Through a blending of theory, practice, and leadership concepts and skills, MCAD’s master of arts in sustainable design program educates individuals to become collaborative designers, global innovators, and creative leaders in the field of sustainable design.

MCAD defines sustainable design as traditional design that takes a truly integrated systems-thinking perspective. This means:

  • Balancing the important factors of environment, ethics, and economy in every design.
  • Designing appropriately for the system in which the design will exist for its entire life cycle.
  • Designing with global and positive changes in mind: where the design leads to more opportunities, better conditions, and more innovative solutions, no matter what the design challenge may be.

This program culminates in a student-driven Graduate Sustainability Thesis Project, which allows you to make this program your own by focusing your time and energy where your passions lie. With the support and direction of a dedicated thesis committee assembled to guide your work, you will conduct independent research on a sustainability-focused project of your choice.

MCAD is proud to be the only Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD) school to offer a fully online graduate degree program in sustainable design. 

Online Learning

MA courses at MCAD are completely online with no on-campus requirements. Courses are asynchronous, meaning you will not have set class meeting times—you can choose a time and place that works best for you to complete your work. Course activities may include readings, video demonstrations and tutorials, discussions, projects, and critiques, and assignments are project-based with two to three deadlines per week.

Online class sizes are small. That way, you get to know your instructors and receive the same personal attention you would find in a physical classroom. You will also have plenty of interaction with your classmates—other professionals that will expand your network.

Sustainable Design Program Outcomes

  • Define the term sustainability and summarize the history of its usage.
  • Identify all currently applied sustainability frameworks and describe examples of their application. Use and apply sustainability frameworks to solve real-world sustainability challenges.
  • Demonstrate the ability to work in collaborative groups to produce sustainability-focused work and deliver professional presentations. Connect coursework learning to professional development through the creation of a professional web-based portfolio.
  • Formulate a clear and concise thesis work proposal and evaluate achievements of their proposed work.
  • Create a self-driven, sustainability-focused thesis project and presentation.
  • Discuss sustainability-focused thesis project, paper, and research during the final thesis review with a committee of practicing sustainability professionals.
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