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.
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.