Master of Design

Higher Education Teaching Certificate

Two Students Working

"The MDes program brings together Silicon Valley innovation and new design strategies to address contemporary and emergent concerns which shape the way we design and embrace new technologies, interactions, and experiences for the future."
Virginia San Fratello,
Chair, Professor of Design



2 Year

for degree*


*Fees are subject to review & change

Apply Now

Additional Info

For more information about the program, please visit:

CatalogSJSU Degree Catalog

The Master of Design (MDes) is a two-year, hybrid format program that combines online and in-person instruction with distinct specializations in Experience Design and Animation. This program focuses on current, emerging, and experimental professional practices. It's also an incubator for new ideas and methods for those who wish to deepen their knowledge in experience design (XD) and animation through advanced research and practice or those who want to pursue an academic career.

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Program Features

  • Experience Design Specialization
    Use of cutting-edge and emerging technologies such as creative coding, generative design, data visualization, voice UI, gesture recognition, and extended reality (XR) within the field design. The specialization is built on multidisciplinary collaboration, design practice, new technology, research, and scholarship that seeks to push the boundaries of design for experience to develop new generations of creative leadership that can design for emerging complex challenges in the field of design.

  • Animation Specialization
    Students will work on their own project in the field of animation/games, either solo or collaboratively. The program has a strong technical component that goes hand-in-hand with its artistic aspects. Technical courses include CG animation, lighting, rendering, and building interactivity in animation and games. Students will also benefit from our partnership with industry professionals who mentor individual students as they work on their projects.

    Watch a SJSU Animation Reel (in partnership with DreamWorks, Nickelodeon, Storm8, and Hallmark)

Career Opportunities

The MDes program at SJSU caters to unique employment opportunities found in Silicon Valley in the fields of advanced design for technology, software, systems, media, and entertainment. Graduate students in design will contribute to creative and innovative projects for local communities and will gain access to a wide variety of career options.

XD: Product design, industrial design, information design, design management, design research, and design thinking.

Animation: Virtual production, modeler, lighter, animator, visual effects, technical artist, intellectual property development in film and games.

Applying to the Program

Prospective students should have a demonstrable academic and/or professional background in the following areas. 

Specialization in Experience Design: Graphic design, industrial design, product design, user-experience design, user-interface design, interaction design, data visualization, information design, and/or other related disciplines. 

Specialization in Animation: Storyboarding, animation, digital media, illustration, game development, or fine arts.

Students must apply through Cal State Apply and submit required documents and work via the Slideroom portal to be considered. For more information, please visit the MDes website.

Admission Requirements*

  • In order to apply, applicants must have completed a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution while also maintaining a minimum GPA of 2.5.
  • Portfolio:
    • For the Specialization in Experience Design: an online portfolio of work with at least 10 projects exhibited.
    • For the Specialization in Animation: submit a portfolio and/or animation reel with at least 10 projects exhibited.
  • Official transcripts from all higher education institutions.
  • Two letters of recommendation and a resume.
  • A one-page statement of intent that articulates your goals and how you expect this program to prepare you to achieve your intentions. 
  • International students must demonstrate English language proficiency. A GRE is not required.

* Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission into the program.

Program Deadlines



Experience Design
(Class starts Fall 2023)

Application start date: October 1, 2022
Application deadline: March 1, 2023

(Class starts Fall

Application start date: October 1, 2023 
Application deadlines: TBA

For you to participate and receive credit from online classes at San Jose State University, your state of residence must have a reciprocity agreement in place with CSU. This agreement provides online students with consumer protection. For a complete list of participating states and details on the regulation, please visit