Fellowship Program




The Designmatters Fellowship Program embeds top ArtCenter students in host organizations for one full 14-week academic term to work on high-level projects and explore the mission, model and meaning of the host organization’s work.

In recognition of the diverse and growing field of socially conscious organizations advancing positive change, the Designmatters Fellowship Program offers two types* of Fellowships:


1 Business for Social Innovation Fellowships

Launched in 2012, the Designmatters Business for Social Innovation Fellowships place Fellows in social enterprises and companies working to address critical social issues through strategic partnerships, sustainability, market-based approaches and new business models. These Fellows combine the powers of human centered design and business to bring innovative solutions and foresight to complex, evolving consumer and economic trends.

Past Business for Social Innovation Fellowship hosts include Rubbermaid Commercial Products, Proximity Designs, the City of Long Beach and Dalberg Global Development Advisors.


2 International Development Fellowships

Since 2006, Designmatters International Development Fellows have served government, nonprofit and multilateral organizations that perform humanitarian work on a global scale. These Fellows use design to address global issues such as hunger, poverty, healthcare and education in dynamic, complex, mission-driven organizations.

Past International Development Fellow hosts include UNICEF’s Innovation Unit, UNFPA, Doctors Without Borders, Ashoka Changemakers, Acacia Foundation, OAS, PAHO, International Rescue Committee, UNDP, AED, UNESCO and the United Nations DPI.


*Occasionally Designmatters will facilitate a custom Fellowship opportunity between a Designmatters Minor student and a select host organization for a special project, including concepts first developed in Designmatters Partner Studios.  For more information, please contact us.

How to Apply



Designmatters Fellowships are open only to currently enrolled students at ArtCenter College of Design. Fellows must be 5th term or above (graduate and graduating students are eligible) and in good academic standing. Fellows are selected based on a combination of exceptional design skills, professionalism and highly developed interpersonal skills.

The competitive and rigorous application process includes:

  • Preliminary review of a written application
  • Semifinalist presentations and interviews with a multi-department selection committee
  • Finalist interview with the host organization

Current Designmatters Fellowships Open for Application:

Applications are now closed for Spring 2021 Fellowships.  Please check back in late March for Summer 2021 Designmatters Fellowship opportunities.

All Designmatters Fellows Receive:

  • $10,000 Stipend
  • Professional Development & Mentorship
  • 0, 3 or 6 Units of Academic Credit

Who Can Apply?

Undergraduate students in their 6th Term and above and graduate-level students from across all disciplines, including students graduating this term, are encouraged to apply.


Applicants will fill out an online application and submit a portfolio.  Applications will be released when Fellowship opportunities are announced.

Ideal Designmatters Fellow Skills and Experience:

  • Understanding of design research, design strategy, and design thinking process
  • Fluency in visual design and user experience design
  • A self-starter and entrepreneurial problem-solver who is enthusiastic to advocate for design process in government
  • Ability to translate complex data sets and issues into persuasive visual messaging
  • Ability to work collaboratively on a multidisciplinary team
  • Interest in community engagement and using design to influence policy and serve the public 
  • Ability to navigate ambiguity 
  • Applicants with previous work experience are preferred

Host or Support a Fellow



Through the generosity of host organizations and donors, Designmatters Fellowships fulfill ArtCenter College of Design’s mission to “Influence Change” by giving students the opportunity to act as change agents and citizen designers, fully engaged with the world around them.  If you are interested in hosting or supporting a Fellow, please contact us