October 27, 2021

ArtCenter College of Design Expands Academic Degree Programs to Increase Access and Meet Industry and Societal Needs

Launch of new one-year Master of Design degrees in Brand Design and Strategy and Interaction Design for mid-career professionals, and First Year Immersion program to help students access an ArtCenter undergraduate education in new ways

Existing programs renamed to Creative Direction, Spatial Experience Design and Furniture, Lighting and Fixtures Design

With the aim to create greater access for a diverse student body, ArtCenter College of Design today announced the launch of two new one-year online graduate degree programs aimed at working professionals and others who may be unable to take two or more years to earn an advanced degree. The College will also launch a new immersion program to provide time for first-year undergraduate students to develop their practices and skill sets while gaining exposure to different fields of art and design before they choose a major. And, ArtCenter will update the names of two academic departments to reflect the ways in which the programs have evolved to be in sync with current industry standards.

“I’m so pleased to launch these new programs that offer more points of entry for creative individuals to pursue an art and design education,” said Karen Hofmann, provost of ArtCenter College of Design. “After conducting extensive market research and collecting valuable input from alumni and industry partners, it is deeply gratifying to evolve ArtCenter’s academic programs in meaningful ways.”

“We’re excited to offer these new online advanced degree options to serve a broader demographic of students who may need the added flexibility remote learning offers to balance the pursuit of higher education with other responsibilities in their lives,” said Tom Stern, senior vice president, Admissions and Enrollment Management, ArtCenter College of Design.

Masters of Design (MDes) is a new, graduate-level offering for working professionals and other individuals looking to enrich their existing skill sets and position themselves for higher-level roles in the design industries. These new degree programs will be offered entirely online and achievable in just one year. This new fast track degree is aimed at diverse students who otherwise might not have time to pursue a multi-year graduate degree with geographic constraints or work and family responsibilities. ArtCenter will be offering MDes degrees in Brand Design and Strategy developed in concert with the College’s Graphic Design program and Interaction Design developed in concert with the undergraduate Interaction Design program and Graduate Media Design Practices.

First Year Immersion is a new pathway for entry into ArtCenter’s undergraduate programs designed for a small and targeted cohort of incoming students, allowing them to study in their first year without having declared a major. Prospective students will submit a portfolio along with a strong academic record and indicate a broad area of interest. Then, during their first two terms, students will take a series of courses related to Integrated Studies and Humanities and Sciences to help them decide on a major. The First Year Immersion program is designed to reach new, diverse students who display creative skills but who otherwise may not have been exposed to the array of art and design disciplines the College offers.

ArtCenter’s Advertising program will change its name to Creative Direction, with students earning a bachelor’s of arts degree in Creative Direction beginning in Spring 2022. This name change represents a significant leap forward for ArtCenter—which was founded by legendary advertising executive Edward A. “Tink” Adams—to acknowledge that advertising is about much more than selling a product or idea. Creative directors working in the industry today influence all aspects of the way a company looks, sounds, feels and presents itself to the world across all media types and technology platforms. Current Advertising students will complete their degrees under the prior name, while new students will come in under the new name.

ArtCenter's Environmental Design program will also change its name and begin offering bachelors and master’s degrees in Spatial Experience Design. Additionally, the College will offer a new master’s degree in Furniture, Lighting and Fixtures Design. This is an expansion of a track currently offered under Graduate Environmental Design. The name change not only recognizes shifts in the industry but also people's understanding of the spaces we inhabit and how those spaces contribute to an individual’s overall wellbeing. The undergraduate program will bring in its first class under the new name in Spring 2022, while the revamped graduate programs will bring in their first classes in Fall 2022. Current Environmental Design students will complete their degrees under the prior name, while new students will come in under the new name.

Social Media: @artcenteredu

About ArtCenter: Founded in 1930 and located in Pasadena, California, ArtCenter College of Design is a global leader in art and design education. ArtCenter offers 11 undergraduate and 10 graduate degrees in a wide variety of industrial design disciplines as well as visual and applied arts. In addition to its top-ranked academic programs, the College also serves members of the Greater Los Angeles region through a highly regarded series of year-round extension programs for all ages and levels of experience. Renowned for both its ties to industry and its social impact initiatives, ArtCenter is the first design school to receive the United Nations’ Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) status in recognition of its commitment to social impact design through Designmatters. Throughout the College’s long and storied history, ArtCenter alumni have had a profound impact on popular culture, the way we live and important issues in our society.


Teri Bond
Media Relations Director
ArtCenter College of Design
626 396.2385 office

Students and Gary Goldsmith review work during a Crashvertising session..
ArtCenter’s Advertising program will change its name to Creative Direction, with students earning a bachelor’s of arts degree in Creative Direction beginning in Spring 2022. Here, Gary Goldsmith, chair of the Department, leads a "Crashvertising" workshop.