Concordia University

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Design MDes

Admission Requirements

Applicants must hold an undergraduate degree or a graduate diploma in Design or equivalent in a relevant undergraduate degree program, with very high standing. Applicants with non fine arts degrees must demonstrate technical and artistic/scholarly competence in their desired research area and must exhibit a strong foundation in design practices from an interdisciplinary perspective. Qualified applicants requiring prerequisite courses may be required to take such courses in addition to their regular graduate program. Admission to the program is competitive and applicants with high academic standing will be considered. Applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 on a scale of 4.30.

Students interested in applying to the program should submit a portfolio of creative work, writing samples, a letter of intent, and a five-page preliminary research proposal. The letter of intent should contain a well-articulated description of the potential research foci, indicating a relevant contribution to design or design scholarship. The accompanying preliminary research proposal should include well-formulated research questions, addressing the theoretical frameworks in which question will be addressed, potential outcomes, and a justification of the relevance of the topic. The proposal must also include an assessment of the feasibility of the proposed research over three consecutive semesters, demonstrating evidence of knowledge and skills relevant to the program and proposed area of concentration. Admission is contingent on the availability of an appropriate faculty member in the Department of Design and Computation Arts who agrees to serve as thesis supervisor. Applicants are encouraged to select a supervisor in advance, before admission. In special circumstances, the supervisor can be selected at the latest by the end of the first semester.

In addition to the proposal documentation, applicants must arrange for official transcripts from all previous post-secondary studies and three letters of reference (at least two from academic sources) to be sent. Following initial review of the application dossiers, selected candidates will be invited to interview with the Admissions Committee. Local residents are expected to appear in person while remote applicants will have the option to be interviewed through teleconferencing or video conferencing. It is incumbent upon remote applicants to make financial arrangements should they choose to attend the interview in person.

Qualified applicants lacking prerequisites or competencies may be required to complete additional undergraduate credits (or the equivalent, to be approved by the Admissions Committee) in addition to the regular graduate program requirements.

Proficiency in English. Applicants whose primary language is not English must demonstrate that their knowledge of English is sufficient to pursue graduate studies in their chosen field. Please refer to the Graduate Admission page for further information on the Language Proficiency requirements and exemptions.

Requirements for the Degree

  1. Credits. A fully-qualified candidate is required to complete 45 credits.

  2. Courses. All students are required to take the following core courses (with a 3-credit value, unless otherwise specified): DART 600 - Design Theory/Practice I, DART 601 - Research Methods in Design, DART 610 - Design Theory/Practice II, DART 611 - Interdisciplinary Practices in Design, DART 620 - Graduate Colloquium, DART 690 - Master's Research and Thesis (24 credits). Elective credits are to be taken from the special topics courses offered by the Department. Students with a cumulative GPA of 3.70 or higher may apply for a Directed Study or Professional Internship.

  3. Thesis Project. In addition to the required course work, students will undertake a Master's Research and Thesis, which will combine a body of work or practice-led research with a written thesis document of 40-55 pages that contextualizes the practice historically and theoretically and reflects critically on the process and production. A formal oral defense and a final public exhibition of the work or practice-led research are required.

  4. Language Requirements. While there are no formal language requirements, students intending to work in Quebec are strongly encouraged to develop a working knowledge of French.
     

Academic Regulations

  1. Academic Standing. Please refer to the Academic Standing section of the Calendar for a detailed review of the Academic Regulations.

  2. Residence. The minimum required residency is three consecutive semesters of full-time study, or the equivalent in part-time study.

  3. Expected Time to Completion and Time Limit. It is expected that full-time students will complete all work for a master’s/magisteriate degree within 6 terms (2 years) from the time of initial registration in the program at Concordia University. For part-time students, the expected time to completion is 9 terms (3 years). Please refer to the Academic Regulation page for further details regarding the Time Limit requirements.

  4. Graduation Requirement. In order to graduate, students must have obtained a cumulative GPA of at least 3.00.
     

Courses

DART 600 Design Theory/Practice I (3 credits)
This seminar develops a framework of practice-based and theoretical approaches that build the foundation of contemporary critical design practice and study. Drawing on examples and readings from a range of disciplines, students will explore design as a product, a practice, and a mode of social communication and investigate the cultural and discursive context in which design resides. The course will integrate the three program streams, namely visual communication, the built environment, and interaction design, and address the theme of sustainability as a timely concern for design practice.

DART 601 Research Methods in Design (3 credits)
This course introduces students to a range of methodologies and strategies used to conduct research in design. Students will be exposed to the relationship that exists between research as a practice-based activity and research as theory-based inquiry and will have the opportunity to engage in the research process through studio work, writing, and presentations.

DART 610 Design Theory/Practice II (3 credits)
Prerequisites: DART 600 and DART 601.
Through a combination of studio work, seminar discussions, workshops, and individual writings, students situate their work in different contexts, such as commercial, public, or domestic environments, and explore new venues for dissemination. Such investigations enhance students’ ability to contextualize, articulate, and exhibit the thesis work.

DART 611 Interdisciplinary Practices in Design (3 credits)
Prerequisites: DART 600 and DART 601.
This seminar examines the question of how knowledge is produced and transferred through interdisciplinary design and scholarly practices. Topics include socio-cultural, environmental and economic sustainability, participatory design, collaborative methods, communities of practice, epistemic cultures, embodiment, and knowledge production. Readings will be drawn from a broad range of disciplines.

DART 620 Graduate Colloquium (3 credits)
Prerequisites: DART 610 and DART 611.
The Graduate Colloquium will foster a community of practice and research by exposing the students to a diversity of work and methods and developing understanding of disciplinary commonalities and differences. Through this colloquium series, presentations by students will be augmented with presentations by faculty, visiting researchers, and practicing designers.

DART 630 Special Topics in Sustainability (3 credits)
Topics may address a range of critical perspectives related to sustainability in terms of the environmental triad of ecological, socio-cultural and economic foci. Sustainable practice can refer to specific technical or scientific fields but also has a broader connotation towards integrative and enduring practices.

DART 631 Special Topics in Visual Communication (3 credits)
Topics may address a range of critical perspectives related to the use of signs, icons, and visual symbols to convey ideas and communicate information. This includes graphic design, typography, illustration, and photography, as well as applications in information design, wayfinding, advertising, packaging, and electronic media.

DART 632 Special Topics in the Built Environment (3 credits)
Topics may address a range of critical perspectives related to the structures, landscapes and spaces, both physical and virtual, in relation to the actions and activities that take place in them over time. This can include large-scale city planning, the design and conceptualization of living and workspaces, and the scale of object that are embedded in those spaces.

DART 633 Special Topics in Interaction Design (3 credits)
Topics may address a range of critical perspectives related to the behaviour of an object or system in relation to its users or participants. Interaction design refers to design practices that embed electronics and computing capabilities into objects, materials, and devices, and it also describes the ways in which systems and processes produce form and structure over time.

DART 634 Special Topics in Contemporary Indigenous Art and Design (3 credits)
Topics may address a range of critical perspectives on contemporary Indigenous art and design in terms of the aesthetic, political, and cultural issues such work illuminates. The course focuses on digital media but may encompass other forms of Indigenous creative practice, including visual arts, performance, and writing.

DART 635 Special Topics in Design Research (3 credits)
Topics may address a range of critical perspectives relevant to the evolution of design research.

DART 651 Directed Study I (3 credits)
Prerequisites: Nine credits completed in the Master of Design program; written permission of any faculty member of the Thesis Advisory Committee and the Graduate Program Director; a cumulative GPA of 3.70 or higher. Students may enrol in a directed study under faculty supervision in order to undertake a specialized study of theoretical or research-creation related topics.

DART 652 Directed Study II (3 credits)
Prerequisites: DART 651; written permission of any faculty member of the Thesis Advisory Committee and the Graduate Program Director; a cumulative GPA of 3.70 or higher. Students may enrol in a directed study under faculty supervision in order to undertake a specialized study of theoretical or research-creation related topics.

DART 671 Professional Internship I (3 credits)
Prerequisites: Nine credits completed in the Master of Design program; a cumulative GPA of 3.70 or higher; a clearly defined written agreement between the student intern and the employer; written permission of any faculty member of the Thesis Advisory Committee and the Graduate Program Director. This course provides an opportunity for students to further develop their design research in a design firm, cultural organization or residency. 

DART 672 Professional Internship II (3 credits)
Prerequisites: DART 671; a cumulative GPA of 3.70 or higher; a clearly defined written agreement between the student intern and the employer; written permission of any faculty member of the Thesis Advisory Committee and the Graduate Program Director. This course provides an opportunity for students to further develop their design research in a design firm, cultural organization or residency.

DART 690 Master’s Research and Thesis (24 credits)
Prerequisites: DART 610 and DART 611.
The Master’s Research and Thesis will combine a body of work or practice-led research with a written thesis document of 40-55 pages that contextualizes the practice historically and theoretically and reflects critically on the process and production. A formal oral defense and a final public exhibition of the work or practice-led research are required.

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