Graduate Program Overview
We define design as a complex cultural activity that crosses many boundaries. We feel design should communicate and contribute to the formulation of the ideas and values of society. One goal of our program is to encourage designers to use the process of design as a method for understanding their culture and to effectively articulate this understanding to others.
The transdisciplinary nature of design is reinforced through the design curriculum, and the range of electives that can be taken throughout the University. Design courses are structured so that students may easily incorporate aspects from their electives into their design coursework. Design MFA students work with the Design Faculty in both formal courses and in independent studies. Graduate students may also be invited to assist faculty with their research and creative efforts.
Building on each student’s individual base of knowledge, talent, and perspective, we stress the making of artifacts informed through critical thinking, writing, and discussion. Based on the concept of practice as research, the curriculum allows students to develop hypotheses informed by both design research and interdisciplinary elective study. A methodology emerges through a body of work, shaped by structured dialogue among peers and faculty.
Master of Fine Art (MFA) in Design
This is a two-year, full-time course of study, requiring one summer of classes, in order to complete the 60 credit-hours. At least thirty hours of graduate course work must be in Design (the major). The remaining hours may be selected from courses throughout the University; the University requires a minor of at least 6 credits outside of the major.
In addition to the course of study, MFA candidates complete two graduate reviews, the first during the end of the first spring semester, and the second during the end of the second fall semester. These examinations, or critiques, consist of a viewing of the student’s work to date, an oral presentation by the student, and a question and- answer period with the design faculty. All design graduate students attend and observe these reviews.
Finally, dissemination of a candidate’s work is required as part of the Master’s Exhibition, and Master’s Report.