Graduate Admissions


MDes in Design
MFA in Art

MDes in Integrative Design

MDes Application deadline: January 6, 2016

We are looking to build a small, effective team of students who are not simply focused on a graduate degree, but rather a real opportunity to leverage the considerable resources of the Stamps School and the University of Michigan to make a change in the way designers work in the world.

We are seeking potential students from diverse backgrounds across the spectrum of design disciplines (e.g. product designers, visual communication designers, and user-experience designers, including industrial, graphic, and interaction designers) who want to transform their career paths.  We will also consider qualified candidates with education and experience related to the wicked problem who have experienced the design process in a professional setting and wish to expand their knowledge of design while building on their prior education.

Candidates for the program must be intellectually curious, self-motivated, engaged with critical discourse in the discipline, and interested in the future role of design in shaping everyday life in the 21st Century. They must be willing to critically examine current thinking and prepared to revise and expand their understanding of research, development, and design methods and practices. Members of our design team will engage in collaborative, design-centered approaches to solving complex problems. It will be critical that candidates have specialized skills to integrate with those of other team members to deliver design solutions that work in specific cultural and economic contexts.

The admissions process for the MDes in Integrative Design is highly selective. Approximately 6-8 new students join the program each year. Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree in design or in a field related to the specific umbrella project. Learn more about our MDes program and the 2016 umbrella project here.

Application Instructions

Stamps graduate programs are part of the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies, and admission to the Stamps School of Art & Design requires concurrent admission to Rackham. Application materials must be submitted to both Rackham and the Stamps School as outlined below.

  1. Submit the Rackham Graduate Admission Application Form. The Application Form will require the following:
    • Creative Work Statement: We are eager to learn more about you and your creative practice. Provide a statement that addresses these three topics (600 words maximum):
      Prior Experience: describe the motivations and influences that drive your work and how you hope to integrate these with others.
      MDes Expectations and Aspirations: explain why you are pursuing an MDes in Integrative Design and what you hope to achieve through working on the collaborative MDes projects.
      Stamps School: describe the features of the Stamps MDes program that most interest you; name three Stamps faculty you would like to work with and why; identify what field(s) of inquiry outside of the Stamps School you want to engage with while pursuing approaches to "the wicked problem", what faculty in those areas you would like to work with, and why.
    • Personal Statement: This should be a discussion of the journey that has led to your decision to seek a graduate degree, in 500 words or less. How have your background and life experiences, including cultural, geographical, financial, educational or other opportunities or challenges, motivated your decision to pursue a graduate degree at the University of Michigan’s Stamps School?
    • Official Transcript: Click here for instructions
    • Résumé
    • Three Letters of Recommendation
    • Evidence of English proficiency (for students whose first language is not English)
    • Nonrefundable application fee
  2. Upload a portfolio of work online through SlideRoom.
    • A primary criterion for admission to the MDes program at the Stamps School of Art & Design is the assessment of your portfolio by our faculty. Graduate applicants will submit a portfolio of no more than 20 examples of recent work using SlideRoom.
    • Applicants may upload images (jpg), video (mov, wmv, flv), music (mp3) or PDF documents. Use the description fields to help us understand your work.

After admission materials are reviewed, top applications will be interviewed via video conference (Skype, Google Hangout, etc.) in mid-February. Final candidates will be determined after the interview process, and admission decisions will be announced mid-March.

Please contact Stamps Admissions Staff for assistance.