The Independent Design Engineering Project (IDEP) is a two-semester project during which students in the Master in Design Engineering (MDE) program work on understanding a concise, real-world problem, and develop a prototypical solution. Methodologically a continuation of the MDE first-year studio, each student frames a complex problem and engages with stakeholders in order to understand its multi-scalar, multi-disciplinary aspects. Work on a solution involves a combination of analytical and visualization skills, technical skills, and design methods, culminating in the development and prototyping of a solution.
The two-semester long IDEP is the required second-year component of the MDE program. Each student receives guidance from an advisor from SEAS and an advisor from the GSD. Initial proposals for the IDEP are due at the end of the second semester, with final versions being submitted at the beginning of the third semester. Course group meetings serve as platforms for updates and the sharing of progress, and allow for feedback on methods from the project coaches. Presentations and reviews will be scheduled during the fall and the spring semester to facilitate feedback by advisors, stakeholders, Harvard faculty, and guests. The final presentation at the end of IDEP includes an oral presentation, visuals and a demonstration of the solution.