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  • Transdisciplinary Design MFA

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  • Contact Us

    thinkparsonsgrad@newschool.edu 
    212.229.5150 (US Only)

    Program Contact
    John Bruce, Program Director

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  • The Transdisciplinary Design MFA employs a collaborative, systems-oriented approach to design and social thought, emphasizing design-led research. This program functions as an academic laboratory in New York City where you develop creative practices to address emerging and complex challenges. You collaborate with the public and partners, imagining futures that can serve as effective interventions in our most pressing social, economic, political, and environmental challenges. Considering issues from multiple perspectives and scales, you generate transformative multimedia strategies.

    Program Highlights

    • New Approaches to Design

      Build vital capacities as a reflective practitioner and transform the roles of designer and design in order to decentralize authorship and question power and privilege.

    • Real-World Relevance

      Learn from community and industry leaders and emerge with a portfolio that showcases design as a process for transforming social relations and contemporary life.

    • Future-Focused

      Engage in projects that integrate ecological, economic, technological, and social systems to promote resilience, sustainability, community inclusion, and justice through design.

    • Creative Collaboration

      Study alongside students from the Design and Urban Ecologies, Strategic Design and Management, and Design and Technology programs, fostering interdisciplinary work.

    • Dynamic Professional Paths

      Prepare to work in traditional design fields and emerging areas of design, research, and strategy such as policy, healthcare and education reform, and social innovation.

    • Applicant Profile

      This program is tailored to students with an understanding of the design process from academic or professional experience in areas including art, journalism, business, and social practice.

    • Degree Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
    • Format Full-time, on campus
    • Credits 60
    • Duration 2 years
    • Other program status STEM-designated
  • Curriculum

    The curriculum addresses large-scale, complex challenges that transcend disciplinary boundaries. Working collaboratively, students extend the boundaries of design practice, discovering new and innovative ways to bring about social change. Students frequently work with external partners on both studio and thesis coursework, developing real-world approaches to complex problems.

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  • Career Paths

    Graduates pursue a variety of careers, including design consulting; post-secondary teaching and research, organizational development; international development; service design; in-house design leads within government organizations and other industries; and other roles related to transformational strategy. Recent graduates have presented at international conferences, opened consultancies, and taken leadership positions within community innovation labs.

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  • Student Work

  • Parsons faculty represent a broad range of expertise and are acknowledged as leading practitioners and scholars in their fields.

  • Beyond the Classroom

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      Research Labs

      Research is integral to the Parsons learning experience, and students and faculty work together to challenge existing paradigms and advance emerging scholarship and practice. Explore the thematic research laboratories housed at Parsons and throughout The New School.

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      Industry Engagement

      Connect to the organizations, businesses, and entrepreneurs driving global creativity and commerce. In classes, internships, and extracurricular projects, you gain marketable problem-solving skills in sectors ranging from government and nonprofits to tech and creative industries.

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      Internships

      New York City’s thriving creative industry and cultural institutions are part of your Parsons education. Our Career Services Office is enmeshed in the art and design industries and can help you advance your career with industry-oriented internships. 

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      Funded Opportunities

      Funds are earmarked for graduate travel, research, and work to support your study. Opportunities include paid teaching assistantships, research fellowships and assistantships (including ones offered throughout The New School), ample student employment, and other grants available to U.S. domestic and international students alike.

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      Making & Academic Resources

      Enjoy access to extensive resources including New School libraries, computer labs, archives, and studios, along with Parsons’ state-of-the-art Making Center, facilities offering a broad array of tools to support your creative and academic growth.

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    • Take The Next Step

    Submit your application

    Undergraduates

    To apply to any of our undergraduate programs (except the Bachelor's Program for Adults and Transfer Students and Parsons Associate of Applied Science programs) complete and submit the Common App online.

    Undergraduate Adult Learners

    To apply to any of our Bachelor's Program for Adults and Transfer Students and Parsons Associate of Applied Science programs, complete and submit the New School Online Application.

    Graduates

    To apply to any of our Master's, Doctoral, Professional Studies Diploma, and Graduate Certificate programs, complete and submit the New School Online Application.

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