Concordia University

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Design and Computation Arts

Master of/Magisteriate in Design

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). Six additional elective credits are required of all candidates, to be chosen in consultation with the thesis director, Elective credits are to be taken from a small pool of special topics courses offered by the Department, or by special permission, outside the Department.

  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)
Prerequisite: 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)
Prerequisite: 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)
Prerequisite: 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 690 Master’s Research and Thesis (24 credits)
Prerequisite: 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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Graduate Certificate in Digital Technologies in Design Art Practice

Admission Requirements. Applicants are required to submit a description of a research project to be undertaken in the program, a portfolio and may be invited for an interview. All applicants will need an undergraduate degree, or equivalent. Applicants who do not have a Design or Art degree, may be required to take prerequisites or additional courses.

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 Graduate Certificate

The Graduate Certificate is a 15 credit program that combines an individualized research project with group seminars. Participants are expected to finish the program in the Fall/Winter semesters. In exceptional circumstances, students may substitute DART 510 for one of DART, 502, 503 or 504.

Academic Regulations

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

  2. Time Limit. Please refer to the Academic Regulation page for further details regarding the Time Limit requirements. It is expected that students will normally complete the certificate within one year. 

Courses

DART 500 Individual Research Project (6 credits)
Students will have the opportunity to research the application of digital design in one or two of the following areas of concentration, under the direction of a full-time faculty advisor.

  • Design for Print Media
    Student research projects will explore aspects of digitally-generated print media. Projects can be undertaken in experimental and applied image, in graphic design, typography, font exploration and generation, packaging book works and posters.
  • Applied and Experimental 3D Object Making
    Student research projects will involve the design of three-dimensional objects, space and environments. This design option integrates the learning of computer software for 3D modeling, rendering and animation programs, computer aided design (CAD), computer aided machining (CAM) programs for plotting, rapid prototyping for block and concept modeling and using a 3D scanner to measure existing objects for computer input.
  • Interactive Media
    Student research projects will investigate screen-based digital design and interactive systems. These will include websites, animation, the design of virtual spaces, interactive desktop presentations and visual navigation systems, the design and interface of virtual communities, distance learning and CD ROM based interactive educational and cultural projects, and web based national and international exchange opportunities.
  • Inter-media and Hybrid Practice
    Student research projects will focus on digital integration or hybrid practices including social design or art interventions, installations, exhibitions, compilation works that use cross-discipline means of expression, and include the integration of digital technology into the process or final production.
  • Theoretical Investigations in Design Art
    Student research projects will be used to investigate the theoretical constructs and discourse relating to the impact of digital technologies in art and design. This will also include the application of digital technologies for appropriate pedagogies and the development of innovative teaching methodology.

DART 502 Language, Politics, Manifestos - Reading Seminar (3 credits)
The readings in this seminar will examine the ethical responsibilities, social impact, and cultural consequences of the new technologies in design art practice. The course will identify, situate and develop a language for dialogue and discourse. The issues considered will be on design ecology and ethics, gender polarization and biases, political strategies in the public sphere, and essential declarations of the digital era, in present and future technological environments.

DART 503 Theories of Interactivity (3 credits)
This course will explore the new opportunities designers have to fundamentally change the ways in which information is organized, manipulated and disseminated in the context of new communications technologies. The computer, as a medium for expression, will be explored through issues of cognition, metaphor, narrative structures, the creation of three dimensional objects and environments, symbolic interaction, information architecture and interactive visual navigational systems.

DART 504 Contextualizing Design Practice (3 credits)
This course approaches design and digital technologies through interdisciplinary theoretical engagement to investigate the cultural and discursive context in which design resides. Through a combination of seminar discussions, workshops, and individual writings, students situate their work in different environments, such as commercial, public or domestic contexts, and explore new venues of dissemination. Such investigations enhance students’ ability to contextualize, articulate and exhibit the thesis work.

DART 510 Independent Study (3 credits)
Prerequisite: Written permission of the Graduate Program Director.
Independent study proposals must be supported by a full-time faculty supervisor and approved with written permission by the Graduate Program Director. The student undertakes research in a specific field or topic relevant to their area of study.

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