Thesis Preparation
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Level: Graduate
Division: Parsons The New School for Design
School: School of Design Strategies
Department: Transdisciplinary Design
Course Number: PGTD 5220
Course Format: Studio
Location: NYC campus
Permission Required: No
  • Transdisciplinary Design
  • Design Research
  • Design
Building off of the research methods and practices developed during the second-semester course Design-led Research, this thesis preparation course requires students to develop a large but focused design-led research project, which emerges from their research interests. Students initiate and outline their project during the first semester of their second year and devote the majority of their final semester to it. The course culminates in a public Thesis Statement presentation, which articulates the scope and scale of the research project, demonstrates its relevance to an external community or public, and identifies the members of the thesis committee. The thesis committee must include at least one New School faculty member and two external advisors. Throughout the course, the instructor reviews how to compose a master’s thesis, document the strengths and weaknesses of past thesis projects, and craft a research project that is innovative, original, and appropriate. Projects in MFA Transdisciplinary Design are collaborative; thesis students must form a team—whether with other students or with people outside the program—that serves as the basis of this collaborative effort. This course emphasizes early production sketches, prototypes, and other forms of visualization and materialization that reinforce the design-led emphasis of the thesis project. The course also works in parallel with the Professional Communication course, where students map a professional community and identify their roles as designers within it. This exercise informs the thesis preparation process, and students are expected to be able to explicitly connect their research and project with an external community.
Course Open to: Majors Only
Course Pre/Co-requisites:
Open to: MFA in Transdisciplinary Design majors only. Pre-requisite(s): PGTD 5101 Projects Studio 2: Emergent Social Forms; PGTD 5130 Design-Led Research. Co-requisite(s): PGTD 5200 Projects Studio 3: Transnational Social Flows; PGTD 5230 Professional Communication.


Open to Graduate students.


Open to Transdisciplinary Design students.