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The MA in Design Research, Writing and Criticism is a rigorous one-year program that equips students with the tools to research, chronicle and interpret all aspects and fields of design. Each student identifies a subject area to explore and—through workshops, seminars, lectures and site visits—learns about the issues and policies that shape the manmade environment; deploys research methods, reporting techniques and theoretical models; and experiments with various ways of presenting his or her research, whether through writing, podcast, video, exhibition or events.

MA Design Research, Writing and Criticism takes advantage of its New York City location with visits to design collections, archives, libraries, and design and architecture studios, and behind-the-scenes access to new exhibitions, buildings and urban planning ventures. With more than 30 guest lecturers and visiting critics supplementing the core curriculum each semester, students have the opportunity to forge connections with potential mentors, employers and colleagues. 

This program is equally suited for midcareer design or media professionals and for recent graduates of related BA and BFA degree programs. It prepares students for both emerging and established careers in research, publishing, education, museums, design practice and entrepreneurship, or for continued studies in a design-related subject. 

2016 – 2017 student population

9 matriculated students

Department chair

Molly Heintz (managing director and co-founder, Superscript; design writer)


Paola Antonelli (senior curator, department of architecture and design, The Museum of Modern Art, New York), Akiko Busch (design, culture and nature writer), Daniela Fabricius (architectural historian and theorist), Steven Heller (co-chair, SVA MFA Design), Joshua Hume (editor and filmmaker), Karrie Jacobs (author and contributing editor, Architect), Adam Harrison Levy (writer, documentary director and producer), Andrea Lippke (design and culture critic), Leital Molad (senior producer, WNYC's Studio 360), Murray Moss (founder, Moss Bureau and Moss design gallery), Robin Pogrebin (culture reporter, The New York Times), Elizabeth Spiers (media launch consultant; entrepreneur and writer; founding editor, Gawker), Alice Twemlow (founding chair, SVA MA Design Research, Writing and Criticism), Matthew Worsnick (architectural historian and designer)

Department website

More information

David Knowles: [email protected]

SVA Admissions: 212.592.2107 | [email protected]

Media requests

SVA Communication: 212.592.2010 | [email protected]

School of Visual Arts | 209 East 23 Street, NY, NY 10010-3994 | Tel: 212.592.2000 | Fax: 212.725.3587