History and Sociology of Info Technology

Approved SEDA Learning Block Topics (names subject to change)

  • Socially Engaged Design Thinking
  • Entering, Engaging, & Exiting Communities
  • Personal & Social Identities
  • Overview of Technology Sustainability
  • Life Cycle Assessment Phase 1: Goal and Scope
  • Life Cycle Assessment Phase 2: Inventory Analysis
  • Life Cycle Assessment Phases 3 & 4: Impact Assessment & Interpretation
  • Effective Technical Design Project Meetings
  • Prototyping

How to Declare

To declare PSED, complete this declaration form.

If you are petitioning to use an alternate course to fulfill any of the requirements (i.e., a course not listed on the approved list) please be prepared to upload the course syllabus and/or description in the declaration form.

Advising and Oversight

  • Program Directors: Professor Steve Skerlos (
  • Program Advisor: Emily Aiken (