Admission Requirements

The MDes degree is for practising professionals who have completed an undergraduate degree and have work experience in a related field.

Applicants will need to meet four main eligibility criteria:

  • Related Professional Experience
  • Relevant Academic Experience with a minimum overall grade
  • English Language Proficiency
  • Program Specific Requirements

Eligibility Criteria

Professional Experience

To be eligible, you must meet the minimum professional experience requirement for the program you wish to study. This is typically two to three years of full-time work experience in a related field, by the start date of the program. We only count professional experience gained after you graduated from your bachelor’s degree towards this requirement.

Academic Experience

To be eligible, you must have a bachelor’s degree in a field relevant to the program you wish to study. You must also meet UBC’s minimum academic requirements, which are based on the country where you completed your undergraduate degree.

If you studied in Canada or the United States, you must have completed an undergraduate degree and attained an overall average of 76% in your upper years of study.

If you studied outside of Canada or the US, you must meet the minimum academic requirements for the country where you completed your undergraduate degree.

Proof of English Language Proficiency

For success in the program, you must be able to fluently speak, comprehend and write in English.

If you completed your degree at a university in a country where English is not the only official language, you may need to provide results of an English language proficiency test as part of your application.

Learn more about the proof of English language proficiency requirement.

A complete application package will contain:

(via the UBC e:vision portal, must have a CWL login)

  • Online application and application fee
  • CV or resumé
  • Two reference letters
  • Unofficial transcripts for all post-secondary institutions attended are required for the application package, however, if admitted, students are required to submit official transcripts to the College of Graduate Studies.
Program Specific Requirements
  • Statement of Design Project Intent: (800-1000 words) A brief description contextualizing your experience in relationship to design practice, including innovations in design that you are interested in. Indicate your goals for the MDes including a proposed project that details how your project tackles a local, national, or global problem, and why you understand that the design/prototyping/production of your work will affect a positive change for a better future. You may use the pillars of the program ( Design, Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship) to contextualize your program intent.
    *Format accepted: PDF
  • Professional portfolio (up to 10 samples of production and/or links to digital work). Include detailed description about each project. A website containing your work is also acceptable.
  • Optional: One example of your professional writing or a substantial scholarly paper

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Applicants who do not meet the admission requirements stated above, but who have had other significant formal training, relevant professional experience, and/or otherwise possess demonstrable knowledge or expertise that would prepare them adequately for successful study in the graduate program, may be granted admission on the recommendation of the Program Director and the approval of the Dean.

Laptop Requirements

Students in the UBC Master of Design program are required to use their own laptops. In particular, students will need to have a machine that:

  • Runs one of the following operating systems: macOS Big Sur or above (>= 11.4.x), Windows 11 Professional, Enterprise or Education (version 2004, 20H2, or 21H1).
  • Can connect to networks via a wireless connection for on campus work
  • Has access to an internet connection that is fast and stable enough for video calling and conducting online quizzes
  • Has at least 50 GB disk space available
  • Has a minimum 8 GB of RAM
  • Uses a 64-bit CPU
  • Is at most 6 years old at the start of the program (4 years old or newer is recommended)
  • Uses English as the default language
  • Student user has full administrative access to the computer

Virtual Information Session

We are looking for our first cohort of people working towards solving critical problems facing humanity. Our goal is to help you do that.

View this video recording to learn more about the program and the application process.

Application Information

  • There is one intake per year in May of each year. The next intake is May 2025.
  • Only full applications will be considered.
  • Applying takes time. Students are advised to start the application process in advance of the application deadline.

Advance your career through the MDes program.

Applications for the May 2025 start date are now open. Apply by October 1, 2024.

Questions? email

A maximum funding amount of $5000 will be available for program registrants on an academically competitive basis in 2025/26. No application is required. The selection committee will distribute the funds during the application period. Students will be made aware of the funding commitment in their acceptance letters from UBC.