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Parsons’ Master of Fine Arts in Industrial Design program offers an innovative two-year, 60-credit full-time graduate curriculum that prepares students to negotiate the seemingly contradictory forces at play in the growing product design industry. Students explore the way goods can be produced in both localized contexts (a “making in place” approach, which relies on regionalized needs and constraints) and globalized contexts (employing design principles focusing on universal needs). Parsons’ School of Constructed Environments includes graduate students in Architecture, Interior Design, and Lighting Design, creating a unique learning community.

Studying in NYC

New York City boasts the country’s largest number of creative-sector jobs and attracts top design talent. Local industry events and collaborations with commercial and nonprofit partners deepen connections to the field. In the MFA Industrial Design program, students combine advanced making skills with critical inquiry to design for production at all scales, from low volume to high volume, employing methods ranging from desktop manufacturing to systems involving global supply chains. Students develop their knowledge and skills at the university’s state-of-the-art product prototyping and testing facilities.

A Connected Curriculum

The MFA Industrial Design curriculum balances competing interests such as economical production and sustainability, consumerism, social and environmental improvement, and global and local production, investigating ways to integrate and reconcile these forces as a whole. In their second semester, MFA students explore limited-run making in New York City, and in the third semester they can investigate large-scale global production through virtual collaborations or study abroad at sites including Parsons Paris. A specialized thesis project offers opportunities to develop designs that advance — or challenge — industrial design theory and practice.

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A Community of Designers

The faculty of design practitioners aims to develop a community of designers committed to improving industry, protecting the environment, and promoting the quality of life. The MFA Industrial Design program attracts motivated, reflective students with experience in product design but also accepts candidates from other design professions and disciplines such as engineering, fine art, management, and anthropology. An innovation-focused university with programs in the social sciences, business and management, media studies, and the performing arts, The New School offers complementary courses that enrich design practice.

Future Opportunities

Students graduate equipped with the ability to integrate the many considerations involved in product design and to lead as socially aware makers, strategists, and industry specialists. Graduates emerge prepared to design innovative products and lead the industries that produce them as well. Career paths include industrial design, product development, manufacturing, furniture design, humanitarian and service design, toy design, design management, and architectural building systems.

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Visit the Industrial Design (MFA) page on the The New School website for more details!

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