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Master of Graphic Design

Take a leadership position in user experience and user interface design (UX/UI) at a software company or design consultancy. Or become a faculty member at a research university.

Follow the MGD Program on Instagram

What MGD students are thinking: "How can we take missed opportunities and turn them into something new? I’ll figure it out over summer." Riley Walman (MGD '23) Read more on ...

White board appreciation time.
What goes on in a thesis student's mind? @_weekend_worrier 's thoughts are all over the studio.

"Within online platforms, participants experience their community in many different ways and will engage in a variety of activities."

And So volume two: Certainly Uncertain. This issue explored the ways uncertainty in design creates opportunities to engage in the exploration of invisible problems.

MGD Bree McMahon investigated building tools to facilitate action for online communities. Read her full piece at


The Master of Graphic Design (MGD) moves students toward a deeper knowledge of graphic and experience design through purposeful, individually driven design practice. Inquiry into contemporary and emergent design issues prepares graduates for leadership positions in user experience and user interface design (UX/UI), with expertise in research, data visualization, digital typography, and artificial intelligence. Successful completion of the MGD results in a terminal degree, equivalent to the MFA, and qualifies graduates to teach at the university level or to pursue a PhD in Design.

The NC State Master of Graphic Design (MGD) is consistently recognized as one of the top NASAD accredited graduate graphic and experience design programs in the country and one of the few with STEM Classification (CIP). The faculty is nationally and internationally recognized (see Faculty at a Glance). Alumni are designers in enterprise-level software companies and leading design consultancies (such as IBM, RedHat, Lenovo, Adobe, IDEO, Fjord), as well as faculty members in colleges and universities (including University of Washington, Pratt Institute, Carnegie Mellon, University of Michigan).

See work from the MGD Studio:

In the midst of the pandemic, The NC State Laboratory for Analytic Sciences (LAS) partnered with our master’s students in the NCSU College of Design’s Graphic Design Department to tackle the potential for a knowledge graph to support the work of intelligence analysts.

MGD II: Two-year Master of Graphic Design Program

Have you earned a BFA or equivalent in graphic design and worked in visual communication, interaction design, or other related design fields? Or are you a practicing designer who wants to pursue a full-time faculty position? We created the MGD II program for you.

Through graduate studios, seminars, and workshops, students delve into histories, design-related theories, and human-centered research methods relevant to current and emerging practices. Students investigate questions individually and collaboratively around design and technology through research, making (visualizations, visual diagrams, and functioning prototypes), discussion, and critique. Students can also take advantage of NC State or our affiliate universities, Duke University and UNC-Chapel Hill, by enrolling in electives.

During their time in the MGD program, students develop a body of UX/UI work. Browse our students’ recent investigations, which cover a range of topics including speculative design, inclusive design, and augmented reality. They routinely participate in collaborative projects with industry leaders such as IBM, Redhat, and SAS, and research leaders such as the NC State Laboratory for Analytic Sciences or the Institute of Emerging Issues.

This work positions students to identify a design investigation in the final year. For this culminating project, students comprehensively research an area of interest, create studies and prototypes, document findings, and present the project in a public forum. Browse recent final project documents, or follow us on Instagram to see what students are thinking and doing right now.

For curriculum display, visit MGD II courses and curriculum page.

MGD III: Three-year Master of Graphic Design Program

Do you have a degree in another field but a deep interest and some experience in design? Or have you earned a BA with a graphic design concentration and wish to advance further? We created the MGD III program for you.

MGD III students enroll in two semesters of specialized coursework prior to matriculating into the MGD II program. Through a combination of studio­-based courses, seminars, and workshops, the curriculum introduces students to fundamental design principles. Additional courses focus on subjects such as emerging technologies, interaction, typography, and design theory/history.

For curriculum display, visit MGD III courses and curriculum page.