Masters & Doctoral Research

Masters Research:

Design research is a distinctive aspect of our MDes and MPS programs. Students study and employ a wide variety of human-centered design methodologies which enable them to conduct design research aimed at better understanding people and their needs. 

A unique feature of our Master of Design (MDes) program is the second year Thesis Project, developed through an intensive research and design process under the guidance of a faculty advisor. Projects span a range of topics, with creative concepts proposed in response to research questions in various areas of design for interactions, services, social innovation, and communication.

Learn more about Masters research foci.

Abstracts and full text documents of recent Thesis Projects can be explored in our Research Showcase. 

Doctoral Research:

PhD candidates at the School of Design undertake research in collaboration with faculty and advisors .  This means that faculty and peers assist candidates in the creation of new knowledge about the nature and practice of design and the way in which design can make a difference in society as a whole.

Ours is one of the few institutions in North America in which doctoral candidates can engage in Practice-Based Research, through our Professional Doctorate (DDes) program. Practice based research is an original investigation undertaken in order to gain new knowledge through the practice and outcomes of design. Outcomes can be demonstrated through artifacts, visualizations, models, prototypes, exhibitions and other outputs from design process. 

The significance and context for this research is often text-based, but the full articulation can only be realized through the process of design and its outputs. This type of research attracts and is ideally suited to practicing designers because the outputs are more directly relevant to how design is practiced.

Learn more about our Doctoral areas of research foci.