MFA in Design: Overview


The MFA in Design program is interdisciplinary because designers face complex problems that defy easy categorization. Increasingly, they need to navigate between and blend disciplines, maximizing resources and working adaptively to create new environments, visuals, messaging, and artifacts.

Our full-time, two-year graduate program trains students to understand clients, collaborators, and design challenges in original and authentic ways. The program combines aspects of fine arts studio practice, digital craft, architecture, and graphic, fashion, and product design, thereby providing a hybridized education. Our program’s strength lies in its ability to support each student’s unique interests, providing a customized, educational experience tailored to the needs of each individual.

We set high expectations, encouraging discipline and rigor in the pursuit of nuanced, meaningful work. Our program attracts students who are inquisitive, open-minded, and eager to explore and experiment. Within the program, we nurture a practice-based approach, employing a variety of tools, materials, and fabrication methods in pursuit of thoughtful, authentic outcomes. We empower each student to develop a unique research focus and body of work.

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MFA in Design – Overview – 1
VCUarts Qatar Gallery, Annual MFA Exhibition
Image by: Raviv Cohen


Rab Mcclure

Rab McClure

Director of Graduate Studies

Seed Pod Mini

Marco Bruno

Marco Bruno

Associate Professor

Studio 7
Smart Block

Stella Colaleo 250x250

Stella Colaleo

Adjunct Faculty


Michael Wirtz 250

Michael Wirtz

Head of Research and Library Technology

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Rebecca David

Administrative Business Coordinator

MFA in Design Research

The MFA in Design program offers generous research support, fostering creative activity and encouraging innovative, authentic work. Students benefit from generous Graduate Fellowship funding, access to the Graduate Student Research Grant program, funded participation in MFA ON-THE-GO, our annual field study program, and special one-time research stipends designed to support eligible, individual opportunities. Faculty are eligible to apply for internal grant support funding through the peer-reviewed Faculty Research Grant process.


Student Thesis Projects

Abdulrahman Al Muftah


Tools for Celebrating Qatari Wellness

Faheem Khan

Less Water, More Holy:

Tools for Sustainable Ablution

Nada Elkharashi

Form Follows Culture

Yeon Geong Hwang

The Default:

The Paradox of Play and Productivity

Reema Abu Hassan

Monumentalizing Rituals

of the Palestinian Diaspora

Asma Derouiche

Cultural Production in Qatar:

Design, Dialog and the New Authentic

Boost Lab exists to bridge the gap between creative conception and commercial activation. We’re a research-fueled launchpad for innovative, culturally-informed products, developed in Qatar. We’re interested in developing different types of products, from quirky, locally inspired collectibles—the kinds of things that might not get made elsewhere—to scalable proposals with commercial potential, products that respond to marketplace demand and generate broad appeal.

Seed Pod Mini:

Rab McClure


Stella Colaleo


Rab McClure


Marco Bruno

Future Memories

Giovanni Innella

Other Projects

Collaborative Matrix  by Reema Abu Hassan

re:collections by Yasmeen Suleiman

Smart Block  by Marco Bruno


Terminal Degree

The MFA in Design with a concentration in Design Studies is a terminal degree in the field of design; that is, it is the credential needed to teach at the university level. Graduates from our program pursue diverse and rewarding careers in art and design as practicing designers, independent makers, curators, business owners, entrepreneurs, academics, and researchers.

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Reema Abu Hassan

MFA Class of 2020, Founder and Owner, Clay Encounters

Aisha V

Aisha Nasser Al Sowaidi

MFA Class of 2014, Founder and Director, Liwan Design Studios

Stwodah Picture Teaching 2023

Hawa Stwodah

MFA Class of 2016, Assistant Professor, Department of Fashion Design + Merchandising, VCUarts, Richmond

Featured Student Achievements

Prototypes for Humanity

VCUarts Qatar MFA in Design student Alaa Albarazy’s thesis project selected by an international jury for exhibition during Dubai Design Week, November 8-13, 2022, Dubai, UAE. His project was one of 100 projects selected from submissions from more than 500 universities and more than 100 countries.

Best of Class

VCUarts Qatar MFA in Design student Amna Yandarbin’s thesis project selected for top honor by an international jury consisting of Alberto Meda, Francesca Picchi, Giulio Iacchetti, and Marva Griffin at the Lost Graduation Show, curated by Anniina Koivu, which took place during the 2021 Supersalone, Salone del Mobile, Milano.

Judges Winner, Contemporary Craft

VCUarts Qatar MFA in Design student Reema Abu Hassan’s thesis project chosen by a panel of judges as the best overall project in the category of Contemporary Craft, at the Arts Thread Global Design Graduate Show 2020.