Graduate Programs

M.A. in Social Design (MASD)

Elevating the social and design literacy of creatives and building new pathways for professional practice.

The first degree-bearing program of its kind, MICA’s MA in Social Design is an intensive, practice-based graduate program that prepares creative changemakers with the tools and methods to advance equity and social justice and become pioneers and leaders in the practice.

Throughout the 1-year program, students will:

  • Increase Social Literacy—Develop a deeper understanding of the issues of equity, power, race and privilege that exist at the heart of the social problems we aim to address.
  • Deepen Design Literacy—Establish an ethical framework to guide personal practice and learn human-centered design methods to build empathy with and engage people in making and doing.
  • Create Professional Pathways—MA in Social Design alumni are pioneering and innovative leaders in the public, private, non-profit, entrepreneurial and academic sectors. Click here for a snapshot of what our alumni are doing.

 

Program Overview

MICA’s M.A. in Social Design is a 1-year, interdisciplinary graduate program that explores the designer’s role and responsibility in society. The 30-credit program is comprised of seminar, studio, and elective courses as well as a variety of other immersive and practice-based experiences that take students outside of the institution to learn. Examples include:

  • Visiting Faculty—In addition to core faculty and staff, MA in Social Design students learn from visiting faculty across a variety of disciplines and backgrounds.
  • Practice-based Studio—MA in Social Design students are eligible to enroll in semester-long courses that bring students from a variety of disciplines together with outside partners from government, nonprofit and business sectors to learn and apply the human-centered design process.
  • Human-centered Design Intensive—MA in Social Design students learn and experience the human-centered design process in a multi-day, immersive project with a local partner facilitated by a leading practitioner in the field.
  • Graduate Fellowships—MA in Social Design students put their skills into practice in professional contexts through paid, part-time fellowships with a variety of institutions during the academic year.
  • Capstone—MA in Social Design students undertake an immersive, design-driven project that focuses on a specific social problem and applies the methods, tools, and frameworks learned in the curriculum.
  • Post-graduate Associates—MA in Social Design graduates are eligible for associate positions within the Center for Social Design to build a professional practice and deepen their work in Baltimore after they graduate.

 

Center for Social Design

MICA’s M.A. in Social Design (MASD) is uniquely positioned within the Center for Social Design, an interdisciplinary Center dedicated to demonstrating and promoting the value of design in advancing equity and social justice, and to inspiring and preparing the next generation of creative changemakers.

The Center expands upon MICA's pioneering work in social design since 2007, bringing together our four key social design initiatives: our MASD graduate program, our award-winning Practice-based Studios, our Post-Graduate Associates, and our multi-year Impact Initiatives.

Students enrolled in the program have the opportunity to be exposed to and participate in a variety of initiatives within the Center with community partners working across diverse contexts, disciplines, and themes. 

 

Who Should Apply

An ideal candidate for the M.A. in Social Design would be a professional, practitioner, or recent graduate who:

  • believes design and the design process can, and should, play a role in advancing equity and social justice;
  • can offer a unique perspective to the program;
  • is prepared for a collaborative, immersive, hands-on graduate experience;
  • is excited about and able to work collaboratively with different disciplines, knowledge bases, and points of view;
  • is interested in developing and cultivating a personal point of view and approach to social design;
  • has worked or studied in a relevant field including (but not limited to), design, architecture, business, writing, anthropology, sociology, public health, fine arts, engineering, environmental studies, non-profit, and more.

Laptop Requirement

Students in MICA's M.A. in Social Design are required to provide a laptop for their studies. Due to the extensive community engagement and project/field work outside the institution, the mobility of a laptop will be essential to the program and experience.

Essential Secrets of Baltimore Moms book
A poster advertising the annual social design exchange. The poster reads "How might we redefine beauty to reclaim the physical, mental, and emotional health of women?"
A person moves around text markers to show what resources might be available in a space.
Eight covers and an interior spread of MASD thesis projects.
Essential Secrets of Baltimore Moms book

Essential Secrets of Baltimore Moms

In collaboration with Baltimore City Health Department's Bureau of HIV and STIs, the Center for Social Design developed and designed "Essential Secrets of Baltimore Moms" as part of our work to support moms living with HIV in Baltimore. Essential Secrets was designed by Rachel Serra (MASD'17) with illustrations by Emily Joynton.

Date
2018
Credit

Image courtesy of the artist.

A poster advertising the annual social design exchange. The poster reads "How might we redefine beauty to reclaim the physical, mental, and emotional health of women?"

Social Design Exchange poster

Credit

Image courtesy of the artist. 

A person moves around text markers to show what resources might be available in a space.

Social Design workshop

Eight covers and an interior spread of MASD thesis projects.

MASD thesis publication covers

Artist
Various
Credit

Image courtesy of the artists.

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MICA's Center for Social Design

Practice Based Studios

Practice-based Studios are credit-bearing, elective courses that bring students from MASD and a variety of other disciplines across MICA together with outside partners from government, nonprofit and business sectors to undertake a human-centered design process to address a concrete social problem.