For the Spring of 2021, the BAC is at Risk Level 2. Stay tuned to the latest updates on the COVID-19 policies and resources for the BAC community.

Skip to Header Skip to main content Skip to footer

Applying to the Master of Design Studies

The Master of Design Studies (MDS) in Design for Human Health, Historic Preservation, and Sustainable Design is offered in an innovative distance format that allows students to work full-time while they study. Learn more below about applying for this highly selective online program.

Note that the BAC also offers an onsite MDS in Real Estate Development.

Application Requirements

To apply to our Master of Design Studies program, please provide the following:

Applications will be reviewed by the Admissions Committee to determine eligibility and acceptance into the program. There are a limited number of seats available, and acceptance is selective.

Credential Evaluation

Please use one of the following recommended agencies or one approved by NACES.


Your essay gives us the opportunity to learn about you and how you will contribute to the BAC's expectations and values. Our values are based on our mission, which is: "The BAC provides excellence in design education emerging from practice and accessible to diverse communities." With this in mind, please address the following questions:

  1. How does the BAC's mission connect with who you are and why you wish to attend the BAC in your program of choice? (250–500 words)
  2. What are your personal and professional goals, and how will attending the BAC support those goals? (250–500 words)

Creative Sample

If you do not already have a portfolio, we ask that you submit an example of creative work that reflects your personality and that you're proud of—this could be a work of visual art, a video, an example of design in any form, a work of research or creative writing, performed or composed music, a selection of photographs, etc. The goal of this exercise is to give us an opportunity to learn more about you.


A portfolio is not required for admission into the BAC (with the exception of the Online Master of Architecture). However, if you already have and choose to submit a portfolio, it is best to do so soon after applying for admission.

Note that the BAC does not mail portfolios back to students, and the BAC cannot be held responsible for lost or damaged items. Because of this, students are strongly encouraged to send their work digitally via

Letter of Recommendation

We ask that you provide one statement of support from a personal advocate. This advocate can be an educator, mentor, employer, colleague, or other person who knows you and can speak about you in an academic, professional, or volunteer setting. Please refrain from using a family member.

International Students

International students may complete the MDS by continuing to live in their home country and traveling to Boston for week-long intensives during the program. Please learn more about applying to the BAC as an international student.

Priority Scholarship Deadlines

Fall (August) semester start = February 15

Spring (January) semester start = October 15

Have More Questions?