Art + Design

Experience Design, MFA

Experience Design is a holistic and integrative approach to design that focuses on the quality of the human experience in concrete situations. It employs investigation, analysis, creativity and technology as tools to understand human goals, needs, and desires and to mediate the human experience.

The Graduate Program in Experience Design is designed to prepare students to become vital contributors and leaders of professional experience design teams where technological innovation intersects with design. Successful graduates will be able to analyze how people undergo real-world situations, enabling them to enrich experiences by orchestrating new design-driven relationships. They will be equipped with the skills to identify shortcomings as well as opportunities for improved engagement between artifacts, systems (virtual or physical), and the humans who encounter them.


Through examining how people behave in real contexts in relation to the constructed world and emerging technologies, CAMD’s graduate degrees in Experience Design allow graduates from design and other disciplines (such as architecture, business, engineering, communications, computer science, healthcare, humanities and the social sciences) or working professionals to gain knowledge and experience in the design competencies needed to address societal challenges. To accomplish these goals, students will learn how to invoke cooperation, collaboration and integration across disciplines and practices.


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The MFA in Experience Design offers a two year graduate experience that combines theory and studio-based practice and results in a terminal degree. Students will engage in and complete this program with a studio based Experience Design graduate thesis and a thesis exhibition. Graduates are prepared to continue onward to advanced academic or professional tracks as Experience Designers. They will able to collaborate effectively in this dynamic and burgeoning field of research and practice, ready to succeed in design agencies, design-related and design-driven industries, research institutions, public institutions, PhD programs and academic careers. The program intends to produce professionals skilled in design principles and practices needed to assume leadership roles in an evolving interdisciplinary field. Embedded in the CAMD graduate course offerings, MFA Experience Design students will have their own studio space and are part of a lively cohort of graduate students in related fields who intersect around vibrant events, exhibitions, guest lectures and workshops. Applicants are welcome with past experience in the design domain but also in related fields such as architecture, business, engineering, computer science, communications, and others.


The MFA in Experience Design is a 2-year, 60-credit hour program. Students complete 10 required courses and 4 electives.

View Course Catalog
Co-op Opportunities

design and media sectors

Ronik Design + Development, Sametz Blackstone Associates Inc, Rue Gilt Groupe, BounceX, Ifactory Inc., JCDecaux North America, Mullen Advertising Inc, NBC Universal, Unispaceb Smartwebs, Inc., AutoDesk, Hubspot, Ogilvy, IDEO

news and publishing sectors

The Boston Globe LLC, Patriot Ledger, Harvard Business Publishing, HMH Books and Media

arts sectors

The Museum of Fine Arts, Boch Center

food and beverage sectors

America's Test Kitchen, Kind LLC, Best Bees Company, BevSpot Inc., The Boston Beer Company, Inc

fashion and travel sectors

New Balance Athletic Shoe Inc, Reebok International Ltd., Wayfair, The TJX Companies, Inc., Trip Advisor LLC

government and civic sectors

City of Boston, City of Cambridge, Boston Neighborhood Network, Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, MassDOT/MBTA

health care and pharmaceutical sectors

Brigham and Women's Hospital, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Inc., Massachusetts General Hospital, Imprivata, Inc., Vertex Pharmaceuticals

educational sector

NU Center for Advancing Teaching and Learning through Research, edX, EF Education First, WGBH Educational Foundation

financial and business sector

Commonwealth Financial Network, Fidelity Investments, John Hancock, MFS Investment Management, State Street Corporation, Thomson Reuters, The Boston Consulting Group International Inc, Talent Acquisition Group

Career Opportunities

Design Consultant

Design Lead

Design Researcher

Design Strategist



Exhibition Designer

Experience Designer

Futurist Product Designer

Product Manager

Strategist Service Designer

User Experience Designer

User Experience Manager

UX Designer

Multidisciplinary Skills
  • collaboration
  • creative problem-solving
  • critical thinking
  • data analysis
  • design research
  • design software
  • experience mapping
  • graphic representation
  • fabrication
  • facilitation
  • human factors
  • information design
  • interviews
  • leadership
  • listening
  • observation
  • personas
  • programming
  • project management
  • problem framing
  • rapid prototyping
  • semiotics
  • sketching
  • technical skills
  • typography
  • UI/UX design
  • user stories
  • user testing
  • verbal and written communication
  • visual synthesis
  • visualization
Learning Outcomes

1. Apply iterative design processes to create, revise, evaluate, and develop effective prototypes and innovative solutions.

2. Engage human-centered design research methods and systems thinking to identify and understand values, goals, motivations of intended audiences as a mode of inquiry, question framing and guide to action.

3. Develop a high level of craft and technical skills in a relevant range of media and tools and effectively weigh applicability for intended audiences and outcomes.

4. Develop and realize intent, concept and content with awareness of context and consequence.

5. Implement visual patterns incorporating text, image, diagram including temporal and spatial representations to recognize, categorize, and articulate significant form and meaning

6. Employ and embody ethical practices, team and cross-disciplinary collaboration, and effective communication and presentation skills.

7. Apply relevant communication theories and principles and appreciate the pervasive and long-term impact of design decisions on people and societies.


Experience Design Alumna Estefania Ciliotta Chehade Runs Workshop at DRS2020 Based on MFA Thesis Project

CAMD alumna Estefania Ciliotta Chehade, who recently graduated with her Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Experience Design, ran a workshop at the International Design Research Society (DRS2020) Conference, alongside Michael Arnold Mages, Assistant Professor in the Department of Art […]

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