Experiencing the MDes UW program in a multitude of roles: as a student, an educator, a researcher, a colleague, and as part of a cohort.


We hope your student experience in the MDes program at University of Washington will be filled with inspiring connections, exciting first times, growth, and room for experimentation. As a student, you will experience being in the classroom as a student, but perhaps also as a teaching assistant. You may also be part of research projects led by faculty members. You will use studio and fabrication spaces to create. And you will find communities across the UW campus that will lead you to grow in new ways. There are no better ways to express what this experience is like than current and past students of the MDes students. Read their reflections below.

Photo by Min Jung of Bill teaching

Bill Xiong

Exploring Design Education: The UnSchool

Organizing insights

Maya Kaneko

Speaking about the Social Sciences

Aubree Ball trying on a paper prototype for glasses Augmented Reality concepts by students in her Design Thinking class in the iSchool.

Aubree Ball

Learning to Lead, by Design

Interview with (from left): Jonathan Mayer, PhD. Professor of Epidemiology, Medical Geography, and Medicine and John D. Loeser, M.D. Professor Emeritus, Neurological Surgery and Anesthesia and Pain Medicine. Photo Credit: Piper Loyd

Coreen Callister

On Choosing a Thesis Topic

Cyanotype experiment outcome and collected photos and seeds for a book about biodiversity loss.

Taylor Miles Hopkins

Trial, Error, and Experimentation as a Designer.

Joe Sparano, Catherine Lim, and Geoff Gray (MDes ‘16) during an impromptu critique in the grad studio. Photo by Chad Hall.

Catherine Lim

On choosing the 3-year track

Critique of DES 166 projects on zoom in January 2021.

Rebecca Rhee

First Time as a Teaching Assistant

Participants working together during an in-person workshop at Kline Galland Nursing Home.

Cal Dobrzynski

Working with participants: Design for Creative Aging

Quad Autumn After Raining.

Hannah Liao

Moving to Seattle in fall 2021

Thesis Chair Karen Cheng and Committee Member Kristine Matthews at Vassilissa Semouchkina's MDes Thesis Exhibition.

Vassilissa Semouchkina

On choosing a thesis chair

Thesis installation by Emma Teal Laukitis. Design for the Wild: Strategies for Designers Working in Environmental Advocacy. 2018.

Emma Teal Laukitis

Thesis Henry Gallery Installation: Design for the Wild

Coding some interviews using my patented 'cut out the text and push it into piles' technique.

Heidi Biggs

Thesis Research: Research makes the most sense looking backwards at it

Jeremy Barribeau conducting field research (thesis) in Namibia, 2020. Photo courtesy of Nicolas Herment.

Jeremy Barribeau

Research during the MDes program and beyond

Flowers behind glass, shot on iPhone, May 2021.

Julian Body

MDes Year 1: Beauty behind the window

Samer with his students.

Samer Fouad

Being a TA: Research through Teaching

A combination of individual desks, shared studios and fabrication spaces.


The MDes studio is located on the 3rd floor of the Art Building on the Seattle campus of the University of Washington. The space combines individual desks (each student has their own assigned desk) as well as a shared space that can be used for socializing or fabricating larger prototypes and projects.

You will have access to tools via a series of spaces in the Art Building and on campus. The spaces include the library, maker spaces (which give you access to laser cutters, 3d printers, sewing machines, vinyl cutters, electronics tools, etc.), woodworking shop, prototyping lab, computer centers (giving you access to large plotter printers), a digital portfolio studio (for photography), and more. You can read more about the tools and spaces here. →