In the first year, students receive a deep review of social innovation in all its forms, and including the disciplines involved, from mobile and digital technology to science, conservation, ethics and human sciences. Skills such as communication design, mapping, visualization and community design are interspersed with lectures and hands-on assignments for real client organizations.
Throughout the two-year program, the Guest Lecture Series is curated to inspire new thinking and dialogue about the nature of human societies. Speakers include business leaders, environmentalists, indigenous people, field workers, researchers, academics, poets, artists, musicians, policymakers, physicians, astronomers, physicists, human rights activists and innovators in social issues.
The second year's goal is the creation of a thesis, for which, with the help of a team of mentors and advisors, students will identify and research an issue of their choosing, then develop a thorough understanding of the context and challenges. They write a proposal that captures their recommended solution, then design it fully in a form ready to be implemented. Each thesis must be reviewed and approved by the thesis committee and the department co-chairs in order for the student to be eligible for degree conferral.
• Successful completion of 60 credits, including all required courses and the thesis project. Documentation of all thesis projects must be on file with the MFA Design for Social Innovation Department to be eligible for degree conferral.
• A matriculation of two academic years is required. Students must complete their degree within four years, unless given an official extension by the provost.
• Students are required to maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.0 (B) in order to remain in good academic standing.