First-Year Design

Start Building Something

Are you ready to learn with your hands? To step into The Foundry? To distinguish bandsaw from a miter saw?

Ready to experiment with lasers? (Safely, of course. There are parents reading this.)

Are you ready to team up with brilliant, inspiring peers from around the world? To work on projects for real-world clients with very real expectations?

Yes? That’s great. Because we start when you get here.

The Curriculum: Active Hands-On Learning

While many engineering programs start with years of analytical coursework, in First-Year Design, students form multidisciplinary teams to build prototype solutions to problems presented by real clients. Students feel the rigors of engineering school and begin learning the technical, project-planning and team-communication skills needed to thrive. They also experience the satisfaction that comes with building something and seeing its impact on the world.

See featured projects

A Fun Way to Learn Engineering

Maker Space: Your Place to Create

First-year Duke Engineering students think, collaborate, plan and build in spaces specially designed for imaginative solutions and rapid prototyping. And did we mention they have lasers?

The Design Pod

The flagship space for First-Year Design is this 5,000-square foot discorectangle (we dare you to look it up). It boasts racks of rapid prototyping machines, an impressive pegboard simply bristling with hand tools and shelves and cabinets loaded with raw materials and supplies.

The Foundry

The Foundry provides 7,600 square feet of project space for students to build ideas from the ground up. Several First-Year Design sections meet here. Foundry staff hold regular workshops on topics like woodworking and soldering while offering individual tool training.

Garage Labs

Located in the new Wilkinson Building, the garage labs are named for wide doors that open onto a broad patio, facilitating facilitate work on large-scale projects such as electric vehicles, major robotics and more.

Innovation Co-Lab

The Innovation Co-Lab is a creativity incubator that connects students with technology resources, programming and facilities to jumpstart their success. Among its many features are 3D printers, laser cutters, water jet cutters and CNC machines.

Pratt Student Shop

Reserved exclusively for course work, the Student Shop is well equipped with lathes and bandsaws, laser machines, and plasma cutters. Tool-savvy staff supervise students as they work. The shop is available to engineering students who pass a two-part safety test.

Once they get their feet wet and realize they can make things, they’re off and running.

Ali Stocks Manager, The Foundry

Interested in joining our community?

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