The School of Art will offer a new Master of Design degree beginning fall 2022. With a focus on graphic and communication design, this new program will be the first of its kind in the state of Arkansas.
MDES Information Session
Jan. 18, 2022 at 6 p.m. Register here
To learn more about the MDES program and/or set up a tour of the School of Art, contact:
Director of Graduate Studies Bree McMahon firstname.lastname@example.org
Director of Recruitment and Outreach Donna Jones email@example.com
Stay connected with Graphic Design by following @uarkdesign on Instagram
Fine Arts Center, School of Art
340 N. Garland
Fayetteville, AR 72701
479-575-5202Open map in new window
True to the mission and purpose of the state flagship institution, the Master of Design program prepares designers to build a better world through design that strengthens their community, the state of Arkansas, and beyond.
The MDes at the School of Art is an accredited, two-year residency program. Through applied and speculative studio projects, the Master of Design prepares students for emerging roles the field can play in involving communities in participatory design processes that generate equitable and sustainable solutions to design problems.
Students will have the opportunity to facilitate and participate in activities with the Design Clinic, a community space dedicated to outreach through design that supports advancing social justice causes catering to the nonprofit and entrepreneurial community in Northwest Arkansas and the surrounding region.
Throughout the program, there will be an emphasis on designing with accountability and understanding the role of design in reproducing the problems it aims to solve. These experiences culminate in a final thesis project, informed by the curriculum and each student's own interests and objectives.
Thanks to the transformational gift from the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation, all graduate students accepted into the program will receive funding support during the two-years of study. We are able to provide a range of graduate assistantships to all of our students, which includes a full-tuition waiver. An annual research stipend as well as a research fellowship are also available. The local presence of campus partners and multinational corporation headquarters in the region, along with a rich ecosystem of supporting design firms and agencies, fuels collaborative learning experiences and unique research opportunities that will evolve from year to year.
To learn more about the Master of Design and meet the graphic design faculty register for the information session Jan. 18, 2022 at 6 p.m.
Graduate students are encouraged to visit the school firsthand or to speak with the faculty about their interest in the program before applying. Graduate students can also schedule tours through the office of admissions.
To learn more about the MDES program and/or set up a tour of the School of Art, please contact Donna Jones firstname.lastname@example.org, Director of Recruitment and Outreach.
The School of Art application is free and submitted through Slideroom, a web-based portfolio and document submission system.
The application deadline is March 15 at midnight, CST, to start the application click here: http://uarkart.slideroom.com/ .
Please note that the GRE is not required for applicants to the Master of Design program in Art Education at the School of Art at the University of Arkansas.
Applicants submit the following materials to the School of Art, using Slideroom:
- A brief statement describing why the applicant is interested in the Master of Design degree
- A 1-2 page autobiographical statement outlining the applicant’s education, experiences, achievements, and goals for graduate study
- A one-page statement addressing the applicant’s perspectives on diversity, equity, and inclusion.
- Resumé/Curriculum Vitae
- A professional portfolio comprising 12 projects captured as digital images and uploaded as directed with appropriate attributions. Consideration should be given to high levels of detail, consistency, and a curated body of work representing professional and/or research interests. The uploading of these assets must conform to outlined standards. Physical examples of work will not be accepted nor can a personal website substitute for this component of the application.
- A PDF of unofficial transcripts from all previous college/universities attended. GPA of 2.85 and above
- 3 letters of recommendation
- English Proficiency Test Scores if necessary (See Graduate School and International Studies admissions for more information)
This degree will prepare students to advance their professional practice as culturally responsive designers and bring community-centered mindsets to leadership positions in any industry or sector.
With coursework relating to pedagogy and opportunities for teaching assistantships, graduates will also be qualified to pursue careers in design education to further inform and define the discipline.
The curriculum also addresses a research-led professional context increasingly defined by information, product, and service ecologies in which digital technologies are primary means of delivery and venues for citizen and consumer experiences.
Through coursework, research, faculty mentorship, and the completion of their thesis students will:
_Explore power sharing and ethical relationships between designers and communities in solving social problems.
_Frame scenarios in which design intervention shapes preferrable consequences in a variety of contexts.
_Explore the various technological and visual strategies that inform design decisions and applications across different types of problems.
_Develop a perspective on design, assessing the evolution of the field and its role in society.
_Evaluate and select design methods appropriate to the task and the collaborative and participatory goals of the program.
_Apply storytelling methods to construct compelling design narratives and arguments supported by evidence and citation.
_Demonstrate equitable and culturally responsive attitudes that define leadership in teaching and practice.
_Interpret and apply theories and principles from design and other fields in writing and studio work.
_Demonstrate how research contributes to framing design problems by articulating various lenses through which to view seemingly ambiguous situations
Students admitted to the Master of Design degree program must complete a minimum of 60 credit hours to graduate.
The curriculum includes a core curriculum of design studio courses, supported by seminar courses and electives.
Of the 15 credit hours needing to be completed per semester, students are required to complete 9 semester hours of core curriculum in GDES courses.
Students must take the following nine courses that comprise the core curriculum of the program:
_GDES 6316: Design and Technology 6 units
_GDES 6346 Design and Futures 6 units
_GDES 6306 Design and Communities 6 units
_GDES 5333 Design Research Methods (seminar) 3 units
_GDES 5393 Design Theory: Past, Present and the Future (seminar) 3 units
_GDES 5303 Design Pedagogy and Leadership (seminar) 3 units
_GDES 5383 Design Writing and Dissemination (seminar) 3 units
_GDES 6366 Thesis Preparation 6 units
_GDES 6399 Design Thesis
Special Topics courses will rotate year-to-year and will be determined by faculty, taking into consideration student feedback and demonstrated interest. Topics will often be selected based on pressing issues in discourse of the field, opportunities for interdisciplinary teaching and content, and in support for any current semester studio projects.
Special Topics may also be offered in conjunction with visiting designers, or designers-in-residence and may also run during the summer.
Examples of Special Topics:
_Design and Feminism
_Design and Entrepreneurship
_Design and Community Organizing
_Design and Data
_Design and Consumer Experience
_Design and Sustainability
_Designer as Author
_Critical Design Issues
_International Design Collaboration
_Anti-Racist Design Thinking and Facilitation
_Identity and Heritage in Design
The following list is a selection of courses recommended by the graduate faculty that would be of interest to MDes students. When selecting electives, students will work with the Graduate Director to identify electives that support their research interests and to secure the approval of the instructor-of-record.
African and African American Studies
AAST 3103. Diversity, Pedagogy, & Visual Culture
AAST 4323. Racial Identity, Politics, and Public Policy
AAST 4963. Third World Underdevelopment and Modernization
ANTH 4033. Popular Culture
ANTH 482V. Applied Visual Research
ARED 3103. Diversity, Pedagogy, & Visual Culture
ARTS 3913. Social Justice and the Arts
CSCE 4613. Artificial Intelligence
DASC 3103. Cloud Computing and Big Data
DASC 4123. Social Problems in Data Science and Analytics
ECON 3143. Economics of Poverty and Inequality
CIED 4403. Understanding Cultures in the Classroom
Human Development and Family Sciences
HDFS 4313. Building Family and Community Relationships Information Systems
ISYS 4013. Principles of Data and Cybersecurity
International & Global Studies
INST 3673. Social Entrepreneurship
INST 4653. International Food Security and Food Sovereignty
PHIL 4323. Philosophy of Race and Gender
PHIL 4333. Feminist Philosophy
PLSC 4173. Community Development
For those applicants who derive from interdisciplinary undergraduate degrees or require a foundational design education prior to entering the Master of Design’s two-year sequence, a Preparatory Year (Prep Year) will be offered and encouraged.
This single year non-degree status program enables instruction in foundational tenets necessary to succeed within the subsequent Master of Design program. Students accepted into the Preparatory Year will automatically be enrolled in 9 credit hours of Graphic Design courses delivered at the Sophomore and Junior level.
The Preparatory Year is designed to develop students' investigative curiosities and improve design abilities in typography, visualization, theory, and systems thinking. Students will meet with the Graduate Director or another assigned faculty member twice a semester (midterm, final review) to discuss challenges, assess progress, and frame the next steps.
_Dina Benbrahim, Endowed Assistant Professor of Graphic Design
_David Charles Chioffi, Professor Graphic Design
_Gaby Hernández, Endowed Associate Professor of Graphic Design
_Tom Hapgood, Associate Professor of Graphic Design
_Marty Maxwell Lane, Associate Professor of Graphic Design and Director of the School of Art
_Ali Place, Assistant Professor of Graphic Design and Program Director of Graphic Design
_Bree McMahon, Assistant Professor of Graphic Design and Director of Graduate Studies in Graphic Design
_Ryan Slone, Assistant Professor of Graphic Design
All students in the MDES program are fully supported. We are able to provide full assistantships to all of our students, which includes a full-tuition waiver and awarded assistantships with $15,200 annually and the possibility of being awarded a fellowship, up to $4,000 a year to assist with fees.
In addition, there are opportunities for research, travel, and/or assistantship funding for the summer.
All students are provided a graduate assistantship.
Types of assistantships include:
_Faculty Research Assistance
_Print Lab Support
_Teaching Assistant, only four teaching assistantships will be offered, see below for the process.
Prior to students being selected for a teaching assistantship, they must enroll in the course, Design Pedagogy and Leadership (or relevant experience), which will be offered every fall. This course will serve as a means to train teaching assistants through lectures and projects that are focused on pedagogical approaches to teaching design.
Students will also practice developing curricular components for students and receive feedback from faculty.
After students complete the Design Pedagogy and Leadership course, they may complete an application for a teaching assistantship. The application will inquire about the student’s interests in teaching, their approach to classroom situations (critique, feedback, mentorship...etc), and a sample project evaluation.
Faculty will review the applications and assign students to classes based on subject interest, performance in the Design Pedagogy and Leadership course, and strength of the application.