Master of Design, Specialization in Experience Design

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Become a creative leader that’s equipped for the future changes and challenges of experience design while collaborating with Silicon Valley tech companies, museums, start-ups, and design firms. Express your ideas and innovation with the two-year, 60 units Master of Design, Specialization in Experience Design (MDes).

Push the boundaries of design for experience with a Master of Design, Specialization in Experience Design by enhancing your skills and knowledge through seminars, studio courses, and core courses at SJSU.  This innovative degree gives you the opportunity to put your creativity into action through industry mentorships, teaching assistantships, or faculty lead research collaborations.

Our Silicon Valley location gives access to top design companies where you can network and explore internship or career opportunities, not to mention the San Francisco Bay area is just a short drive away.

Program Snapshot




per unit*



*Fee listed will increase by 5% next Fall. SJSU makes every effort to keep student costs to a minimum; however, fees listed in published schedules may need to be increased to maintain the high quality of education we offer and are subject to change upon approval by the Board of Trustees, the Chancellor, or the campus President, as appropriate.

Program Features

Eclectic and innovative educators

Faculty are international leaders, accomplished designers, scholars, and educators in various fields of design.

Exceptional education

Enhance your creative skills with an education that embraces research and discovery and dedication to education and mentorship.

A range of focuses

Comparable to an MFA, the Master of Design is a source for ideas and creativity with a focus on current, emerging, and experimental practices.

Unique education experience

The Master of Design (MDes) program at San José State University is the first of its kind in all 23 of the California State Universities.

Career Opportunities

  • With the MDes degree you can find careers in user-experience design, user-interface design, digital product design, graphic design, industrial design, information design, interaction design, and design management. 
  • lists Design Manager's salary at an average of $122,308 a year. Top-paying companies such as Meta, Google, and Airbnb are all located in Northern California. 

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

Fast Facts

  • MDes is considered a terminal degree in the field of design. This means this degree is the highest you can achieve in this specific professional field.
  • According to a recent article by there were over 1.83 billion websites in existence and there are currently over 4 million mobile apps available for download. UI designers are responsible for designing the visual, interactive elements for all of these websites and apps.

Apply To The Program

Learn more about how to apply below.

  • Admission Requirements
    • Minimum GPA 2.5
    • Portfolio of work with at least 10 projects exhibited
    • Official transcripts
    • Statement of purpose
    • Two letters of recommendation
    • A resumé that documents your professional and academic experience

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

    International students must demonstrate English language proficiency

  • How to Apply
    • Step 1: Apply to Cal State Apply and submit the required documents

    • Step 2: Submit an online portfolio of work and additional documents to the Department of Design via a Slideroom portal, available in Fall. 

    For details on the application process visit the Master of Design page.

  • Application Deadlines

    Fall 2025

    • Application is expected to open on October 1, 2024
    • Application deadline: March 1, 2025

    *These dates are not final and are subject to change.

  • FAQ
    For a full list of FAQ’s please visit  Master of Design FAQ.


For news or events check out the Department of Design News.

Webinars are held each semester. Check back for updated event information.

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