Applied Design

Applied design at Hampshire encompasses product and industrial design, appropriate technology, alternative energy and transportation, creative electronics, and universal design.

The Hampshire College Center for Design provides students with an experiential education in applied design, invention, and social entrepreneurship through design and innovation for social change.

A combination of courses, internships, independent study, and collaborations with businesses and organizations allows students to learn about design and fabrication; develop prototypes and business plans; and create enterprises that improve people's lives.


Student Project Titles

  • Design and Sculpture
  • Comfort Creatures: Theraputic Robots
  • Metal Dresses
  • Bicycle Design and Fabrication
  • Revolutionary Cycles: A Bike Shop for the People
  • Designing the Future
  • Project EV-XI: An Electric Vehicle Prototype
  • Exploring Steam
  • Human Powered Mechanical Design Engineering and Photography
  • Sustainable Living: From the Market to the Masses
  • Computer Design, Fabrication, and Installation
  • Kinetic Sculpture

Sample First-Year Course

Design for the Greater Good

Students in this class will work collaboratively on community oriented design projects with established local groups. We will consider how designed objects or environments can encourage positive human interactions, energy and resource conservation, and physical well-being. This is a practical, hands-on design class in which we will learn how to research community needs, problem solve, and work with the realities of limited resources.


Sample Courses at Hampshire

  • 3D Design and Model-making
  • Advanced Blacksmithing
  • Animals, Robots, and Applied Design
  • Appropriate Design in the World
  • Appropriate Technology: Design and Implementation
  • Art and Design
  • Basic Blacksmithing
  • Bicycle Design and Beyond
  • Bicycle Frame Design and Fabrication
  • Circuit Bending
  • Creative Electronics
  • Creative Writing, Design, and the Body
  • Design Fundamentals I and II
  • Kinetic and Animated Objects
  • Look Ma, No Hands
  • Renewable Energy
  • Sculpture, Sound, and Motion
  • Social Entrepreneurship
  • Tinkering
  • Women's Fabrication Skills

Through the Consortium

  • Circuit Theory (SC)
  • Engineering for Everyone (SC)
  • Materials Engineering (SC)
  • Writing in Engineering (UMass)

Facilities and Resources

The Center for Design

The Center for Design offers a laboratory for the exploration of design and fabrication. It is open to all Hampshire students, and includes a shop equipped for working with metals and plastics as well as a design lab for manual and computer-aided design. Students may use the facility for academic and personal projects.

There are no prerequisites to use the facility, and all skill levels are welcome.

Picker Engineering Program at Smith College

Smith College's Picker Engineering Program, the first and only engineering program at a U.S. women's college, takes a unique interdisciplinary approach to the rigors of design by emphasizing the designer's social relevance and social responsibility. By placing the program firmly within the context of a liberal arts education, the engineering classes at Smith bridge the traditional boundaries between the sciences and the humanities (in a very Hampshire-esque fashion!).