Transforming our communities and ourselves with ethical design and inclusive innovation.

Come design solutions with us, strengthen your critical thinking, and deepen your team building skills! We welcome interdisciplinary and highly motivated teams to a range of transformative projects through our one-of-a-kind curriculum, professional development, and community engagement opportunities.

The Minor in Innovation and Design equips students with ways of thinking, creating, and intervening in problems in the world in a way that invites collaboration and ethically engages communities. Students will participate in iterative cycles of design thinking, a generative and creative problem solving approach that places the human experience at the heart of its process. The Minor will draw on methods and theoretical perspectives from the human sciences and the design disciplines.

Students from all majors in the university are encouraged to enroll. Different perspectives will be leveraged through a collaborative teaching and learning model. To further UW Tacoma’s urban-serving mission, students will engage in design projects that link them to pressing issues of the community. The global framework will extend such engagement to projects across the world.


Features of the Minor

These features were iteratively developed with students, advisors, and employers in design research sessions. Students may expect to:

  • Participate in a project-based, hands-on, and collaborative design curriculum.
  • Develop a portfolio of their work to share with future employers.
  • Work with community and industry partners to solve real-world problems.
  • Learn a creative approach to problem solving, cultivate deep empathy, and generate innovative ideas.
  • Use design to intervene in problems in an ethical way. Explore issues of design justice and consider how design can intervene to make positive changes in the world around us.
  • Complete the Minor in one or two years.



The Minor consists of five 5-credit courses named below, including two core courses (5 credits each), a practicum (taken twice, 5 credits each), and an elective course (5 credits). The Minor will be scheduled so that it can be completed in one or two years depending on student schedules.

Core Faculty:

Affiliate Faculty:


TWRT 350 Principles of User-Centered Design. No prerequisite (5 cr) – offered Fall 2021, Winter 2022

This course introduces practices of user-centered design. Students work in teams to identify a design problem and explore possible solutions through iterative research and design. A simplified design cycle and a small but powerful toolbox of research and design methods are employed. Students will manifest their design ideas using a range of communicative genres. This course is a common entry point for the Minor and encapsulates and functions as a microcosm of the Minor as a whole.


TGID 320 Innovation & Design Studio.  Prerequisite: Principles of User-Centered Design  (5 cr, taken twice) – offered Winter 2022, Spring 2022

This is a studio-based course focused on situated, practical, and adaptive design. Students work in small interdisciplinary teams where they undertake design projects to develop innovative solutions to challenges arising within the campus, local, or regional community. Student teams are mentored by the instructor(s) and paired with an external stakeholder. Students extend their practice beyond the idealized “toolbox” approach of the introductory course by attuning to the particulars of the design situation that they face and responding adaptively, requiring the learning and use of additional research/design methods and communicative forms from those previously encountered.


Elective Course (300-400 Levels). Prerequisite: varies by course (5 cr)

Students choose one design-oriented course within programs across campus from the list below. In this course, students will encounter one or more conceptions of design and its application within one or more domains of human activity.


TGID 420 Reflexive Design Portfolio. Prerequisite: Innovation & Design Studio (5 cr) – offered Spring 2022

In this capstone course for the Minor, students will engage in a series of reflective exercises in relation to prior and current design activities, linking these activities to their Major degree and future trajectory. The focus, and its reflexive character, will be in attending to the ways in which design activities result in reciprocal changes to the world and to oneself as a designer. This course serves to integrate across the range of activities and ideas encountered in the Minor, to build connections between the Minor and (inter)disciplinary ideas and practices of each student’s Major, and to suggest possibilities for extending design practice in whatever future endeavors a student undertakes after graduating.


Elective Courses

School/Program | Unit | Code | Title | Quarter Offered

  • SIAS | TCOM | 320 | Principle of Web Design | A 21
  • SIAS | TCOM | 330 | Mobile Communication & Social Practice |
  • SIAS | TCOM | 350 | Editing & Design for Print Media | A 21
  • SIAS | TCOM | 420 | Advanced Web Design | S 21
  • SIAS | TWRT | 355 | Usability Testing and Research |
  • SIAS | TWRT | 440 | Cross-Cultural Communication Design |
  • SIAS | TWRT | 450 | Principles of Accessible Design
  • SIAS | TWRT | 353 | User Experience Writing
  • SIAS | T AMST | 420 | Drugs and U.S. Culture | A 21
  • SIAS | TPSYCH | 306 | Community Psychology, Research, and Action |
  • SET | T INFO | 220 | Human Computer Interaction for ITS |A 21
  • SET | T INST | 401 | Technology in the Service of Society: A Seminar in the Integration of Technology and Social Interests |
  • SET | T INST | 475 | Entrepreneurship in Computing and Software Systems |
  • SET | T INST | 493 | Technology and Society: a Global Perspective Study Abroad |
  • Milgard | TMGMT | 474 | Entrepreneurship: Idea Development |
  • Milgard | TMGMT | 475 | Creating, Leading, and Implementing Change | A 21
  • Milgard | TMKTG | 460 | Marketing Research |
  • Nursing | T HLTH | 215 | Innovation, Wireless and Digital Healthcare | A 21
  • Nursing | T HLTH | 320 | Promoting Health Through Social Marketing |
  • Nursing | TLTH | 465 | Integrative Health and Wellness Coaching |
  • Nursing | THLEAD | 405 | Health Informatics I: Fundamentals | A 21
  • Urban Studies | T UDE | 340 | Urban Design Studio II | A 21
  • Urban Studies | T UDE | 350 | Urban Design Studio III | A 21
  • Urban Studies | T UDE | 360 | Urban Design Studio IV |
  • Urban Studies | T UDE | 440 | Urban Design Studio V |
  • Urban Studies | T GIS | 460 | Cartography and Data Visualization |


Admission Requirements

To enroll in the minor, students must have:

  • Declared a major
  • A minimum of 45 credits at the time of admission
  • Less than 135 credits at the time of admission
  • 2.0 or higher cumulative grade point average (either from UW Tacoma or as an incoming transfer)


Minor Requirements

In order to graduate with a Minor in Innovation and Design, the following requirements must be met:

  • Completion of 25 credits
    • Core Courses: 10 credits from two courses: TWRT 350 User-Centered Design and TGID 420 Reflexive Design Portfolio
    • Practicum: 10 credits from one course taken twice: TGID 320 Innovation & Design Studio
    • Elective Course: 5 credits from a variety of classes across majors
  • A grade of 2.0 or higher in each course

For more details on the Minor, please contact the Program Administrator and Academic Advisor, Krissy Kimura, at or the Administrative Specialist, Lan Allison, at