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Apply: MDes

MDes Appli­ca­tion dead­line: Jan­u­ary 62022

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/​industrial design­ers, visual communication/​graphic design­ers, and user-expe­ri­ence design­ers, and UX/​UI/​interaction design­ers) who want to trans­form their career paths. We will also con­sider qual­i­fied can­di­dates with edu­ca­tion and expe­ri­ence related to the program’s umbrella theme who have design expe­ri­ence 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. Mem­bers of our design team will engage in col­lab­o­ra­tive, inquiry-based 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 5 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 theme. Learn more about our MDes pro­gram, the umbrella theme, and cohort topic 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

      Click here to start the Rackham Graduate Admission Application Form.

      This 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 umbrella theme, 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? More information >
      • Official Transcript. More information >
        - All applicants must upload a scanned copy, front and back, of their official transcript/academic record issued by the Registrar or Records Office, to ApplyWeb for each bachelor’s, master’s, professional, or doctoral degree earned or in progress. The scanned copy of the official transcript is used for initial review by the graduate program faculty.
        - A downloaded transcript from your school portal or system is an unofficial transcript and not acceptable for review.
        - If you are attending or have graduated from a Non-U.S. institution, review the Required Academic Credentials from Non-U.S. Institutions for requirements by country.
        - We will require an official transcript be sent to Rackham only after an offer of admission is made.
      • Curriculum Vitae or Résumé. More information >
      • Three Letters of Recommendation. More information >
        Electronic submission is the highly preferred method to submit letters of recommendation. If your recommenders would prefer to use a paper recommendation form instead, click here for the form. This form and the accompanying letter should both be emailed to Stamps Graduate Admissions staff.
      • Evidence of English proficiency for students whose first language is not English. More information >
      • Required academic credentials from non-U.S. institutions. More information >
      • Nonrefundable application fee. More information >
    • 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, video, audio, or PDF documents. Use the description fields to help us understand your work.
      • Click here to start your SlideRoom portfolio.
    • 3. Submit a video statement

      Please send us ( a video of yourself responding to the following prompt:

      Tell us how you used creative problem solving to address a challenge in an academic or work setting.


      • Length: Your video should be limited to no more than two minutes in length
      • Format: Your video should be formatted as an .mp4 or .mov file or sent as a link from a streaming service like Vimeo or YouTube

    Fre­quently Asked Questions

    Visit the MDes FAQ for detailed infor­ma­tion on the MDes pro­gram, includ­ing spe­cific ques­tions about finan­cial aid, com­plet­ing your appli­ca­tion, and check­ing the sta­tus of your sub­mit­ted materials.

    Note: GRE scores are not required. If you would like to sub­mit your scores, please feel free to do so, but they are not required.


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