The two-semester MA in Design Research, Writing & Criticism provides intensive instruction in techniques for researching, analyzing, and interpreting design and its cultural and environmental implications. The program combines humanities-oriented critical thinking and journalistic tools to produce writing and editorial content intended to inform and engage broad audiences. The rigorous one-year MA with thesis offers a high-impact, targeted program well suited to the circumstances of both established professionals and recent graduates wishing to continue their studies at an advanced level.
The SVA MA in Design Research, Writing & Criticism features an unparalleled core faculty, comprised of celebrated curators, editors, critics, and designers such as: The New York Times senior culture reporter Robin Pogrebin, PIN-UP founder and editor at large Alex de Looz, design educator and author Steven Heller, podcast producer Leital Molad, and urban design critic Karrie Jacobs. With numerous guest lecturers and critics visiting the department every semester—recent visitors have included The New Yorker “Talk of the Town” editor Lizzie Widdicombe, media critic and author Virginia Heffernan, designer Rob Giampietro, biographer Deborah Solomon, IDEO strategist Alex Gallafent, architecture curator Sean Anderson—the program takes particular care to connect students to inspirational mentors and help them to forge relationships with potential employers, mentors and colleagues.
The program’s curriculum charts the cutting edge of design practice and is responsive to exciting developments in the media landscape. It aims to generate provocative new thinking about design and to help shape the ways in which design is engendered, presented, and evaluated. In providing the tools for constructing compelling narratives about design in multiple formats, the program amply prepares students for future-facing careers in research, publishing, education, museums, institutes, design practice, and entrepreneurship, or for continued studies in a design-related subject.
Alumni of the program have gone on to work at companies and institutions such as Google, Metropolis magazine, Vitra Design Museum, Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, Rizzoli Publishing, Rhode Island School of Design, Institute of Play, The Museum of Modern Art, The Glass House, Rutgers University, Project Projects, Ziba, Surface Magazine, and Storefront for Art and Architecture.
Here in the SVA Department of Design Research, Writing & Criticism we study design in all its manifestations, with a pronounced interest in its contexts and consequences. This means we don’t just focus on designed products or buildings, but also on the infrastructure that connects them, and the policy that shapes them. We try to look at what happens after a designed product is launched. We go beyond the glossy images supplied by the manufacturer to discover how things actually get used and discarded, and how they impinge upon our daily reality.
To arrange a visit to the department, or an appointment with the program chair Molly Heintz, please do not hesitate to contact us.