Our approach to learning is project-based, meaning students engage in multi-layered challenges with hands-on design activity from the moment they arrive.

The projects are crafted by the program’s core faculty, informed by their own cutting-edge research and influenced by global events and recent developments in science and culture.

Students learn to shift modes quickly, whether they are working in the studio or doing fieldwork in an international locale. In a typical week, a student might move from building a working prototype — to meeting with a research scientist — to testing in a participant’s home — to leading a community workshop — to salvaging electronics — to editing a short video.

Coursework is designed to expose students to a range of creative and technological practices and might include collaborative and day-long studio charrettes, experimental writing assignments, guest lectures, and critiques.

But the emphasis is always on design and supporting each student as they develop their own unique point-of-view. By the time they graduate, each student will have channeled their conviction, energy, and skills into a design practice uniquely suited to the challenges that lie ahead. Upon graduation, they join an extended network of industry contacts, potential collaborators, and fellow travellers.

Students can apply for either a 2-Year or 3-Year course of study.


3-Year or the Development Year is designed to introduce sophisticated graduate students to their future practice as Media Designers. The Design + Technology curriculum prepares students to integrate past experiences from a broad range of backgrounds into a design approach that is fully realized in their concept year and thesis work.

3-Year Learning Objectives

  1. Construct and follow effective pathways and strategies for self-learning, self-initiate and take risks, using rigorous design thinking-through-making for inquiry, speculation, working with diverse people and world building Conceive, craft, articulate, situate, and critique media design.
  2. Identify and evaluate specific themes, practices and problematics of media design and begin exploring these in the context of their own interests and expertise Integrate and control technology with intentionality and creativity
  3. Design with an awareness of diverse social and cultural contexts (approach ideas, materials and concepts as culturally and historically contingent, using design to rework and challenge orthodoxies embedded in dominant narratives)


2-Year or the Concept Year provides a curriculum…

MDP selects applicants for the two-year option who are designers with exceptional training and experience in the visual, spatial, interactive and graphic design fields, and who can realize high-level concepts with skill in visual communication and interactive design.

2-Year Learning Objectives

  1. Critical Point of View
  2. Articulated Interest Area
  3. Engages Current Issues
  4. Quality of design outcomes
  5. Informed Risks & New Territories from Prior Work


The Thesis Year is a two-term personal project where students take methods learned and actively define new design opportunities/territories through research and engagement with diverse social, cultural and technological contexts. Students synthesize their work in the final year through a series of committee advisement meetings (one-on-one and group), lectures, presentations and reviews + a symposium, exhibition, paper, and publication.

Program Learning Objectives


Define new design opportunities/territories through research and engagement with diverse social, cultural and technological contexts. Demonstrate an advanced ability to design and communicate across a range of media and modalities. Create work that engages a range of theoretical and applied domains.


Construct a personal process and employ methodologies that support critical reflection, self-learning, agility, and taking informed risks. Assemble a body of work that interrogates specific interests and domains through design. Productively frame and argue for one’s design endeavors in the context of present and future critique.


Exercise design and thought leadership by contributing to disciplinary discourse, arguing for new practices and initiating dialogues within new domains through design.