The School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s (SAIC) Master of Design (MDes) in Designed Objects curriculum immerses students in the most critical approaches to contemporary object design—experience design, co-design, and on-demand manufacturing—while grounding them in the material world, with a focus on designing and making.

Each semester includes a cohesive sequence of classes with a 4.5-credit studio, a 3-credit seminar, and a 1.5-credit lab. Case study labs involve comprehensive examples. Studio seminars include some technical work.

Master of Design in Designed Objects students are encouraged to apply for project-based design studios such as Industry Partnerships and the collaborative GFRY studio, sponsored by Motorola. Recent industry projects include collaborations with Samsung, Industreal, Danese Milano, the Tacoma Museum of Glass, Rossana Orlandi (Salone Internazionale del Mobile), Brand.It, Haworth, and Dupont Corian. The GFRY studio has produced wide-reaching demonstration projects such as 2000 Watt Living, 18% Grey, Com(m)a, RE:, and Watershed with international partners in Europe, Asia, and South America. Click here more information on these projects.

First Summer Intensive  6  
  • AIADO 5050 Refresh: Summer Intensive (6)
First Year Fall 15  
  • DESOB 5150 Studio 1: Reset (4.5)
  • DESOB 5152 Research Methods Lab (1.5)
  • DESOB 5154 Global Reset Studio Semiar (3)
  • ARTHI 5120 Survey of Modern and Contemporary Arch. and design (3)
  • Elective (3)
First Year Spring   15  
  • DESOB 5160 Studio 2: Discover (4.5)
  • DESOB 5162 Prototyping Methods Lab (1.5)
  • DESOB 5164 Material Intelligence Studio Seminar (3)
  • ARTHI 6120 Critical Issues in Designed Objects (3)
  • Elective (3)
Second Year Fall  15  
  • DESOB 6150 Thesis Studio 1: Initiate (6)
  • DESOB 6154 Material Futures Studio Seminar (3)
  • Elective or internship (3)
  • Elective (3)
Second Year Spring  15  
  • DESOB 6160 Thesis Studio 2: Manifest (4.5)
  • DESOB 6162 Positioning Methods Lab (1.5)
  • DESOB 6164 Leadership Matters Studio Seminar (3)
  • ARTHI 5122 The Condition of Things: Art/Design/Object (3)
  • Elective (3)
Participation in four Graduate Critiques  
Participation in Graduate Design Exhibtion  
Total Credit Hours66  

Degree requirements and specifications

  1. Students have a maximum of four years to complete the degree. This includes time off for leaves of absence.
  2. Normally transfer credits are not accepted. All requests for transfer credits are reviewed individually by the chair of the department at the time of admission and are subject to approval at that time. No transfer credit will be permitted after a student is admitted.
  3. Full-Time Status Minimum Requirement: 12 credit hours

Interested in learning more?

Click around the pages of this website for more information on admissions requirements, designed objects faculty, students and alumni, and more.

Interested in learning more about how you can apply?

Visit the graduate admissions website or contact the graduate admissions office at 800.232.7242 or