Graduate | Design

Master of Design

Program Collage M Des v2

Clockwise from top left: Alonso Molina Adame, Sepideh Parand, Kaiwen Yang.

Think boldly. Dare to take risks.

Our immersive Master of Design is for designers who aspire to create experiences and products that transform our local and global communities. Grounded in critical theory and material experimentation, our programs are actively engaged in the ecology, ethics and politics of design.

What You Will Learn

Our programs are built on critical, practice-based creative research. Throughout your time at Emily Carr, faculty, staff, and peers will contribute to your professional development by mentoring, challenging, and supporting you.

Your thesis project— a creative product comprising both of innovation through media and written component— will be fostered in-studio classes and research seminars by skilled and attentive faculty supervisors.

There three distinct paths available to you at Emily Carr:

NEW! MDes Information Futures

Our new Master of Design virtual-first stream is a two-year graduate degree that positions students for advanced research, practice, and industry-aligned skills in information design, communication design, and systems design through a critical, future-oriented lens. Students will engage with an international cohort of peers through dynamic synchronous and asynchronous learning environments alongside a range of flexible learning activities including in-person/hybrid engagements.

Like our other MDes streams, Information Futures highlights research and studio experience with a focus on socially engaged practice that is relevant across a wide array of applications and work environments. Students may focus on social, cultural, and sustainability themes; policy and government work; health and education; editorial and communication design and more, while gaining best practice tools and skills for both in-person and virtual realms, aligned with current industry standards. Join Information Futures and push the boundaries of the field, and the future of information design.

What will you learn?

Information Futures is specifically designed for students looking for online learning and creating, and champions learners who are living and working in remote locations and students who prefer virtual accessibility.

The specialized curriculum allows students to develop robust skills in design research while accessing various community-building and mentorship opportunities in a critical and expansive academic experience.

Students develop thesis projects addressing a variety of complex information challenges while engaging various publics, communities, and stakeholders that can range from policy communication for health, legal, environmental and cultural sectors, to developing new critical and speculative practices, to engaging with Indigenous-centered research practices. This virtual stream delves into the multidimensional and interdisciplinary space of information while providing a platform for investigating tools including computational design and visualization, motion graphics, coding, the use of AI, and more.

Shape the future of design by applying to MDes Information Futures today. Be at the forefront of creative and professional innovation and become a powerful designer, facilitator, communicator, and researcher ready to lead across a range of professional and creative landscapes. Your journey to influence the future starts here.

MDes Interdisciplinary

Our MDes Interdisciplinary pathway is a two-year, on-campus degree that centres creative research and material exploration. This degree takes a human-centered approach to design, examining our communities’ social, technological, and experiential needs.

You'll focus on conceptual and theoretical design issues through a practice-based and creative approach. With an emphasis on making, you'll redefine sustainability and the role of design in our contemporary world.

What will you learn?

Students in this pathway engage in an interdisciplinary design practice through research seminars and studio classes. Alongside explorative coursework, you'll engage with a variety of emergent and established design streams through independent thesis development on a topic of your choice.

More wide-ranging and exploratory than the Interaction degree, the Interdisciplinary pathway foregrounds playfulness and hands-on learning to examine how material choices relate to community, sustainability, and social progress.

As an MDes Interdisciplinary student, you'll have the chance to participate in generative public presentations and exhibitions and a series of lectures from renowned designers. With access to an expansive on-campus suite of studios, labs, and research facilities, you will be immersed in innovative and formative play within a design field of your choice.

MDes Interaction

Our MDes Interaction pathway is a two-year, on-campus degree that includes coursework, creative research, and material exploration. The MDes Interaction program has a UX/UI focus, but goes far beyond that, too. Students investigate and challenge design approaches related to nature, services and systems, human relations with technology, ethics in data, and much more.

As an MDes Interaction student, you'll participate in innovative and generative coursework and independent thesis development.

What will you learn?

You'll choose a research focus area within the interaction design realm. This may involve researching human behaviour, the overlap between the physical and digital, the use of ephemeral materials, psychology in design, and other related topics of interest.

In a studio-practice and research-based environment, you will be encouraged to challenge assumptions on how we engage with one another and the world around us.

With access to various on-campus labs (including a VR lab) and participatory research guidance, you will lead and contribute to futuring, speculative writing, and experimental and collaborative design.

Research seminars, studio classes, public presentations, and lectures from renowned designers and scholars will inform, deepen, and supplement your design practice as you complete your coursework and thesis project.

Explore our curriculum.

Want to learn more about the specifics of our MDes program? You can find detailed course descriptions and curriculum pathways here.

"I walked into Emily Carr with curiosity, desire, and questions, and I walked out with passion, inspiration, and more questions. For me, design is no longer just about learning skills and theories, but a tool of exploring and a way of thinking. For these two years, we dived into different problem spaces and actively engaged in this little world to explore, participate and ponder about how can we use our interdisciplinary knowledge and design actions to make this society a better place. I'm not sure what this journey will bring me, but it will have a meaningful impact on my life.”

Danni Li, MDes 2021

Stories from Our MDes Community

"The Master of Design program [at] Emily Carr has enabled me to meet and collaborate with some of the brightest minds in the creative industry. As a creative professional this allows me to expand the conceptual and intellectual scope of my work, thus elevating my work in the increasingly global market."

Jonathan Yaputra, MDes 2020

Our Studios + Facilities


Above: MFA students in their personal studios. Below: MFA candidate prOphecy sun in the Motion Capture Studio.

Graduate programs at Emily Carr University have a strong focus on studio practice with rigorous individual and group critiques that aim to balance the integration of theory, practice, and production.

As a graduate student, you will have your own studio space at your disposal throughout the program, and to shared, dedicated work areas. Graduate students work with Technical Services Coordinators who help with their various studio needs.

A wealth of resources and integrated studios, labs, and workshops housing a wide range of media, analogue and new digital technologies will be available to you. Find detailed descriptions of our shops and studios on our website.

Beyond the Studio

Your graduate studies are about more than your individual practice. You're also joining a dynamic, engaged community of peers who will challenge you and support you in your artistic development. Discover the culture of graduate studies at ECU, enriched by events and community-led initiatives.