Master of Design

Apply to Herron's (M.Des.) in communication design program

We believe that innovation stems from diverse perspectives. Herron is looking for people from various disciplines who want to be change agents and drive people-centered innovation. Academic rigor, professionalism, cross-disciplinary collaboration, and interdisciplinary exploration are essential to the success of the M.Des. program's candidates.

Application components

To begin the application process, visit IU Indianapolis' online graduate application.

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You will be asked to provide contact details (i.e. names, street addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses) of three recommenders – faculty members or professional references – who will submit letters of recommendation through the online application system.

Recommenders will only receive an electronic request after you've submitted your online application. In the online framework, they will be asked to discuss aspects of your academic or professional performance, knowledge, skills and abilities. Recommenders must submit their recommendations electronically.

Be prepared to submit a 750- to 1,000-word personal statement outlining your reasons for applying to the M.Des. degree program. You should include a concise overview of previous experiences that qualify you for the program and your future career goals.

Additionally, upload your résumé outlining your professional and other relevant pursuits.

Official transcripts from each institution you attended must be sent to Herron's Office of Admissions and Student Services. Official transcripts must demonstrate a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale and completion of a bachelor's degree.

If you are in the process of completing a bachelor's degree when you apply, a transcript showing your academic record through your current term of study is acceptable. If admitted to Herron, you must submit a final, official transcript verifying the completion and award of your degree.

For international students, if the original documents are not in English, a verified translation must be sent with your official transcripts.

Submitting electronic transcripts

If your institution(s) can submit official transcripts electronically, they can be emailed to

If your school is sending limited-time login credentials that allow us to access their transcript system, be sure to make your request during regular business hours (Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. EST).

Emailed unofficial PDFs of transcripts will not be accepted.

Submitting mailed hard copies

If there is an extenuating circumstance preventing the submission of official electronic transcripts, contact the Office of Admissions and Student Services at with an explanation and a representative will provide detailed mailing instructions.

The nature of your portfolio depends on the nature of your experiences. Suppose your academic or professional expertise is in the field of design. In that case, your portfolio will most likely represent the best of your visual works.

Concentrate as much communication as possible on showing your design processes. Do not create a portfolio containing only designed products. Your portfolio should also show how you think and solve problems. Include design "briefs" that define the problem or opportunity statements and communication objectives and the audience and context for each project so that your work can be evaluated meaningfully.

If your academic or professional experience is not in the field of design, submit projects that reflect your educational and past professional experience. Include a description of each project that clearly articulates the significance and outcomes. Collaborative work should be identified, including your role in the project.

Approach the portfolio as a design project, considering what projects form the portfolio and how the body of work is constructed. Use these design criteria as your guiding principles:

  • The portfolio should represent your abilities as a strategic problem solver.
  • The portfolio should represent your abilities as an information organizer.
  • The portfolio should represent your ability to structure communications appropriately in order to demonstrate your interest in collaborative innovation.

Submit 3 to 5 projects online at, which can include time-based media.

Proof of English proficiency is required for international students unless the applicant's undergraduate degree is from a university located in a country where English is the official language.

Students usually submit TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System) scores. TOEFL scores must total 79 or higher on the internet-based test (550 or higher on the paper-based test). IELTS scores must total 6.5 or higher.

Applicants must request that an official copy of their test results be sent directly to IUPUI by the testing agency. The IUPUI reporting code for TOEFL is 1325. Other tests or ELS coursework may be accepted to verify English proficiency.

For a list of all options and minimum scores required, please see the IU Indianapolis Office of International Affairs English Requirements.

For a full list of required documents, please visit the IU Indianapolis Office of International Affairs.

Application fees

  • IU Indianapolis online graduate application fee: $70 for all applicants
  • Herron SlideRoom portfolio fee: $10 (non-refundable; cannot be waived)

Application deadlines

January 15: Deadline to submit your completed online application

January 22: Deadline to submit all supplemental materials


Ask an admissions advisor, or contact Herron's Office of Admissions and Student Services directly at 317-278-9400 or