The Multidisciplinary Design (MDP) Minor – Global Health Design (GHD) Specialization, offered jointly by the MDP Minor program and Global Health Design Initiative (GHDI), provides students with an opportunity to address global health challenges through clinical immersion and design. The core of the Global Health Design Specialization is an intense year-long design sequence featuring project scoping/clinical immersion in domestic or international clinics, co-creation with stakeholders, iterative ideation and prototyping, evaluation, and redesign.  We envision students rotating through the GHD specialization as juniors and seniors, concentrating on a pre-designated global health challenge.


  1. Hold junior standing
  2. Have good academic standing based on an earned UM GPA of 2.8 or higher
  3. Completion of the MDP Minor Intro. Design, Build, Test requirement
  4. Applied and accepted to the Design for Global Health Academic Program

ME 499: Front-End Design (3 credits)

This course will examine processes of design, focusing on the front-end of design.  The strategies taught in the course are based on successful methods experts use to achieve design success, and are supplemented by readings on practice and research demonstrating their success. Coursework will focus on applications in a variety of design situations.

Students should enroll in ME499 during their junior year in order to prepare them for their clinical immersion experience. 

Students have the option of taking ME499 “off-line,” meaning they will not formally enroll in the course but will be required to complete and submit all coursework and course assignments.  Students who choose this option are eligible to receive ENGR 355 credit.

Field work preparation

Students are expected to complete readings and self-guided study related to their global health project theme and clinical immersion field site location.  It is required for students to submit their clinical immersion field work preparation plan to GHDI for approval.

Students can enroll for up to 2 credits of ENGR355 for the pre-immersion training. (Registration for this course can be spread across multiple semesters.)

Connections Coursework (3 credit minimum)

The GHD connections is intended to deepen the student’s knowledge of global health and should be taken outside of the College of Engineering.  Students are encouraged to take a course that will complement understanding of their project’s thematic area.

It is recommended, but not required, for students to take their connections course before completing their clinical immersion experience.

Clinical Immersion Design Experience

Students are required to complete an immersive design experience at an international or domestic field site.  Students may develop and apply a variety of skills including identifying unmet needs with prospective end-users, using design ethnography techniques, establishing intercultural and interdisciplinary communication skills all while gaining an understanding of the local and broader contexts of design.  Students will also generate preliminary user requirements and engineering specifications for a select design project topic.  It is required for students to submit their proposed clinical immersion design experience to GHDI for approval.

Students can enroll for up to 3 credits of ENGR355 for the clinical immersion and design ethnography experience. (Registration for this course can be spread across multiple semesters.)  The clinical immersion experience is generally completed during the summer between students’ junior and senior year.

Design v1.0 – ME/ENGR450 (4 credits)

ME450/ENGR 450 (capstone senior design) exposes students to the design process from problem definition to concept generation, analysis, prototyping, evaluation, and report.  Students will work on the global health project that they conceptualized and/or scoped at their clinical immersion field site.

Students should enroll in ME450/ENGR450 in the fall semester following their clinical immersion and design ethnography experience.

Design v2.0 – ENGR455 (3 credits)

ENGR455 (second semester design) exposes the student and project to further design iteration and validation.  ENGR455 provides students the opportunity to continue their project as an individual research project with faculty support and supervision. Students may propose an alternate course to complete following ME/ENGR450 to continue work on their design project.  Approval from both the GHDI and faculty from the proposed alternate course will be required.

Students should enroll in ENGR455, or an approved alternate course, the semester directly following their completion of ME/ENGR450.

Mentorship/leadership requirement – ENGR456(2 credits)

Students must complete the MDP minor Mentorship/leadership requirement, which includes enrollment in and completion of ENGR 456.  Students may serve as mentors for student projects supported by GHDI in order to fulfill the peer mentorship component of this requirement.

Students should fulfill the peer mentorship requirement during the winter semester following their clinical immersion experience.


How to Declare MDP Minor GHD Specialization


To declare the MDP Minor GHD Specialization, please make an appointment with MDP student advisor Megan Langille ( mlangill@umich.edu )  and be prepared to fill out the “MDP GHD_Declare Sheet” sheet during your advising meeting.  Following your meeting, please submit this sheet to GHDI (globalhealthdesign@umich.edu) for approval of sections 3 and 4.


For MDP minor and specialization logistic related questions, contact MDP Academic Advisor Megan Langille (mlangill@umich.edu ).


For Global Health Design experience and overarching specialization program questions, contact GHDI at globalhealthdesign@umich.edu.

Interested in this Opportunity?

To declare the MDP Global Health Design Specialization minor, download the declare form and email to globalhealthdesign@umich.edu.

Apply for this opportunity

What to Know About The Global Health Design Initiative

Program History

Program History

GHDI has been working with stakeholders for more than eight years to identify and address global health design challenges. Learn more about our history and core values.

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Project Outcomes

Project Outcomes

Since inception, we have worked on projects in maternal health, family planning, minimally invasive surgery, physical medicine and rehabilitation, and more. Explore our past and current projects.

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Get Involved

Get Involved

There are many ways to get involved in global health work with GHDI. From taking on a need statement, to participating in an opportunity, or becoming a partner.

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