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MDes critical path

Student guide over two years

Academic year 1

Course requirements


Students take three (3) seminars (9 credits)

  • Dart 600 Design Theory/Practice I (3 cr.)
  • Dart 601 Research Methods in Design (3 cr.)
  • Dart 631 Special Topics: Critical Materiality (3 cr.)


Students take three (3) seminars (9 credits)

  • Dart 610 Design Theory/Practice II (3 cr.)
  • Dart 611 Interdisciplinary Practices in Design (3 cr.)
  • Dart 631 Special Topics in Interaction Design (3 cr.)

* Under special circumstances and in consultation with the Graduate Program Director, it is possible to take other elective courses, or Internship/residency.

Research requirements and activities


Each faculty member will present his/her research profile to the MDes cohort. This will allow you to determine whom you should approach for your research project. Following initial meetings with potential supervisors, you are asked to take an appointment with the selected faculty member to sign off a Supervision Agreement form.

December 15

Deadline for the selection of the supervisor.

March 1

Deadline to submit the Research Proposal to your supervisor and Graduate Program Director. The proposal is a six to nine page document that includes: research question(s), preliminary theoretical framework/literature review, research methodology, schedule, planned outcome, resources implications (space, tools, materials, technology), bibliography. The preparation of this document is part of the assignments in Dart 610 Design Theory/Practice II.

The Research Proposal will be reviewed by the supervisor and the Graduate Curriculum Committee for approval.

April 1

Along with the supervisor, a selection of two (2) faculty members is made to form the Evaluation Committee. Students are responsible to have the Evaluation Committee members sign off the Evaluation Committee form. The Committee of three (3) faculty members (including the supervisor) participates in the evaluation of both the final research-creation project and the written thesis.


MDes students present their research project to the program faculty members during a public presentation at the end of the semester; this presentation is prepared and evaluated in Dart 611 Interdisciplinary Practices in Design.

Spring / Summer

Students work on their thesis and research-creation project.

Academic year 2

Through the Fall and Winter terms, students concentrate on their research-creation project and thesis writing, and should meet with their supervisor on a regular basis i.e. ideally every two weeks.

Course requirements


  • DART 620 Graduate Colloquium (3 cr.)
  • DART 690 Masters Research and Thesis (24 cr.)

This seminar is given over the fall and winter semesters (seven weeks in both semesters). An important part of this course involves teamwork to organize and plan the Year-End Expo.

Research requirements and activities


Exposition and oral presentation of the final research-creation project at the year-end show. Evaluation Committees review the projects for the formal evaluation (pass or fail).

June 1

Suggested deadline to submit thesis to the supervisor. Following the supervisor’s approval, the thesis is sent to the two (2) other members of the Evaluation Committee for review.

In summary, the written document contextualizes the practice historically and theoretically, describes the research and reflects critically on the process and production.

13 000 to 15 000 words – this is equivalent of approximately 35 to 40 pages, 375 words/page, 1.5 line spacing- see thesis guidelines.

Thesis completion & graduation

Thesis Defence

The thesis defence takes place in June for students who intend to graduate in the Fall. Please note that there are no thesis defences held between July 1st and August 15.

Thesis Submission

Thesis submissions are made exclusively online through Spectrum.

The submission of your thesis may occur at any time in the academic year but, as outlined in the Graduate important dates. Students intending to graduate in the spring must submit their thesis to Spectrum by April 1st. Students intending to graduate in the fall must submit their thesis to Spectrum by September 1st.

Apply to Graduate 

Graduation is not automatic. You must apply to graduate online. See:   

The application is submitted before completing the thesis: January 15 for Spring convocation and July 15 for Fall convocation.

Should your thesis be delayed, you must notify the Registrar’s office by e-mail. Your fee will be reimbursed and you will need to submit a new application to graduate.

Graduation check-list:



Fall convocation / Student graduation ceremony*

*For students who have submitted their thesis on Spectrum by Sept 1.



Spring convocation / Student graduation ceremony*

*For students who have submitted their thesis on Spectrum by April 1.


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