SUTD students to graduate with new design accreditation , Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

SUTD students to graduate with new design accreditation

Students from the Singapore University of Technology and Design’s (SUTD) undergraduate degree programmes will be recognised as being design-trained, regardless of their major, when they graduate this year.

Starting from 2024, the first batch of more than 500 SUTD graduates will have their undergraduate degrees automatically design-accredited, marking the first time that any degree in Singapore has been recognised in such a capacity.

According to SUTD, this is also the first time worldwide that all degrees in a university have been design-accredited.

Led by the Design Business Chamber Singapore (DBCS) and based on the assessment by an external design accreditation board, the new design accreditation programme provides an academic basis for recognising the students’ completion of required courses, specifically in areas of design.

Introduced in 2024, the new design accreditation recognises SUTD graduates as design innovators after assessing their design innovation, thinking skills and proficiency levels.

This is done through several design projects that SUTD undergraduates have to study to acquire design experiences.

The programme provides these students with an early understanding of design and opportunities to become human-centric designers capable of conveying design portfolios effectively to employers.

With the design accreditation, SUTD graduates will be able to take on a variety of human-centric design jobs in architecture, and system and product design.

As some members of the DBCS are from the region, the accreditation would be recognised by member firms, including those from Indonesia and China.

SUTD is working with DBCS to gather more recognition for the design accreditation from industry partners beyond its member base.

Ms Chee Su Eing, chairperson of the board at DBCS, said that this accreditation is a noteworthy milestone not just for SUTD, but also for the design industry in Singapore.

“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,” she said, adding that it will enhance the employability of SUTD graduates, opening up a world of opportunities for them in the design industry.

Professor Tai Lee Siang, the head of SUTD’s design-focused research centre, DesignZ, said that a key aim for accrediting SUTD programmes in design is to more clearly align the design skills taught to industry-recognised standards.

Said Prof Tai: “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.”

Mr Billy Aw, 28, who is in his third year of studies at SUTD for his four-year degree programme in design and artificial intelligence, said that during his course of study, he had plenty of opportunities to experiment in design principles and to think outside the box.

Mr Aw said that he worked on designing a device that people can use to activate emergency services with simple touches on a smartwatch, and helped design an electric race car for SUTD.

He is currently working on designing a digital twin – a digital representation – of a DBS branch space, to solve the problem of long waiting times and queues at DBS bank branches.

“It’s this mindset of design, of solving problems. A mindset of approaching them with empathy, creativity, rationality, that meets people’s needs and solves complex problems,” he added.

“So having this accreditation validates our thinking that we’re looking for practices of design thinking that can be applied again and again and again.”