Feb 24, 2024  
2016-2017 Graduate Bulletin 
2016-2017 Graduate Bulletin [ARCHIVED]

Design, M.F.A.

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Master of Fine Arts The MFA in Design provides a unique and collaborative program that engages students across a wide range of design disciplines. The MFA in Design is a terminal degree that qualifies graduates for careers in higher education as well as work in a range of professional positions within the design industry and other creative fields.

Graduates of this degree program will: 1) demonstrate professional competence in the creation of works in art and design; 2) produce work that shows the integration of knowledge and skills in a selected area of research; 3) complete studies associated with a subfield in design and 4) produce a final thesis project that demonstrates mastery of the field/ discipline.

Options provided in this program encourage collaboration across other disciplines to meet the anticipated needs of students, higher education, and the practicing design profession. Cross-disciplinary coursework includes the areas of industrial design, graphic design, interior design, game design, entertainment design, interactive media, studio art, and design history.  Students take 30 credits of required “core” courses and select the remaining 30 credits from a wide array of options to support their professional goals.

Graduates of the MFA in Design will be able to: 1-Demonstrate an understanding of the global, cultural, and technological context of design, 2-Engage in collaboration across disciplines to adddress advanced design problems and create innovation, 3-Critique processes and methodologies used in contemporary design practice, 4-Evaluate design perspectives and precedents related to process, aesthetics, creativity, and societal need, 5-Explore and utilize appropriate design methods and tools to support creative and theoretical research, 6-Implement ethical research, leadership, and business methods in personal design practice, 7-Practice sustainable and responsible design, 8-Identify and apply appropriate methodologies to design education, practice, and research, 9-Create and evaluate advanced design solutions, and 10-Disseminate novel design-related knowledge.


To apply for admission to the MFA in Design program, students will submit the following materials:

  • Completed Graduate School Application
  • Completed MFA in Design Program Application - The application will require a visual portfolio, a personal statement of goals and objectives for graduate study, a resume, and three letters of recommendation.

The minimum GPA for entrance is 3.0. Applicants should have obtained, at a minimum, a bachelor’s degree in design, art or a related field prior to applying to the program.

In addition to the Graduate School processing of applicants, the MFA in Design program director will convene a selection committee comprised of tenured/tenure-track faculty members from the School of Art and Design to review application materials and recommend admission.


The requirements for this degree include (a) a minimum of at least 60 semester hours of graduate credit with an overall graduate grade point average of 3.0 or better, with a minimum of 30 credits at 700-level or above, and a minimum of 39 credits in studio-based courses, (b) successful creative thesis project completion, (c) approval for degree candidacy at the appropriate time, (d) program requirement completed in seven years.

General Requirements
Master of Fine Arts Degree

Total for graduation 60 credits  
Core Curriculum 30 credits  
Selectives 21 credits  
Professional Selectives 9 credits  

Focus Curriculum (21 credits)

Design/Art Studio Selectives

Selected art/design studios supporting focus of study as approved by graduate program director; must be 500-level or above.

  • ART-XXX Art Studio electives (5XX or 6XX) or
  • DES-XXX Design electives (5XX or 6XX)
  • Approved studio independent study (credit varies)

Focus Electives (9 credits)

Selected cross-disciplinary work supporting focus of study; 3 credits must be studio based and approved by graduate program director.

  • Focus electives (5XX or greater) from other Customized Instruction Graduate Programs on campus.

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