SUTD Breaks New Ground With New Design Accredited Degrees

16 Feb 2024
  • New design accreditation means that every single SUTD graduate from our undergraduate degree programmes is now recognised as being “design-trained” – regardless of major

  • Accreditation recognises students’ completion in required courses and curricula, specifically in areas of design

  • Accreditation will improve employability of SUTD graduates

All graduates from the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) undergraduate programmes will now be recognised as "design-trained", thereby equipping them with accredited skills to take on a wide spectrum of human-centric design jobs, from user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) designers for tech companies, to architecture, system and product designers.  
Based on the assessment by the Design Accreditation Board, led by the Design Business Chamber Singapore (DBCS), the Design Accreditation programme (details in Annex A) seeks to assess design innovation, thinking skills and proficiency levels of students. It provides an academic basis for recognising students’ completion in required courses and curricula, specifically in areas of design.
The design accreditation marks the first time any degree in Singapore has been recognised in such a capacity. It is also the first time all degrees in a university worldwide have been design accredited.
Importantly, it will give SUTD graduates an edge over others since they will be recognised as Design Innovators who have both a breadth and depth of knowledge in design, regardless of the degree they graduate with. And since some members of the DBCS are from the region, including China and Indonesia, the accreditation would be recognised by members firms too. SUTD is also working with DBCS to publicise the accreditation, so it gathers more recognition from industry partners beyond their member base.
The benefits of being accredited in design include:

  • Improved employability: The accreditation helps employers recognise the student’s competency in design skills and knowledge.

  • Career opportunities: Opens up new career opportunities such as specialist roles or even opportunities to transition smoothly to leadership roles in design.

  • Transferable skills: Provides students with the opportunity to develop a range of transferable skills that can be applied to different design disciplines. This provides them the flexibility to move between different design roles.

The Chairperson of the Board, Ms Chee Su Eing from DBCS, said: "This accreditation is a noteworthy milestone not just for SUTD but for the broader design industry in Singapore as well. It underscores the pivotal role of design in our society and the importance of nurturing a new generation of designers who are technically grounded and deeply human-centric in their approach. Furthermore, this accreditation affirms SUTD's commitment to excellence in design education, and it will significantly enhance the employability of its graduates, opening up a world of opportunities in the design industry. We look forward to seeing the bright minds of SUTD shape the future of design."
Prof Tai Lee Siang, head of SUTD’s design-focused research centre, DesignZ, added: "A key aim for accrediting SUTD programmes in design, is to more visibly align the design skills we teach to industry-recognised standards. This will help us identify any gaps and opportunities in the current curriculum, so that the university can continuously adjust and improve its design education to ensure that each generation of students is well-equipped with industry-relevant skills."

Annex A

The Design Accreditation Programme
The assessment framework is an adapted version of Design Singapore Council's (Dsg) Skills Framework for Design to the SUTD undergraduate (UG) curriculum goals and learning objectives.
The programme also provides SUTD students with the opportunity to grow as confident human-centric designers who are able to clearly convey their design portfolios effectively and appropriately to their employers. Furthermore, it helps students to develop an early understanding of design.
The advisory board formed for the Design Accreditation unanimously accredits the following SUTD programmes:

Undergraduate Programmes

  1. Freshmore - Universal curriculum and programme for SUTD (Year 1 students)
  2. CSD - Computer Science and Design
  3. DAI - Design and Artificial Intelligence
  4. EPD - Engineering Product Development
  5. ESD - Engineering Systems and Design
  6. ASD - Architecture and Sustainable Design

Post-Graduation Programmes

  1. MIbD - Masters of Innovation by Design
  2. MArch - Masters of Architecture