Design (Experience Design), MSD

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This cross-disciplinary, immersive program prepares you for a fulfilling career in designing all kinds of experiences: games, extended and virtual realities, interactive environments, themed entertainment and other forms of immersive storytelling. Working collaboratively with peers and faculty, you can transform research into creative worldbuilding projects that have public impact.

The MSD program with a concentration in experience design focuses on design practices for virtual experiences in extended reality technologies, including environmental design, programmatic in both real and virtual universes, rapid prototyping, storytelling and worldbuilding. This program is unique among emerging media programs, with the application of these technologies and practices in socially engaged and transdisciplinary modalities, taking tools that evolved primarily from and for entertainment and applying them to the modeling of real-world challenges and futures.

Students develop human-centered design methods to improve user experience using theories and concepts from cognition and psychology, in addition to developing the ability to manage projects, work effectively in teams, and transform research into creative and technological products.

At A Glance

Design (Experience Design), MSD

Plan of study

The Plan of study is the required curriculum to complete this graduate level program.

View Plan of Study

Degree requirements

Required Core (3 credit hours)
DSC 501 Qualitative Research in Design (3)

Concentration (9 credit hours)
DSC 550 Prototyping Futures (3)
DSC 551 Immersive Experience Design I (3)
HDA 581 Emerging Media Colloquium (3)

Research Methods (3 credit hours)
DSC 500 Research Methods (3)

Electives (11 credit hours)

Other Requirements (4 credit hours)
DSC 584 Internship (4)
DSC 590 Reading and Conference (4)
DSC 592 Research (4)
HDA 580 Practicum (4)

Culminating Experience (6 credit hours)
DSC 593 Applied Project (6) or
DSC 599 Thesis (6)

Additional Curriculum Information
For other requirements, students must complete a minimum of 4 credit hours of faculty-led research (DSC 592), individualized instruction (DSC 590), the design and implementation of public programs (HDA 580), or an internship (DSC 584).

Admission requirements

Applicants must fulfill the requirements of both the Graduate College and the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.

Applicants are eligible to apply to the program if they have earned a bachelor's or master's degree in design and media arts or a related field from a regionally accredited institution.

Applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in the last 60 hours of their first bachelor's degree program, or applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in an applicable master's degree program.

All applicants must submit:

  1. graduate admission application and application fee
  2. official transcripts
  3. portfolio
  4. letter of intent
  5. resume
  6. contact information of two references
  7. proof of English proficiency

Additional Application Information
An applicant whose native language is not English must provide proof of English proficiency regardless of current residency.

International students are required to submit proof of English proficiency through either the TOEFL or the IELTS if their native language is not English. The minimum score for admission to the program is 80 (internet-based) or 550 (paper-based) on the TOEFL or an overall band score of 6.5 on the IELTS. Other information for international applicants can be found at

The portfolio, letter of intent, resume and contact information of two references must be submitted via Slideroom ( The Design School requires that these be submitted in addition to the graduate application requirements.

Admission to the program is selective. Students must enroll in the semester for which they are admitted, otherwise they will need to go through the entire application process again for the year in which they are applying.

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