Parsons Paris

Curriculum

  • The Master of Fine Arts in Design and Technology program offered at Parsons Paris is a 60-credit curriculum.  

    First Year / Fall

    Credits Spring Credits
    APTE 5000 Major Studio 1 6 APTE 5202 Major Studio 2 6
    APHT 5011 Design for This Century: Lecture 0 APTE 5201 Collab 3
    APHT 5012 Design for This Century: Recitation 3 Academic Elective 3
    APTE 5001 Creativity and Computation Lab 3 Support Elective
    3
    Support Elective 6

      18   15

    Major Studio I – Fall

    This course is the primary introduction to the creation of work within a design and technology context and should be seen as the interface for MFADT core topics — Narrative, Computation, and Interactivity — as well as the tripartite of the program: design, technology, and society. The course is designed as a stepping stone to a student's own investigations and interests, as well as a space for exploration and experimentation with alternative design processes and methodologies. The course is run in a studio format, which means all students are expected to participate in the making, discussion, and critique of work.

    Open to master's degree in Design and Technology majors only.

    Major Studio II – Spring

    Similar to Major Studio 1, this is the core course within the curriculum in the spring semester, and is designed as a stepping stone to a deeper investigation of the student’s research pursuits in the thesis year. The course is run in a studio format, which means all students are expected to participate in the making, discussion, and critique of work. This course concentrates on more focused areas of study within the field of interaction design, as per the research initiatives of the instructor. Possible areas of study might include new forms of narrative, interaction design, fashionable technology, game design, or computation. The curriculum introduces students to the history and contemporary practice specific to the studio’s concentration topic, as well as contextualizing how that discipline relates to the larger field of design. The course continues the investigation of design process and methodology and expands on critique, presentation and critical thinking skills. Individual research is emphasized more heavily, as students refine the investigation that guides their practice and begin to develop a summer research plan in preparation for their thesis year.

    Design for This Century
    This lecture course is designed as an introduction to comprehending design as a mode of acting in the century that is now emerging around us. The course is an exercise in thinking out the likely underlying tendencies of this century and the potential and limits of design as a mode of action in relation to these tendencies. The course thinks design in relation to the some of the major shifts opened in the C21st, particularly in relation to the emergence of the artificial as the horizon and medium of our existence and the deep un-sustainability of what is. It thinks these tendencies both as threats (dangers) and possibilities. The underlying human or cultural question is: How can one act, and how we can be, in relation to what this century makes possible? The underlying design question is: What roles can or should design (in the widest sense) play in relation to what could emerge for us? The course is therefore an exploration; it uses the question of how we should design in the light of the demands the future makes on us to begin a process of re-thinking what it is that design “is” and can be.

    Design for This Century will be presented in Paris by the dean and invited guest lecturers.

    Design for This Century Recitation
    This is an on-site recitation course for Design for This Century.

    Creativity and Computation Lab
    Building on the Bootcamp Code curriculum, this introductory course is an exploration of programming basics as applied to art and design. After delving into the processing environment, students learn basic concepts of physical computing with Arduino and the openFrameworks creative coding platform, with the goal of acquiring skills for use in major studio projects.

    Design and Technology Workshop
    Mini-workshops (three to five sessions) explore areas of broad interest; micro-workshops (one to two sessions) focus on topics of particular interest to students and faculty.

    Sample structure for one semester:

    • Prototyping and Iteration (2 weeks)
    • Game Design (5 weeks)
    • Computer Vision (2 weeks)
    • Sound Synthesis (1 week)
    • Physical Interfaces (5 weeks)

    Mini-workshops may include

    • Interaction Design
    • Game Design
    • Physical Interfaces
    • Creative Coding

    Micro-workshops may include

    • Computer Vision
    • Mobile and Locative Media
    • Sound Synthesis and Sonic Interfaces
    • Prototyping and Iteration
    • Design and Ethnography
    • Circuit Bending / Hardware Hacking
    • Data Visualization
    • Urban Interventions

    Academic Elective
    Essential to students’ development in the MFADT program is exposure to the theoretical ideas, work, and design research practices of key individuals working in design and technology. Academic electives introduce students to the theories, methodologies, and development processes involved in contemporary design and technology projects. Because of the diversity of the MFADT student population, these courses generally present design and technology from a variety of cultural perspectives. The school’s Paris location also fosters cultural exchange.

    Academic electives support the primary and secondary research being done by students in the Major Studio and serve as preparation for the Thesis Studio, taken in the second year of study. The two types of courses (studio and seminar) are intended to feed off each other, equipping students with a robust conceptual and critical tool set. Taught in a seminar format, academic electives emphasize critical thinking, design writing, discussion, and the development of an individual perspective.

    Collaboration Studio
    The Parsons DT studio environment promotes collaboration and teamwork. The collaboration (Collab) studio is a unique course that places these activities at the center of the curriculum and course goals. The Collab studio pairs student teams with industry partners to work on real-world projects. In many of the collaboration studios, cross-disciplinary teams explore faculty research interests.

    Second Year / Fall Credits Spring Credits
    APTE 5003 Integrative Thesis Studio 1       6 APTE 5004 Integrative Thesis Studio 2 6
    Support Elective 3 APTE 5201 Collaboration Studio  3
    Support Elective
    3 Support Elective 3
    Academic Elective
    3

      15   12

    Thesis I and II
    The thesis is the systematic study of a design question. It requires students to identify an idea and area of study, research its major assumptions and precedents, explain the significance of the undertaking, set forth the process and method for proposing solutions, create prototypes, and offer a conclusion through the production of a body of work. The finished project should reflect the student’s originality, experimentation, and critical and independent thinking and have an appropriate organization and format. The project should be thoroughly documented. The Thesis Project should demonstrate an effective application of ideas — whether in design, art, commerce, or theory — and can take any of a number of forms, from a game or software tool to an installation, database, or social experiment.

    Design and Technology Workshop II
    Series II of the DT Workshops is based on the interests of students working on a thesis. During the previous semester, students and faculty develop a set of workshop topics. First-year students with experience can take this workshop with faculty permission. First-year students may partner with second-year students to research and develop thesis projects on a topic of shared interest.

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