Hallie Ford School of Graduate Studies

MFA in Collaborative Design

MFA IN COLLABORATIVE DESIGN (CD) is defined by the work we do and the people we do it with, from creating a design/maker space to empower community, to designing an interactive system for treating and preventing pediatric migraines, to tracking political campaign donations through data visualization, to restoring ecosystems through product/market design.

Design, research, entrepreneurship, teamwork—we use all the tools available (and create some when we need to) to make it happen.


Creatively Fearless: PNCA's MFA in Collaborative Design from PNCA - Pacific Northwest College on Vimeo.

This distinctive program draws on the city of Portland, the Pacific Northwest, and the Pacific Rim as living laboratories for students to examine issues such as resource depletion, climate change, urban/rural systems, food systems, and emerging technologies, while taking into account the needs and concerns of human and non-human stakeholders.

Social, economic, and environmental change are vital components of the program, and students pursue research and create work that directly addresses these issues. Students take advantage of new technologies and partner with communities and international knowledge networks. Upon completion of the 60-credit, two-year program, students graduate with a project portfolio that features collaborative design as a process for considering and acting in today’s complex, interconnected world.

Is this the program for you?

We’re looking for emerging designers, entrepreneurs, activists and team members who want to take their understanding, approach and skills to a new level. Students come from backgrounds in art and design, liberal arts, science, policy, technology, engineering, journalism and business, with a wide variety of life experience. It’s how we curate our diverse team that makes the difference.  Applicants are passionate about making a significant impact in the world. We’re passionate about enabling change-makers.

Our graduates are launching successful programs, working for leading design initiatives and nonprofits, creating thriving design consultancies, and working in higher education. 

To receive information or updates on the MFA in Collaborative Design, fill out the inquiry form and contact Peter Schoonmaker, Program Chair, pschoonmaker [at] pnca [dot] edu.

Applications are currently being reviewed.

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