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Masters of Design (MDES)

The Master of Design (MDes) is an interdisciplinary, two-year, 60-credit program. The MDes program prepares students to lead the development of new ideas in design, providing them with a competitive edge in securing forward-looking careers by giving them the opportunity to work with a variety of materials and fabrication processes, under the mentorship of design faculty.

The MDes curriculum develops and expands design domains to include the full breadth of modern problems and how they might be solved. The advantage of the 鶹 University Master of Design is that it offers both studio and classroom courses throughout the duration of the program, allowing students to apply in our studios and workshop facilities the concepts and theories they learn and develop in seminars and classrooms.

Division: Design
Degree: Master of Design
Program: Master of Design

Program Length: 60-credits or 4 semesters (see Degree Requirements)
Program Starts: September 2024

Campus: Fountain Campus

Admission Deadline: January 15

Over the course of four consecutive semesters beginning in September every year, MDes students pursue practice-led design research, explorations of process, applications of theory and scholarly writing. In a series of studio and theory courses and in their thesis projects, students are encouraged to look beyond the conventional strategies to formulate new and critical responses to social design opportunities.

Given the interdisciplinary nature of the program, the MDes welcomes students with diverse academic and cultural backgrounds. Part-time study is also available, provided the program is completed within five years. Summer electives open to full and part-time students will be available to help ensure timely program completion.

By working in an interdisciplinary studio environment and interdisciplinary teams, students gain experience in thinking and working with others who bring an international point of view to design and its opportunities, stretching across the globe for creative endeavours outside traditional design areas. Few design programs offer the opportunity to combine theory and practice, at the drawing table and in the workshop, in this manner, and 鶹 University is very pleased to provide this distinctive program.

What students can expect

With a unique curriculum that combines critical inquiry and material application, the MDes program offers the graduate design student several unique advantages, as shown through this sample study guide:

    • Three or four intensive design workshops, assigned one credit each, that allow students to work with guest designers in a concentrated and collaborative fashion on specific design problems over an intensive period. [MDES 6005, MDES 6006, MDES 6007, MDES 6008]
    • In a series of three six-credit courses (Projects Studio I, II and III), students first engage in a series of projects that develop their ability to combine theory and practice. In the second course, the students focus on complex design projects that integrate new ideas with established theories and practices. In the third course in this series, the students work on projects that emphasize design theory and research through practice, and that requires reflective and mindful inquiry. [MDES 6510, MDES 6520, MDES 6530]
    • Three design studio workshops, assigned three credits each, will provide concentrated design exploration in three distinct topic areas, one in each of the three courses and using any one of a variety of approaches and designs. [MDES 6050, MDES 6060, MDES 6070]
    • Three design seminars are offered, one on design theory and two on specific design topics. Through analysis and interpretation, each of the courses will include readings, written assignments, oral interpretations and studio assignments. [MDES 6210, MDES 6220, MDES 6230]
    • A three-credit design history course provides students with an overview of developments in design in the context of historical developments in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. [MDES 6150]
    • A three-credit design research course introduces students to research methodologies, methods and techniques through a process that leads into an intensive, systematic inquiry of theoretical and/or practical issues. [MDES 6120]
    • In preparation for the degree project (thesis), a three-credit degree project preparation and presentation course will guide the students through readings, written assignments and oral presentations. [MDES 6550]
    • Under the guidance of one or more instructors, each student will prepare and present their degree project (thesis). The 12-credit course is typically offered as the only course taken during the full-time student’s final semester. Part-time students will be able to take the course over an extended period based on a mutually agreed-upon plan of study between each student and the program director. {MDES 6560]
    • Subject to the approval of the program director, a six-credit graduate design practicum [MDES 6080] may be used as an elective in place of MDES 6060 or MDES 6070.
    • Subject to the approval of the program director, a six-credit graduate design field study [MDES 6090] may be used as an elective in place of MDES 6060.

    • Subject to the approval of the program director, a three-credit degree research course [MDES 6130] may also be used as an elective to fulfill graduation requirements

Featured Courses

Graduate Design Wksp: Independent Study

Graduate Design Wksp: Independent Study: The purpose of this graduate design workshop is to situate the Master of Design research question or issue in a research domain. The student will independently conduct contextual search and review to demonstrate evidence that their research proposal is sufficiently underpinned by theory and practice in their chosen field of study. Along the way, the student will gain insight into where they position themselves as a practitioner in the wider spheres of visual cultures. In the end, the student will be assessed on their ability to analyze, reflect, critique and demonstrate critical thinking as it pertains to design.

Design Research

Design Research: This course prepares students for the pursuit of research by introducing them to research methodologies, methods and techniques. This process will lead students through an extensive, systematic inquiry into some theoretical and/or practical issues related to design.

Design History

Design History: This course will provide students with a critical overview of developments in design in the contexts of select aspects of 20th– and 21st-century history.

Design Seminar: Theory

This seminar addresses the contemporary and historical theoretical concerns of design. Presentations, readings and discussions will be the focus of the course.

Please visit the Academic Calendar for a description of all courses available at 鶹 University.

To Apply

To apply, please click on the apply button below. For admissions inquiries, please contact the