The Graduate Program in Design is distinguished by its emphasis on design research through practice and its interdisciplinary approach to graphic design. Our degrees are built around the introduction and application of design research methods: In the first semester we emphasize disciplinary inquiry that can be used to expand the possibilities of how we think about visual communication; and in the second semester we emphasize human-centered methods that attempt to address many of the vexing issues facing society today. Our students learn rigorous processes that question, analyze, and interpret the role of design in contemporary culture and society
Master of Design (MDes)
For designers who want to transform their practice, the MDes’s 5-semester experience gives students the opportunity to shape the trajectory of their career. The MDes program allows students to independently pursue a longer, significant research investigation of their own making with considerable depth. Under the guidance and support of a supervisor, students receive training to pursue original research, whether that is a matter of questioning the discipline, fostering social change, or advancing services through human-centered exploration. In the third semester, students identify a thesis topic, investigate ways of conducting a thesis, construct a researchable question that will frame their project, and write a proposal for their second year of study. In the second year, students conduct intensive research that aligns with an appropriate design process that culminates in a design project that addresses their research question and a written thesis document that supports their research work.
The new Master of Arts in Design Research (MA in Design Research) will admit its first class for fall 2022.
Master of Arts in Design Research (MA in Design Research)
For designers who want to energize their practice, the MA in Design Research’s 3-semester applied emphasis allows a student to immediately transfer what they learned into the workplace. The MA shares the same curriculum as the first year of the MDes program but culminates in a 1-semester Major Research Project or Major Research Paper completed under the guidance and support of a supervisor rather than a 12-month thesis. The MA program helps students develop the applied research expertise needed in today’s workforce and offers practical and attainable means of developing a strong, forward-thinking contemporary practice. Students sharpen their design skills, gain exposure to design research methods, and learn to articulate the value of design-based innovation.