The College of Visual & Performing Arts

The Power of Thought:  New Degree in Design Thinking


The Master of Fine Arts degree in design thinking will launch in fall 2012.

The power to create ... the power to innovate ... the power to generate successful solutions to a variety of problems—this is the power of design thinking. 

Radford University’s College of Visual & Performing Arts (CVPA) launched its Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) in design thinking, marking the first graduate program offered by the Department of Interior Design & Fashion (ID&F).

Starting in fall 2012, the M.F.A. in design thinking will be administered completely online, with students having the option of completing the program either part time in four years, or full time in two.

“We’re so excited!” said Holly Cline, interim chair of ID&F. “The online component will allow anyone in the country or the world to complete this degree.”

The M.F.A. in design thinking is a leadership degree path intended to augment any bachelor’s degree, meaning that the prospective student does not need an undergraduate degree in design to enroll in the program. 

In his book “Design Thinking ... What is That?” author and award-winning industrial designer Mark Dziersk says, while the term “design” is often used to describe an object or end result, in its most effective form it is not a noun at all but rather a verb meaning a process or an action.

Using the work of Dziersk and other “design thinking” experts as a springboard, Cline said, a team of designers, artists and instructors familiar with this type of thinking process collaborated to create the new graduate program, which has a strong emphasis on the power of thought. “It’s how the design process embodies good decision-making,” she said.