October 17, 2014

New MFA in Industrial Design

Parsons School of Design at The New School

Photo: Alessio D’ Aniello, Poltrona Frau.

Parsons The New School for Design announces a new Master of Fine Arts in Industrial Design, to launch in fall 2015. Housed in Parsons’s celebrated School of Constructed Environments, the two-year, 60-credit degree will offer students the opportunity to design not only products and services but the industries that shape them.

“As designers must now navigate increasingly complex constraints such as sustainability, consumer needs, and workers’ rights, industrial design has become a rich point of intersection in the global economy,” said Joel Towers, Executive Dean of Parsons. “Parsons’s MFA in Industrial Design is a vital response to this evolution, expanding the notion of product design to include a greater understanding of global supply and value chains and toward balancing economic and social inequities.”

Designed for professionals who want to further develop their industrial design practice, or who are new to the field, the MFA in Industrial Design will give students the opportunity to employ advanced making skills and critical inquiry to design products at various scales of production, from low- to high-volume, and from desktop manufacturing to systems involving global supply chains. Study will culminate in a specialized thesis project that develops innovative or provocative designs carrying forward or challenging industrial design theory and practice.

Students will have access to state-of-the-art resources of The New School, including a Making Center (currently in development), in which students can prototype and test designs, and the University Center recently opened on the corner of 5th Avenue and 14th Street in New York City. The program will draw on the interdisciplinary learning approaches of The New School by taking advantage of the resources of other university programs in the social sciences.

The MFA Industrial Design was developed by Rama Chorpash, the Director of Parsons’s highly regarded BFA Product Design program and an associate professor with an acclaimed design practice. Chorpash, who in 2013 was named by Elle Décor one of the ten most influential people in design, will lead the new MFA program. Parsons, which created the first recognized academic programs in fashion design, graphic design, interior design, and transdisciplinary design, carries forward its tradition of innovation with this pioneering New York City-based degree program.

“The MFA Industrial Design program encourages students to embrace making and thinking as a single, integrated activity, empowering them to create a better future through design,” said Rama Chorpash. “As we enter a ‘Third Industrial Revolution,’ the program will provide students with an opportunity to re-imagine industries by shaping new ways for designers and consumers to collaborate in the creation of better products, and to shorten the supply chain between design, production, and consumption.”

MFA Industrial Design students will have the opportunity for fieldwork in various locations, both in New York City and abroad, including Parsons Paris the university’s campus in France, as well as manufacturing centers like Shenzhen, China. Throughout their course of study and after graduation, students will benefit from Parsons’s deep connection with New York City’s exceptional industrial design community.

The program’s launch will be celebrated on October 30 with a discussion titled “Product City: Shortening the Supply Chain” featuring Matthew Burnett and Tanya Menendez (founders of Makers Row) with Stephanie Schacht (Head of Responsible Growth, Etsy).

For more about Parsons The New School for Design, visit

For information about admission to this program and other graduate programs at Parsons, contact [email protected].


The New School re-imagines industrial design with a new MFA program at Parsons

Thank you!

An email with a confirmation link has been sent to the email address you entered. To complete your subscription, click this link.