Course Details

The coursework required for the Master of Professional Studies in Design Management & Communications includes two core courses, Ethical Design and Capstone, as well as foundation and elective coursework. Below represents a sample of course offerings. Format and content may change.

Core Courses (6 credits)

The first core course, Ethical Design (MPDC 500), is taken at the beginning of the student’s studies, and the second, Capstone (MPDC 900), is taken during the student’s final term. Course descriptions for both core courses are below. 

MPDC 500: Ethical Design
Visual communications and design professionals face ethical challenges that impact both personal and organizational integrity. In recognition of the overarching importance of sound ethical judgment in these fields, Georgetown MPS students start their program with a required core course in applied ethics. Students will gain a solid foundation in ethics and relate what they learn to their own professional situation through class discussions, case studies, and guest lectures conducted by industry experts. Looking at ethics through a professional lens, students are asked to explore their own values and are challenged to codify and commit to their own code of ethics in relation to a broad range of professional codes of conduct and best practices. Foundational concepts in ethics are woven throughout the program’s other courses and revisited throughout a student’s tenure in the program.

MPDC 900: Capstone
The culmination of the program is the capstone course in which students apply the comprehensive skills they have built throughout their study of the concept and practice of design management and communications. After identifying and securing a client, students respond to a
design challenge by creating a well-researched and creative visual communications project. Students have the opportunity to apply their visual design and management skills in a creative team setting. Throughout the semester, multiple forms of assessment—including quick-fire challenges, written projects, an ethical response paper, and a final project—track and evaluate each student's level of competency in all DMC program learning goals.

Foundation Courses (12 credits)

MPDC 520: Visual Communications
In today’s digital world, it has become necessary for communicators to use visual tools to communicate ideas effectively. In this course, students learn how to research, apply and critique typography, color strategies, digital imaging, design principles, and visual trends. Students should have working knowledge of Adobe Creative Suites and other relevant computer programs prior to taking this course.

MPDC 550: Design Management and Strategy 
This course introduces students to design management concepts. Students learn to work at the intersection between visual design and business strategy. The course covers an overview of business fundamentals; students learn how to successfully manage a team and visual projects within visual communications and design industry, advertising and marketing, creative processes and business models, client relations and management, and business development and evaluation.

MPDC 600: Design Thinking
Design thinking is a creative way to problem solve. Through a series of design challenges, this course prepares students to lead teams in envisioning new ideas by using both creative and strategic skills and developing innovative solutions to real-world design issues.

MPDC 620: Design Leadership 
Visual communications and design is one form of art; being a leader in visual design is another. Students in this course develop leadership skills in order to effectively communicate design critiques. Students will learn to lead by motivating, inspiring, and influencing creative teams and by facilitating and overseeing the creative process.

Elective Courses (15 credits)

Technology Innovation 
Technology is the driving force in visual communications, design, and innovation. In the workplace, students will be expected to have a basic understanding of how to use technology in a creative setting. This course introduces students to the fundamental concepts of technology-driven innovations in the market, discusses strategic and sustainable solutions to technology issues and challenges, and inspires students to create innovative design models for design businesses.

User Experience 
Today, visuals need to engage customers by offering an exceptional experience that people can identify with, purchase, and enjoy. This course provides an overview of user experience (UX) design, the role of research in a design process, and UX design approaches, including archetypes, storyboards, customer journey maps, and empathy maps.

Design Boot Camp
This course introduces students to a variety of digital tools used to create effective visual designs. Students will learn how to successfully communicate and evaluate design plans and strategies with internal and external stakeholders. Topics include visual design technologies,approaches and techniques, visual trends and design intelligence, and global and cultural impacts on visual design.

Design Portfolio
A successful portfolio showcases an individual’s creative skills and strategic mindset and is essential for career building in the creative industry. Students will learn how to build a portfolio and will leave the course with a personal portfolio and the skills required to continue building it throughout the program. Personal branding and career building strategies will also be discussed.

Visual Persuasion and Promotion
Visuals can be a persuasive and powerful tool in communications. This course discusses effective strategies, tactics, and tools that are used to create persuasive and compelling visual content, messages, and products.

Business Communications
Communication is a crucial management tool in all sectors of industries, government, and nonprofit organizations. This course teaches students to analyze, develop, and effectively communicate via writing, presenting, visual storytelling, client management, and negotiating. A special focus will be on translating visual design into business value.

Integrated Design Strategy
Visual design has become a key function in any organization that offers products, services, and experiences. Students will learn how to understand organizational branding and business strategy, how to identify issues and challenges, and in turn, offer successful products, services, and experiences. Students will also learn to align design strategies with an organization’s strategy and how to integrate design functions into the organization’s overall innovation and growth.