The MFA in Collaborative Design and MA in Design Systems start with the end in mind: to produce creative leaders who will apply a whole systems mind set and a tool kit of design, analytical, and entrepreneurial skills to drive positive impact in private, public, and non-profit sectors. Students, faculty, partners, and clients work together on complex problems using a collaborative, systems-based, human-centered approach. Both programs draw on the city of Portland, the Pacific Northwest, and the Pacific Rim as learning labs for graduate students seeking expanded design practices to meaningfully address the emerging challenges of the 21st century. Our faculty, mentors, partners, and participants share a vision where future creative leaders effect systemic change creating equitable, resilient, and profitable solutions for a changing world.
This Fall, faculty members Herman D'Hooge and Laura O'Quinn led students in an innovative course called "Design for the Long Now". This course is about designing solutions to complex societal or environment problems such as social injustice, climate change, environmental degradation, loss of biodiversity, poverty, intra- or inter-generational inequity requires taking the long view.
Join the MFA in Collaborative Design and the MA in Design Systems for a conversation with design researcher Lisa Boumstein-Smalley.
Students from the Cultural Entrepreneurship course will be presenting their final projects at HatchLab PDX on Tuesday, December 18th from 7-9pm.
For the first Collaborative Design/Design Systems workshop of the year, faculty member Roel Uleners led our cohort of first year students through a rigorous Design Sprint around a central topic, selected by the group on the first day.
MFA in Collaborative Design
This 60-credit program is tailored for early- and mid-career creatives who are ready for an immersive experience. Late afternoon and evening classes up-level skills and aptitudes for a rapidly changing design environment. We take a critical and entrepreneurial approach to “wicked” problems such as resource depletion, emerging technologies, climate change and global demographic shifts.
MA in Design Systems
This 40-credit program embraces the reality that all creative endeavors are embedded within complex systems: of design, relationships, hierarchies, production, power, collaboration, and competition. This program is for the working creative who wants to master those systems, whether inside a firm, between organizations, or among multiple stakeholders.
"Collaborative Design prepared me for a life of working with entrepreneurs by introducing me to the world of social innovation and community-oriented design. I am so grateful for the connections I developed with fellow alum, mentors and professionals through the program."
Classes are held in the late afternoon and evening to accommodate early and mid-career creatives who want to accelerate their skills while continuing to work.
Participants work with the most creative, professional minds in Portland, Oregon – a leading edge of creativity - and access new technologies and partnerships with national and international knowledge networks. Upon completion of the 60-credit, two-year program, graduates leave with a project portfolio that demonstrates their ability to think critically and act entrepreneurially in rapidly changing environments.
They go on to launch successful programs, work for leading design initiatives and nonprofits, create thriving design consultancies, and work in higher education.View Faculty & Facilities