Graduate Program

Master of Design Studies


The Master of Design Studies provides a post-professional degree for individuals seeking expanded design expertise and professional advancement. This is a one-year, three-semester program with multiple concentrations. Utilizing strengths across the University of Arkansas campus, each concentration combines course offerings with a professional residency to immerse students in these dynamic fields. 

Reflecting the growing movement toward interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary practice where design praxis is informed by research, students will explore emerging concerns that are universal to the design disciplines. This program will prepare graduates to secure leadership positions in architecture and design firms, municipalities, and business settings where advanced knowledge and skills are increasingly required for success.

There is a growing demand for specialized knowledge on emerging and critical issues, extending design education in contemporary settings. The one-year program provides value to students’ existing knowledge and experience, enabling graduates to focus and develop their career path more strategically. The time for completion, just one year of full-time study, provides financial value as well by reducing time away from work and providing contemporary skills and knowledge relevant to emerging topics.

Within the concentrations of study, the studio-centered program integrates distinctive course offerings through allied disciplines allowing students to engage with complex, problem-solving scenarios. A concluding residency immerses students in these areas of study and connects them to professional environments where the issues are addressed. Concentrations in Resiliency Design and Retail and Hospitality Design capitalize on the unique strengths in the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design, the University of Arkansas, and the international business environment in Northwest Arkansas.