Master of Fine Arts in Visual Art: Graphic Design
The MFA program in Graphic Design engages each student in an individual pursuit to expand his or her knowledge of visual communication design systems. The aim is to further development towards a career in design education and/or professional practice. Students and faculty from diverse cultural, educational and professional experiences engage in critical discourse that challenges and strengthens each student’s understanding of communication theory, research methodology, and approaches to solving design problems. Encouraged to identify and expand their own voices as designers, students take a combination of graduate design studios, seminars, art history courses, and directed independent study projects, culminating in a graduate thesis project, exhibition and document. Graduate students are expected to take a leadership role in the department and in their interactions with undergraduate students.
The Graphic Design MFA program requires completion of a minimum of 60 graduate credits. Students are required to complete 24 credit hours in Graphic Design studio courses, comprised of a combination of graduate design studio courses and directed independent studies. In addition, graduate students are required to complete 12 credits in graduate level art history and 12 credits of graduate art electives. To encourage interdisciplinary approaches to problem-solving, students have 4 credits of free electives. In the last two semesters students complete their final 8 credit hours in Design Thesis and Thesis Exhibition.
Plan of Study & Candidacy Review
The Candidacy Review, a mid-program evaluation, requires each MFA Graphic Design student to form a graduate committee composed of the student’s major professor (thesis advisor) and two members from the Department faculty. Upon completion of 30 credits, students meet with their committee for candidacy review to determine their progress in the graphic design program and to propose a thesis direction. Successful completion of this review is a prerequisite for continuing as a candidate for the degree.
The Graphic Design program is designed to prepare students to develop and present a thesis project in their last semesters of study. Every thesis project is unique and tailored by students to their individual interests. The thesis is a cumulative process through which each student builds a coherent, investigative, and relevant body of design work culminating in an exhibition. Although thesis study is a highly personalized process, all design theses focus on methodology, the application of method to physical work, and the organization of a relevant thesis document.
The Department of Visual Arts and Art History offers Graduate Teaching Assistantships on a competitive basis to full-time graduate students. These provide students with financial assistance in the form of a tuition waiver and stipend. Students receiving GTAs are assigned 20 hours of related work that can include assisting in teaching undergraduate courses, creating design work for the department, asssiting with department needs or monitoring labs.
A number of scholarship opportunities exist in the Department of Visual Arts and Art History. Various scholarships provide students with financial asssitance towards educational expenses.
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