EDE Program Comparison

This quick visual comparison across the five Harvard Graduate School of Design 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].

Program Comparison visual guide


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 program diagram has four quadrants, like a map, that capture different program traits: 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 registers program traits in subzones along two major diagonal poles. Design Methods (upper left) poles include whether instruction focuses more on imaging/drawing or modeling/fabrication techniques and whether analog (by hand) or digital means are used. Participants (upper right) poles include whether enrollees tend to be international or domestic in location and how community is formed among participants – in virtual or in-person forms of connection. Schedule (lower right) records the time (or times) of the year when the program is offered to the public. And Disciplines (lower left) 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 Early Design Education program and what participants can expect to gain from enrollment.

Please scroll down to compare the footprints for each of the GSD’s Early Design Education options below. Links to each program page for more information are also included.


Design Discovery Virtual

  • 3 weeks, virtual format
  • 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
Graphic diagram of Design Discovery Virtual's pedagogical structure and format. Design Methods: Digital, Analog, Imaging + Drawing. Participants: Virtual, Domestic, International. Disciplines, Architecture, Landscape, Urban Design, Urban Planning, Schedule: Summer Session Option A, Winter Session Option B.

Design Discovery

  • 3 weeks, in person format in Cambridge, MA 
  • Domestic and international 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

Graphic diagram of Design Discovery's pedagogical structure and format. Design Methods: Digital, Analog, Imaging + Drawing, Fabrication. Participants: In-person, Domestic, International. Disciplines, Architecture, Landscape, Urban Design, Urban Planning, Schedule: Summer.

Design Discovery Youth

  • 3 weeks, in person format in Cambridge, MA 
  • High School audience, ages rising sophomores to seniors 
  • Introduction to design and its potentials to impact the world
  • Instruction by Harvard GSD faculty and advanced GSD masters students
Graphic diagram of Design Discovery Youth's pedagogical structure and format. Design Methods: Digital, Analog, Imaging + Drawing, Fabrication. Participants: In-person, Domestic. Disciplines, Architecture, Landscape, Urban Design, Urban Planning, Schedule: Summer.

Black in Design Mentorship Program

  • 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
Graphic diagram of the Black in Design Mentorship Program's pedagogical structure and format. Design Methods: Digital, Analog, Imaging + Drawing. Participants: In-person, Virtual, Domestic. Disciplines, Architecture, Landscape, Urban Design, Urban Planning, Schedule: Spring.

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
Graphic diagram of Harvard Undergraduate Architecture Studies pedagogical structure and format. Design Methods: Digital, Analog, Imaging + Drawing, Fabrication. Participants: In-person, Domestic, International. Disciplines, Architecture, Landscape, Urban Design, Urban Planning, Schedule: Spring, Fall.