Matter Design Computation M.S. (Ithaca)

Field of Study


Program Description

The Matter Design Computation (MDC) program is a two-year research degree culminating in a master of science. Students pursue architectural research in areas of material computation, adaptive architecture, and digital fabrication. Two of the most promising technologies are 3D printing and rapid assembly via robotics for manufacturing of individual and continuous component parts. Together, these technologies are geared towards becoming indispensable tools for nonlinear manufacturing and design, automated building construction, as well as complex form making. Students from diverse disciplinary backgrounds investigate the intersections of architecture and science and apply insights and theories from biology and mathematics to the design, fabrication, and production of material structures.

The MDC is an interdisciplinary program housed in the Graduate Field of Architecture and represented by a core of faculty from the departments of Architecture, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Fiber Science and Apparel Design, Materials Science and Engineering, Computer Science, and Biological and Environmental Engineering. Students with an undergraduate or graduate degree in architecture, engineering, biological or materials science, or computer science are likely candidates for the MDC program.

Contact Information

Phone: 607-255-5236

139 E. Sibley Hall

Concentrations by Subject

  • Matter Design Computation



Application Requirements and Deadlines

Application Deadlines:

Fall: Jan. 3

Requirements Summary:

A portfolio of creative work or equivalent must be submitted online via the CollegeNET application. Portfolios must be no larger than 20 MB or they will not successfully upload. All applicants are required to submit a portfolio which should represent the applicant's best work, including prior academic or professional work in the areas of computational design and digital fabrication. Published scientific and technical papers may be submitted in addition to or in lieu of a portfolio. The entire portfolio must be uploaded as one PDF file, using a landscape (horizontal) format for each page, to ensure that the width of the screen is maximally used to view each portfolio page (approximately a 4:3 ratio). If any portfolio project, drawing, or model has been produced by several designers or if the design was produced in a professional setting, each drawing must be labeled, clearly stating the number of designers, which drawings or details of drawings were produced by the applicant and a list of the names of all members of the group project. If the project was produced in an office, an office setting, or as an assistant to an author, the office name, supervisor, and all members of the team must be identified. Please note: The portfolio must be uploaded at the same time as the application is submitted (deadline January 3). Please plan your application process accordingly.

  • all Graduate School Requirements,
  • TOEFL or IELTS Exam for Non-Native English Applicants
  • two - three recommendations
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Transcripts
    • International transcripts & International degree equivalencies
  • GRE scores are no longer required or accepted


Learning Outcomes

▪ Students of architecture will expand their creative design potential by increasing their knowledge and understanding of material and computational design, digital fabrication, and emerging materials and technologies at the nexus of biology, materials science, and architecture.
▪ Students who have graduated from other disciplines will explore advanced architectural design, material and computational design, and digital fabrication.
▪ Students will practice transdisciplinary collaboration and hybrid thinking in design to prepare them for emerging careers in both the academy and in practice and industry.
To assess these objectives, evidence is collected through graduate level elective coursework and thesis preparation. Frequent meetings between the student and committee chair inform the development of the thesis topic and as evaluated through the thesis itself. Literature review takes place through required course work and the research studio format.