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Design (M.Des.)

IIT Institute of Design's Master of Design program is a two-year degree for people who want to become strategic designers and make a significant impact in the private, public, or nonprofit sectors.

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Founded by László Moholy-Nagy as The New Bauhaus in 1937, IIT Institute of Design (ID) is known for pioneering human-centered design and systems design. We believe today’s designers must move fluidly between strategic thinking and creative doing.

ID’s STEM-designated Master of Design program is a two-year degree for people who want to become strategic designers. Through collaborative projects, students learn to build offerings and service systems that address complex business, civic, and social challenges. Exploring options through rigorous prototyping and critique, students identify directions that provide value, prompt action, and support sustainable change. Upon graduation, students are ready to make a significant impact in the private, public, or nonprofit sector.

Students with no formal design training are encouraged to apply. Accepted students join a cohort of people from around the world with varying disciplinary backgrounds.

Program Overview

The Master of Design is a two-year degree for people who want to become strategic designers. Through collaborative projects, students build offerings and service systems that address complex business, civic, and social challenges. Students with no formal design training are encouraged to apply.

Career Opportunities

Our students enjoy more than a 90 percent placement rate within six months of graduation.

Employers come to campus in the fall and spring for recruitID, when students can interview for internship and career opportunities. Through regular careerID programming, students receive ongoing support and guidance on the hiring process and in planning their professional paths.

ID alumni become leaders across the private and public sectors, serving at the director and executive level in roles like:

  • UX designer
  • Innovation consultant
  • Design strategist
  • Design researcher
  • Educator
  • Entrepreneur
  • Interaction designer
  • Product designer
  • Service designer

Eighty percent of a student’s path through the full-time M.Des. curriculum is their choice—that is, electives make up the greater part of the educational experience. Guided by faculty advisors and their own interests, students create their own unique paths through the ID curriculum. The M.Des. program is a full-time, in-residence program, and takes four semesters (one additional semester with the Foundation program) to complete.

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Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree and are required to submit transcript(s), full mark sheets, and degree/diploma certificates from each institution attended—regardless of whether or not a degree was earned—as well as three letters of recommendation, a portfolio, statement of interest, and a resume or curriculum vitae. There is no minimum work experience requirement, although two to four years of professional experience is preferred. ID considers full-time internships, volunteer work, and freelance projects as formal work experience. TOEFL or IELTS scores are required for any applicant with an undergraduate degree from an institution where the primary language of instruction is not English. We do not require a GRE or GMAT score for any application. However, if you have a score you would like to submit we are happy to include that in your application evaluation. We will accept either the GRE or the GMAT.

I was looking for a more impactful career–my goal was to learn to design products, services, and experiences that help people. ID is one of the only graduate design schools that accepts non-designers, equips them with design skills, and builds them into multifaceted designers.

Justin Walker (M.Des. Candidate)

Featured Faculty

Laura Forlano
Associate Professor
Martin Thaler
Studio Professor
Tomoko Ichikawa
Clinical Professor
Christopher Rudd
Visiting Clinical Professor
Zach Pino
Studio Instructor

See Our Student Work

Photo of Lizzy Engele

M.Des. student Lizzy Engele co-founded MakerGirl, a nonprofit organization that aims to get young girls interested in STEM fields.

ID Ticketing Mockup

Working with the City Clerk of Chicago, a group of ID students proposed new ways to make parking ticketed practices in Chicago more equitable.

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ID students and faculty worked with Boxville to imagine a new future for the Bronzeville community space.

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Working with Fortune Magazine, ID faculty and students surveyed design experts to rank the greatest designs of the modern era.