Mission Statement

Recent societal, technological, ecological, and economic shifts highlight the complexity and interconnectedness of our lives, and call for a rethinking of the role design plays in shaping our surroundings. More than ever, designers are asked to extend the boundaries of their field, engage in collaborative and multidisciplinary processes, and devise informed responses to urgent issues. 

The department of Graduate Communications Design adopts a future-oriented perspective by amplifying students' ability to harness the inventive potential of making, to create transformative and sustainable design tools and strategies, and to thrive within a variety of professional contexts. The department foregrounds diversity and inclusion and fosters inquiry- and practice-based learning.

The department offers two degrees, an M.F.A. in Communications Design and an M.S. in Packaging, Identities and Systems Design, both of which emphasize hands-on studio practice, providing students with the opportunity to develop and refine creative skills, critical thinking, and a unique design voice necessary for innovation and leadership in the field.

Departmental Overview 

Pratt Institute’s Graduate Communications Design programs have been educating designers for more than 40 years. In a survey of 10,000 design professionals by Graphic Design USA magazine, Pratt Institute is recognized as one of the top five influential schools today, and ranked in the top 12 of over 200 graduate graphic design programs in the nation, as reported in U.S. News & World Report rankings.

Our MFA in Communications Design, a 60-credit graduate program, emphasizes full-time studio practice in graphic design, print and digital media, artifacts, environments, and information systems.  The MFA program’s emphasis on research, scholarship, and studies into visual media that include praxis, theory, history, and related humanities and social sciences, prepare students to passionately pursue culturally relevant and socially impactful design.

The Master of Science (MS) in Packaging, Identities and Systems Design is a 48-credit, full-time graduate program that delivers a multidisciplinary design education emphasizing studio-based practice. The program explores real-world challenges that designers are empowered to solve. The curriculum introduces a breadth of design opportunities, from branding and packaging systems to challenges that focus on sustainability issues through formal and material research.

The department is located on Pratt’s main residential campus in Brooklyn, New York, in The Juliana Curran Terian Design Center, a building devoted to the School of Design’s undergraduate and graduate programs. The department’s faculty includes highly regarded, award-winning designers, authors, researchers, and media experts who serve as important professional contacts for the students. Many have published influential design books and articles, and have been honored with design awards from prestigious arts and design organizations.

Students also gain access to world-famous design firms through the department’s internship opportunities, through which many students have secured positions within the industry. A diverse body of students from different professional, educational, and cultural backgrounds come to Pratt to develop their design careers, or to begin a journey toward becoming a design educator. Our graduate programs provide students the opportunity to refine their design process, design voice, and creative skills, leading to professional competence and leadership.

The application deadline for the MFA in Communications Design and MS in Packaging, Identities and Systems Design programs can be found on our admissions page.

View the departmental requirements for application.

See our MS Capstone and MFA Thesis website

Learning Outcomes 

MFA Communications Design

  1. Apply socio-ecologically sustainable processes and research to design transformative strategies for communication and interactions between people and communities that promote a diverse, equitable and just society.

  2. Integrate situated knowledge and perspectives with histories, principles, and practices of communications design to support the creation of speculative artifacts, modes of representation, platforms and systems serving intersectional identities and abilities.

  3. Attain interdisciplinary knowledge that supports critical discourse and the development of a significant body of work characterized by experimentation, creativity, and resiliency and include non-dominant ways of knowing, thinking, and doing.

  4. Accomplish versatility and expert capabilities with communications tools and strategies across numerous technologies, demonstrated through critical responses that recognize design as collective action that address socio-economical and environmental issues.

MS Packaging, Identities and Systems Design

  1. Apply contemporary design processes, methods, tools, and technologies toward sustainable solutions that address social and environmental concerns, and build capacity to adapt and augment these skills throughout their lives.

  2. Achieve competency in exploring and expressing inclusive and universally accessible design solutions across two, three, and four dimensions by continuously evaluating the impact of design decisions on local and global resources and communities.

  3. Gain the capability to research, identify and ethically incorporate current sustainability practices in material use, distribution, life cycles, earth ecologies, and social practices.

  4. Demonstrate knowledge and critical understanding of a wide range of design theories and histories within their socio-economic context, and direct that expertise toward both applied and theoretical frameworks.

  5. Develop humility, social sensitivity, and cross-cultural competency to provide strategic leadership that takes into consideration a plurality of perspectives within a multidisciplinary professional or academic environment.

The application deadline for the M.F.A. in Communications Design and M.S. in Packaging, Identities and Systems Design programs is can be found on our admissions page

View the departmental requirements for application.

Image: Basik by Saana Hellsten, Package Design, 2014