Program details

Gain the skills you need to enter a new field with Iowa State University’s Master of Arts in Experiential Graphic Design (MAxGD). Whether you’re seeking to complement your existing four-year bachelor’s design or looking to enhance your skills for employment opportunities, the MAxGD program provides a comprehensive curriculum tailored to meet your needs.

This one-year program welcomes applicants from all educational backgrounds. Here, you’ll have the opportunity to work closely with a cohort of students in a collaborative studio setting while fostering creativity and innovation. Iowa State University’s College of Design provides students access to leading-edge technology and state-of-the-art fabrication facilities like the Iowa State University Student Innovation Center, making this a hands-on learning experience.

Program benefits:

  • Collaborative studio setting: Work alongside a cohort of fellow students in a dynamic studio environment.
  • Cutting-edge technology: Gain hands-on experience with leading-edge technologies and state-of-the-art fabrication facilities in the new Student Innovation Center on Iowa State University’s campus.
  • Creative component: The MAxGD requires a self-directed creative component designed in close collaboration with a faculty advisor.


This 30-credit degree focuses on preparing students for visual communication. The MAxGD provides a comprehensive exposure to all aspects of user experience, including but not exclusive to way-finding, exhibition design, interaction, information design, and placemaking.

Iowa State University’s Master of Arts in Experiential Graphic Design degree program is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).

Recent Student Work

Application requirements

Anyone applying for admission to the Master of Arts in Experiential Graphic Design program must complete the Iowa State University Graduate College online application. As part of the application, you will be asked to provide:

  • Official academic transcripts indicating a Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) and a minimum 3.0/4.0 GPA
  • Three letters of recommendation from individuals from your educational or professional background who can most directly speak about your ability to complete graduate level course work and teaching duties.
    • You will be asked within the application to provide the names and email addresses for your three references; when you submit the application, the three individuals will receive an email notification from ISU Admissions with a link to the recommendation form
  • A statement of academic and personal interest including your career goals and reasons for applying for the program (500 word maximum)
    • Please address why you have selected graphic design at Iowa State for graduate study, your specific graduate study objectives and professional goals after graduation, and your proposed area of inquiry (the questions you hope to investigate and the faculty you would like to work with and why)
  • Digital portfolio (PDF or website), including at least 10 (but no more than 20) examples of your creative work; one project must demonstrate and explain your creative process through images and text
    • PDF format must be in US letter, US tabloid, A4, or A3, and landscape orientation is preferred; PDF file size must be less than 20MB
    • Links to video and audio content is encouraged, and if any projects involved collaboration or your were a member of a team please describe your role on the project
    • If your portfolio is web-based, upload a PDF document that indicates the website where your portfolio may be viewed
  • Resume, including scholarships, honors, awards, exhibitions, publications, outstanding extracurricular activities, employment experience, and research
  • English Proficiency Exam (international applicants only)
  • Financial statement (international applicants only)

Consideration date

The priority application submission date for fall admission and a graduate assistantship is February 1.

Career opportunities:

  • Recent graduates are working as specialists in UI/UX design, wayfinding design and at design firms of various sizes.
  • Professional development is supported through networking opportunities through industry professional workshops offered through the College. The College also offers support through the Career Services office.
Graphic design students learning audio equipment and mixing in AK Studio class with Alex Braidwood in Los Angeles.

A Designer in the Making.

Find your place at Iowa State University’s College of Design, where we like to ask questions, poke and prod, create something new, and make a difference through design.