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Master of Science in Architecture concentration in Design and Health

The concentration promotes critical assessments of existing design practices, while seeking to catalyze new opportunities for design and architecture to positively influence health.

Important Dates & Information:

Application Deadline: January 15 
Intent to Enroll Deadline: April 15
Visit the Master of Science in Architecture admissions page to apply


Design and Health Overview

The built environment has a powerful impact on our bodies, fitness, and well-being. The Master of Science in Architecture concentration in Design and Health (MS_DH) examines a range of scales including interiors, buildings, cities, and territories 
that promote a critical assessment of existing design practices. Students in the MS_DH concentration pursue new opportunities for design and architecture to positively influence health infrastructure by addressing inequalities, while drawing from numerous allied fields through design.

Design Health is positioned as a crucial, global concern in light of rapid technological change, innovation in science, and emerging, critical theories in the humanities. In the MS_DH concentration, design is understood as a relational structure that navigates the constantly changing contours between the sciences and humanities. As forms of cultural production, health-related design issues are distributed between medical models and social models, with the medical model acting as the dominant paradigm. Students explore the confluence of these models, while developing design thinking in order to produce new methodologies and new ways of effectively engaging the complex relationships between design and health in a global context.

Within a 21st century context, MS_DH students develop new frameworks for debate regarding: the role of design in expanding healthy lifestyles, the challenges of structural-level disparities in access to healthcare facilities and amenities, and the way that design processes are embedded in pathological social systems. The concentration combines case study and action-based methods in order to deploy multi-disciplinary approaches to understanding health as an individual and collective challenge. Projects range from assymetrical design explorations to policy innovations on issues ranging from resource allocation and zoning to transport and agricultural infrastructure. Areas of study include: the human body, disparate access to healthcare, hospitals and institutional health systems, and environmental conditions that influence health outcomes. 

As urbanization continues to affect health, the impact of urban design will be of particular interest in examining the interplay between population density, transport infrastructure, access to food and water, and overall health. 

Each MS_DH student will chart a relationship between architecture, design, social science, engineering, history, public health, public policy, and medicine. New forms of practice can emerge, as well as new forms of collaboration, from basic scientific research to technological interfaces within designed objects and buildings.

The University of Michigan is robust constellation of academic, professional, and clinical units with which to partner, including but not limited to subject areas of medicine, pediatric medicine, geriatrics, psychology, public health, public policy, obesity, sociology, art and design, kinesiology, and biomechanics.


Faculty associated with the concentration: