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About the Program

Master of Design Studies, Design for Human Health

The Master of Design Studies in Design for Human Health prepares the student for a rewarding career related to environmental planning, remediation, and design with the explicit intent of optimizing human health. Through collaborative studies with leaders in related fields and shared learning within a cohort of committed colleagues, students gain the essential expertise and leadership skills required to forge collaborations with health, city planning, building, and design professions to plan, remediate, and design public and private, interior and exterior, and built and natural environments. Using the city of Boston and the student's home community as living laboratories, the curriculum addresses specific cultural, geographical, and climatic conditions that directly affect and influence design and the health of human occupants.

Take part in week-long learning intensives in Boston

Online learning during the program is personalized with 8-day periods of study at the BAC's campus, which is located on Boston's legendary Newbury Street in the heart of the Back Bay. This format combines the best of low-residency and online learning. During these high-energy intensive days, students will work with instructors, local experts, and fellow classmates in small learning groups. The result is a learning experience that is part hands-on workshop, part discussion seminar, part laboratory, and part design studio with the buildings and neighborhoods of Boston serving as the student's classroom.

Study at a leading college of design with over a century of experience in design education

Located in the heart of Boston's historic Back Bay, the BAC, founded in 1889, is the largest independent, accredited college of spatial design in New England. The BAC offers first professional degrees in architecture, interior architecture, and landscape architecture at the undergraduate and graduate levels and undergraduate and graduate degrees in design studies.

Is the Design for Human Health program for me?

The program is open to design and health-related professionals as well as those with a broad interest in design as it relates to human health. The BAC's distinguished tradition of professional design education shapes the program content and delivery while the college's equally venerable tradition of continuing and professional education insures that all participants receive the specialized learning and support appropriate for their chosen careers. An Advisory Council of health and design practitioners' assist students to explore current and future career opportunities. Joining the MDS program places students in a networked cohort of individuals exploring careers in a common field - a cohort surrounded in turn by a faculty of leaders and experienced professionals in the field of designs for human health.


The BAC is located on Newbury Street in Boston's historic Back Bay neighborhood. The program's innovative use of emerging learning technologies enables effective communication with faculty and colleagues at a distance. By experiencing online technologies, students will master online collaborative learning strategies that are becoming central to contemporary professional life.

Program Outcomes

Upon completion of the MDS-DHH, graduates will be able to:

1. Assess private, public, and community environments based on the human dimensions of physical activity, cognitive performance, and personal wellbeing.
2. Develop designs for human health within private, public, and community environments based on physical activity, cognitive performance, and personal wellbeing.
3. Identify relevant information from biological and social sciences that apply to the successful designs intended to enhance human health.
4. Develop aesthetically pleasing and functional designs for a specific health concern.
5. Perform an environmental assessment on an existing building to determine its capacity to promote and sustain optimal health and health sustaining behaviors.
6. List items used within the construction and selection of finish materials known to promote or detract from optimal physical and cognitive health.
7. Develop an environmental design that considers the occupant's, or target user's overall physical and cognitive health and personal wellness.
8. Address through design interventions a given physical or cognitive health issue that has significant ties back to the physical environment.
9. Articulate through multimedia a cost benefit, and return on investment, analysis developed from research, research methods, and statistical representation of a given design on human health outcomes.