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Graduate Studies

Design for Climate Action

“Science can give us a grip on the facts, but we need more than that if we want to act on the basis of those facts.”
James Garvey, The Ethics of Climate Change

The Program

The CCS program in Design for Climate Action brings together interdisciplinary perspectives to tackle the climate change emergency from multiple angles. Embracing a world view, students learn to use design tool kits, creative thinking, and persuasive narratives in advancing systemic change and climate justice.

Degrees Offered

The 30-credit MA (initial degree) is the first year of the 60-credit MFA (terminal degree), with classes focusing on professional and technical skills and knowledge. During the second year, students embark on an independently defined critical enquiry.
leaves with a circle chart including fire, icebergs and sunsets

CCS’s unique Design for Climate Action program invites applications from designers and non-designers of all kinds, bringing together broad multidisciplinary mindsets for interdisciplinary collaboration. The program fosters an understanding of zero-waste materials and processes, circular economies, civic infrastructures, and environmental stewardship. At its heart is the drive to bring about change in existing systems and transition to structures that reverse global heating and uphold climate justice and global equity.

Based in the middle of Detroit, a city rejuvenating from the ground up, students work on projects that mirror real-life challenges. As they explore solutions and interventions that are design-driven and, where possible, use stakeholder co-design, they further their knowledge and skills—as well as their understanding of community engagement and grassroots-level activism.

Design for Climate Action is currently a STEM-designated program. International students completing this program qualify to apply for the STEM OPT (optional practical training) extension.


Sustainable design consultant
Sustainable systems designer
Environmental designer
Zero-waste design and materials specialist
Chief sustainability officer
Sustainable service designer
Climate design strategist
Project management
Green entrepreneur
Environmental planner
Climate design activist
Climate design communications

Apply Now

Join the Evolution 

CCS prepares students to enter a global economy in which creativity shapes better communities and societies. Here, creative minds can both explore and thrive. There is nothing like it anywhere in the world.