Master of Fine Arts in Communications Design

Design plays a central and formative role in shaping communities, technology, and business. Never before have designers been expected to cultivate such a diverse set of skills and such broad knowledge. Our M.F.A. program prepares individuals to pursue design with passion and cultural relevance. Our distinctive program emphasizes design as a means for communicating meaningful messages, organizing information, creating compelling user experiences, and effecting social change.

We believe that the most intriguing and successful designers are cultural innovators who use media to inform, persuade, and entertain. Our graduates develop voices as authors and entrepreneurs engaged in identifying and solving design problems within cross-disciplinary environments. We approach design as an agent of change—a strategy for transforming behaviors of individuals in desirable and sustainable ways.

The program provides a framework for both professional practice and academic careers, while emphasizing full-time studio practice in graphic design—communications, identities, objects, environments, and systems. Graduates enter the professional world with a confident design voice and an outstanding body of work, prepared to become innovative leaders in communications design areas—i.e., print and digital media, typography, identity systems and branding, design strategy, social media and interaction design, motion design, environmental design, data visualization, information design, and user experience design.

 The M.F.A. in Communications Design is a full-time program, with classes offered during the day, as well as some evenings for the convenience of students. A minimum of 62 credits, completed within two years of study, is required for the M.F.A in Communications Design degree. Students accepted typically hold undergraduate degrees in graphic design or related design fields, such as industrial and interior design, architecture, fine arts, and media arts. And, we also welcome applicants from non-design fields as well, such as communications and journalism, business, liberal arts, and the sciences. Up to six credits of qualifying courses may be required for applicants who do not meet all entrance standards but whose applications indicate a strong aptitude for graduate study. A portfolio review is required for admission.

Program Mission Statement

The M.F.A. in Communications Design will strive to prepare individuals to be confident and mature independent designers who will contribute to the expansion of the field; are skilled in the effective and appropriate use of technology; become leaders in the communications design profession; and are innovators in design pedagogy, research, and publication.

Learning outcomes of the M.F.A. Communications Design degree:

  • The ability to identify a problem (problem seeking) and apply design process and research methodology towards a solution.
  • Advanced professional competence, demonstrating depth of knowledge and achievement, in a well-developed, defendable, and significant body of work. 
  • The ability to demonstrate knowledge of necessary theory and practice and the desire for a leadership position in the profession and academia.
  • Advanced capabilities with technologies, demonstrated in the creation, dissemination, presentation, documentation, and preservation of work.
The application deadline for the M.F.A. in Communications Design is January 5. Please see departmental requirements for application here.


Requirements for MFA Communications Design