Who We Are

What is MDP?

The Multidisciplinary Design Program provides 800+ experiential (“learn by doing”) opportunities
for students from across the university every year.

  • Apply what you learn in class to engineering design challenges.
  • Gain the technical and professional skills necessary to thrive in engineering research
    or industrial settings
  • Experience how multiple disciplines collaborate within a team.

In addition, we formally study the effectiveness of Engineering Design instructional methods to constantly improve the experiential opportunities we offer our students.

Our Approach

Who We Serve

You don’t need to be an engineer to join these teams. Although all of our projects focus on engineering, 25% of our students hail from other disciplines, bringing valuable and diverse input and support to the engineering effort.

Undergraduate and Masters students – Provide organized applied engineering experiences

Faculty and Researchers – Support recruiting, start-up and ongoing management of student teams working on research

External Partners – Provide student projects for industry and non-profit organizations that seek to engage with the College of Engineering

Greater University Community – We value daring innovation. Any University of Michigan department, unit, program, organization or affiliate is encouraged to contact us to discuss partnering.

Types of Student Experiences

Partner Sponsored-1 2
Faculty Research Team-1

Sponsored Projects – 2-semester projects sponsored by an industrial or non-profit client. Small teams of students (5-7) are guided weekly by both a Faculty and Sponsor mentor. Students develop core translatable skills for professional practice, including project management, industrial design reviews, testing methodology development, standard validation methods and processes, and multi-stakeholder communication. Undergraduate students can earn 7-8 credits split over the two semesters. Graduate students can earn 2 credits per semester.

Faculty Research Teams – Highly structured, ongoing student teams (e.g., 15-30) under the direction of a Faculty Principal Investigator (PI). Students develop expertise and experience in a research over multiple semesters of membership within a team. Students can earn 2 credits per semester.

Student Organization Teams – Course enrollment option for student organization members (available for technically advanced levels of participation). Returning students have the potential to earn academic credit for their work on the team.




team size


mdp student team diversity


2-semester projects

Project Types

Colleges Involved

Minor in Multidisciplinary Design

MDP minor info

Professional Project Experience