Course Overview

This course introduces students to the opportunities available, and skills needed, to be a design professional. This field offers a wide variety of opportunities and has expanded beyond the scope of giving form to consumer items or advertising/branding. Specialist design degrees are increasingly giving way to interdisciplinary design studies that focus on the development of a body of knowledge including design techniques, social and cultural knowledge, digital awareness, and business knowledge that are used to solve a wide variety of problems. Graphic designers might work with virtual reality, industrial designers can become social entrepreneurs, and fashion designers can work with high tech fabrics that monitor an individual’s heartbeat.

The course will begin with an introduction to recent design history, progress to an understanding of industry specific terminology and techniques. As we progress students will explore the development of consumer objects and digital prototypes. In addition to lectures, students will have time to create simple 3D printed objects, sketch logos and brands, and prototype software-based products. The course will also discuss the value of portfolios as an indicator of skills for both admission to higher education as well as discussion or how portfolios are used to hire professionals.

All students who successfully complete the course will receive a Certificate of Completion and have the opportunity to request a Syracuse University noncredit transcript.

Course Objectives

After taking this class, students will be able to:

  • Explain the ways that design professionals contribute to society.
  • Identify and correctly communicate using design specific terminology.
  • Produce simple 3D files for print, data images, and visual prototypes.
  • Engage with other students in a discussion of fundamental aspects of design activity.

Course Information

Course Prefix and Number: SCN 094

Format: On Campus (at Syracuse University)

Eligibility: Students must be of rising high school sophomore, junior, or senior status – or a 2022 high school graduate. 

Credit: NC

Grading: Pass/Fail


  • Residential: $3,585
  • Commuter: $2,730

Program rates are subject to change and will be approved by the board of trustees.  Discounts and scholarships are also available.

Program Information

Summer College – On Campus: Experience what college is really like: take a college-level course, live in a residence hall, have meals with friends in a dining hall, and participate in activities and events on campus.

“I made amazing friends and had a great TA who motivated me to give full effort. I experienced a true sense of accomplishment showcasing my work at the conclusion of the courses.”

—Stella K., Summer College – Online Student, 2020

Course Dates and Details

ProgramCourse DatesClass Time (Eastern Time)Credit/NoncreditStatus
Summer College – On Campus2-Week Session I: Sunday, July 3 – Friday, July 15, 2022MTWThF
9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Class will break for lunch daily for approximately one hour. Class times subject to change.

Course Requirements

Required Supplies and Textbooks

  • Students are encouraged to bring a personal laptop to campus
  • Students should budget for required textbooks and supplies

Typical Day

Tentative Schedule

In the morning, students will attend a lecture and spend most of the rest of the day working alone AND in teams to complete a project, learn new software, or create documentation about the ideas presented in the morning.

As the class progresses, students will present work begun during the previous day (and maybe completed in the evening. Critiques are important both for the individual who is presenting the ideas and other students who learn from experiencing the evaluations of their peers ideas.

When class is over, and on weekends, students can look forward to various Summer College – On Campus activities to meet and connect with other students! Check out our On Campus Experience page for more information!

Faculty Bios

Denise Heckman, Associate Professor

Before joining the faculty of the industrial and interaction design program at Syracuse University, Denise Heckman began her career at Hallmark Cards and then spent the greater part of the late 1990s in the technology ghettos of Seattle where she co-founded Motive Design Research, a design and consulting firm whose clients included Hewlett Packard, PhotoDisc, Adobe, and K2 Skis/Olen. Heckman worked as both a designer and as a design researcher for startup companies, biotech, medical, consumer products, and arts organizations before becoming a full-time educator in 2000.

She currently teaches courses on design research, interaction design, and principles of industrial design. 

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