DSI Grace Kwon (‘20) on Finding Purpose in Design

Applications Now Open for Fall 2021

Download the Brochure
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.

Design for Social Innovation is now STEM certified which increases the accessibility of our program with additional scholarship and grant funding.

See what DSI alums are doing here.

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.


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 dsiinfo@sva.edu or SVA Graduate Admissions at gradadmissions@sva.edu

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 statement of intent 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.

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