Graduate Graphic Design

The Master of Fine Art 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.

A solution-based practice framed by key principles defines the core graphic design studios. During the first year of study, students are challenged to articulate a design perspective and method through studio projects emphasizing Form and Communication, Authorship, Audience and Medium. Students are invited to think creatively and strategically—developing content, defining an audience and determining an optimum communication platform. 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 / critical method and examines relevant and valued topics in contemporary practice.

Faculty work closely with students to strengthen a student’s technical and conceptual abilities through both carefully defined and open-ended projects. Faculty serve as an entry point into professional practice through their own studio practices and professional networks. Furthermore, students are expected and invited to actively participate in the Boston-based design community to cultivate their own professional network.

Making Room for the Future

Due to recent building renovations and the introduction of brand-new facilities, the Graphic Design program is expanding and diversifying graduate offerings to include a Graduate Certificate Program. This full-time, one year intensive training program is ideal for those who are entering the graphic design field for the first time.

Graphic Design Graduate Certificate

Graduate Admissions Request More Information

Program of Study

  • Graphic design studios form the program’s core. Electives complement the core graphic design studios, afford the opportunity to specialize in areas of interest and provide the essential curricular agility to navigate in a changing practice.
  • Lectures by nationally and internationally distinguished designers and direct contact with the industry further enhance the studio experience.
  • The second year of graduate study is devoted primarily to the master’s thesis—presented in an exhibition format at the Boston University Art Galleries—for which a student is expected to make an original contribution to the field of graphic design.
  • Elective courses currently include Information Design, Design for the Web, Interactive Design, Experience Design, Motion Graphics, Design Theory, History of Graphic Design, Editorial Design and Exhibition Design.
  • In order to take full advantage of the benefits offered by a large university, graduate students may also take courses in programs across the BU community.


  • Graduate students have 24-hour access to brand-new design studios on the 4th floor of the 808 Building, including private studios spaces and larger communal work spaces.
  • New facilities also feature cutting-edge equipment to realize design projects, including large-format printers, vinyl cutters, bookbinding equipment, and 3d printers.
  • With initial training, students are also granted access to the Printmaking facilities on the 4th floor of the 808 Building, directly adjacent to the graduate design studios. Printmaking facilities include etching, lithography, silkscreen, bookmaking, letterpress, and digital print studios.
  • Additional facilities available to graduate students include black-and-white darkrooms, a fully equipped wood shop, a welding shop, ceramics facilities, and the Visual Arts Resource Library.
  • Students frequently utilize the Engineering Product Innovation Center (EPIC), a 15,000-square-foot, $9 million facility on Commonwealth Avenue, just steps from the School of Visual Arts. This state-of-the-art facility features everything from laser etching to rapid prototyping, allowing designers to collaborate with engineering staff and students to see their projects through all stages of hands-on production.
  • Note: Although graphic design students have full access to the computer lab and media center in the College of Fine Arts, each student is required to own a personal laptop computer for work outside of the School.


  • Students are given numerous opportunities to display work in Boston University galleries. The culmination of the two-year program is the Thesis Exhibition, held in the Boston University Art Galleries.
  • Teaching Assistantships are available starting in the second year. Graduate Assistantships are also available in the BU Art Galleries and in numerous facilities in the School of Visual Arts during the first and second year.
  • BU’s partnership with AIGA Boston brings leaders in the field to campus, and provides opportunities for students to network with Boston area designers and studios.

Student Life

Visit the Boston University MFA Graphic Design Instagram to learn more about graduate student life at BU School of Visual Arts.

Graduate Faculty

Graduate Visiting Artists & Critics

In addition to working closely with core full-time faculty, graduate students benefit from regular visits with working designers and critics, who present lectures and conduct studio visits. Recent visitors include:

  • Peter Bilak
  • Matthew Carter
  • Kyle Cooper
  • Aaron Draplin
  • Keith Godard
  • Hilary Greenbaum
  • April Greiman
  • Miranda July
  • Chip Kidd
  • Stefan Sagmeister
  • Susan Sellers
  • James Victore

Graduate Curriculum Requirements

Curriculum requirements for the MFA Graphic Design program can be found on the Academic Bulletin.