Social Design is the application of design methodologies to solutions for complex human problems. Design for Social Innovation at SVA is the first MFA program in Social Design, with an experience-based curriculum of discipline and rigor. Our graduates are pioneering solutions to the major issues of our time, working in the most enlightened and inspiring organizations.
It is a rapidly growing field with exciting career opportunities. Global corporations use it to ignite creativity and commitment within their cultures, foundations embed it into their efforts to end poverty and improve human health. Governments and NGOs use it to innovate new approaches, erase the boundaries of internal silos and step around archaic bureaucratic processes. Designers use it to create lives for themselves filled with purpose and impact.
It is used in neighborhoods to address crime and homelessness, in America’s Rust Belt cities to revitalize them, in India, to jumpstart economies, across Africa, to connect hundreds of thousands of women to prenatal and infant care, in Kenya, to mitigate violence, and in the U.S. to inspire citizens to stop sending almost as much edible food to landfills as they eat. That is just to name a few examples.
See what DSI alums are doing here.
|Download the 2018 Brochure|
Here’s What You Need
Applications are a combination of important records and information, as well as opportunities for you to show us who you are. We look for people who are broadly curious, committed and mature enough to take responsibility for their own future.LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION
Reflecting a wide range of communication, 3D and interactive design, data visualization and system design. A URL should be included with the online application, or a portfolio may be uploaded to the Graduate Admissions SlideRoom portal. To access Slideroom and find out more information, click here. Please upload 10-15 still images in .jpg format, not to exceed 5mb each in file size.
Reflecting initiatives that you have led, and that demonstrate social innovation. Up to three studies of complete campaigns, with written text explaining the problem, solution and results, if available, including thumbnail photos of any visual elements. Case studies should be no more than 5 pages in Word or PDF format submitted to email@example.com with subject line: “DSI Case Study” and your name. Graduate Admissions will pair this submission with your online application.
Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL): International applicants whose primary/native language is not English must demonstrate proficiency in written and spoken English. The TOEFL must be completed with a minimum score of 79 (internet-based) or 213 (computer-based). For more information, click here and see the Demonstration of English Proficiency section.
Foreign Transcripts: All foreign post-secondary (university level) transcripts should be converted into U.S. educational equivalencies. Those records that are not converted into U.S. equivalencies must be evaluated by an external evaluation agency. For more information click here, and see the Transcripts / Academic Records from Foreign Institutions section.
Declaration of Finance: Upon acceptance to DSI, all international students are required to submit original documentation of sufficient financial resources to attend SVA. For more information click here, and see the Verification of Finances section. The downloadable forms can be found in the Student Life-International Students section.
First, complete the application through the SVA Portal. We will contact qualifying candidates for an interview when your information is complete. If you have any questions please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or SVA Graduate Admissions at email@example.comAPPLY ONLINE THROUGH THE SVA PORTAL
Create an account if you don’t already have one, choose MFA Design for Social Innovation, and follow instructions from there.
How We Evaluate
We’re looking for passionate, committed people who are curious about the world’s diverse cultures and species. We welcome generalists, with breadth of experience, who might find other disciplines too confining –– people who like to act as much as they like to think –– who want to engage with the world and are filled with creativity.
The essay is important –– we want to hear your voice. We’ll be spending a lot of time together, and want to know as much about your hopes and ambitions as we can. Write from your heart as well as your head. Tell us why you want to join DSI, about the life you want to begin here on the day you arrive. And yes, we’re looking for good communicators and visual thinkers.
We don’t expect for you to have solved the world’s challenges already. We’ll get started on that together.