The Master of Integrative Design program is part of the BGSU Graduate College and BGSU College of Arts and Sciences

Man use computer laptop with screen of video conference of course online attended by people from many places
  • Masters Available
  • Offered Online
  • Masters Available
  • Offered Online

Master of Design

Integrative Design

The Master of Design (MDes) in Integrative Design is a low-residency, online hybrid program (predominately online with three campus visits per semester and one week in the summers) that supports the growing need for more designers with creative, adaptive, and strategic skills. The MDes degree focuses on developing flexible and resilient design leaders versed in emerging tools, methods and processes for taking on collaborative and integrative design problems that reside in a variety of complex systems and social issues.

The MDes is a 60-hour terminal degree intended for individuals who want to extend their impact, experiences, communication skills, and marketability within the design profession. The program’s multifaceted approach, through design education, creates a cross-disciplinary collaborative program for advancing designers in creative leadership roles.

Quality classroom experiences

The interconnectedness of complex problems requires research, new methods, and collaborative approaches to create effective solutions. The MDes in Integrative Design provides a combination of theoretical and practical curriculum to develop adaptive, strategic, and collaborative designers, educators, innovators and leaders who address complex problems.  

Many disciplines can be involved, requiring an “integrated” understanding of problem-solving. Solutions aim to create connective, human-centered design experiences. Subjects explored include design research and methods, design for complex systems, design in context and culture, integrative design strategies, design theory and implementation, and collaborative design studio intensives shape the focus of this program.

STAND OUT in courses

  • Integrative Design Studios I and II: Complex Systems, Context & Culture, Strategies and Theory
  • Collaborative Design Studio I and II: Social Innovation
  • Design Research + Methods
  • Design for Social Impact


The MDes in Integrative Design, as a terminal degree, in the design discipline and requires significant course work of design research, theory and methods through individual and collaborative projects addressing complex problem-solving through creating connective, human-centered design experiences culminating in an oral defense and thesis exhibition. The MDes curriculum is designed to graduate students with the types of skill required to be a successful design professional, ready for more complex roles, specifically design leadership.

Internships and Careers

Employers are hiring a broad scope of designers and visual communicators in a wide variety of industry sectors such as advertising, online business, food and beverage, finance, healthcare, government, publishing, IT, customer care, web, technology, manufacturing, marketing, media, insurance, telecommunications, military, consulting, education and much more. 

There is no shortage of opportunities for employment with design-related skills, particularly skills that incorporate integrative thinking, leadership, management and critical thinking.

Job titles this degree is applicable to include: design thinking facilitator, integrative designer, creative director, art director, brand/product manager, design strategist, creative strategist, digital marketing manager, digital strategist, graphic designer, experience designer, information graphics designer, interaction designer, instructional systems designer, marketing director, marketing communications manager, media director, presentation specialist, proposal specialist, service designer, user experience designer and visual communication designer.

BGSU’s MDes in Integrative Design is the only hybrid online MDes degree in the country.

Salary & Job Placement

AIGA, The Professional Association for Design, 2019 Design Census cites the average salary for designers of more than four years as $72,504; five to nine years of making $90,205, senior design managers at $122,859; and creative directors average $146,777. AIGA posts verify that the national average annual salaries for designers continues to grow.

The annual salaries for 2021 from Creative Group (TCG), a creative staffing organization, lists creative directors with advance expertise at $191,500, creative service managers at $127,750, content strategists at $115,000. The report also cites global creative directors at $146,777 annually.

ZipRecruiter (2021) cites design thinking facilitators at $86,477, design strategists at $105,421, and creative strategists at $138,170.

GO FAR in your career

  • Creative Director
  • Design Researcher
  • Design Strategist
  • Design Manager
  • Experience Designer
  • Communication Designer
  • Design Thinking Facilitator
  • Social Impact Designer
  • Service Designer
  • Creative Strategist

The flexibility of our hybrid curriculum accommodates working professionals by providing two-, three-, and four-year curricular models.

Learning Outcomes

  • Apply research methods and quality standards that are consistent with academic investigations and/or the constraints of professional practice
  • Develop collaborative processes for working in interdisciplinary teams
  • Define and develop economically and ethically viable models for social innovation
  • Analyze design practices with social impact, and their histories and theories, that reflect societal values
  • Design a Master of Design thesis show/event/project aimed at complex social issues; write a thesis paper defending work

All candidates completing the application process will be evaluated by the Division of Graphic Design, the graduate coordinator and graduate faculty representatives from the School of Art. On the basis of the Admissions team’s evaluation of the applicant’s academic profile and assessment of the applicant’s likelihood for success in the MDes degree program by reviewing transcripts, resume, personal statements and recommendation letters in a holistic manner, and a portfolio of work, the program’s graduate coordinator will make a recommendation for admission to the Graduate College, and the Graduate College would then grant admission if all requirements are met.

Applicants will submit a letter of intent; digital portfolio consisting of 10-15 recent works/examples/contributions; resume; and three letters of recommendation denoting competencies in creative thinking, problem-solving and leadership skill sets. The letter of intent should draw a correlation between applicant’s work, thinking and processes to illuminate their ability to develop creative work through visual and critical research and the motivation to explore and experiment while focusing on their studies. Prospective students should ideally demonstrate an ability to develop creative work through extensive visual and critical research and motivation to explore and experiment while focusing on their studies.

The BGSU MDes in Integrative Design is finalizing program accreditation with the National Association for School in Art and Design (NASAD) and is housed in the NASAD accredited School of Art. Bowling Green State University [BGSU] is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. BGSU has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission since 01/01/1916. The most recent reaffirmation of accreditation was received in 2012 - 2013. Questions should be directed to the Office of Institutional Effectiveness.

BGSU Graduate College

The Master of Financial Economics program is part of the BGSU Graduate College and BGSU College of Business

* Job placement and salary information was compiled by the Office of Academic Assessment through the Graduation Survey from AY2015-2018. The data are gathered around the time of Commencement and a follow-up survey six months post Commencement. For the salary question, data for programs with fewer than fifteen responses are not included. Salaries for those programs are from the National Association of Colleges and Employers Summer 2019 Survey. For questions regarding the data, contact

Updated: 02/28/2023 04:25PM