Jennifer Webb
Graduate Coordinator
120 Vol Walker Hall
479-575-4945
FayGrad@uark.edu

Design Studies Website

Degree Offered:
M.Des. in Design Studies

The Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design offers a Master of Design Studies (M.Des.). The goal is to provide a nationally-recognized, interdisciplinary design program that meets the needs of Arkansas, the region, and nation. The Master of Design Studies degree is recognized as multidisciplinary degrees that explores emerging concerns that are universal to the human-environmental design disciplines.

The program offers three areas of concentration:

Integrated Wood Design: This post-professional graduate degree provides advanced study investigating the design potential of wood products, fabrication methods, and constructed environments. The one-year, three-semester program is grounded in design’s contribution to economic success. The studio-centered program provides immersive experiences, integrating distinctive course offerings across disciplinary boundaries while prompting students to engage complex, problem-solving scenarios. Utilizing strengths across the University of Arkansas campus, this program combines course offerings with a professional residency to immerse students in these dynamic fields.

Resiliency Design: This post-professional graduate degree is focused on community and landscape resiliency determined by critical factors including water, mobility, food, housing, aging, and public health. The one-year, three-semester program provides advanced study of pressing public-interest civic issues by combining design, research, and expanded modes of professional engagement. The University of Arkansas Community Design Center is one of the few university-based teaching offices in design programs nationally. This unique program will prepare graduates to engage interdisciplinary urban design challenges through service learning and public outreach in collaboration with a professional staff. Utilizing strengths across the University of Arkansas campus, this program combines course offerings with a professional residency to immerse students in these dynamic fields. 

Retail and Hospitality Design: This post-professional graduate degree provides advanced study of strategic thinking and design methods relative to the hospitality and retail environments. The one-year, three-semester program is grounded in design’s contribution to economic success. Business strategies are integrated with innovative problem solving to craft unique experiences within these specialized settings. Proximity to international business enterprises and strategic relationships with global design firms enables graduates to integrate environmental, cultural, and social discourse to deliver comprehensive approaches to complex design scenarios. Utilizing strengths across the University of Arkansas campus, this program combines course offerings with a professional residency to immerse students in these dynamic fields.

Requirements for M.Des. with Integrated Wood Design Concentration

Admission Requirements and Process

Admission to the Master of Design Studies program is based upon multiple criteria that include academic preparation, professional experience, and an alignment of career goals.  

All application processes must be completed by March 1. Enrollment is limited, and early application is encouraged to receive preferred consideration for admission and financial support. 

The application process requires two separate processes detailed below, and some fees may be required for completion.

  1. The first step is completed through the University of Arkansas Graduate School electronic portal. 
    Applicants must meet the University of Arkansas Graduate School requirements of a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale in the last 60 hours of an accredited degree and TOEFL/IELTS/PTE-A scores, if required, as detailed in the Graduate Catalog.   
  2. The second step is completed through the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design  SlideRoom, a web-based platform. 

Applicants must hold an accredited baccalaureate degree in a design discipline (architecture, landscape architecture or interior design). For students holding a degree from a non-U.S. institution, please contact the graduate coordinator to discuss degree alternatives. Professional licensure is desirable for admission but is not required. 

Materials uploaded to SlideRoom must include:  

  • Personal statement of career goals,  
  • Resume or vitae outlining relevant professional work experience, academic internship, and relevant education, 
  • PDF of unofficial transcripts for previous education,
  • Portfolio of design work to be reviewed by graduate design faculty to ascertain individual preparedness,  
  • Three letters of reference addressing your work, conceptual thinking skills, work habits, potential for graduate study, and professional potential. These letters should be requested utilizing the SlideRoom platform. 

The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is not required for applicants to the Master of Design Studies program in the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design at the University of Arkansas.

International students are encouraged to apply to the M.Des. program. Specific information regarding university admission criteria, cost and funding opportunities, and other resources needed to facilitate advanced study is located on the Graduate School and International Education website. 

Students are strongly encouraged to visit with the graduate coordinator to learn about specific opportunities prior to beginning the application process. Questions concerning application materials, processes and deadlines should be directed to the Fay Jones School graduate coordinator at FayGrad@uark.edu.

Requirements for the Master of Design: The program can be completed in 1 year (3 semesters including 2 full-time, on-campus semesters combined with an off-campus, summer residency component).   The curriculum includes two advanced design studios addressing increasingly complex challenges resolved first through the synthesis of multiple knowledge domains and moving to scenarios for which there are unidentified constraints and unknown methods for solution.

The M.Des. program requires 36 credit hours. Core courses comprise 24 credit hours and each concentration requires an additional 12 credit hours selected from one of the following concentrations:  Resiliency Design, Retail and Hospitality Design, or Integrated Wood Design.

Core Courses
FJAD 6723Methods of Design Inquiry3
FJAD 6803Design Leadership3
FJAD 6906Advanced Design Studio6
FJAD 6916Advanced Design Studio II6
FJAD 6926Graduate Residency6
Concentration Requirements12
Total Hours36
Additional requirements for the concentration in Integrated Wood Design:
Choose 6 hours from:6
Foundations of Sustainable and Resilient Systems
Decision Making, Analysis and Synthesis in Sustainability
Timber Design
Dependent upon previous coursework and experience, the remaining 6 hours of graduate-level, elective courses may be selected from CVEG, MEEG, INEG, ENDY and courses from the School of Forestry and Natural Resources at the University of Arkansas at Monticello. These elective courses require approval from the Graduate Advisor.6
Total Hours36

Requirements for M.Des. with Resiliency Design Concentration

Admission Requirements and Process

Admission to the Master of Design Studies program is based upon multiple criteria that include academic preparation, professional experience, and an alignment of career goals.  

All application processes must be completed by March 1. Enrollment is limited, and early application is encouraged to receive preferred consideration for admission and financial support. 

The application process requires two separate processes detailed below, and some fees may be required for completion.

  1. The first step is completed through the University of Arkansas Graduate School electronic portal. 
    Applicants must meet the University of Arkansas Graduate School requirements of a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale in the last 60 hours of an accredited degree and TOEFL/IELTS/PTE-A scores, if required, as detailed in the Graduate Catalog.   
  2. The second step is completed through the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design  SlideRoom, a web-based platform. 

Applicants must hold an accredited baccalaureate degree in a design discipline (architecture, landscape architecture or interior design). For students holding a degree from a non-U.S. institution, please contact the graduate coordinator to discuss degree alternatives. Professional licensure is desirable for admission but is not required. 

Materials uploaded to SlideRoom must include:  

  • Personal statement of career goals,  
  • Resume or vitae outlining relevant professional work experience, academic internship, and relevant education, 
  • PDF of unofficial transcripts for previous education,
  • Portfolio of design work to be reviewed by graduate design faculty to ascertain individual preparedness,  
  • Three letters of reference addressing your work, conceptual thinking skills, work habits, potential for graduate study, and professional potential. These letters should be requested utilizing the SlideRoom platform. 

The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is not required for applicants to the Master of Design Studies program in the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design at the University of Arkansas.

International students are encouraged to apply to the M.Des. program. Specific information regarding university admission criteria, cost and funding opportunities, and other resources needed to facilitate advanced study is located on the Graduate School and International Education website. 

Students are strongly encouraged to visit with the graduate coordinator to learn about specific opportunities prior to beginning the application process. Questions concerning application materials, processes and deadlines should be directed to the Fay Jones School graduate coordinator at FayGrad@uark.edu.

Requirements for the Master of Design: The program can be completed in 1 year (3 semesters including 2 full-time, on-campus semesters combined with an off-campus, summer residency component).   The curriculum includes two advanced design studios addressing increasingly complex challenges resolved first through the synthesis of multiple knowledge domains and moving to scenarios for which there are unidentified constraints and unknown methods for solution.

The M.Des. program requires 36 credit hours. Core courses comprise 24 credit hours and each concentration requires an additional 12 credit hours selected from one of the following concentrations:  Resiliency Design, Retail and Hospitality Design, or Integrated Wood Design.

Core Courses
FJAD 6723Methods of Design Inquiry3
FJAD 6803Design Leadership3
FJAD 6906Advanced Design Studio6
FJAD 6916Advanced Design Studio II6
FJAD 6926Graduate Residency6
Concentration Requirements12
Total Hours36
Additional requirements for the concentration in Resiliency Design:
Choose 12 hours from the following:12
Foundations of Sustainable and Resilient Systems
Decision Making, Analysis and Synthesis in Sustainability
Cities and Public Good
Vocabularies of Context Production
Dependent upon previous coursework and experience, graduate level courses from Public Policy, Sociology, Public Administration, or Environmental Dynamics may be utilized with approval from the Graduate Adviser.
Total Hours36

Requirements for M.Des. with Retail and Hospitality Design Concentration

Admission Requirements and Process

Admission to the Master of Design Studies program is based upon multiple criteria that include academic preparation, professional experience, and an alignment of career goals.  

All application processes must be completed by March 1. Enrollment is limited, and early application is encouraged to receive preferred consideration for admission and financial support. 

The application process requires two separate processes detailed below, and some fees may be required for completion.

  1. The first step is completed through the University of Arkansas Graduate School electronic portal. 
    Applicants must meet the University of Arkansas Graduate School requirements of a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale in the last 60 hours of an accredited degree and TOEFL/IELTS/PTE-A scores, if required, as detailed in the Graduate Catalog.   
  2. The second step is completed through the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design  SlideRoom, a web-based platform. 

Applicants must hold an accredited baccalaureate degree in a design discipline (architecture, landscape architecture or interior design). For students holding a degree from a non-U.S. institution, please contact the graduate coordinator to discuss degree alternatives. Professional licensure is desirable for admission but is not required. 

Materials uploaded to SlideRoom must include:  

  • Personal statement of career goals,  
  • Resume or vitae outlining relevant professional work experience, academic internship, and relevant education, 
  • PDF of unofficial transcripts for previous education,
  • Portfolio of design work to be reviewed by graduate design faculty to ascertain individual preparedness,  
  • Three letters of reference addressing your work, conceptual thinking skills, work habits, potential for graduate study, and professional potential. These letters should be requested utilizing the SlideRoom platform. 

The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is not required for applicants to the Master of Design Studies program in the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design at the University of Arkansas.

International students are encouraged to apply to the M.Des. program. Specific information regarding university admission criteria, cost and funding opportunities, and other resources needed to facilitate advanced study is located on the Graduate School and International Education website. 

Students are strongly encouraged to visit with the graduate coordinator to learn about specific opportunities prior to beginning the application process. Questions concerning application materials, processes and deadlines should be directed to the Fay Jones School graduate coordinator at FayGrad@uark.edu.

Requirements for the Master of Design: The program can be completed in 1 year (3 semesters including 2 full-time, on-campus semesters combined with an off-campus, summer residency component).   The curriculum includes two advanced design studios addressing increasingly complex challenges resolved first through the synthesis of multiple knowledge domains and moving to scenarios for which there are unidentified constraints and unknown methods for solution.

The M.Des. program requires 36 credit hours. Core courses comprise 24 credit hours and each concentration requires an additional 12 credit hours selected from one of the following concentrations:  Resiliency Design, Retail and Hospitality Design, or Integrated Wood Design.

Core Courses
FJAD 6723Methods of Design Inquiry3
FJAD 6803Design Leadership3
FJAD 6906Advanced Design Studio6
FJAD 6916Advanced Design Studio II6
FJAD 6926Graduate Residency6
Concentration Requirements12
Total Hours36
Additional requirements for the concentration in Retail and Hospitality Design:
Choose 12 hours from the following:12
Hospitality Management Capstone
Meetings and Convention Management
Global Travel and Tourism Management
Business Analytics
Introduction to Marketing
Retail Strategy
New Product Development and Strategy
Consumer and Market Research
Foundations for New Product Launch and Integrated Demand-Driven Value Networks
Total Hours36

Dependent upon the area of interest and previous coursework and experience, graduate level courses from Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Interior Design, Art, or other departments may be utilized with approval from the Graduate Advisor.

Courses

FJAD 6023. Design Seminar. 3 Hours.

Advanced seminars of special interest to students and faculty that are not covered in other courses. Prerequisite: Admission to the Master of Design Program (DSGNMDS). (Typically offered: Irregular) May be repeated for degree credit.

FJAD 6723. Methods of Design Inquiry. 3 Hours.

Investigation into the practical, theoretical, and methodological strategies necessary for embarking upon inquiry and discourse for design-related problems. Pre- or Corequisite: Admission into the Master of Design program. (Typically offered: Fall)

FJAD 6803. Design Leadership. 3 Hours.

Explores leadership through conceptual and theoretical perspectives. Emphasis is on developing and managing effective design processes, methods, and organizations enabling innovative design practices. Students will explore contemporary issues and forces that affect the conditions of how design is embedded in thought leadership. Pre- or Corequisite: Admission into the Master of Design program. (Typically offered: Spring)

FJAD 6813. Cities and Public Good. 3 Hours.

Studies infrastructure as socio-technical systems and potential transitions to lower-carbon futures. Concepts governing Large Technical Systems such as obduracy, path-dependency, energy transitions, value capture, and public good are explored through analytic frameworks like Multi-level Perspectives (MLP) and Socio-technical Systems Theory (STS) in the context of incumbent technologies. Pre- or Corequisite: Admission into the Master of Design program. (Typically offered: Fall and Spring)

FJAD 6823. Vocabularies of Context Production. 3 Hours.

Explores connectivity through spatial and organizational formats from urbanism to supply chains, ecosystems, resource sheds, infrastructure, neighborhoods, eco-districts, and other public spaces. In addition to the traditional categories of geometry, proportion, and fit used to define place, vocabularies of flow, timing, interactivity, phasing, modulation, distribution, and emergence will be examined. Pre- or Corequisite: Admission into the Master of Design program. (Typically offered: Fall and Spring)

FJAD 6833. Wood Theories, Tectonics and Environmental Response. 3 Hours.

Investigate wood design through theoretical, technical and practical inquiry emphasizing tectonics responding to a range of material and environmental aspects. Focused study of wood's physical properties, functions, and behavior in manufactured and constructed assemblies. Current and future global issues, industry, economy, and the design of the constructed environment are explored. Prerequisite: Admission to the Master of Design Studies Degree. (Typically offered: Fall)

FJAD 6843. Advanced Wood Production Processes. 3 Hours.

Examine performative wood design at the intersection of cutting edge of fabrication-production technologies and the material assembly at multiple scales to expand the limits of current practice. Opportunities for wood design are re-examined in light of evolving digital technologies, practices and theories of making. Prerequisite: Admission to the Master of Design Studies Program. (Typically offered: Spring)

FJAD 6853. Health and Wellness in the Built Environment. 3 Hours.

Advanced seminar examining the interactions of health and wellbeing in the built environment. Physiological and psychosocial wellness concepts are examined across multiple scales and settings. Prerequisite: Admission to the Master of Design Studies program or permission of instructor. (Typically offered: Fall)

FJAD 6906. Advanced Design Studio. 6 Hours.

A topical design studio investigating project development dependent upon the synthesis of knowledge and application of critical thinking to complex environmental design problems. The intimate relationship between architecture, place and culture is used to create connection and relevance in the built environment. Pre- or Corequisite: Admission into the Master of Design program. (Typically offered: Fall)

FJAD 6916. Advanced Design Studio II. 6 Hours.

An advanced topical design studio utilizing methods from domains external to design disciplines. Project resolution requiring skill in generating design ideas developed through strategic planning and responding to sociopolitical, economic, and environmental drivers. Pre- or Corequisite: Admission into the Master of Design program. Prerequisite: Completion of FJAD 6906. (Typically offered: Spring)

FJAD 6926. Graduate Residency. 6 Hours.

Experiential learning integrating knowledge and theory in professional environment. This guided experience will facilitate career development, professional relationships, and provide a critical opportunity to apply new skills and knowledge to real problems. Pre- or Corequisite: Admission into the Master of Design program. Prerequisite: Completion of FJAD 6906 and FJAD 6916. (Typically offered: Summer)