Master of Fine Arts in Visual Art: Graphic Design

The Master of Fine Arts in Visual Art, with a concentration in graphic design, engages students in an individual pursuit to expand their knowledge of visual communication design systems with a focus on furthering development towards a career in design education and/or professional practice. Students and faculty from diverse cultural, educational and professional experiences come together to engage in critical discourse that challenges and strengthens each students understanding of communication theory, research methodology and design problem solving approaches. Encouraged to identify and expand their own voice as designer, 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.

Admission Requirements

1. Bachelor of Fine Arts, Bachelor of Arts, or equivalent degree from an accredited college or university or, for international students, an institution recognized in its own country as preparing students for further study at the graduate level. Degrees in graphic design or visual communication design are preferred. Candidates from other curricula will be considered based on abilities demonstrated in portfolio, statement of intent, and space available. Two years’ experience in the graphic design practice is preferred.

2. The minimum University admission requirements are either 1) a “B” average or better in all work attempted while registered as an upper-division student working for a bachelor’s degree; 2) a graduate degree from an accredited institution.

3. Graduate admission application submitted online via FAU’s Graduate College website.

4. Official college transcript(s) submitted to FAU’s Graduate College.

Applicants must submit the following to Graphic Design, Department of Visual Arts and Art History, Florida Atlantic University, 3200 College Ave LA-323, Davie, FL 33314.

1. Three letters of recommendation

2. Résumé

3. Statement of intent. Candidates need to submit a two-page essay describing their creative aims and reasons for graduate study

4. Portfolio: which includes 20 examples of applicant’s graphic design or electronic media work.  Portfolios should be submitted as a PDF on a CD-ROM labeled with the applicant's name. 
-Website examples should list the URL on project description sheet.

5. Candidates must include a project description sheet with their portfolios.

6. Copy of official transcript.

7. CD will be returned if accompanied by sufficient postage and self-addressed envelope.

8. Deadline for applications (online and postmarked): October 31st (September 1st for International Students) for spring admissions and February 21st for fall admissions.

Completed admission portfolios must be submitted directly to the Department of Visual Arts and Art History. The Graduate College will be notified by the department of the evaluation results and will notify candidates. Only completed portfolios and application packets will be considered.

Graphic Design Curriculum

The M.F.A. in Visual Art with a concentration in graphic design is offered at the Fort Lauderdale campus. The graphic design program requires a total of 60 credits of study; it includes the following distribution of credits. The Department of Visual Arts and Art History admits full- and part-time graduate students in the spring and fall of each year. 

Area of Concentration    


Graphic Design Studio and Seminar courses  24-32
Art Electives (may be in area of concentration)   12
History and Theory of Art and Design  12
Free ElectivesFree Electives  4
Research Project (Design Thesis and Exhibition)     8

All candidates accepted into the M.F.A. Graphic Design track are required to form their graduate committee prior to candidacy review. The committee will be composed of the candidate’s major professor (thesis advisor) and two members from the department faculty. An additional member may be from outside the department.

Upon completion of 30 credits, candidates will undergo a candidacy review by their committee to determine appropriate progress in the Graphic Design track. Successful completion of this review is a prerequisite for continuing as a candidate for the degree.

In the last semester of study, the candidate will present a thesis exhibition. The exhibition will be curated by the M.F.A. candidate and members of the candidate’s committee. The M.F.A. candidate is required to produce written documentation of research, including a detailed explanation of the thesis exhibition. Copies of thesis documentation must be presented to the committee no less than three weeks prior to the thesis exhibition. An oral examination, focusing on the candidate’s work, will take place directly following the presentation of thesis exhibition. Successful completion of this examination is required for awarding of degree.

The Department of Visual Arts and Art History reserves the right to select work from thesis exhibitions for its permanent collection.