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The Best Schools Offering Graduate Degree Programs in Design

Higher Education Articles March 24, 2017

Overview of Schools offering Graduate Degree Programs in Design

Some of the best universities and art schools in the United States offer graduate degrees to suit the needs of students seeking continuing education in design beyond the undergraduate level. Students may choose from specializations such as interior, graphic, or industrial design. These specializations usually lead to Master of Design (M.Des.), Master of Arts (M.A.), or Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) degrees. In this article, we take a look at two New England art schools, both of which are renowned for all three types of design:

Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, Rhode Island

In 2008, the U.S. News & World Report had the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in top place on its list of the country’s fine arts schools. The graphics and interior design programs offered at the school were among the best, with the report ranking the industrial design program 2nd in its category.

17 graduate programs in art and design are available at RISD. Programs in interior, graphic, and industrial design are available at the graduate school. 2-year and 3-year Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) degrees are in the school’s department of graphic design, and admission is given based on a student’s background and undergraduate major. Core coursework may cover visual systems, design history, and studio work.

Students who have earned their undergraduate degree in architecture may enroll in the Master of Arts (M.A.) in Interior Architecture. Students with degrees in other fields can opt for a Master of Design (M.Des.) in Interior Studies. In both programs, graduates are taught to become environmentally and socially responsible designers. Classes in design methodology, wood and metal study, and studio work are taken by students in the school’s Master of Industrial Design (M.I.D.) program.

Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York

In 2008, the U.S. News & World Report had Pratt Institute in 15th place on its list of the country’s fine arts schools. The school’s design program was in joint top place, the industrial design program in fourth, and the graphic design program in ninth. Pratt Institute has grown to become New England’s largest art and design school.

Graduate programs in industrial design, interior design, and graphic design are available at the school. Students with an interest in the exploration of aesthetic expressions and the practical application of design, with a focus on environmental responsibility, can enroll in the school’s Master of Science (M.S.) in Interior Design. The interdisciplinary Master of Industrial Design (M.I.D.) offered at the school includes coursework in theory, history, color, and prototyping of structural designs.

Those seeking entry-level careers via studio practice in print and digital media can enroll in the school’s MFA in Communications Design program. Master of Science (M.S.) degrees in Communication Design and a package design are also available at the school. These programs suit the needs of students who wish to work in corporate-based careers, such as brand management and digital advertising.

List of Schools offering Design Programs

School Name Total Student Enrollment Location
University of Florida 50,645 Gainesville, Florida
University of Wisconsin – Madison 42,716 Madison, Wisconsin
University of Texas at Austin 50,950 Austin, Texas
George Washington University 26,212 Washington, District of Columbia
Ohio State University 58,663 Columbus, Ohio
University of Minnesota – Twin Cities 50,678 Minneapolis, Minnesota
Purdue University 40,472 West Lafayette, Indiana
Michigan State University 50,538 East Lansing, Michigan
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University 32,663 Blacksburg, Virginia
Indiana University – Bloomington 48,514 Bloomington, Indiana

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