Why CCS MFA?

Here are 5 reasons why CCS MFA is considered one of the top design programs in the country:

  1. Shared & Layered Curriculum
  2. Long-term Careers
  3. Unmatched Opportunity
  4. Diverse Faculty & Students
  5. Detroit: A Global Design Incubator

CCS prepares students to enter a global economy in which creativity shapes better communities and societies. Here, creative minds can both explore and thrive. There is nothing like it anywhere in the world.

The College for Creative Studies offers four distinct graduate programs including Color & Materials Design, Interaction Design, Integrated Design, and Transportation Design. Students participate in a unique curriculum that includes business practices, research methods, and design making.

Reason 1

Shared & Layered Curriculum

A proven approach to curricula and real-world experience.
Students entering the MFA degree programs share a foundation curriculum of research, studio, and business practices. Concentration on a single MFA program gives students the opportunity to focus on technology components and work on industry-specific projects.

Color & Materials
Design View Department

Shared Courses

Indicates Shared Courses
Semester 1
  • Studio I: Principles & Methods
  • Color Lab: Interpretation
  • Studio Elective
  • Research I:
  • Seminar I: Global Thinking
Semester 2
  • Studio II: Defining Brands
  • Materials Lab: Properties
  • Studio Elective
  • Research II: Trend Forecasting
  • Business Practices I: Marketing as Strategy
Semester 3
  • Studio III: Product Line
  • Applied Materials
  • Business Practices II: Innovator’s ToolKit
  • Graduate Thesis I
Semester 4
  • Studio IV: Material Innovation
  • Studio Elective
  • Business Practices III: Entrepreneurial Essentials
  • Graduate Thesis II

Interaction
Design View Department

Shared Courses

Indicates Shared Courses
Semester 1
  • Studio I: Website Experiences
  • Interface Design I:
  • Studio Elective
  • Practicum in Technology
  • Research I:
Semester 2
  • Studio II: Intelligent Transportation
  • Interface Design II:
  • Studio Elective
  • Research II:
  • Business Practices I: Marketing as Strategy
Semester 3
  • Studio III: Differentiated Shopping
  • Research III: Experimental Design
  • Business Practices II: Innovator’s ToolKit
  • Graduate Thesis I
Semester 4
  • Studio IV: Edutainment Experience
  • Research IV: Evaluation Methods
  • Business Practices III: Entrepreneurial Essentials
  • Graduate Thesis II

Integrated
Design View Department

Shared Courses

Indicates Shared Courses
Semester 1
  • Studio I: Experience Design
  • Data Visualization
  • Studio Elective
  • Research I:
  • Seminar I: Global Thinking
Semester 2
  • Studio II: Service Design
  • Co-Creation/Participatory Design
  • Studio Elective
  • Research II:
  • Business Practices I: Marketing as Strategy
Semester 3
  • Studio III: Complex Process Synthesis & Integration
  • Business Practices II: Innovator’s ToolKit
  • Graduate Thesis I
  • Seminar II: Cosmopolitan Localism
Semester 4
  • Studio IV: Social Innovation Design
  • Studio Elective
  • Business Practices III: Entrepreneurial Essentials
  • Graduate Thesis II

Transportation
Design View Department

Shared Courses

Indicates Shared Courses
Semester 1
  • Studio I: Mobility
  • Digital Visual Communication I
  • Studio Elective
  • Research I:
  • Seminar I: Global Thinking
Semester 2
  • Studio II: Vehicle Exterior
  • Digital Visual Communication II
  • Studio Elective
  • Research II:
  • Business Practices I: Marketing as Strategy
Semester 3
  • Studio III: Vehicle Interior
  • Business Practices II: Innovator’s ToolKit
  • Graduate Thesis I
  • Seminar II: Cosmopolitan Localism
Semester 4
  • Studio IV: Brand
  • Studio Elective
  • Business Practices III: Entrepreneurial Essentials
  • Graduate Thesis II
Reason 2

Long-term Careers

CCS MFA prepares students for a sustainable career in design, not just a job.
New designers have to be prepared to meet future challenges. We make sure they are. The CCS MFA integrates both thinking and making—transforming ideas into applicable and relevant solutions.

An education in design thinking can be applied to a wide variety of problems—delivering new products, new services, and new ways of running or creating businesses.

We deliver designers who have a firm grasp of the business practices that are typically learned on the job; they learn to lead and to drive business value.

Students emerge ready to build a career at an agency, consultancy, non-profit, or begin an entrepreneurial pursuit.

Design Manager also called Color & Trim Design Manager Designer Color, Materials & Finish Color & Trim Designer, or CMF Designer also called Materials Designer also called Materials Developer Trend Researcher also called Trend Analyst Color Designer also called Apparel Color Designer, Footwear Color Designer, or Color & Trim Designer Designer Surface Surface Pattern Designer Textile Designer also called

Color & Materials

Prepares students for careers in a range of industries from sportswear, transportation design, consumer electronics, trend forecasting and surface design. Color and Materials designers collaborate with teams including design, project management marketing and manufacturing to successfully execute CMF deliverables.

Front-end Developer also called Front-end Engineer Creative Technologist Interaction Designer also called Product Designer User Experience (UX) Designer Community Manager also called Social Media Strategist Marketing Manager Project Manager also called Producer Account Executive Content Strategist also called Information Architect Content Designer Information Designer also called Data Visualizer Design Manager also called Creative Director Design Planner IxD Manager Motion Designer also called Motion Graphics Designer Motion UX Designer Animator Systems Architect also called Platform Architect Design Researcher also called Design Strategist UX Strategist Product Manager also called Product Champion Product Lead Product Marketing Manager Brand Manager Usability Researcher also called User Researcher Visual Designer also called User Interface (UI) Designer Production Designer Web Designer Core IxD functions Management Research Engagement Engineering

Interaction

Prepares students for careers in designing software applications, services, and systems, working inside tech companies or in design consulting firms with a focus on the user’s experience.

Integrated Designer Brand Designers Strong conceptual thinker works closely with Marketing Teams creating consistent, powerful communication tools across platforms works in Corporations or Design Consultancy Service Designers Design human-centered space, services, communication, and system addressing institutional strategic objectives. Works on Health, Finance, Education, Governament, Non-profit, etc. Design Researcher Work closely with Design Team members in Corporations or in Research Consultancy for Design Industry Social Innovation Designer seeks to create transformational change in under-served, underrepresented, and disadvantaged communities worldwide works in Foundations and Design Consultancy Senior Designers 2D or 3D Designer works in advanced projects in Corporations or Design Consultancy Experience Designers responsible for understanding both customer problems and business goals is working in interdisciplinary teams creating multi-channel and interactive user experiences. in Corporations, Design Consultancy

Integrated

Prepares students for careers that bridge traditional disciplines and cut across 2D and 3D boundaries, dealing with complex issues holistically and with an eye toward social innovation.

Brand Design Manager also called Brand Strategist Component Designer also called Product Designer Transportation Designer also called Product Designer Design Studio Engineer also called Package Designer Platform Architecture Layout Engineer Layout Engineer Digital Presentations also called Digital Rendering Animation Visualization Specialist Market Researcher also called Design Strategist Product Strategist IxD also called HMI Designer User Interface Designer Design Manager also called Chief Designer Design Director Design Quality Manager also called Feasibility Design Manager Fabrication Engineer also called Prototype Engineer Program Manager also called Product Champion Product Lead Product Marketing Manager Clay/Digital Modeler also called Clay/Digital Sculptor Interior/Exterior Designer also called Advanced Designer Production Designer Creative Designer Design Stylist

Transportation

The college’s alumni are designers at every major car manufacturer and nearly all Tier 1 auto suppliers, at racing and defense companies, and in consulting firms from Abu Dhabi to Vietnam.

Reason 3

Unmatched Opportunity

CCS supports cross-pollination, promoting discourse across disciplines.
Electives allow students to build on their unique interests by taking courses from any graduate or undergraduate program. Students can also participate in a number of interdisciplinary collaborative projects that explore new ideas, approaches, and skills.

GM + CCS

Emotional Branding

GM asked CCS MFA students to create emotionally branded experiences for Chevrolet SPARK, SONIC, and CRUZE vehicles. Students researched and translated brand strategies into experiences for millennials.

Angell-Demmel + CCS

Next Generation Automotive Interiors

American Trim asked CCS MFA students to develop interior concepts for future cars by integrating advanced materials. Students worked directly with engineers and vendors to develop and refine new materials.

Sabic + CCS

Polycarbonates—Designing for Safety

SABIC (Saudi Arabia Basic Industries Corporation) asked CCS MFA students to design using polycarbonates in new ways. Instructors from Hong Kong Polytechnic University and FH JOANNEUM, Graz, participated.

Pace + CCS

Reconfigurable Shared-Use Mobility Systems

In a two-year project, CCS MFA students collaborated with Engineering and Manufacturing students from Brazil, Mexico, and Puerto Rico to design and build Reconfigurable Shared-Use Mobility Systems (RSMS).

Reason 4

Diverse Faculty & Students

Our global faculty made of industry leaders provides an education for the next generation of innovators and creators.
All of the College's academic staff are multi-disciplinary, industry-diverse, and international. We also attract some of the most eminent artists, designers, intellectuals and business people working in their fields to give seminars, lectures, master classes, crits, and individual tutorials. Students come to CCS from all over the world.

Sally Erickson Wilson

Chair of MFA Color & Materials Design
Sally Erickson Wilson received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Textile Design at Manchester Metropolitan University in Manchester, England. After earning a postgraduate diploma in Marketing at Kingston University in Surrey, she received her master’s degree in Textile Design from the Royal College of Art in London.
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Paul Pangaro

Chair of MFA Interaction Design
Paul Pangaro’s career spans research, consulting, startups, and education. He relocated to Detroit in April 2015 to become Associate Professor & Chair of the MFA Interaction Design at CCS. Pangaro has taught systems and cybernetics for design at School for Visual Arts, New York, and at Stanford University in Terry Winograd’s Human-Computer Interface program.
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Maria Luisa Rossi

Chair of MFA Integrated Design
Maria Luisa Rossi is an internationally acclaimed designer and educator. As an undergraduate in Florence, Italy, her work was featured in the prestigious Domus magazine, earning her a scholarship to attend the premiere master’s program in industrial design at the celebrated Domus Academy in Milan.
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Paul Snyder

Paul & Helen Farago
Chair of Transportation Design
Automotive designer and alumnus (’87 Transportation Design) Paul Snyder’s experience spans four continents and encompasses both exterior and interior development for a number of automotive brands, including Ford, Lincoln, Renault, Honda and Acura.
Read more
Reason 5

Detroit: A Global Design Incubator

Detroit is the ideal ground for incubating the next generation of creative innovators.
CCS brings the city’s resources and learning opportunities to students through its curriculum—through social impact partnerships and creative projects with the local design and business communities. CCS students can also engage directly with the creative community that surrounds the campus.

Learn more about Detroit.

Design Organizations

DC3: Detroit Creative Corridor Center (housed and operated by CCS)
  • Detroit Center for Design + Technology
  • Ford World Headquarters
  • GE Healthcare
  • GE Transportation
  • GE Software Technology Center
  • General Motors
  • Mt. Elliot Makerspace
  • Ponyride
  • Signal Return
  • TechShop Detroit
  • Techstars Mobility

Detroit Entrepreneurs

Shinola (headquarters housed within CCS)
  • Bizdom
  • Build Institute
  • Detroit Experience Factory
  • Detroit Soup
  • Detroit Venture Partners
  • Green Garage
  • Invest Detroit
  • Midtown Detroit, Inc.
  • New Economy Initiative
  • ProsperUS
  • RecoveryPark
  • TechTown Detroit

Galleries, Museums,
and Schools

Detroit Institute of Arts
  • David Klein Gallery
  • Hatch Gallery
  • Library Street Collective
  • Wasserman Projects
  • Charles H. Wright Museum of
  • African American History
  • Cranbrook Art Museum
  • Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD)
  • N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art
  • Cranbrook Academy of Art
  • Wayne State University

Recreation

RiverWalk
  • Belle Isle Conservancy
  • Campus Maritus Park
  • Comerica Park
  • Detroit Jazz Festival
  • Dickinson by Design
  • Eastern Market
  • Fisher Theatre
  • Ford Field
  • Fox Theatre
  • Gem Theatres
  • Joe Louis Arena
  • Motown Museum
  • Orchestra Hall
  • Pewabic Pottery

Let's Connect

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