For MDes students pursuing the four-semester track, participation in and successful completion of the Open Projects course sequence is the final thesis graduation requirement.

The project must establish a proposition (position, case, project, hypothesis, thesis) and arrive at specific conclusions through multiple formats of representation/media (textual, graphic, spatial, material, etc.) Depending on the program concentration, project topic, and faculty advisor, the specific process and final format of the final project will vary. All Open Projects are presented publicly.


  • The student must enroll in the 4-credit fall course ADV-9306 MDes Open Projects I.
  • The student must enroll in the 8-credit spring course ADV-9307 MDes Open Projects II.
  • The student may secure a GSD faculty advisor and file a Declaration of Advisor form by the add/drop deadline of the fourth semester
  • If no advisor is chosen, the student works within the Open Projects advising structure (OP Instructor, OP Research Tutors, Area Heads).
  • The student must participate in mid-term reviews. For academic year 2017/18: Feb. 7, March 7, April 4
  • The student must present and defend the project at the MDes Colloquium on May 9, 2018.
  • The student must submit an electronic document to the MDes program office that summarizes and documents the final thesis project (text, drawings, images, etc.) by the deadline, May 14, 2018.


Refer to the course descriptions for Open Projects I and Open Projects II for specifications of the terms, expectations, and deliverables of Open Projects.

Final Submission

The student must present and defend the project at the MDes Colloquium in May. Once the project satisfactorily meets the terms of Open Projects as defined in the syllabus, the student must obtain the faculty member's signature on a standardized Cover Sheet to fulfill the MDes graduation requirement. A PDF/A of the written thesis, including the signed cover sheet, must be provided to the program office. The file must include the multi-media formats of the Open Project. Other media developed in the course of the project work are expected to accompany this document. Details regarding file creation and templates for the cover sheet can be found in the Information for Current MDes Students section of the MDes website.

Contact Liz Thorstenson, MDes Program Coordinator, with any questions.