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Elevate Solution is an application designed to enhance communication between patient and healthcare professionals. Work by Kia Alavi.

Design for Health (MDes)

Responding to the complexity of health care through a comprehensive, academically-rich design approach. Empowering designers to create ethical, sustainable solutions to pressing challenges across the health sector.

Elevate Solution is an application designed to enhance communication between patient and healthcare professionals. Work by Kia Alavi.

Design for Health (MDes)

Designers affect the quality of life and well-being of individuals and entire populations through the designs they create. Today, some of the most exciting design work is being carried out in the broad and diverse field of health. 

OCAD University’s Master of Design (MDes) in Design for Health offers you a unique opportunity to develop competency in the area of health design.

Nearly every aspect of health care needs design expertise. Issues considered in the program include:

    • Increases in chronic diseases
    • An aging population
    • Escalating costs and shrinking budgets
    • The emergence of new infections
    • Growing cultural diversity
    • Consumer demand for more involvement in care planning and delivery
    • A shift to multi-setting health-care delivery
    • The spread of digital technologies

Problem Based Learning through Studio

The interdisciplinary Design for Health program has four main themes delivered primarily through studio-based learning with partnered projects:

  • Health context: Develop domain knowledge in health, healthcare delivery, communications, technology and innovation.
  • Research and application: Identify, design, conduct and apply qualitative, co-design, and evidence based techniques to health challenges.
  • Design and innovation: Create new, ethical, and sustainable solutions with health sector stakeholders, patients, and partners.
  • Proficiency and leadership within interdisciplinary collaborations: Be embedded in interdisciplinary teams which include patients, health-service providers and designers to develop design solutions and to communicate outcomes.

Embedded in the Health Context

We are situated in downtown Toronto at the heart of Canada’s creative sector, and just a short walk from world-calibre hospitals and health-research institutes.

dhea map

The MDes in Design for Health leverages our location in the heart of the medical sector of Toronto as well as our faculty members’ expertise and abundant collaborations and connections to offer you an unparalleled environment in which to expand your knowledge and experience.

For Designers and Health Sector Specialists

We developed the MDes in Design for Health primarily for people who already have educational and practical experience in an area of design but also for people in the health sector who are committed to design. Most students will hold an undergraduate degree in design or a related field, and some will have experience in health administration, patient advocacy, health services, or health technology. 

Design for Health Scholarships and Funding

We have many scholarships and funding opportunities available to students in the Design for Health program. We awarded over $60 000 in scholarships in 2017, including:

The AGEWELL award which is a collaboration between OCAD U and the AGEWELL Network on the topic of aging. For this scholarship there are special application requirements. For further details, please click here.

The Manchee Family Graduate Entrance Scholarship. Established in 2014 by the Manchee Family. The scholarships are offered annually to top entering students into the Master of Design, Design for Health program on the basis of merits determined by that program’s Admissions Committee. Two scholarships are available at a value of $9,555 each.    

Dr. Semple Graduate Scholarship. Established in 2016 by Dr. Semple, Chair, OCAD University Board of Governors, and awarded for graduate students enrolled in the Master of Design, Design for Health program, on the basis of merit as determined by that program’s Admissions Committee. This scholarship is valued at $1,000.

Research Awards to assist in Design for Health research projects lead by different faculty members in the program.

Program features

dhea features
    • Guest lectures by designers, scholars and industry experts
    • Elective and shared courses from other graduate programs at OCAD University and other post-secondary institutions
    • Connections – that support research and experiential learning – with leading health-care organizations in Toronto and elsewhere
    • Potential for support for the commercialization of ideas and products through the Imagination Catalyst, OCAD University’s entrepreneurial and commercialization hub

    In order to support the needs of part-time students who may be working full or part-time while completing the program, courses are frequently clustered on one week day per term and run during the day. The day of the week may vary between terms and academic years.

Program Course Offerings

For a complete list of courses for this program,
please see the applicable program guides:

View Program Guides

*Elective courses from an approved list or by permission of the Graduate Program Director.