Call for applications: Master’s in Design Research, Writing and Criticism

Call for applications: Master’s in Design Research, Writing and Criticism

School of Visual Arts (SVA)

Design Research, Writing and Criticism studio. Photos: Meredith Jenks.

September 27, 2019
Call for applications: Master’s in Design Research, Writing and Criticism

Priority application deadline: January 15, 2020
DCrit fall open house & info session: October 7
School of Visual Arts (SVA)
Design Research, Writing & Criticism
136 W 21 St, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10011
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“Designers that rise to the top can write, articulate, weave a narrative, and communicate ideas in a compelling way.”
–Khoi Vinh, Principal Designer, Adobe

Interested in the contexts and consequences of design? Passionate about storytelling in multiple media? The SVA MA in Design Research, Writing & Criticism is now accepting applications for fall 2020, with scholarship funding available to successful candidates. 

This two-semester MA in Design Research, Writing & Criticism provides intensive instruction in techniques for researching, analyzing, and interpreting design and its cultural and environmental implications. Combining humanities-oriented critical thinking with journalistic tools, the program focuses on producing writing and editorial content intended to inform and engage broad audiences about design in all its manifestations. 

The program’s curriculum charts the cutting edge of design practice and is responsive to the latest developments in the media landscape. It aims to generate provocative new thinking about design and to help shape the ways in which design is engendered, presented, and evaluated. 

In addition to graduate coursework in a seminar format, each student develops a thesis on the design topic of their choice that synthesizes investigative research with critical analysis, supported over the course of the year by faculty advisors and group workshops. Read and listen to excerpts of thesis projects on our website

By providing the tools for constructing compelling narratives about design through writing and other media, the program prepares students for leadership positions in research-driven design practices, journalism and publishing focused on design, or for PhD research in a design-related subject. However, the comprehensive set of research tools, writing skills, and critical thinking that students gain through the program can apply to a variety of career paths and entrepreneurial endeavors.

Our graduates have had remarkable success, going on to work at publications including Metropolis, Domus, Dwell, Curbed, ArchDaily, Surface, PIN-UP, and The Architect’s Newspaper; museums and institutions like MoMA, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, Vitra Design Museum, Parsons, RISD, Storefront for Art and Architecture, Public Policy Lab, The Glass House, and Chamber Gallery; at tech companies such as Google, Facebook and Squarespace; at design consultancies like IDEO, SYPartners, and Ziba Design; at research-driven design firms, like 2x4, Steven Holl Architects, and Project Projects; and have founded their own start-up consultancies and publications, such as Superscript, Original Copy, and CLOG.

The MA in Design Research, Writing and Criticism features an unparalleled core faculty including design writer and critic Karrie Jacobs; Phaidon Editor-at-Large Spencer Bailey; PIN-UP co-founder Pierre Alexandre de Looz; The New York Times culture reporter Robin Pogrebin; author and graphic designer Steven Heller; Content Matters principal Jennifer Rittner; First Look Media executive producer Leital Molad; The Incidental Steward author Akiko Busch; writer and documentarian Adam Harrison Levy. With numerous guest lecturers and critics visiting the department per semester—such as TED design curator Chee Pearlman, 2x4 Partner Susan Sellers, The New York Times senior critic Michael Kimmelman, New Journalism progenitor Gay Talese, MoMA Director of Design Rob Giampietro, 2018 Venice Architecture Biennial U.S. curator Mimi Zeiger, media critic Virginia Heffernan, technology ethnographer Tricia Wang, art critic and biographer Deborah Solomon, IDEO strategist Alex Gallafent—the program connects students to inspirational mentors and help them to forge relationships with potential employers and colleagues.

Priority deadline for online application and supporting materials is January 15, 2020 for those wishing to be considered for first-round scholarship funding. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis thereafter, as space allows. Please contact us for details or join us at our open house & info session on October 7, 2019.

Apply here.

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September 27, 2019

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