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, prototyping and evaluation of a solution.
The two-semester long IDEP is the required second-year component of the MDE program. In the fall, students primarily focus on framing and understanding the problem by conducting research, engaging stakeholders and prototyping early solutions. During the spring, students work independently, meeting with their two advisors at mutually agreeable intervals, with the goal of developing a final prototype and evaluating its impact. Student presentations at the midterm and the final reviews are required. The IDEP directors will hold optional weekly office hours for which any second year MDE student or IDEP team can sign up.