Experience Design students meet around a table, with materials spread around them.

MFA in Experience Design (xd)

If you are a creative who wants to expand your understanding of interactive media or a technologist who wants to develop your design skills, this is the MFA for you.

General Program Description

A collaboration between Communication Design and Interactive Media Studies, our MFA in Experience Design (xd: MFA) provides a three-year and a two-year track. The three-year track allows students without design backgrounds to blend into existing undergrad design courses their first year and then join the rest of the grad students in their second year. The two-year track students enter with design training and move directly into more research-oriented work. We accept around eight students each year. 

Unique Features of the xd:MFA Program

  • Collaborate across disciplines: Interactive Media Studies, Studio Art, Social Entrepreneurship, Computer Science and Engineering and more
  • Engage with top talent including visiting designers and technological thinkers
  • Pursue a specialized course of study:
    Option 1: designers who want to embrace interactive media;
    Option 2: technologists who want to develop their design skills
  • Shift your understanding and perspective on technology as a cultural force
  • Expand your skills in coding and designing interactive experiences
  • Co-create new technologies and systems as you engage in human-centered design
  • Design, develop, deploy and test your ideas through applied research

Read more about our projects and our people »

xd:MFA Curriculum by Semester
(2 Years)

xd:MFA | Fall First Year

  • ART 650 Core Design Studio (6)
  • IMS 518 Social Media (3)
  • IMS 557 Web Interaction Programming
  • ART 601 Teaching Seminar or approved elective (3) (see list)

xd:MFA | Spring First Year

  • ART 650 Special Topics in Design (6)
  • IMS 522 Adv Web (3)
  • Art 651 Systems Design (3)
  • Approved elective (3) (see list)
  • Alternative: San Fran Program

Note: Graduate students may choose to apply to the Miami University San Francisco Digital Innovation Program (SFDI) spring semester of their first year as an alternative to coursework on the Oxford campus. Through this program, students intern with startups, network with the technology community, and meet innovators.

xd:MFA | Fall Second Year

  • ART 650 Core Design Studio (6)
  • IMS 561 Adv 3D & Simulation (3)
  • IMS 513 UX (3)
  • Approved elective (3) (see list)

xd:MFA | Spring Second Year

  • ART 700 Core Design Studio: Thesis (6)
  • IMS 504 Visualization (3)
  • Approved elective (3) (see list)
  • Elective (3) (any course)

xd:MFA Approved Electives

Take 12 hours from list below

  • ART 601 Teaching Seminar (required for adjunct instructors) (3)
  • ART 620 Drawing (3)
  • ART 700 Design Thesis (3) (extra time for thesis project)
  • ART 555 Design History and Cultural Contexts (3)
  • ART 640 Printmaking (3)
  • ART 557, 558 Photography IV & V (3)
  • ART 561, 562 Ceramics IV & V (3)
  • ART 564 Jewelry Design and Metals IV (3)
  • ART 571, 572 Sculpture IV & V (3)
  • ART 630 Painting (3)
  • ART 589, 680 Contemporary Art History (3)
  • ESP 464 Social Entrepreneurship (3)
  • ESP 464 Social Entrepreneurship: A European Perspective (3)
  • ESP 461 Emerging Entrepreneurial Consulting (3)
  • ESP 467 New Venture Creation (capstone) (3)
  • IMS 540 Practicum (Armstrong Interactive) (3)
  • IMS 519 Digital Branding (3)
  • IMS 507 Interactive Bus Communication (3)
  • IMS 514 Web and Social Media Analytics
  • IMS 545 Game Design
  • IMS 587 Prototyping, Pipeline & Production (3)
  • IMS 533 Digital Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • IMS 555 Principles and Practices of Managing Interactive Projects

(ART: Art; ESP: Entrepreneurship Program; IMS: Interactive Media Studies)

Communication Design Intensive + xd:MFA (3 years)

formerly Graphic Design Intensive + xd: MFA

The 3 year option is for students who have a strong interest—but not a strong background—in communication (graphic) design. Students accepted under the 3 year option first complete our Communication Design Intensive: one year of coursework (6-9 hours each semester, 15 hours total). At the end of this year, they receive a Miami University Graduate Certificate in Communication Design. To complete their MFA, they must then participate in a full faculty review of their first year work. Continuation in the program is subject to this review.

Communication Design Intensive + xd:MFA | Fall Semester

  • ART 577 Image Creation (3)
  • ART 577 Typography (3)
  • Approved Elective Fall OR Spring Semester (3) (see list below)

Communication Design Intensive + xd:MFA | Spring Semester

  • ART 555 Design History & Cultural Contexts (3)
  • ART 577 Interactive Design (3)
  • Approved Elective Fall OR Spring Semester (3) (see list below)

Communication Design Intensive + xd:MFA | Approved electives

Students pick one from this list each semester:

  • IMS 519 Digital Branding
  • IMS 518 Social Media Marketing
  • IMS 507 Interactive Business Communication
  • ART 577 Independent Study in Letterpress
  • ART 577 Independent Study in Branding/Identity Systems

Note: The remaining two years would be the same as listed in the Two Year Option.

Application Process

Apply to Experience Design through the Miami University Graduate School. The following materials will be requested.

  • The general Graduate School application form (Please note that the official degree name for Experience Design as listed on this application is “Program Name: Art; Degree Name: Mast of Fine Arts.” After you select this general program name, you will be able to specifically select the concentration in Experience Design.)
  • A URL to a personal website of work sent via email to Graduate Director Dennis Cheatham dennis.cheatham@miamioh.edu
  • A one-page statement of intent. Please tell us about your educational and professional background and the ideas and influences for your creative work.
  • A resume including relevant work or professional experience
  • A non-refundable application fee
  • Your academic transcript(s) in PDF format for each college or university attended. Unofficial transcripts can be used as long as your name and institution are clearly indicated. If you are admitted, you will be required to submit an official transcript for each degree earned
  • Three letters of recommendation

Read more about requirements for international graduate students »


Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis ending June 1 each year. Departmental acceptance into the MFA program is competitive and is determined by the quality of the portfolio and undergraduate education. We encourage, although do not require, an on-campus interview with an instructor in the area of proposed study prior or during the application process.


The Miami Graduate School is actively trying to increase the diversity of its applicant pool. Assistantship funding is available for highly-qualified applicants from under-represented groups. Learn more about assistantship funding »