MFA in Graphic Design

The Master of Fine Arts degree in Graphic Design is an innovative and comprehensive curriculum designed to equip students with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in the dynamic and constantly evolving field of graphic design. Students learn wide-ranging design principles, techniques, and tools through a sequence of seminar, studio, and elective courses. The program emphasizes hands-on learning through real-world projects and collaborations with industry professionals throughout its studio culture.

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

Graphic Design History and Graphic Design Theory seminars provide 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, while taking full advantage of the University’s liberal arts setting.

This MFA experience 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 critical methodology, examining 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 and connection to 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 pedagogy, discourse, and practice to represent peoples, cultures, and aesthetics historically overlooked in Western design narratives.

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