MFA in Graphic Design

The Master of Fine Arts degree in Graphic Design provides a sequenced studio approach to advanced design thinking and problem solving for visual communication, preparing students to thrive in a dynamic professional environment.

Graphic Design Studio and Typography courses form the program’s studio core. Students are challenged to articulate a design perspective and method through studio projects emphasizing form and communication, authorship, audience, and medium.

Graphic Design History and Graphic Design Theory seminars offer a conceptual framework for creative exploration and present opportunities for examining greater diversity, equity, and inclusion within the discipline.

Electives complement the core studio and seminar classes, allowing students to specialize in particular areas of interest. The dynamic model offers the flexibility needed for students to shape their individual experiences according to their professional and academic goals.

This body of work culminates in the second year of study with the thesis investigation, a personally driven body of work that presents the individual student’s visual and/or critical methodology and examines relevant and valued topics in contemporary practice.

Learning Outcomes

Students in the MFA in Graphic Design program are expected to:

  • Advance their graphic design process and master key design principles through programmatic studio work and discourse.
  • Use this design process to shape content applicable to multiple/myriad mediums and targeted audiences.
  • Approach design holistically—observe and respond to the social, political, economic, technological forces driving change and influencing communication formats.
  • Articulate a unique point of view and method informed by a study of design history and theory, and an engagement in contemporary practice and discourse.
  • Professionally develop through a measurable degree of advancement in creative work, research, writing, publication, and distribution.
  • Participate in the expansion, disruption, and revision of discourse and practice to represent people, cultures, and aesthetics historically excluded from Eurocentric narratives about art and design.

Graphic Design Curriculum

This program requires completion of 60 credits in continuous, sequential semesters and generally takes two years to complete. Students may only enter in September.

The College of Fine Arts Policies for Graduate Students apply to this program. Students must earn a minimum of 60 course credits in graduate-level coursework (500 or above).

CFA AR 881, 882, 883, 884 Graduate Graphic Design (taken in sequence each semester) 32 cr
CFA AR 601 Graduate Typography (fall only, taken first year) 4 cr
CFA AR 594 Graphic Design Theory I (spring only, taken first year) 2 cr
CFA AR 596 Graphic Design Theory II (fall only, taken second year) 2 cr
CFA AR 580 History of Graphic Design or, if already completed, CFA AR electives as determined through consultation with advisor 4 cr
Graphic Design or studio electives, 500 level or above 12 cr
University elective, 500 level or above 4 cr
Total credits 60 cr