Mission
  1. In the Design for Social Impact MDes graduate program, we believe in the power of design to create meaningful change in the world.

    Our program prepares students to become leading agents of social change, instrumental in fostering strategic creativity, organizational learning, and community engagement. The program promotes a social design process that facilitates collaborative projects across disciplines, and that produces actionable models and scenarios to create sustainable change. Our process is hands-on, action-oriented, and highly visual, and the needs and desires of people and organizations exist at the center of our work. We recognize the need to balance ecological, social, and economic values in the development of innovative solutions.

    Students work with businesses, government agencies, non-profit organizations, and community groups in sectors such as health care, social services, technology, and education. Project outcomes range from new service models, design for user experience, strategies and tools for community engagement, and the development of social entities, organizations, new businesses and initiatives.

    Our alumni follow a range of professional pathways within and beyond design, whether design research, industrial design, experience and interaction design, design strategy, or other entrepreneurial directions.

    The Design for Social Impact graduate program offers:

    • A curriculum that balances classroom learning and real-world application.
    • Partnerships and projects with local, national and international companies that allow you to put learning into practice and make valuable professional connections.
    • An emphasis on collaboration and producing sustainable change.
    • A diverse, tight-knit student body that brings together creative thinkers from a variety of countries and backgrounds.
    • A team of experienced faculty from fields ranging from architecture, environmental design, industrial design, interaction design, social design, design strategy, design research to cultural anthropology, psychology, industrial systems, organizational development, business and entrepreneurship.
    • Pathways to employment in some of the nation’s leading companies and design firms, including: IBM Design, University of Pennsylvania Health System, SAP, Electronic Ink, Comcast Interactive, Urban Outfitters, and beyond.

    No matter what kind of undergraduate degree you have, if you are creative with an exploratory nature, if you have the ability to see larger patterns and make connections between different things, if you have a sense of empathy for other people and their experiences, and if you’re willing to question preconceived notions, the MDes in Design for Social Impact program at the University of the Arts is for you.