Visual Communication Design / MDes Program

The University of Washington Visual Communication Design graduate program is a two-year course of study for a limited number of mature, advanced design students that leads to an MDes degree. The program encourages students to further develop their conceptual skills and expand their knowledge of theory and practice; allows for experimentation with media; and promotes personal investigation on an advanced level. The core curriculum comprises studio courses, seminars and independent studies and proceeds thematically according to a series of key issues that define each quarter. Students take advantage of all that the University of Washington has to offer, and are strongly encouraged to compliment their studio experience with coursework and research activity in other disciplines including Business, Psychology, Information Studies, Computer Science, Architecture, and Communications.

Funding Opportunities

Most VCD graduate students have the opportunity to be a teaching assistant for at least 2 of the 6 quarters that they are in residence. This provides valuable teaching experience, as well as a tuition waiver and stipend. The department also offers merit-based scholarships, funds for international travel (we operate a 4–6 week design course in Rome) and funds for individual project support.

More Information

For questions about the application process, please contact the School of Art Graduate Advisor, Ann Langford-Fuchs, at

“The graduate program is a great blend of theory and practice. The seminars forever changed the way I think about design, while the studio courses provided opportunities to apply my learning in a practical sense.”

Andrew, MDes 2012

“I was recently told that part of MICA's initial interest in hiring me (as an Assistant Professor of Design) was because I had gone through the UW's program, which their faculty holds in high regard.”

Callie, MFA 2006