MDes Preliminary Year


The field of design continues to expand in exciting and unprecedented ways. The increasingly complex challenges designers embrace are not only changing the nature of what designers do but how disciplinary knowledge in design is understood. The MDes Preliminary Year embraces this evolving reality by welcoming applicants without traditional design backgrounds and considering areas of post-secondary study, non-academic activities, professional experience, and stated aims alongside evidence of visual production and critical cultural engagement. 

Motivated applicants who do not hold a bachelors degree in design or a related discipline should plan for three years of study that begin with the MDes Preliminary Year. The MDes Preliminary Year is structured as an inquiry-based immersion in studio practices. In the interdisciplinary MDes Preliminary Year Studio, students are introduced to various design methodologies as they conduct basic investigations into cultural and disciplinary contexts. Simultaneously, MDes Preliminary Year students enroll in graduate and advanced undergraduate courses that introduce fundamental technical approaches, research strategies, special topics in design, and more.  

MDes Preliminary Year applicants are required to submit a standard two-year application designating a field of interest (Graphic Design or Industrial Design). During the MDes Preliminary Year, this choice of field will be confirmed or it can be changed based on a students evolving interests. Accepted students are automatically enroll in the two-year MDes program upon successful completion of the MDes Preliminary Year.