Graduate Programs

M.A. in Social Design (MASD)

The first degree-bearing program of its kind, the M.A. in Social Design program will prepare you to understand and address the challenges facing society as you grow your skills, examine the designer's role and responsibility in society, and bring about social change through 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 fellowship programs, 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. 

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, challenges conventional ways of thinking, facilitates new institutional collaborations, utilizes design and the design process to bring about social change, and strives to create contexts in which ideas can be sustained.

The program offers a human-centered, experiential, creative, and optimistic approach to understanding and addressing the challenges facing society. The program delivers its content through a variety of curricular and project-based learning opportunities in conjunction with visiting faculty and scholars from different disciplines and backgrounds. Students are challenged to understand the social, cultural, political, and economic factors surrounding social issues and are encouraged to work towards tangible solutions in collaboration with other institutions, organizations, and community members. 

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 creating positive change;
  • 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.