Doctoral Program Admissions

A GradCAS Application is required for the School of Design PhD program.

Applications open December 1, 2021.  The deadline for applications is February 7, 2022. 

APPLICATION CHECKLIST:
All prospective PhD researchers must submit an online application that includes:

  • A Personal Statement
  • Samples of Work
  • CV
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Official transcripts
  • TOEFL/IELTS scores where applicable (scores must be less than two years old. Or the Duolingo online English proficiency exam for students (scores from the July 2020 updated version)
  • Application fee 

Detailed information about each component of your application is available below:

Personal Statement:
Describe your reasons for wishing to undertake a PhD in Transition Design, and how your unique personal and professional experiences have led you to this moment. Explain how your work overlaps with the Transition Design approach, and why this intersection could provide fertile ground for doctoral research. Tell us about what drives your work and the key research questions you are currently grappling with. We are not looking for a “research proposal.” Our program is fairly unique in that we develop this after the first year of study. If you are applying for a Teaching Fellowship indicate this here, and outline any teaching, training, or coaching experience you have. Your statement should be around 2,500 words in length.

Samples of work:
We are interested in seeing examples of your recent work. This could be anything from a design portfolio or curriculum you have developed, to a collection of short articles you have written or descriptions of community-based projects you have been involved with. Whatever you decide to share with us, it should be supported by annotations clearly describing each piece. You can upload samples of your work as a single PDF, or include a link to a personal website. We typically like to see around five or six pieces of work.

CV:
This should include your academic qualifications, work experience, and list of notable research and/or professional outputs.

Letters of Recommendation:
Provide names and contact information (including email addresses) for three people you have chosen to write letters of recommendation on your behalf. These are people who can write a compelling, thoughtful letter about your approach to work, and readiness for doctoral study.

Transcripts:
You must upload legible scanned or digitized unofficial copies of your transcripts to GradCAS. When you list your academic institutions in the online application system, they will automatically be contacted for your official transcripts.

TOEFL/IELT/Duolingo test scores:
All applicants whose native language is not English are required to submit a TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), the IELTS (International English Language Testing System), or the online Duolingo English Test score. All applicants must submit their highest test score by the application deadline.

  • Our minimum TOEFL total score is 102, with minimum subscores of 25. In addition to single test date TOEFL iBT scores, the School of Design also accepts MyBest scores for TOEFL iBT.
  • Our minimum IELTS score IELTS score is 7.5, with no score lower than 7.
  • Our minimum Duolingo score is 128 total. Subscore minimums: Literacy: 125, Conversation: 120, Comprehension: 135, Production: 105

Scores below these minimums will not be considered for admission. 

Application Fees:
Each applicant must submit a $75 application fee. Fee waivers are available upon request. Please email grad@info.cmu.edu with ‘waiver request’ in the subject line. Include an explanation of your situation and any supporting documentation to request a fee waiver.

When You May Apply:
The application for Fall 2022 admission will be available December 1, 2021. The application system will close on February 7, 2022.

Decisions:
Offers are made after all applications have been reviewed, usually around the end of March. 

Further Information:
Please feel free to write to doctoral-info@design.cmu.edu with any questions. You can also check out our FAQs page. As this is a relatively new program, insufficient data exists to provide helpful transparency statistics. This will be shared as it becomes available. 

Link for application can be found here when it goes live.