Design Studies

Design Studies Graduate Program

Faculty and students of the Design Studies Graduate Program investigate a wide range of subject matter and apply a variety of methods, with the common goal of understanding how design (broadly conceived) relates to, responds to, and affects our lives. Within this parameter, the Design Studies graduate program offers following three degree options:

MFA

Studio-based design inquiry
3yr program

MS

Research-based design inquiry
2yr program

PhD

Research-based design inquiry
4+yr program

All three options provide opportunities to pursue topics in depth for students interested in design and design’s relationship with human environments, the human body, textiles and other material objects. It is highly flexible, as each student works closely with their advisor and graduate committee to design a custom-fit curriculum that strives to support each student’s goals after graduation, preparing them for professional design careers, art careers, specialized research, college teaching, museum or archival work, community engagement, and entrepreneurial endeavors. Students typically focus on one of two topic areas.

Interior Environments: addresses diverse aspects of design inquiry, focusing on design as a complex inter-relationship between people and the built environment. There are three primary areas of emphasis: (1) Studio based design inquiry (MFA) emphasizes discovering new insights, processes and relationships through the creative process. (2) Research based design inquiry (MS, PhD) emphasizes discovering new insights and relationships within the physical, social, and contexts of interior environments through the application of theories and methods drawn from the social sciences and humanities and then translated to the design practice. (3) Integrated design inquiry (MS, MFA) emphasizes a melding of both studio-based and research based design inquiry.

Textile/Clothing Forms, Art & Design: focuses on the conceptual, technical and aesthetic possibilities of textiles and clothing. There are two primary areas of emphasis: (1) Studio based design inquiry (MFA) emphasizes discovering new insights, processes and relationships through the creative process, and students formulate a plan of study that may incorporate courses in textile history, textile science or courses in the Art Department while building on their previous academic and professional expertise. (2) Research based design inquiry (MS, PhD) emphasizes discovering new insights and relationships into the historical and social contexts of textiles and clothing.

The program’s graduate faculty is comprised of interdisciplinary scholars, designers, scientists and artists who mentor and assist graduate students as they build individual programs of study. Due to the centrality of the student/advisor relationship, however, students will only be accepted if there is a close fit with a graduate faculty member who is willing to commit to serve in this mentorship relationship. At the same time, students are encouraged to collaborate with faculty from a broad range of departments across the university, including Art, Art History, Computer Science, Engineering, or Folklore.

Current Graduate Student Bios

Graduate Program Costs & Funding Opportunities

Costs

Estimated of the total cost of attendance (including room and board, etc) can be found on the Office of Student Financial Aid’s website.

For official tuition and fee figures, please visit the Registrar’s website.
Note: Segregated fees are included in the Resident, Nonresident, and Minnesota figures.

Funding Opportunities

Each year since the 2015-2016 academic year, Design Studies graduate students have received a total of $20,000 in scholarships, research scholarships and travel funding and most were additionally supported on Teaching or Project Assistantships (which come with tuition remission, salary and benefits).

Human Ecology Graduate Funding Opportunities