Pratt Institute’s Department of Communications and Package Design, which has been granting master of science degrees in communications design and package design since 1966 and 1972, respectively, has created its first master of fine arts degree program in communications design and is now accepting applications for fall 2011. The new terminal degree program will emphasize full-time studio practice and prepare its graduates to teach at the college and university level. Students will participate in studio courses approaching design as a means for behavioral change in socially and environmentally sustainable ways, which differentiates it from other programs of its kind through a broader educational experience.

To accommodate the new M.F.A. program, Pratt Institute will open a new, 10,000-square-foot facility at 123 West 18th Street that will house 125 student studios, a computer lab, printing facilities, a resource center, and a lecture and seminar room. Current students from Pratt’s master of science degree programs in communications design and package design will begin to utilize the space this fall. The new space, which occupies one floor of the building at 123 West 18th Street, is a short walk from Pratt’s main Manhattan campus, which is located at 144 West 14th Street.

The two-year, 60-credit M.F.A. degree program will emphasize full-time studio practice; research and scholarship; design teaching methodologies; and academic studies of visual media such as history, theory, critical analysis, aesthetics, and related humanities and social sciences. It will consist of seven M.F.A. studio courses that will investigate current practice and the future direction of communications design. The courses will emphasize research, critical thinking, and design strategy coupled with entrepreneurship and an iterative design process and will be taught by resident and visiting faculty members.

“Never have designers been expected to cultivate such a diverse set of skills and knowledge as today. Over the next 10 years the graphic design profession will experience a paradigm shift in what we do, how we do it, and why. The students in Pratt’s M.F.A. program will play a major role in determining this future,” said Jeff Bellantoni, chair of Pratt’s Graduate Communications and Package Design Department.

The Graduate Communications and Package Design Department was ranked ninth in the nation according to U.S. News & World Report in its 2009 guide to America’s Best Graduate Schools. For more information, please visit