Accepting applications for MFA Design

Accepting applications for MFA Design

USC Roski School of Art and Design

Designs by USC Roski MFA Design students for the Los Angeles Poverty Department's 2018 Festival for All Skid Row Artists.

January 8, 2019
Accepting applications for MFA Design

Application deadline: March 1, 2019
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Ranked #1 in Best Colleges for Design in America by Niche, USC Roski offers a rigorous and dynamic, studio-based curriculum focused on experimental design, social practices, and teaching methodologies from a global perspective. The newly opened MFA Design campus in Los Angeles' Arts District includes an open concept design studio, makerspace, classrooms, conference and collaboration spaces—all outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment and technologies—as well as a Designer-in-Residence studio for leading designers visiting from around the world. Los Angeles’s Arts District is one of the country’s most creative, innovative and influential neighborhoods with historical industrial warehouses and manufacturing plants—many covered in street art—that house dozens of exciting design studios, boutiques, restaurants, tech companies, startups, creative industries, museums and galleries.

The MFA Design program supports the development of a personal contemporary practice that is unique and sustainable. Students work closely with internationally acclaimed design and critical studies faculty, as well as an expanded community of leading professional designers, artists, historians, critics, curators and culture makers who participate in regular visiting designer forums.

The scope of the program provides graduate design students with a critical examination of the issues, theories, and ideas that are relevant to contemporary design and a studio practice in design, with the following objectives:

–Increase your ability to analyze graphic design (along with architecture, fashion, art and other cutural production) by examining formal elements and engaging in research.
–Expand the knowledge of the creative process through the study of design history and a focus on creative methodologies. 
–Explore how political, cultural, and social conditions effect and enhance the practice of design. 
–Develop a deeper understanding of the theoretical, historical and aesthetic decisions behind a range of work.
–Enhance your ability to create work and establish a practice that is unique, sustainable and engaged with the world at large.

Capitalizing on USC's broader initiatives that promote thinking globally while working across disciplines, USC Roski graduate programs offer a seminar investigating the histories, theories and practices of global art and design. Students take one Design Study Tour or International Design Study Tour that provides a unique and fresh perspective to a field of study. Tours include on-site visits to some of the city’s most diverse and dynamic design firms and studios, meeting with art and design professionals and visits to museums and other cultural institutions. A sensitivity to cultural differences and contrasting ways of the visual arts is key to this program.

Additionally, MFA Design students take electives from within the Roski School as well as across the university, capitalizing on the strength of the University’s six professional art schools as well as the Marshall School of Business, the Annenberg School for Communication, the Viterbi School of Engineering and the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. 

With a select cohort enrolled each year, the program provides a unique experience that focuses on wide-ranging experimental design and social practice, creative and intellectual exploration, as well as a vast array of cross- and interdisciplinary opportunities afforded by a leading world-class university—offering an unparalleled environment for advanced study and practice in design.

Program information
Scholarships are available on a competitive basis.
Visit: to schedule an appointment for a program facilities tour, email cainj [​at​]
Applying: View admissions requirements

USC Roski School of Art and Design mailing address: 850 W. 37th Street, Watt Hall #104, Los Angeles, CA 90089

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January 8, 2019

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