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Graphic Design Graduate Programs in America

1-25 of 37 results

Harvard Graduate School of Design

Cambridge, MA •

Harvard University •

Graduate School

  • • Rating 4.29 out of 5   7 reviews

Master's Student: Great survey of urban planning if you have no prior background in architecture or urban studies; cohort skews younger (early to mid twenties) so might be an adjustment for older students with more experience ... Read 7 reviews

Harvard University ,

Graduate School ,

CAMBRIDGE, MA ,

7 Niche users give it an average review of 4.3 stars.

Featured Review: Master's Student says Great survey of urban planning if you have no prior background in architecture or urban studies; cohort skews younger (early to mid twenties) so might be an adjustment for older students with more... .

Read 7 reviews.

Roski School of Art and Design

Los Angeles, CA •

University of Southern California •

University of Southern California ,

LOS ANGELES, CA ,

Carnegie Mellon College of Fine Arts

Pittsburgh, PA •

Carnegie Mellon University •

  • • Rating 5 out of 5   4 reviews

Master's Student: I graduated from the School of Design at the College of Fine Arts. This is one best design program at a major research university. The cross disciplinary approach, and ability to take courses at other schools like business, engineering, and public policy makes the CMU experience truly unique. It’s been said that the hardest part about Harvard is getting in, and the hardest part about CMU is graduating. This very is true. ... Read 4 reviews

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Carnegie Mellon University ,

PITTSBURGH, PA ,

4 Niche users give it an average review of 5 stars.

Featured Review: Master's Student says I graduated from the School of Design at the College of Fine Arts. This is one best design program at a major research university. The cross disciplinary approach, and ability to take courses at... .

Read 4 reviews.

College of Arts and Sciences - Suffolk University

Suffolk University •

Graduate School •

School of Christian Studies and the Arts - Mississippi College

Mississippi College •

CLINTON, MS

Mississippi College

  • • Rating 4.37 out of 5   35

College of the Arts - University of Florida

Gainesville, FL •

University of Florida •

University of Florida ,

GAINESVILLE, FL ,

College of Fine Arts - Boston University

Boston, MA •

Boston University •

Boston University ,

BOSTON, MA ,

University of Washington College of Arts & Sciences

Seattle, WA •

University of Washington •

University of Washington ,

SEATTLE, WA ,

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Syracuse University College of Visual and Performing Arts

Syracuse, NY •

Syracuse University •

Syracuse University ,

SYRACUSE, NY ,

Rhode Island School of Design

Providence, RI •

  • • Rating 4.2 out of 5   5 reviews

Master's Student: I will be graduating the Masters of Furniture Design Program at RISD next year. So far my experience has been equally wonderful, challenging and disappointing. My fellow classmates are the ones driving me forward. The facilities are great, and I do feel I am held to a level of importance being at a University with such high standing. ... Read 5 reviews

PROVIDENCE, RI ,

5 Niche users give it an average review of 4.2 stars.

Featured Review: Master's Student says I will be graduating the Masters of Furniture Design Program at RISD next year. So far my experience has been equally wonderful, challenging and disappointing. My fellow classmates are the ones... .

Read 5 reviews.

College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences - University of Denver

Denver, CO •

University of Denver •

University of Denver ,

DENVER, CO ,

Rochester Institute of Technology - College of Art and Design

Rochester, NY •

Rochester Institute of Technology •

Rochester Institute of Technology ,

ROCHESTER, NY ,

College of Arts and Humanities - University of Central Florida

Orlando, FL •

University of Central Florida •

University of Central Florida ,

ORLANDO, FL ,

School of Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication (ATEC) - University of Texas - Dallas

Richardson, TX •

University of Texas - Dallas •

University of Texas - Dallas ,

RICHARDSON, TX ,

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Tyler School of Art and Architecture

Philadelphia, PA •

Temple University •

Temple University ,

PHILADELPHIA, PA ,

College of Fine Arts- Ohio University

Athens, OH •

Ohio University •

  • • Rating 5 out of 5   2 reviews

Niche User: Students are encouraged to teach undergraduate students and lead classes of their own during their time in graduate school. Graduate students seem to enjoy this more interactive experience. ... Read 2 reviews

Ohio University ,

ATHENS, OH ,

2 Niche users give it an average review of 5 stars.

Featured Review: Niche User says Students are encouraged to teach undergraduate students and lead classes of their own during their time in graduate school. Graduate students seem to enjoy this more interactive experience. .

Read 2 reviews.

College of Visual and Performing Arts - George Mason University

Arlington, VA •

George Mason University •

George Mason University ,

ARLINGTON, VA ,

College of Architecture, Design, and the Arts - University of Illinois at Chicago

Chicago, IL •

University of Illinois Chicago •

University of Illinois Chicago ,

CHICAGO, IL ,

Clinton, MS •

Mississippi College ,

CLINTON, MS ,

College of Arts and Letters - Missouri State University

Springfield, MO •

Missouri State University •

Missouri State University ,

SPRINGFIELD, MO ,

ArtCenter College of Design

Pasadena, CA •

  • • Rating 4 out of 5   1 review

Sophomore: Art Center is one of the best art and design schools in the world. I have learned so much from my time at art center. I truly believe it is the place to go if you want to be a successful artist or designers. The faculty and staff are fully committed to their students and really help their students grow to become the best they can be. We have the most talented and driven community. ... Read 1 review

PASADENA, CA ,

1 Niche users give it an average review of 4 stars.

Featured Review: Sophomore says Art Center is one of the best art and design schools in the world. I have learned so much from my time at art center. I truly believe it is the place to go if you want to be a successful artist or... .

Read 1 reviews.

Division of Humanities & the Arts - CUNY City College of New York

New York, NY •

CUNY City College of New York •

Master's Student: The psychology program at CUNY City College of New York continues to surprise me with interesting classes like Gender and Psychology as well as Trauma and resilience. It shows the deep and diversity of psychology. It’s a programs that continues to capture my interest. ... Read 1 review

CUNY City College of New York ,

NEW YORK, NY ,

Featured Review: Master's Student says The psychology program at CUNY City College of New York continues to surprise me with interesting classes like Gender and Psychology as well as Trauma and resilience. It shows the deep and diversity... .

Minneapolis College of Art and Design

Minneapolis, MN •

  • • Rating 4.83 out of 5   6 reviews

Master's Student: Thanks for being a part of education for the world and doing what you do here! For what it's worth, I'm mid career with a farming background. I am using this Masters degree to further my work as a certified life coach working with young leaders to elevate their confidence, level up their communication and shine their creativity so they can be ambassadors of global reimagination and make the impact their hearts desire. ... Read 6 reviews

MINNEAPOLIS, MN ,

6 Niche users give it an average review of 4.8 stars.

Featured Review: Master's Student says Thanks for being a part of education for the world and doing what you do here! For what it's worth, I'm mid career with a farming background. I am using this Masters degree to further my work as a... .

Read 6 reviews.

Suffolk University ,

Maryland Institute College of Art

Baltimore, MD •

  • • Rating 4.53 out of 5   15 reviews

Master's Student: Architectural design is a pretty new major for this school, however, I can say faculty and chair department did a grate job. The program is very unique and you learn a lot about design in general. Also, you have a good opportunity to learn about houses specifically passive-homes if you take classes with the chair department. ... Read 15 reviews

BALTIMORE, MD ,

15 Niche users give it an average review of 4.5 stars.

Featured Review: Master's Student says Architectural design is a pretty new major for this school, however, I can say faculty and chair department did a grate job. The program is very unique and you learn a lot about design in general.... .

Read 15 reviews.

Otis College of Art and Design

  • • Rating 4.33 out of 5   3 reviews

Master's Student: It’s a great school, and I’m glad I was accepted based upon my art portfolio. This is my dream school to attend, and the courses are very well organized, and educational. This contribute s to my knowledge, and prepares me for a great career in my field. ... Read 3 reviews

3 Niche users give it an average review of 4.3 stars.

Featured Review: Master's Student says It’s a great school, and I’m glad I was accepted based upon my art portfolio. This is my dream school to attend, and the courses are very well organized, and educational. This contribute s to my... .

Read 3 reviews.

Academy of Art University School of Graphic Design

San Francisco, CA •

Academy of Art University •

Academy of Art University ,

SAN FRANCISCO, CA ,

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This website exists as an ongoing collaborative experiment in digital publishing and information sharing. Because this website functions as a wiki, all members of the School of Art community—graduate students, faculty, staff, and alums—have the ability to add new content and pages, and to edit most of the site’s existing content.

Content is the property of its various authors. When you contribute to this site, you agree to abide by Yale University academic and network use policy, and to act as a responsible member of our community.

Page last changed by: Julian Bittiner

Graphic Design

Graphic design (mfa).

Program overview The graphic design program focuses on the development of a cohesive, investigative body of work, also known as the student’s thesis. At Yale, the graphic design thesis is conceived as a loose framework within which each student’s visual method is deployed across many diverse projects during the two-year course of study. While every thesis project is unique, there are several common features: a focus on methodology, the application of a visual method to studio work, and the organization of the work in a thoughtfully argued written document and “Thesis Book.”

The individual collection of graphic design work by each student is supported on several levels simultaneously: studio work led by faculty meeting weekly; small six-person thesis groups meeting biweekly; individual sessions with writing and editing tutors; and lectures, presentations, and workshops.

Facilities The School of Art provides digital lab facilities however all graphic design students are expected to have their own personal computer. Each student has a designated work space in the design studio loft and has access to equipment including bookbinding materials, wide format printers, a RISO duplicator, Vandercook press, and work spaces in the School of Art buildings. More resources supporting interdisciplinary projects including motion capture and VR is available at the nearby Center for Collaborative Arts and Media. In addition, students draw on the extraordinary resources of Yale University courses, conferences, films, lectures, and museums, and especially the extensive research and rare book collections of Sterling, Haas, and Beinecke libraries.

Two-year and preliminary-year programs Each year, up to ten students are admitted into the two-year graphic design program, and up to eight students are admitted into the preliminary-year program. Two-year program students typically have a BFA in Graphic Design and are expected to have substantial and distinguished professional experience. Students applying to the preliminary-year program typically have relevant experience in a field of study outside design and demonstrate evidence of strong visual acuity. After successful completion of the preliminary year, these students automatically continue on in the two-year M.F.A. program.

Last edited by: Taryn Wolf

Edit access: Everybody

Credit Requirements

Last edited by: Julian Bittiner

Typical Plan of Study

Preliminary-Year The preliminary year has a required studio course sequence and additional electives are not recommended.

Fall Art 710a, Preliminary Studio: 6 credits Art 264a2, Typography: 3 credits Art 370a, Designing with Time, Motion and Sound: 3 credits Art 468a, Advanced Graphic Design: Series and Systems: 3 credits

Total minimum credits for fall term: 15

Spring Art 711b, Preliminary Studio: 6 credits Art 265b, Expression, Structure, and Sequence: Typography: 3 credits Art 369b, Interactive Design and the Internet: 3 credits Art 469b, Advanced Graphic Design: History, Editing, and Interpretation: 3 credits

Total minimum credits for spring term: 15

First year There are 3 required courses in the first year of the two-year program, totaling 15 credits. The remaining 15 credit requirements for the year must be fulfilled through a combination of studio and/or academic electives.

Fall Required courses: Art 720a, 1st-year Graduate Studio: 6 credits Art 949a, Critical Practice: 3 credits

6 credits from design elective sequence:

Design electives offered: Art 743a, Letterform Design: 3 credits Art 744a, Moving Image Methods: 3 credits Art 750a, Programming as Writing: 3 credits

Spring Required courses: Art 720b, 1st-year Graduate Studio: 6 credits

3 academic credits and 6 credits from design elective sequence:

Design electives offered: Art 742b, Networks & Transactions: 3 credits Art 743b, Letterform Design: 3 credits Art 745b, Total Typography: 3 credits

Second year minimum credits There are 4 required courses in the second year of the two-year program, totaling 18 credits. The remaining 12 credit requirements for the year must be fulfilled through a combination of studio and/or academic electives.

Fall Required courses: Art 720a, 2nd-year Graduate Studio: 6 credits Art 739a, Degree presentation: 3 credits

6 credits of academic and/or from design elective sequence:

Design electives offered: Art 740a, Intermediality: Topography: 3 credits Art 752a, Mobile Computing: 3 credits

Spring Required courses: Art 730b, 2nd-year Graduate Studio: 6 credits Art 739b, Degree presentation: 3 credits

Design electives offered: Art 752b, Print to Screen: 1.5 credits Art 762b, Exhibition Design: 3 credits

Yale GD MFA Alumni 1998–2023

Best Graphic Design Programs

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Graphic designers are creative professionals who use

Graphic designers are creative professionals who use art and technical skills in a variety of industries, including publishing, business, fashion and advertising. These are the best fine arts schools for graphic design. Read the methodology »

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Today’s design work is vast.

It’s broader than products, experiences, and systems. It includes the technologies and data that power the above, and the implications and consequences of all of our work in the world in the short and long term.

This interconnected landscape is today’s design work. We believe that we have the responsibility to design and teach the full problem space.

Stanford MS Design Program

Offers design core courses through the Stanford d.school plus focus area electives selected from across the Stanford campus

Enables future designers to prototype across all mediums, learn from human needs and navigate ambiguous projects

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Our diverse alumni populations continue to lead and evolve design at the cross sections of human behavior, technology, manufacturing, aesthetic and more.

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Join a premier group of graduate students from twenty-four countries who are preparing to shape the world by addressing the complex challenges facing society through design practice and research.

Experts in the Field

The College of Design offers two distinct doctoral programs aimed at broadening student knowledge within the design field.

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PhD in Design

The PhD in Design is an on-campus program intended for students who seek to deepen their knowledge of both theory and research. The PhD in Design program offers very generous financial support including: tuition, insurance, travel support, and a stipend. All majors, freshmen through doctoral students, have dedicated studio space with 24-hour access. Lab spaces are state-of-the-art, and the College of Design facilities are among the best in the nation.

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The Doctor of Design program is a distance education program for established practicing professionals working with creative and case-based research problems who intend to apply the results of their studies to design practice. DDes students conduct original investigations through design-based practices, cases, and methods. The program provides a forum for connecting design research to the needs of society, by promoting the application of new knowledge in design and addressing design impacts on larger systems.

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2024 Best Online PhD in Graphic Design [Doctorate Guide]

If you have a passion for art and digital technology and want to conduct in-depth research about it at the collegiate or professional level, you might consider pursuing a PhD in Graphic Design.

Best Online PhD in Graphic Design

You may also find this degree essential if you desire to teach graphic arts at the postsecondary level.

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A doctorate in graphic design can also open up opportunities for advanced design careers in the commercial or creative sectors.

Online PhD in Graphic Design Programs

PhD in Graphic Design Programs

Every industry has a visual story to tell in advancing and promoting its products, and graphic designers are needed to make those stories compelling and attractive. A doctorate in graphic design can introduce you to a wide variety of cutting-edge tools in visual arts, and you can learn how to implement them at both the academic and commercial levels.

There are opportunities for graphic design experts in a range of fields, such as:

  • Information technology
  • Game design
  • Architecture
  • Landscaping
  • Digital animation
  • Interior design

If you choose to follow an academic career, your PhD can help qualify you to teach the fundamental disciplines of visual arts to undergraduate and graduate students.

Topics generally studied in a graphic design doctoral program include:

  • Advanced typography
  • Computers as a creative medium
  • Digital design
  • Interactive design
  • Research methods
  • Photography
  • Technology and representation
  • Experimental media

While pursuing this degree, you’ll conduct research in one of many specialty areas of graphic design. Your graphic design research focus will most likely depend on your interests and professional goals.

Graphic Design Careers & Salaries

Graphic Design Careers & Salaries

Nearly all industries rely on visual arts to advertise, illustrate, explain, educate, entertain, or communicate, so there is a great variety of opportunities in graphic design careers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics , here are some careers related to graphic design, along with their median salaries.

If you obtain a doctorate in graphic design, you may choose to work in either academia or industry. Graduates may find opportunities in upper-level administrative roles as well. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 4% job growth for arts and design occupations and 12% job growth for postsecondary teachers over the next ten years.

Graphic Design Doctorate Curriculum & Courses

Graphic Design Doctorate Curriculum

Graphic design PhD programs offer a wide variety of courses to help you hone your artistic skills and knowledge. Some students want to research new technologies, advance their teaching expertise, or apply graphic arts techniques to commercial and industrial projects.

A PhD program in graphic design will typically include some of the following courses:

  • Advanced typography : This course teaches you how to create powerful visual messages by using various typefaces and fonts.
  • Digital design : In this class, you may utilize digital technology to create dynamic animations and visual displays that can be applied to website layouts, print displays, or animation.
  • Interactive Design : In this class, you may master techniques that can help you create graphic projects that are free of bugs and user-friendly.
  • Data-Driven Art : This course shows you how to combine advanced techniques in computer technology to create sophisticated visual art presentations.
  • Web Design : Some web design courses help you hone your coding skills so you can create web-based graphic presentations.
  • Intellectual Property Law : These courses instruct you on copyright-related legal issues.
  • Photography : While enrolled in photography courses, you can learn about techniques related to taking photos and videos as well as manipulating the images to create innovative works of art.
  • Research Methods for Graphic Design : As a doctoral degree candidate, you’ll likely be required to conduct independent research in graphic design as part of your capstone class or dissertation.
  • Visual Culture and Design : In this course, you can examine the relationship between national culture and the way artists express themselves in graphic art.
  • Project Studio : In this class, you can have the opportunity to gain professional experience engaging in real-world commercial or pro bono artistic projects.

Many universities require PhD students to write a dissertation based on original research. Alternatively, you may have the opportunity to participate in a teaching assistantship program.

Graphic Design PhD Admissions Requirements

Graphic Design PhD

The admission requirements to get into doctorate programs for graphic design can change from school to school, but these are some common prerequisites:

  • Bachelor’s or master’s degree . Most programs require you to complete a bachelors degree in a related field, and most will expect a master’s degree as well. Schools generally request transcripts to verify your coursework and academic ability.
  • Letters of recommendation . Graduate programs may ask you to submit letters of recommendation from former teachers and employers stating your qualifications as a doctoral candidate.
  • GRE or GMAT scores . You may be asked to submit GRE or GMAT test scores, though a growing number of schools no longer require them.
  • Letter of intent . Some doctorate programs request that you provide a letter of intent that summarizes your career objectives and indicates your preferred research specialization.

Your entrance process can also include filling out an application and paying an application fee. In addition, international students may be required to show fluency in English. Colleges may also require you to submit a portfolio of your work.

Accreditation

Graphic Design PhD accreditation

Regional accrediting agencies review academic institutions according to measurable and objective standards of professional integrity and academic rigor.

Most educational institutions and employers will have greater respect for your credentials if they come from an accredited school. If you attend an accredited school, your credits are more likely to transfer between institutions. You may also have an easier time enrolling in further postgraduate study.

If you want to see if a prospective school has credible accreditation, you can visit the website of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) .

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Graphic Design PhD financial aid

While a doctorate can be costly, there are many national, regional, and local organizations that help doctoral students find a way to pay the bills. You may find financial support through grants, student loans, scholarships, or work-study programs.

Some organizations offer tuition assistance to veterans or active-duty military personnel. There are also companies that are willing to pay for their employees’ additional schooling. To see if you qualify for federal aid, you can fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) .

What Can You Do with a Doctoral Degree in Graphic Design?

Doctoral Degree in Graphic Design

A doctoral degree in graphic design can be a qualification for being a researcher or teacher at the postsecondary level. Graduates can also utilize their degree to pursue advanced positions in the design sector. Some design professionals find work in animation, advertising, or even medical illustration.

Additional career options in the private sector include industrial designer, digital designer, marketing manager, or art director. The positions you pursue may depend on your previous experience, your degree specialization, and your chosen industry.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Doctorate in Graphic Design Online?

Much like with an on-campus or online masters in graphic design , the requirements for a PhD in Graphic Design can differ from school to school. Most PhD programs take 3 to 5 years to complete with full-time study.

If no dissertation component is required, a doctorate may be finished in 3 years. Writing a dissertation or having to pass doctoral field examinations will often add time to your degree completion timeframe, as will enrolling part-time.

Is a PhD in Graphic Design Degree Worth It?

PhD in Graphic Design

Yes, a PhD in Graphic Design degree is worth it for many students. There is a lot of flexibility in how you can use this degree. A doctoral degree can help you qualify for positions in research and academia, but you can also pursue advanced career opportunities in a wide variety of sectors.

Many people who earn this degree go on to become college and university professors. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this profession is projected to grow 12% over the next ten years, which is faster than the national average.

While arts and design occupations are expected to see 4% job growth over the next ten years, employment for management occupations is projected grow 9% (Bureau of Labor Statistics). Art directors in particular are expected see 11% job growth over the next decade, which is faster than average.

Universities Offering Online Doctorate in Graphic Design Degree Program

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.

Clemson University

Clemson University offers a PhD in Rhetorics, Communication, and Information Design. The program provides instruction in how to conduct original research for publication in journals. Students in the program are typically preparing for careers in academia. The program is available online, following the same schedule as on-campus classes. The interdisciplinary curriculum covers studio art, communication, technology, and related subjects.

Clemson University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Indiana University of Pennsylvania offers a PhD in Media and Communication Studies. The program is designed to provide flexibility for working professionals. Those in the program can join a cohort of either full-time or part-time students. Full-time students take three classes at a time, and part-time students take two. Classes include both online and face-to-face elements.

Indiana University of Pennsylvania is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Liberty University

Liberty University offers a 100% online program for a PhD in Communication. It consists of 60 credit hours’ worth of 8 week courses. The average student takes 3 years to finish. The program is designed to allow students to keep working while earning their degrees. The curriculum is rooted in biblical principles.

Liberty University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Texas Tech University

Texas Tech University offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Technical Communication and Rhetoric. The program includes 60 credit hours of coursework earned in a hybrid format. The curriculum covers how to conduct original research and includes studies in visual rhetoric, user-centered design, technical communication, scientific rhetoric, and more.

Texas Tech University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of Alabama

The University of Alabama offers a PhD in Communication and Information Sciences. Numerous concentrations are available within the program, including Advertising and Public Relations, Media Processes and Effects, Interpersonal Communication, and more. Class sizes are small, and students can receive mentorship from faculty members.

The University of Alabama is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Getting Your PhD in Graphic Design Online

PhD in Graphic Design Online

If you enjoy using digital media to create art, you may be well suited for a career in graphic design. Earning a PhD in Graphic Design can help you advance your expertise and qualifications in this versatile field.

Experts in graphic design often seek work in design, marketing, or academia. Some professionals find their niche as a researcher, an artist, a professor, or a marketing manager. To find out more about what a PhD in this field has to offer, you can look into various online graphic design degree programs.

The sooner you start exploring accredited universities, the sooner you may find the PhD program that best aligns with your personal preferences and professional goals.

graphic design phd programs

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Doctoral Programs

Phd program.

I have a background in a specialized area related to design (illustration, photography, fine art, engineering, fashion, textiles, advertising, etc.). Does experience or a degree in this area meet the design qualification of the PhD? Candidates who do not have backgrounds in one of the School of Design's area of focus (Communication Design, Product Design, Interaction Design, UX design, Environments Design, Service Design, Design for Social Innovation, design research, design theory) would not be eligible for Teaching Fellowships. They may, however, be considered for the self-funded PhD option. Additional study, such as the School’s MA, MPS or MDes degree could make such candidates eligible for PhD Teaching Fellowships. Please contact us for advice on this matter.

I am an architect/urban planner interested in undertaking research in this area in combination with design. Would I be eligible for a Teaching Fellowship? Yes. Candidates with expertise on housing, interiors and smaller-scale architecture and an interest in Transition Design may apply and help the School build out its offerings in Environments Design.

I’m interested in undertaking doctoral research in Digital Interaction Design. Should I apply to this program? No. The Human Computer Interaction Institute offers a PhD with pathways in Interaction Design. Consequently, applicants with research topics and approaches that demand significant amounts of coding or more cognitive science based research methods will be encouraged to apply to HCII.

I have been working as a professional interaction/communication/product/service/social innovation/environments designer for 3+ years but I don’t have a master’s degree in design. Can I apply to the PhD program? In some cases, 3+ years of high-level professional design experience, demonstrated with a portfolio and a well-formulated research proposal may meet the application requirements. 

I come from a background in business and management but am interested in conducting research in Transition Design. Should I apply? In some cases, yes. Applicants with backgrounds in Business and Management, but with additional expertise and experience in Design, and who are interested in Transition Design, should apply to this program and will be encouraged to seek faculty advisers from other areas on campus.  We would be particularly interested in candidates with business and management expertise related to Transition Design such as circular economies, sustainable design, and B corps.

What if my areas of research are outside the expertise of the School of Design faculty? Carnegie Mellon is a highly ranked research university and there are potential advisors from a wide range of disciplines on the campus. We also have a network of potential advisors who are based in other institutions.

I am not a native English speaker, but my English is very good. Can you waive the language requirements for my application to the PhD program? No. The language requirements for application to the program cannot be waived. Please review these carefully.

Before I put time and energy into the application can I send you some examples of my work and have you tell me if you think I will be accepted into the program? No. Unfortunately we do not have the ability to review portfolio materials for each inquiry that we receive. To be considered for the program you will need to formally apply. 

Do you offer a part-time PhD or one that I can complete via ‘distance/online learning’? No. We do not currently offer an online option for our PhD degree. We hope to eventually offer a part time PhD degree but it is not an option at this time. 

Do you offer partial or fully funded scholarships for your PhD program? No. The only funding opportunity available is the Teaching Fellowship which requires students to teach 1-2 courses during the academic year.

DDes Program

Is the School of Design currently accepting applicants for its DDes program? Intake for this degree has been paused until further notice. We are currently reviewing our distance-learning offerings as a School and will post updates in the near future. 

  • Master's Programs

Doctoral Programs

exhibit showcasing various sized books titled Writing Practice

Doctoral programs at the Harvard Graduate School of Design are non-studio degree programs that allow in-depth studies of topical areas that span the traditional design disciplines.

To apply to the PhD program in Architecture, Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning, please visit the Harvard Kenneth C. Griffin Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) admissions page .

Doctoral Programs Harvard University Graduate School of Design 40 Kirkland Street, Room 1-A Cambridge, MA 02138 (617) 495-2337

Margaret Moore de Chicojay Program Administrator [email protected]

Liz Thorstenson Program Coordinator [email protected]

Melissa Hulett Executive Coordinator [email protected]

Photograph of robotic machinery

Master of Advanced Architectural Design

The Master of Advanced Architectural Design (MAAD) is a postgraduate, studio-based program that engages emerging methods of design and fabrication through architectural design to speculate upon future modes of architectural practice, enhanced construction methods, and material culture within the built environment.

Jeremy Ficca

Associate Professor, MAAD Track Chair & dFAB Lab Director

Jeremy Ficca

Program Overview

With a particular emphasis upon design, the four-semester program leverages the School of Architecture’s and Carnegie Mellon’s core strengths in design fabrication, architectural robotics, computational design, and ecological thinking as vehicles for knowledge acquisition and speculation.

The program focuses on the creation of new insights and new knowledge—or “research”—through the design process, or “research by design.”

The program seeks to probe the technical and cultural opportunities and implications of a data-rich future in which design methodologies, construction processes, and sustainable building life cycles are intrinsically interlaced.

The goal is consciously speculative and experimental work that is deeply enmeshed with social and environmental concerns, with explicit ties to humanistic and cultural discourses, industry, and contemporary practice. The faculty seek advanced-level projects that will position graduates as future thought leaders in architecture and allied fields relating to advanced fabrication, material performance, construction methodologies, or academia.

The MAAD program makes extensive use of the Design Fabrication Laboratory (dFAB)  in the School of Architecture. This cutting-edge digital fabrication facility includes a large-scale flexible space featuring two industrial robot arms capable of supporting subtractive, additive, and transformative processes at significant scale. The MAAD design studios and required courses make extensive use of this facility. 

Educational & Professional Qualifications

The MAAD program is intended for early- to mid-career professionals who already hold an architecture degree (B.A., B.S., B.Arch, M.Arch, or international equivalent).

Qualified candidates must demonstrate a familiarity with the proposed field of study and a high level of design ability.

Admitted candidates may apply for advanced standing based on previous coursework or professional experience, eliminating the first semester, and allowing them to begin studies in the spring term.

Program Details

Residency requirement.

The MAAD is a 2-year (4 semester) program with an option for advanced standing at 3 semesters. Students must complete a minimum residency requirement of three (3) academic semesters. Full-time status (minimum 36 units per semester) is required during the residency period.

Graduation Requirements 

In addition to the standard requirements for all graduate students in the School of Architecture, students in the MAAD program must satisfy the following:

Students are required to attend a Digital Fabrication Workshop in the week immediately preceding the start of the fall semester of their first year. These sessions will provide basic skills to utilize digital fabrication tools available in the school of architecture.

Students must complete a minimum of 165 units of coursework including a minimum of 63 units of elective coursework for graduation.

All course substitutions must be approved by the program Track Chair.

The MAAD curriculum offers the flexibility to craft a highly customized path of study rooted in design and research.

Advanced Synthesis Option Studios (ASOS) in the first year foreground an array of prescient topics and methodologies. A pro-seminar and pre-thesis seminar introduce contemporary discourse and modes of inquiry, while a diverse range of selective courses within the school of architecture along with elective courses offered across the university foster synthesis across knowledge domains. The fist year curriculum prepares students for one of the distinguishing features of the MAAD program: a year-long, independently determined but closely mentored design research project in the second year.  This capstone project leverages the power, creativity, and speculative nature of the design process to generate new knowledge, ideas, understanding, practices, or paradigms.

The extended time frame allows for adequate background research, extensive methods and tools preparation, and professional documentation of the process and results.

The ASO studios within the School of Architecture are comprised of students across studio programs, allowing students to forge relationships with students in other programs. Depending upon program enrollment and studio lotteries, ASO studios may include a blend of graduate and upper-level undergraduate B.Arch students.

View the MAAD Curriculum

Program Faculty

Joshua Bard

Joshua Bard

Associate Professor & Associate Head for Design Research

Daniel Cardoso Llach

Daniel Cardoso Llach

Associate Professor & CD Track Chair

Dana Cupkova

Dana Cupkova

Associate Professor & MSSD Track Chair

Kai Gutschow

Kai Gutschow

Associate Professor & Associate Head for Design Ethics

Admissions Resources

Are you a current student looking for resources? Handbooks, procedures and other information can be found on the Student Resources page .

MA & PhD in Architecture

Ucla architecture and urban design offers two academic graduate degrees: the master of arts in architecture (ma) and doctor of philosophy in architecture (phd)..

The programs produce students whose scholarship aims to provoke and operate within architecture’s public, professional, and scholarly constituencies. Both programs are supported by the Standing Committee, made up of five faculty members: Michael Osman (interim program director), Cristóbal Amunátegui , Dana Cuff , Samaa Elimam , and Ayala Levin . A number of visiting faculty teach courses to expand the range of offerings.

Applications for the MA/PhD program (Fall 2024 matriculation) are completed via the UCLA Application for Graduate Admission , and are due January 6, 2024. Candidates will be notified of decisions in March 2024; admitted candidates who wish to accept the offer of matriculation must submit their Statement of Intent to Register (SIR) by April 15, 2024.

graphic design phd programs

All MA and PhD students are required to enroll in a two-year colloquium focused on methods for writing, teaching, and researching in the field of architecture. The six courses that constitute the colloquium train students in the apparatus of academic scholarship. Over the two-year sequence, students produce original research projects and develop skills in long-format writing.

Research Opportunities

The intellectual life of the students in the MA and PhD programs are reinforced by the increasing number of opportunities afforded to students through specialized faculty-led research projects. These include cityLAB-UCLA and the Urban Humanities Institute .

MA in Architecture

This program prepares students to work in a variety of intellectual and programmatic milieus including historical research, cultural studies, and interdisciplinary studies with particular emphasis on connections with geography, design, art history, history of science and literary studies, as well as studio and design based research.

Beyond the core colloquium, MA students take a series of approved courses both at UCLA AUD and across campus. The MA program is a two-year degree, culminating in a thesis. The thesis is developed from a paper written by the student in their coursework and developed in consultation with the primary advisor and the standing committee. In addition to courses and individual research, students often participate in collective, project-based activities, including publications, symposia and exhibitions.

The program is distinguished by its engagement with contemporary design and historical techniques as well by the unusual balance it offers: fostering great independence and freedom in the students’ courses of study while providing fundamental training in architectural scholarship.

Recent MA Theses

  • Jacqueline Meyer, “Crafting Utopia: Paolo Soleri and the Building of Arcosanti.”
  • Joseph Maguid, “The Architecture of the Videogame: Architecture as the Link Between Representational and Participatory Immersion.”
  • Meltem Al, “The Agency of Words and Images in the Transformation of Istanbul: The Case of Ayazma.”
  • Courtney Coffman, “Addressing Architecture and Fashion: On Simulacrum, Time and Poché.”
  • Joseph Ebert, “Prolegomena to a Poiesis of Architectural Phenomenology.”
  • Jamie Aron, “Women Images: From the Bauhaus Weaving Workshop to the Knoll Textile Division.”
  • Gustave Heully, “Moldy Assumptions.”
  • Brigid McManama, “Interventions on Pacoima Wash: Repurposing Linear Infrastructure into Park Spaces.”

MA Typical Study Program

Phd in architecture.

This program prepares students to enter the academic professions, either in architectural history, architectural design, or other allied fields. PhD students are trained to teach courses in the history and theory of architecture while also engaging in studio pedagogy and curatorial work. In addition to the colloquium, PhD students take a series of approved courses both at UCLA Architecture and Urban Design and across campus. They select these courses in relation to their own research interests and in consultation with their primary advisor. The priorities for selection are breadth of knowledge and interdisciplinary experience that retains a focused area of expertise. To this end, the students identify Major and Minor Fields of study. The Minor Field is generally fulfilled by satisfactorily completing three courses given by another department and the Major Field by five courses offered by UCLA Architecture and Urban Design.

Once coursework is completed, PhD students move to the Comprehensive Exam, Qualifying Exam, and the writing of a dissertation, and final defense, if deemed appropriate by the doctoral committee. In the transition from coursework to exams, PhD students work on one paper beyond its original submission as coursework. The paper begins in the context of a departmental seminar, but often continues either in the context of an independent study, summer mentorship, or a second seminar with faculty consent. Upon the research paper’s acceptance, students begin preparing for their comprehensive exam. Before their third year, students must also satisfactorily complete three quarters of language study or its equivalent according to University standards. The particular language will be determined in consultation with the Standing Committee. The Comprehensive Exam is administered by at least two members of the Standing Committee and at most one faculty member from another Department at UCLA, also a member of the Academic Senate.

The Comprehensive Exam tests two fields: the first covers a breadth of historical knowledge—300 years at minimum—and the second focuses on in-depth knowledge of a specialization that is historically and thematically circumscribed. Students submit an abstract on each of these fields, provide a substantial bibliography, and prepare additional documentation requested by their primary advisor. These materials are submitted to the committee no less than two weeks before the exam, which occurs as early as the end of the second year. Students are encouraged to complete the Comprehensive Exam no later than the end of their third year of study.

The Comprehensive Exam itself consists of two parts: an oral component that takes place first, and then a written component. The oral component is comprised of questions posed by the committee based on the student’s submitted materials. The goal of the exam is for students to demonstrate their comprehensive knowledge of their chosen field. The written component of the exam (which may or may not be waived by the committee) consists of a written response to a choice of questions posed by the committee. The goal of this portion of the exam is for students to demonstrate their research skills, their ability to develop and substantiate an argument, and to show promise of original contribution to the field. Students have two weeks to write the exam. After the committee has read the exam, the advisor notifies the student of the committee’s decision. Upon the student’s successful completion of the Comprehensive Exam, they continue to the Qualifying Exam.

Students are expected to take the Qualifying Exam before the beginning of the fourth year. The exam focuses on a dissertation prospectus that a student develops with their primary advisor and in consultation with their PhD committee. Each student’s PhD committee consists of at least two members of the Standing Committee and one outside member from another department at the University (and a member of the Faculty Senate). Committees can also include faculty from another institution. All committees are comprised of at least three members of UCLA Academic Senate. The prospectus includes an argument with broad implications, demonstrates that the dissertation will make a contribution of knowledge and ideas to the field, demonstrates mastery of existing literature and discourses, and includes a plan and schedule for completion.

The PhD dissertation is written after the student passes the qualifying exam, at which point the student has entered PhD candidacy. The dissertation is defended around the sixth year of study. Students graduating from the program have taken posts in a wide range of universities, both in the United States and internationally.

Recent PhD Dissertations

  • Marko Icev, "Building Solidarity: Architecture After Disaster and The Skopje 1963 Post-Earthquake Reconstruction." ( Read )
  • Anas Alomaim, "Nation Building in Kuwait, 1961-1991."
  • Tulay Atak, “Byzantine Modern: Displacements of Modernism in Istanbul.”
  • Ewan Branda, “Virtual Machines: Culture, telematique, and the architecture of information at Centre Beaubourg, 1968–1977.”
  • Aaron Cayer, "Design and Profit: Architectural Practice in the Age of Accumulation"
  • Per-Johan Dahl, “Code Manipulation, Architecture In-Between Universal and Specific Urban Spaces.”
  • Penelope Dean, “Delivery without Discipline: Architecture in the Age of Design.”
  • Miriam Engler, “Gordon Cullen and the ‘Cut-and-Paste’ Urban Landscape.”
  • Dora Epstein-Jones, “Architecture on the Move: Modernism and Mobility in the Postwar.”
  • Sergio Figueiredo, “The Nai Effect: Museological Institutions and the Construction of Architectural Discourse.”
  • Jose Gamez, “Contested Terrains: Space, Place, and Identity in Postcolonial Los Angeles.”
  • Todd Gannon, “Dissipations, Accumulations, and Intermediations: Architecture, Media and the Archigrams, 1961–1974.”
  • Whitney Moon, "The Architectural Happening: Diller and Scofidio, 1979-89"
  • Eran Neuman, “Oblique Discourses: Claude Parent and Paul Virilio’s Oblique Function Theory and Postwar Architectural Modernity.”
  • Alexander Ortenberg, “Drawing Practices: The Art and Craft of Architectural Representation.”
  • Brian Sahotsky, "The Roman Construction Process: Building the Basilica of Maxentius"
  • Marie Saldana, “A Procedural Reconstruction of the Urban Topography of Magnesia on The Maeander.”
  • David Salomon, “One Thing or Another: The World Trade Center and the Implosion of Modernism.”
  • Ari Seligmann, “Architectural Publicity in the Age of Globalization.”
  • Zheng Tan, “Conditions of The Hong Kong Section: Spatial History and Regulatory Environment of Vertically Integrated Developments.”
  • Jon Yoder, “Sight Design: The Immersive Visuality of John Lautner.”

A Sampling of PhD Alumni and Their Pedagogy

Iman Ansari , Assistant Professor of Architecture, the Knowlton School, Ohio State University

Tulay Atak , Adjunct Associate Professor, Pratt School of Architecture

Shannon Starkey , Associate Professor of Architecture, University of San Diego

Ece Okay , Affiliate Research, Université De Pau Et Des Pays De L'adour

Zheng Tan , Department of Architecture, Tongji University

Pelin Yoncaci , Assistant Professor, Department Of Architecture, Middle East Technical University

José L.S. Gámez , Interim Dean, College of Arts + Architecture, UNC Charlotte

Eran Neuman , Professor, School of Architecture, Tel Aviv University

Marie Saldana , Assistant Professor, School of Interior Architecture, University of Tennessee - Knoxville

Sergio M. Figueiredo , Assistant Professor, Eindhoven University of Technology

Rebecca Choi , Assistant Professor of Architecture History, School of Architecture, Tulane University

Will Davis , Lecturer in History, Theory and Criticism, Department of Architecture, National University of Singapore

Maura Lucking , Faculty, School of Architecture & Urban Planning, University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

Kyle Stover , Assistant Professor, School of Architecture, Montana State University

Alex Maymind , Assistant Professor of Architecture and Director of Undergraduate Studies in Architecture, University of Minnesota

Gary Riichirō Fox , visiting faculty member at Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) and lecturer at USC School of Architecture

Randy Nakamura , Adjunct Professor, College of Arts and Sciences, University of San Francisco

Aaron Cayer , Assistant Professor of Architecture History, School of Architecture + Planning, University of New Mexico

Whitney Moon , Associate Professor of Architecture, School of Architecture & Urban Planning, University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

Todd Gannon , Professor of Architecture, the Knowlton School, Ohio State University

Dora Epstein Jones , Professor of Practice, School of Architecture, the University of Texas at Austin

Sarah Hearne , Assistant Professor, College of Architecture and Planning, University of Colorado Denver

PhD Typical Study Program

*The choice of language to fulfill this requirement must be discussed with the Ph.D. Standing Committee

Our Current PhD Cohort

AUD's cohort of PhD candidates are leaders in their fields of study, deepening their scholarship at AUD and at UCLA while sharing their knowledge with the community.

graphic design phd programs

Adam Boggs is a sixth year Ph.D candidate and interdisciplinary artist, scholar, educator and Urban Humanist. His research and teaching interests include the tension between creativity and automation, craft-based epistemologies, and the social and material history of architecture at the U.S.-Mexico border. He holds a BFA in Sculpture Cum Laude from the Ohio State University, and an MFA in Visual Art from the State University of New York at Purchase College. Prior to joining the doctoral program at UCLA he participated in courses in Architecture (studio and history) at Princeton University and Cornell University. His dissertation analyzes the history of indigenous labor during the Mexican baroque period to form a comparative analysis with the 20th century Spanish revival architecture movement in Southern California and how the implementation of the style along the U.S.-Mexico border might function as a Lefebvrian “thirdspace” that disrupts binary thinking. In Spring 2024 he will teach an undergraduate seminar course at AUD on the history of architecture at the U.S.-Mexico border as part of the CUTF program.

graphic design phd programs

Hanyu Chen is a second-year doctoral student at UCLA AUD. Her research focuses on the intersection between (sub)urban studies, heritage conservation, and the genders of the space. Specifically, it concerns the dynamics of genders in (sub)urban areas and how these dynamics are conserved as heritage. Born and raised in China for her first 18 years, Hanyu chose the conservation of comfort stations in China as her master's thesis at the University of Southern California, where she earned her master’s degree in Heritage Conservation and officially started her journey in architecture. Her thesis discusses the fluidity and genders of comfort stations and how they survive in contemporary China’s heritage conservation policies.

Hanyu also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in AMS (Applied Mathematics and Statistics) and Art History from Stony Brook University.

Yixuan Chen

graphic design phd programs

Yixuan Chen is an architectural designer and a first-year doctoral student in the Department of Architecture and Urban Design at UCLA. Driven by an impulse to demystify both the grand promises and trivial familiarities of architecture, her research embarks on the notion of everydayness to elucidate the power dynamics it reveals. She investigates the conflicts between these two ends and focuses on modernization across different times and places.

Prior to joining UCLA AUD, she was trained as an architect and graduated from the University of Nottingham's China Campus with a first-class honors degree. Her graduation project “Local Culture Preservation Centre,” which questioned the validity of monumental architecture in the climate crisis, was nominated for the RIBA President's Medal in 2016.

She also holds a Master of Arts degree with distinction in Architectural History from the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London. Her dissertation, “Shijing, on the Debris of Shijing,” explores the vanishing shijing places, or urban villages, where rural migrant workers negotiate their urban identity in Chinese cities, revealing shifting power relations. Additionally, she authored an article in Prospectives Journal titled "Architectural Authorship in ‘the Last Mile,’" advocating for a change to relational architectural authorship in response to the digital revolution in architecture.

graphic design phd programs

Pritam Dey is an urban designer and second-year doctoral student at UCLA AUD. His research interest lies at the intersection of colonial urbanism, sensorial history, and somatic inquiries. His architecture thesis investigated the crematorium and temple as sensorial infrastructure, and was presented at World Architecture Congress at Seoul in 2017. Previously Dey worked in the domain of urban design, specifically informal markets, as a shaper of urbanism in Indian cities. Prior to joining the AUD doctoral program, his past research focused on investigating the role of informal and wholesale markets in shaping up urbanity in the Indian city cores and co-mentored workshops on Urbanity of Chitpur Road, Kolkata with ENSAPLV, Paris which was both exhibited at Kolkata and Paris. He also co-mentored the documentation of the retrospective landscape of Hampi with the support of ENSAPLV and French Embassy. His investigations on the slums of Dharavi title ‘The tabooed city’ was published in the McGill University GLSA Research series 2021 under the theme: the city an object or subject of law?

An urban designer and architect, Pritam Dey pursued his post graduation from School of planning and Architecture, Delhi. During his academic tenure at SPA, he was the recipient of 2018 Design Innovation Center Fellowship for Habitat design allowing him to work on the social infrastructure for less catered communities in the Sub Himalayan Villages. In 2022 He mentored a series of exhibitions on the theme of Water, Mountains and Bodies at Ahmadabad.

He was the 2022-23 Urban Humanities Initiatives Fellow at UCLA and recipient of 2023 UCLA Center for India and South Asia fellowship for his summer research.

Carrie Gammell

graphic design phd programs

Carrie Gammell is a doctoral candidate working at the intersection of architectural history, property law, and political economy. Her research focuses on claims, investments, and intermediary organizations in the United States, from the Homestead Act of 1862 to the Housing Act of 1934.

Carrie is also a Senior Research Associate at cityLAB UCLA, where she studies state appropriations for California community college student housing. In the past, she contributed to Education Workforce Housing in California: Developing the 21st Century Campus, a report and companion handbook that provides a comprehensive overview of the potential for land owned by school districts to be designed and developed for teachers and other employees.

Prior to joining AUD, Carrie worked as an architectural designer in Colombia and the United States, where she built a portfolio of affordable housing, multi-family residential, and single-family residential projects as well as civic and cultural renovations and additions. She holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Rice University and a Master in Design Studies (Critical Conservation) from the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

Chi-Chia Hou

graphic design phd programs

Chi-Chia Hou is a doctoral candidate in his sixth year at UCLA AUD. His working dissertation, “New Frontier: Architecture and Service 1893-1960,” explores his interest in architecture and wealth, changing ideas of profit and management, and social scientific discourses for measuring work and worker, self and others, and values of landed property.

His research locates moments of theorizing methodologies to manage income-generating properties in schools of agriculture, home economics, and hotel studies. The schools taught their students theories, while instilling the imminence of faithful direction of oneself, of self-as-property. The pedagogies, existing beyond the purview of Architecture, were of immense architectural consideration.

Chi-Chia Hou took a break from school in the previous academic year to learn from his daughter and has now returned to school to learn from his brilliant cohorts.

Adam Lubitz

graphic design phd programs

Adam Lubitz is an urban planner, heritage conservationist, and doctoral student. His research engages the intersection of critical heritage studies and migration studies, with an emphasis on how archival information can inform reparations. His community-based research has been most recently supported by the Columbia GSAPP Incubator Prize as well as the Ziman Center for Real Estate and Leve Center for Jewish Studies at UCLA.

Prior to joining AUD, Adam worked at World Monuments Fund within their Jewish Heritage Program, and taught GIS coursework at Barnard College. His master's thesis applied field research with experimental mapping techniques in the old town of a municipality in Palestine. Adam holds MS degrees in Historic Preservation and Urban Planning from Columbia University and a BA in Urban Studies from New College of Florida.

graphic design phd programs

José Monge is a PhD candidate in the Department of Architecture and Urban Design. His dissertation, titled Maritime Labor, Candles, and the Architecture of the Enlightenment (1750-1872) , focuses on the role that whale-originated illuminants, specifically spermaceti candles and oil, played in the American Enlightenment as an intellectual project and the U.S. as a country. By unravelling the tension between binaries such as intellectual and manual labor–the consumers that bought these commodities and the producers that were not able to afford them–the project understands architecture as a history of activities that moved from sea to land and land to sea, challenging assumptions about the static “nature” of architecture.

Kurt Pelzer

graphic design phd programs

Kurt Pelzer is a fourth-year PhD candidate at UCLA AUD. Their research explores the relational histories, material flows, and politics of land in and beyond California in the long nineteenth century during the United States parks, public lands, and conservation movements.

Their current scholarship traces the settler possession and exhibitionary display of a Giant Sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) in the 1850s; an act that contested the ways Miwok peoples ancestral to California's Sierra Nevada knew and related to life and land. Their broader interests include histories of colonialism and capitalism in the Americas, environmental history, and Blackness and Indigeneity as a methodological analytic for political solidarities and possibilities.

Prior to arriving at UCLA, Pelzer worked at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in the Architecture and Design Curatorial Department participating in exhibitions, programming, and collections work. Pelzer completed a Master of Advanced Architectural Design in the History, Theory, and Experiments program from California College of the Arts in San Francisco, and earned their Bachelor's degree in Landscape Architecture from the College of Design at Iowa State University.

Shota Vashakmadze

graphic design phd programs

Email Shota Vashakmadze

Shota Vashakmadze is a sixth-year PhD candidate at UCLA AUD. His dissertation traces the conjoined histories of architectural computing, environmental design, and professional practice in the late 20th century, adopting critical approaches to architecture’s technical substrates—the algorithms, softwares, and user protocols of computation—to examine their social and political dispositions. In his scholarship and pedagogy, he aims to situate forms of architectural labor within the profession’s ongoing acculturation to environmental crisis. Most recently, he has been leading the development of the interdisciplinary “Building Climates” cluster, a year-long course sequence at UCLA, and co-organizing an initiative dedicated to fostering discourse on climate change and architecture, including a two-day conference entitled “Architecture After a Green New Deal.”

His research has been supported by the Canadian Centre for Architecture and appeared in journals including Architectural Theory Review , The Avery Review, and Pidgin Magazine. He is currently completing a contribution to a collection on landscape representation and a chapter for an edited volume on architecture, labor, and political economy.

Shota holds an MArch from Princeton University and has a professional background in architecture, landscape, and software development. Before coming to UCLA, he researched methods for designing with point cloud data and wrote Bison, a software plugin for landscape modeling.

Alexa Vaughn

graphic design phd programs

Alexa Vaughn (ASLA, FAAR) is a first year PhD student in Architecture + Urban Design and a Eugene V. Cota-Robles Fellow , from Long Beach, California. She is a Deaf landscape designer, accessibility specialist, consultant, and recent Fellow of the American Academy in Rome (2022-23). She is a visionary speaker, thought leader, prolific writer and researcher, and the author of “ DeafScape : Applying DeafSpace to Landscape,” which has been featured in numerous publications.

Her professional work is centered upon designing public landscapes with and for the Deaf and disabled communities, applying legal standards and Universal Design principles alongside lived experience and direct participation in the design process. She is an expert in designing landscapes for the Deaf community (DeafScape) and in facilitation of disabled community engagement. Prior to joining the A+UD program, Alexa worked for several landscape architecture firms over the course of six years, including OLIN and MIG, Inc.

Through a disability justice lens, her dissertation will seek to formally explore the historical exclusionary and inaccessible design of American urban landscapes and public spaces, as well as the response (activism, policy, and design) to this history through the present and speculative future. She will also actively take part in activist- and practice-based research with cityLAB and the Urban Humanities Institute .

Alexa holds both a BA in Landscape Architecture (with a minor in Conservation and Resource Studies) and a Master’s degree in Landscape Architecture (MLA) from the University of California, Berkeley, with specialization in accessible and inclusive design. Much of her work can be found at www.designwithdisabledpeoplenow.com and on Instagram: @DeafScape.

Yashada Wagle

graphic design phd programs

Yashada Wagle is a third year PhD student in Critical Studies at UCLA AUD, and a recipient of the department's Moss Scholarship. Her research focuses on imperial environmental-legislative regimes in British colonial India in the late nineteenth century. She is interested in exploring questions around the histories of spaces of extraction and production as they network between the metropole and the colony, and their relationship with the conceptions of laboring bodies therein. Her master's thesis focused on the Indian Forest Act of 1865, and elucidated the conceptualization of the space of the ‘forest’ through the lenses of its literary, legislative, and biopolitical trajectories, highlighting how these have informed its contemporary lived materiality.

Wagle holds a Bachelor in Architecture (BArch) from the Savitribai Phule Pune University in India, and a Master in Design Studies (History and Philosophy of Design and Media) from the Harvard Graduate School of Design. She was previously a Research Fellow at the Kamla Raheja Vidyanidhi Institute for Architecture and Environmental Studies (KRVIA) in Mumbai, India.

In her spare time, Wagle enjoys illustrating and writing poetry, some of which can be found here .

Dexter Walcott

graphic design phd programs

Dexter Walcott is a registered architect currently in his fifth year with the Critical Studies of Architecture program at UCLA. His research focuses on the Latrobe family and early nineteenth century builders in the Mississippi and Ohio river valleys. He is interested in the role of the built environment in histories of labor, capitalism, steam-power, and industry.

graphic design phd programs

Born and raised in Hong Kong, Joy is a fifth-year PhD student in architecture history. Her research explores geology as antiquity from early 19th – 20th century British colonial Hong Kong and China. She holds a B.A. in Comparative Literature with a focus in German from Middlebury College in 2017, and is a graduate of The New Normal program at Strelka Institute, Moscow in 2018. Previously, she has taught in the Department of Architecture at University of Hong Kong, as well as the Department of Design at Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

After working as a curatorial assistant at Tai Kwun Contemporary in 2019, she has continued the practice of art writing and translation, collaborating with many local Hong Kong artists as well as international curators such as Raimundas Malašauskas. In her spare time, she practices long-distance open water swimming. In 2022, she completed a 30km course at the South of Lantau Island, Hong Kong.

The MA and PhD programs welcome and accept applications from students with a diverse range of backgrounds. These programs are designed to help those interested in academic work in architecture develop those skills, so we strongly encourage that you become familiar with fundamental, celebrated works in the history and theory of architecture before entering the program.

Applicants to the academic graduate programs must hold a Bachelor’s degree, or the foreign equivalent. All new students must enter in the fall quarter. The program is full-time and does not accept part-time students.

Applications for the MA and PhD programs (Fall 2024 matriculation) will be available in Fall 2023, with application deadline of January 6, 2024; please revisit this page for updates. Accepted candidates who wish to enroll must file an online Statement of Intent to Register (SIR) by April 15, 2024.

How to Apply

Applying to the MA and PhD programs is an online process via the UCLA Application for Graduate Admission (AGA).

Completing the requirements will take some time, so we strongly recommend logging in to the AGA in advance to familiarize yourself with the site and downloading the documents and forms you will need to complete your application.

You can also download this checklist to make sure you have prepared and submitted all the relevant documents to complete your application.

Your Statement of Purpose is a critical part of your application to the MA and PhD programs. It is your opportunity to introduce yourself and tell us about your specific academic background, interests, achievements, and goals. Our selection committee use it to evaluate your aptitude for study, as well as consideration for merit-based financial support.

Your statement can be up to 1500 words in length. Below are some questions you might want to consider. You don’t need to answer every question; just focus on the elements that are most relevant to you.

  • What is your purpose in applying to the MA or PhD program? Describe your area(s) of research interest, including any areas of concentration and specialization.
  • What experiences have prepared you for this program? What relevant skills have you gained from these experiences? Have your experiences led to specific or tangible outcomes that would support your potential to contribute to this field (e.g. performances, publications, presentations, awards or recognitions)?
  • What other information about your past experience might help the selection committee in evaluating your suitability for this program? E.g. research, employment, teaching, service, artistic or international experiences through which you have developed skills in leadership, communication, project management, teamwork, or other areas.
  • Why is UCLA Architecture and Urban Design the best place for you to pursue your academic goals?
  • What are your plans for your career after earning this degree?

Your Personal Statement is your opportunity to provide additional information to help the selection committee evaluate your aptitude for study. It will also be used to consider candidates for UCLA Graduate Division fellowships related to diversity. You can read more about the University of California Diversity Statement here .

Your statement can be up to 500 words in length. Below are some questions you might want to consider. You don’t need to answer every question; just focus on the elements that are most relevant to you.

  • Are there educational, personal, cultural, economic, or social experiences, not described in your Statement of Purpose, that have shaped your academic journey? If so, how? Have any of these experiences provided unique perspective(s) that you would contribute to your program, field or profession?
  • Describe challenge(s) or barriers that you have faced in your pursuit of higher education. What motivated you to persist, and how did you overcome them? What is the evidence of your persistence, progress or success?
  • How have your life experiences and educational background informed your understanding of the barriers facing groups that are underrepresented in higher education?
  • How have you been actively engaged (e.g., through participation, employment, service, teaching or other activities) in programs or activities focused on increasing participation by groups that have been historically underrepresented in higher education?
  • How do you intend to engage in scholarly discourse, research, teaching, creative efforts, and/or community engagement during your graduate program that have the potential to advance diversity and equal opportunity in higher education?
  • How do you see yourself contributing to diversity in your profession after you complete your academic degree at UCLA Architecture and Urban Design?

A Curriculum Vitae (résumé of your academic and professional experience) is recommended but not required.

Applicants must upload a scanned copy of the official transcripts from each college or university you have attended both in the U.S. and abroad. If you are accepted into the program you will be required to submit hard copies. These can either be sent directly from each institution or hand-delivered as long as they remain in the official, signed, sealed envelopes from your college or university. As a general rule, UCLA Graduate Division sets a minimum required overall grade-point average of 3.0 (B), or the foreign equivalent.

As of this Fall 2023 cycle, the GRE is NOT required as part of your application to UCLA AUD. No preference will be given to those who choose to submit GRE scores as part of their application.

However, if you do take the GRE exam and wish to include it as part of your application: More information on this standardized exam can be found at www.ets.org/gre . In addition to uploading your GRE scores, please direct ETS to send us your official score sheets. Our ETS codes for the GRE are below:

UCLA Architecture and Urban Design Institution Code: 4837 Department Code: 4401

We recommend you take the exam at least three weeks before the application deadline as it usually takes 2-3 weeks for ETS to send us the test scores.

If you have received a Bachelor’s degree in a country where the official language of instruction and primary spoken language of daily life is not English, you must submit either a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or an International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Exempt countries include Australia, Barbados, Canada, Ireland, Jamaica, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. This is a requirement that is regardless of your visa or citizenship status in the United States.

To be considered for admission to the M.Arch. program, international students must score at least a 92 on the TOEFL or a 7 on the IELTS exam. Because processing, sending, and receiving TOEFL and IELTS scores can take several weeks, international students must schedule their exam no later than October 31 in order to meet UCLA deadlines. TOEFL scores must be sent to us directly and uploaded as part of the online submission. Our ETS codes for the TOEFL are below:

UCLA Architecture and Urban Design Institution Code: 4837 Department Code: 12

If your score is less than 100 on the TOEFL or 7.5 on the IELTS, you are also required to take the English as a Second Language Placement Examination (ESLPE) on arrival at UCLA. The results of this test will determine any English as a Second Language (ESL) courses you need to take in your first term of residence. These courses cannot be applied towards your minimum course requirements. As such, you should expect to have a higher course load than students not required to take ESL courses.

If you have earned a degree or completed two years of full-time college-level coursework in the following countries, your TOEFL / IELTS and ESLPE requirements will be waived: U.S., U.K., Canada (other than Quebec), Australia, and New Zealand. Please provide official transcripts to demonstrate course completion. Unfortunately, we cannot accept any other documentation to demonstrate language proficiency.

Three (3) letters of recommendation are required. These letters should be from individuals who are familiar with your academic and professional experiences and can evaluate your capacity to successfully undertake graduate studies at UCLA. If you do not have an architecture background please note that we are looking for letters that evaluate your potential as a graduate student, not necessarily your architecture experience.

Letters of recommendation must be sent electronically directly to UCLA by the recommender. When logged in, you can enter the name and email address of each of your recommenders. They will be contacted by email with a request to submit a letter on your behalf. You can track which letters have and have not been received. You can also send reminders to your recommenders to send their letters.

Writing samples should illustrate an applicant’s capacities for research, analytical writing and scholarly citation. Texts may include seminar papers, theses, and/or professional writing.

Please complete and submit the Department Supplement Form to confirm your intention to apply to the MA or PhD program.

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