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The M.A. degree program in Interior Design requires a total of 33 credit hours. The degree program provides advanced education beyond the first professional degree level in interior design through:

- Scholarly or research activity directed towards the acquisition and dissemination of knowledge;

- The further development of professional competence through the pursuit of creative projects in advanced and specialized areas of interior design to ensure future contributions to the goals of the profession in its broadest sense;

- The exploration of fundamental issues in an effort to solve contemporary problems in the design of interior environments.

The purpose of the IAU Master of Arts in Design is to prepare students to significantly influence and lead the development of the visual arts and design professions thus contributing to the country's global position and status. The program offers 36 credits in research, theory and studio courses in parallel to the development of a self-initiated thesis or project.

The Master of Arts in Design program allows the student to disengage from the daily pursuit of tasks in their fields that are normally carried out under constraints, and which may limit their exploration of the subject in a holistic sense. Instead, the student is able to look in depth into the history, theory, practice and achievements of design on local, national and international levels.

In addition, the students will utilize a variety of methodologies appropriate to the subject/s under investigation in order to create a basis for further pioneering and exploratory work.

Admission Requirements

In addition to the university admission requirements for graduate students, the candidate must submit a portfolio of work for assessment and schedule an interview with MA course faculty. In addition, applicants for the graduate program may be granted a maximum of nine transfer credits of graduate studies taken at another accredited institution of higher education provided that the transfer course(s) correspond to the IAU course requirements. In order to be accepted into the program, the students must take a minimum of 6 credits per semester as a part-time candidate and 9 credits as a full-time candidate. The maximum number of credits per semester is 12 credits.

Students applying with a bachelor degree outside of design should first fulfill the undergraduate requirements of the university admission policy. Students with a degree other than design will have to consult with MA course faculty.

Graduation Requirements

Students seeking the degree of Master of Design must meet the university graduation requirements and complete 36 credits with a cumulative average of at least 3.0/4.0.

Degree Requirements (36 Credits)

MAD 615. Design Research Methodologies (3)

A survey of current design thinking and research methodologies to aid the student in the development of projects in response to a critical content framework. The course is intended to offer the student support and direction in the formation of the critical thinking that will inform their written and visual solutions. Includes lectures, readings and discussion of contemporary issues in design in social and cultural contexts.

MAD 616. Contemporary Issues in Design (3)

A seminar in which topics of current relevance to design practice and critical thinking will be explored and analyzed. The course content will change each semester to remain up to date within the profession.

MAD 625. Design Research Development (3)

Development of conceptual and analytical skills for the self-initiated design research which will culminate in a written proposal. Prerequisite: MAD 615.

MAD 626. Cultural Issues in Design (3)

A seminar that will consider the relevance of culture to design particularly in the Lebanese context. An introduction to recent theories in various disciplines concerning cultural understanding of design. The course content will change each semester to remain up to date within the profession. Prerequisite: MAD 616.

MAD 627. Design Studio II (6)

A visual application of the topics and ideas covered in Cultural Issues in Design. The course will be a platform for experimentation and exploration of concepts from the seminars. Focuses on the role of design objects as cultural artifacts and their reflection of social diversity on both designers and audiences. Includes creation, reproduction, distribution and reception of messages. Co-requisite and/or Prerequisite: MAD 626.

MAD 635. Thesis I (3)

This course will support and assist the student in the development and preparation of their research into a comprehensive written document that will complement the visual work to be undertaken in Thesis II. The two components will interrelate to support the theories, hypothesis and conclusion/s. Prerequisite: MAD 627.

MAD 636. Special Topic (3)

This course is given by an invited instructor to explore topics of current interest. Prerequisite: MAD 627.

MAD 645. Thesis II (6)

The course will provide guidance during the development of the visual application of the design thesis. The final outcome should serve as the solution/answer to the written thesis. Prerequisite: MAD 635.



Course Duration and Availability

Minimum one year full-time or two years part-time, post-BA (or equivalent)
Mode(s) of Study: Full-time, part-time, distance education and mixed modes.
Students without formal research skills may be required to undertake a bridging unit prior to commencing the course.

Non Standard Semester Delivery
The course is offered in open and flexible modes of study to cater for the needs of practicing designers and professionals in other related fields.

Description of the Program

This Master of Design by Research provides an opportunity for designers, educationalists and professionals in other related areas to develop research skills and knowledge and to carry out design research. Knowledge in the design field is advanced through independent investigation or the examination of a hypothesis and the development and presentation of a thesis or creative design project.

Design is a multi-disciplinary activity which requires highly developed critical and analytical thinking and conceptual and communication skills. This program focuses on those critical faculties and the creative synthesis of independent work or experimentation in producing a contribution to knowledge that is well grounded in findings from a research activity.

Study modes are flexible and negotiable with opportunities provided for candidates to complete the program on or off campus through the electronic communications protocols established by the School of Design and the Distance Education unit and/or to attend intensive short courses.

The course accords with various national, university and divisional priorities
and complements other degrees already available in the School as a focused professional degree that offers a distinctive and rigorous practical/creative program for research in the design field.
Course Aims

The aims of the Master of Design by Direct Research are to provide:
a. Advanced level research and inquiry skills for professionals related to the design field.

b. A program of study related closely to professional practice in design, which is research focused and directed towards practical outcomes that should contribute to the growth of a professional body of knowledge in the design field.

c. A professional support infrastructure which provides students with access to information and resources at the international level as an integral part of the course of study.

On completion of the program the student will:

a. Have a professional command of the theory and knowledge central to their professional/ creative discipline;

b. Have developed the skill of self-criticism and have acquired the ability to process and respond to others' constructive comments, such that the revision of work can be reasoned as well as intuitive and be appropriately 'reflective';

c. Have demonstrated the ability to produce sustained high-quality professional/creative work at a postgraduate level; and

d. Have demonstrated the ability to engage and interact with the relevant international and local design/professional communities.

Entrance Requirements

Applicants would normally have completed an undergraduate degree or postgraduate diploma in design or related fields. Refer to the Regulations (3) for the Degree of Master by Research available from the School.

In recognition of the comparatively recent opportunities for design practitioners to gain a bachelors degree, applicants who have significant practical experience (normally a minimum of 3 years following the award of a bachelor degree, and a minimum of 5 years following a 3 year Diploma) will be considered for admission to the course. Candidates who do not have formal research experience may be required to undertake a bridging unit prior to commencing the course.


A Doctoral degree is the highest degree that can be obtained by undertaking supervised research, and implies that the holder is an authority in design and can make a worthwhile contribution in their field.

A thesis of approximately 60-80,000 words is a normal outcome for a PhD.

The research degrees are governed by the University Humanities Divisional Graduate Studies Committee and supervision and facilities are provided by the School of Design at the College of Arts and Sciences. Application should be made through the School or International Office whichever is applicable. Applicants should provide a short outline of their proposed research project with their application. Full details of application procedures and Scholarships which may be available for MA or PhD by Direct Research in Design, can be obtained through the Graduate Studies Office or International Offices of the University.

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