Master of Fine Arts in Design

The Rutgers MFA in Design program offers a studio design degree with a focus on interdisciplinary research. The program combines inquiry, investigation, and creative work to prepare designers for advanced studio practice in the design of publications, information, interfaces, experiences, and environments. The Department of Art & Design provides an environment for experimentation, production, and presentation with design practice at its core.

This is a two-year full-time 60-credit course of study. Through seminar and studio courses and independent work, graduate students develop skills and experience to:

  • Identify meaningful and appropriate subjects for design investigation
  • Collaborate with research partners on complex projects that address cross-disciplinary concerns
  • Visualize, design, and produce ambitious, innovative projects
  • Situate their work within current scientific, social, and political contexts

Development and assessment of the work happens through self-reflective writing, presentations, class discussions, and critiques with faculty and peers. Throughout the two years of study, alongside their Design MFA peers, students take courses in Research Methods, Design Studio, Design Seminar, and Production. In the first year, each student chooses two university elective courses outside of Art & Design. In the second year, design courses address the research, development, production, publication, and display of the student's thesis work.

MFA in Design students share a dedicated studio space, with 24-hour access and permissions to all facilities, labs, and shops for the duration of their studies. The program is situated in the Civic Square Building which houses computer labs, design classrooms, lighting studios, project spaces, and a 4,200-square foot art gallery. The wider university offers a full range of academic departments, extensive libraries including the Rutgers Art Library, and resources such as the Zimmerli Museum and the Center for Cultural Analysis.

Rutgers offers considerable resources for interdisciplinary research. MFA in Design students may tap into a diversity of fields of study and university units such as Landscape Architecture, User Experience Design, Urban Planning, Biomedical Engineering, Packaging Engineering, the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences (SEBS), the School of Communication and Information (SC&I), and more.


Full-time design faculty members are Atif Akin, Gerry Beegan, Mindy Seu, and Jacqueline Thaw. Current and recent instructors in Design include: Melanie Hoff, Asad Pervaiz, Laurel Schwulst, and Scott Vander Zee. See the complete Art & Design department faculty here.

Our 2019 Design Lecture Series speakers are: Andrew LeClair, E Roon Kang, Dina El-Zanfaly, Capser Lam and Yu June Park of Synoptic Office, McCandliss & Campbell, Joel Simon, Prem Krishnamurthy, Neil Donnely, Surya Mattu, Bo-Won Keum, Young Sun Compton, and Paul Sahre.


The deadline has been extended to accommodate application on a rolling basis, through June 15, 2019

The Department of Art & Design offers a limited number of work-study, teaching, and work opportunities based on experience and departmental needs.

MFA in Design students also gain teaching experience through the Mentorship Program, which partners graduate students with undergraduate thesis students. The program fosters guidance and support for undergraduates during their senior year, deepening artistic dialogue and strengthening connections across the diverse student body.


We invite applications from designers engaged in a wide range of interests and methods, and from varied backgrounds. To apply, go to our How to Apply page, for detailed instructions.


To schedule a visit and/or portfolio review with a member of the design faculty, contact Jacqueline Thaw.