Apr 15, 2024  
2023-2024 Academic Catalog 
    
2023-2024 Academic Catalog

Design, MDes


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The Master of Design (MDes) graduate program at SJSU offers advanced and rigorous studies in design with unique specializations in experience design and animation. Strategically located in California’s Silicon valley, at the center of a globally renowned Technology and innovation hub, the MDes program at SJSU sits at the intersection of technology, industry and academia. With a focus on current professional practices, the MDes is an incubator for new ideas and methods. The MDes degree is comparable to an MFA and considered a terminal degree in fields where a PhD is not offered. Additional information is available on the department of design website: www.sjsu.edu/design/

Admissions Requirements

Prospective students should have a demonstrable academic and/or professional background in the following areas. For the Experience Design Specialization: graphic design, industrial design, product design, user-experience design, user-interface design, interaction design, data visualization, information design and/or other related disciplines. For the Animation Specialization: storyboarding, animation, digital media, illustration, game development or fine arts. A strong portfolio and/or animation reel is required in order to be accepted into the program.

See the MDes program website for more information: https://www.sjsu.edu/design/graduate-programs/mdes.php

Requirements for Advancement to Graduate Candidacy

General university requirements for advancement to candidacy  for the MDes degree are detailed in the Graduate Policies and Procedures  section. Candidacy includes the successful completion of the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR) . Application for advancement to candidacy should be done by the middle of the semester before students intend to graduate.

Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement

At SJSU, students must pass the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR) 

Culminating Experience

All students must complete a culminating experience in the form of a creative (master’s) project under Plan B (degree without thesis plan) of the university’s guidelines for master’s degrees. This will consist of a public exhibition, oral presentation and a written element documenting research, process and exhibition. The master’s project undergoes a thorough review and revision process under the guidance of the committee chair and with the assistance of the committee advisors.

Each student will form a master’s project committee consisting of at least three members. Committee membership will consist of (1) a committee chair and (2) two to four committee advisors. The committee chair must be an SJSU tenured/tenure-track faculty member from the department of design. The committee advisors can come from academia or industry but must be approved by the committee chair. The selection of the committee chair will be finalized by the end of the fall semester of the first year. The selection of the committee advisors will be finalized by the end of the spring semester of the first year. The committee is responsible for reviewing and advising the students development of a master’s project and its documentation.

Satisfactory progress towards degree is determined by the following criteria: (1) committee chair must approve final pre-proposal presentation given in DSGR 291, (2) master’s project committee must approve final proposal presentation given in DSGR 292, (3) master’s project committee must endorse the outcome of the master’s project as completed in DSGR 298. Unsatisfactory performance in any of these areas may result in the student being placed on administrative academic probation.

Master’s Requirements (60 units)


Core Curriculum (36 units)


Animation or Experience Design Specialization (20 units)


The Animation Specialization will be available beginning Fall 2024.

Experience Design (XD) Specialization Courses


Culminating Experience (4 units)


Total Units Required (60 units)


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