9/22/2022 Fall ’22 Designer in Residence: Karen Proctor, Improv Lab



MFA Design for Social Innovation

What do you mean by “Social Design”?

Social Design is the creation of new social conditions — in cities, corporate cultures or communities — resulting in increased creativity, equity, social justice, greater resilience, and a healthy connection to nature. It is relevant to every business, government, city, neighborhood and individual.

How many students are accepted for each class?

We accept 25 students per academic year to attend each Fall.

If I am not a designer, can I still apply?

Absolutely. You have a choice of submitting a portfolio, or a case study of a project you’ve done. Our students come from diverse fields like engineering, architecture, fine arts, film making, economics, human rights and education. We provide online training in design software applications for those who need it.

When is the application deadline?

Applications will be accepted and processed on a first-come, first-served basis, as space remains available. Please note that we only accept students to enter the program in the fall semester.

Where can I learn more about applying?

More information about applying to Graduate programs at SVA is available here.

How much does the program cost?

For anything regarding tuition and fees please refer to the Student Accounts page. The link is

Do you offer scholarships or financial aid?

SVA offers financial aid for those that qualify. DSI offers partial merit-based scholarships based on a student’s application. No additional forms are necessary to be considered for these scholarships. SVA will match 25% of any outside scholarship, up to $2,500, that a student obtains for enrollment at SVA. Please visit SVA’s Financial Aid page for information on scholarships, grants and loans.

When are the classes held?

Because SVA’s faculty are all working professionals, classes are generally from 6-9 pm, Monday through Thursday. Some classes, workshops, events, and student project work will take place during the day or weekend, so please keep that in mind if you are considering part-time or full-time employment while completing the MFA.

What kinds of jobs will graduates of MFA DSI be equipped for?

Graduates of the program will be prepared to work in design firms and advertising agencies, in corporations in innovation, HR or CSR, in non-profit organizations, or as social entrepreneurs. They will be skilled in the design of concepts, communities, organizational models, communication, information design, mapping and implementation. For more information on what are alums are doing, visit our Alums at Work page.

What software do you use?

DSI students use Adobe Creative Suite, After Effects, Apple Final Cut Pro, HTML and Flash. Remedial courses for those who do not have mastery of the core design applications can be arranged and should not discourage candidates from applying.

Is DSI a STEM degree?

Yes, DSI is STEM certified. Not only does this certification serve to formally acknowledge the multifaceted qualifications and expertise gained by our students, but it will also increase the accessibility of our program, as additional scholarship and grant funding is now available to both domestic and international students.

For our international students, this STEM designation opens up a host of opportunities. Students who are earning STEM-designated masters degrees are able to apply for a 24-month STEM-extension to their 12-month Optional Practice Training (OPT) period, which allows them to work on a student visa. This means that the total time international students can stay and work in the U.S. after graduation (without applying for an additional visa) is 3 years instead of 1.

Please contact us or email if you have any questions, we are always here to help.

136 W 21st St,
5th Fl.
New York, NY 10011
(212) 592–2205