December 11, 2019

Call for applications: International Master of Design in Graphic Design

University of Illinois at Chicago, FHNW Academy of Art and Design

Rafael Barontini, Creative Destruction, MDes 2016.

The UIC/HGK Master of Design in Graphic Design (MDes) is a collaboration between two preeminent design schools housed in leading public research institutions: the School of Design at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and the Visual Communication Institute of Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz, Hochschule für Gestaltung und Kunst (FHNW HGK). Internationally accredited and globally-oriented, the UIC/HGK MDes is delivered in Chicago, USA and in Basel, Switzerland. The program offers advanced design students opportunities to amplify their creative abilities as they engage in the world-class cultural offerings of two vibrant cities.

UIC is a young, progressive, and distinguished public research university. FHNW HGK, popularly known as the Basel School of Design, has influenced the international graphic design community since the 1960s. The aim of our collaborative graduate program is to advance the profession’s expanding directions and range of impact by balancing deep disciplinary engagement with proactive critical intent. In this context, students are encouraged to connect the meaning and purpose of their work to global, cultural, political, technological, and socio-economic influences.

UIC/HGK MDes students participate in project-oriented activities that strengthen process-oriented skills as applied to image- and form-making, typographic forms and systems, documentation and publication design, and digital media design innovation. Curriculum additionally fosters analytical competence in research and writing, as well as in design history and theory. A focus of the program is the master’s thesis, an independent research, writing, design, and exhibition project that offers students the opportunity to identify and explore a topic of inquiry with the potential to contribute to broader disciplinary knowledge.

Coordinated programs of exchange offer possibilities for all MDes students to experience the rich international history of Basel and to access the diverse forms of design practice in Chicago. Between the first and second year of the program, Chicago-based students participate in the Basel Summer Workshops. Every other year, Basel-based students visit Chicago. Activities and excursions during these gatherings balance campus-based collaborative workshops with interdisciplinary cultural exchange.

Ten years ago, we celebrated our first graduating class of the UIC/HGK International Master of Design. Since that time, alumni have established independent studios at the forefront of design practice; been recruited to teach at design schools and universities worldwide; taken part in academic and exhibition programs in Dubai, Eindhoven, Mexico City, New York, and Seoul; and assumed diverse leadership roles in the international field of design. We look forward to continuing this tradition of influence and invite your application for the fall of 2020.

The UIC/HGK MDes accepts applications from potential students who hold a bachelor’s degree in graphic design, visual communication, or media design, and who have professional design experience. Applicants seeking to change career focus from a non-design background may be eligible for the Chicago-based MDes Preliminary Year, which provides for degree completion following a three-year track of study.

Prospective applicants seeking to study in Chicago are encouraged to visit the UIC School of Design website and to email UIC Director of Graduate Studies, Cheryl Towler Weese, prior to applying. Prospective students seeking to study in Basel are encouraged to visit the MDes Basel website and to contact FHNW HGK Program Coordinator, Ted Davis, prior to applying. Details and registration for information sessions in December and January can be accessed here.

University of Illinois at Chicago
School of Design
1200 W Harrison Street
Chicago, Illinois 60607
​United States

The Basel School of Design

Freilager-Platz 1
4142 Münchenstein b. Basel

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