MSU Denver

Learn critical thinking skills to solve real-world problems

From school assignments, to work projects, to social situations, problems and issues arise all the time. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a variety of skills and tools at your disposal to help you work through all of life’s complexities?

Design thinking focuses on humans first and foremost, seeking to understand people’s needs and come up with effective solutions to meet those needs. The Design Thinking course teaches a human-centered and solutions-based methodology that helps solve problems, both big and
small, across many disciplines, organizations, and industries.

Through the skills and techniques learned in this course, you will be able to create new opportunities from problems, improve your professional development skills, and take ideas to action. This course can boost your skills in your current job or help you find a new one with a more strategic way of thinking.

The class is taught by MSU Denver faculty experts in the field, 100 percent online, eight weeks long, and self-paced.

About the course

Spring 2023 schedule

  • Registration opens – Mid-November
  • Classes start – February 1
  • Last day to register – March 1
  • Class ends – April 1

Credit-By-Exam to convert the class to credit

  • Registration opens – March 1
  • Registration closes – April 15
  • Credit-By-Exam must be completed – May 15


The course is $395, with a $35 transaction fee per payment. There are no books to purchase.


If you choose to convert the noncredit class to credit through Credit-By-Exam, the cost is $122 with no transaction fee.

What do I receive after I pass the course?

After successfully completing the Design Thinking course, you will receive a certificate of completion. You will also receive a digital badge that will be embedded with the competencies learned. You can include this badge on your resume, LinkedIn page, portfolio, or share it with an employer.

You will also receive a personal advisement session with industry leader and instructor, Amy Kern.

Course description

Design Thinking teaches a methodology that leverages a systematic, holistic, and innovative approach to solve problems both big and small across any disciplines. Exercising many practical skills, tools, and mindsets within design thinking fosters creative confidence that students can apply to social, business, experiential, and other challenges.

Learning objectives:

  • Gain techniques to better understand your project’s stakeholders’ social, emotional, and physical needs
  • Apply methods that will help you turn real needs into human-centered solutions
  • Use the most productive ideation techniques to generate, develop, and test new ideas quickly
  • De-risk your new ideas by gaining feedback through rapid prototypes
  • Practice your new skills through tangible, real-world project deliverables

Competencies to be gained:

  • Able to produce documents, reports, and prototypes that effectively communicate with various internal and external audiences
  • Can collaborate, design research and usability studies, and translate insights into compelling human-centered solutions
  • Able to implement design thinking methods, and use stakeholder research to reframe problems and move beyond expected solutions

Design Thinking career goal pathways

After taking the course, the learner can immediately enter the workforce, or continue on academic career to increasing earning potential.

Pathway 1: Enter the workforce with your new skills. Complete the Design Thinking course and enter the workforce with your new skills.

Pathway 2: Continue your academic career to earn an MSU Denver bachelor’s degree in Industrial Design.

Take the course to upskill your resume to advance your career or discover a new passion.

Pathways for Design Thinking course

About the instructor

Amy Kern is a professor of Industrial Design at MSU Denver. She specializes in spatial, furniture, and lighting design. Putting a premium on usability, contextual, and human-centered design, she has brought hundreds of furniture and lighting products and spaces to market, including many restaurants, lounges, and hotels.

Amy consults with several companies to develop designs characterized by careful research and her passion for creating experiences where people feel a connection. She earned a Master of Industrial Design from Pratt and a Design Thinking Certificate from MIT Sloan.

Headshot of Amy Kern

If you are a current MSU Denver student who is or has been enrolled in courses for the recent current spring, summer, or fall semester, do not submit any forms. Contact Andrea Pazos at [email protected] for instructions on how to register for these courses.

Contact us

Email us

Phone: 303-615-1234

Office Location:
Jordan Student Success Building
3rd Floor – #330
Auraria Campus

Mailing Address:
Metropolitan State University of Denver
Innovative and Lifelong Learning
P.O. Box 173362
Campus Box 6
Denver, CO 80217-3362