STEAM Careers: STEAM Degrees

STEAM Careers: STEAM Degrees

I survived one day of class in graphic design. I think I ran out of the room.

I tend to resist what I need to learn at first. I run away (sometimes literally) in fear, thinking I will never be able to accomplish it. But this is just a ruse, a baby step in my process. I am used to it by now. That is why I am not at all surprised that I became a graphic designer.

Drama and tears aside, I love fields that combine design thinking with human interaction.

Graphic design is a perfect example of this. For instance, a design can be the most gorgeous thing anyone has ever laid eyes on, but . . .  if it does not communicate, it is not successful.

We have all seen those well-meaning ads in the local pennysaver that, while looking cute, you have no idea what the ad is for.

But graphic design is only one small area of the discipline of design thinking. Many fields ask the same questions:

Does it work well? Can people figure it out? Is it aesthetically pleasing?

I dug up a few degrees that focus on different areas of this kind of thinking. Just for fun.

Digital Media Design


Definition: [S]tudents . . . create, use, and evaluate media and technology for learning,
from software and websites to video and mobile phone applications (NYU website)

Quote: Student coursework focuses on such areas as: user experience, learning sciences and more. One will learn to create successful, readable, and beneficial apps, software, games and other digital programs.

Sample Degree:

NYU/Steinhardt Digital Media Design for Learning

© Cincin12

Industrial Design


Definition: Industrial design is a process of design applied to products that are to be manufactured through techniques of mass production. (from Wikipedia)

Quote: Pratt B.I.D. alumni are designers, artists, educators, entrepreneurs, researchers, and corporate leaders.
This diversity comes from a program of study that allows freedom to explore.

Students can focus in areas such as:

Product design
Tabletop and Food design
Shoes and Athletic gear
Exhibition design
Interdisciplinary design
(quote and list from the Pratt Institute website)

Sample Degree:

Pratt Institute – Industrial Design

© Peter Greenberg

Urban Planning


Definition: Urban planning is a technical and political process concerned with the use of land, protection and use of the environment, public welfare, and the design of the urban environment, including air, water, and the infrastructure passing into and out of urban areas such as transportation, communications, and distribution networks. (from Wikipedia)

Quote: Our goal is to apply advanced analysis and design to understand and solve pressing urban and environmental problems.
–Eran Ben-Joseph, Head, Department of Urban Studies & Planning (visit this link for full quote)

Sample Degree:

MIT – Urban Studies & Planning

© Fcb981, this edited version by Thermos

And, yay, they offer some of the courses here for free.

User Experience and Interaction Design


User experience defined as: the design and use of computer technology, focusing particularly on the interfaces between people (users) and computers (Wikipedia)

Interaction Design defined as: the practice of designing interactive digital products, environments, systems, and services (Wikipedia)

Some apps are easy to use. Some leave me hanging like – um – what? This degree educates its students to overcome these challenges of human interaction. For, again, if it is not readable, then it will not be fully successful.

Quote: We must create aesthetic, engaging and dynamic experiences for users to interact with in order to take full advantage of current and future technologies, and immerse users in media. (from Philadelphia University)

Students focus on such areas as:

Interaction Design
User Experience Design
Usability Analysis

and more.

(List also from Philadelphia University)

Sample Degree:

Philadelphia University – M.S. in User Experience and Interaction Design


© Ed Yakovich



STEAM Careers: STEAM Degrees

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