Harvard GSD Early Design Education Program Comparison

This quick visual comparison across the five Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) Early Design Education (EDE) programs was developed to help distinguish one from another. Please read below for details about how these visual diagrams work and what information you will find. We invite you to direct any questions you may have to [email protected]

Grid-based diagram explaining the quadrant structure of EDE pedagogical structure and format diagrams. Quadrant 1. Design Methods, Quadrant 2. Participants, Quadrant 3: Disciplines, Quadrant 4: Schedule.

Each diagram has four quadrants that map key information about each design program: clockwise from upper left, you’ll find information on Design Methods (media and design steps), Participants (info on typical participants and what format participation takes), Schedule (when the program is offered during the year and how long it lasts), and Disciplines taught in the program (Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Urban Planning and Design, or all together).

Each quadrant fills in program traits along two diagonal poles. Design Methods poles include whether instruction focuses more on imaging/drawing or modeling/fabrication techniques and whether analog or digital design means are emphasized. Participants poles include the geography enrollees tend to join from and how community is formed – via virtual or in-person formats. Schedule records the time (or times) of the year when the program is offered to the public. And Disciplines captures whether you have to specify a discipline to study in the program or if learning is cross-disciplinary.

Grid-based diagram explaining the quadrant structure of EDE pedagogical structure and format diagrams. Quadrant 2. Participants: Virtual, In-person; International, Domestic
Grid-based diagram explaining the quadrant structure of EDE pedagogical structure and format diagrams showing all quadrants and sub-quadrants.

Put together, this visual framework produces a signature “footprint” for each GSD Early Design Education program and what participants can expect to gain from enrollment. Follow the fill to track program focus.

Please scroll down to compare the footprints for each of our programs. Links to each program page for more information are also included below.

Harvard GSD EDE Program Comparison


Harvard GSD Design Discovery Virtual

  • 3 weeks, virtual format
  • U.S. and international audience ages 18 to mid-career professionals
  • Introduction to design across all three disciplines:  Architecture, Landscape Architecture, and Urban Planning + Design
  • Digital media focus for drawing and modeling
  • Instruction by Harvard GSD faculty and advanced GSD masters and doctoral students

Harvard GSD Design Discovery

  • 3 weeks, in person format in Cambridge, MA 
  • Audience ages 18 to mid-career professionals
  • Introduction to single selected design discipline of focus:  Architecture, or Landscape, or Urban Planning and Design
  • Fabrication and physical model making focus
  • Instruction by Harvard GSD faculty and advanced GSD masters and doctoral students

Harvard GSD Design Discovery Youth

  • 3 weeks, in person format in Cambridge, MA 
  • High School audience, ages rising sophomores to seniors from Boston area
  • Introduction to design and its potentials to impact the world
  • Instruction by Harvard GSD faculty and advanced GSD masters students

Black in Design Mentorship

  • 10 week program, alternating between virtual learning sessions and in person events in Boston area
  • Black high school students from Boston area
  • Instruction and mentorship by Harvard GSD students and Perkins&Will design professionals

Harvard Undergraduate Architecture Studies

  • 4 year non-professional track of study within the A.B. degree of History of Art and Architecture at Harvard College
  • International audience of diverse Harvard College students, ages 18-22
  • Instruction in thinking through making by Harvard GSD faculty and advanced masters and doctoral GSD students in relation to liberal arts context of Harvard College

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