Department of Art and Art History Design

Graduate Program Overview

The UT-Austin MFA program is distinctive by design. Unlike traditional MFA programs in design, our graduate curriculum does not require students to declare a research specialization in graphic design, industrial design, or any other subfield. Instead, it encourages students to develop transdisciplinary methods and strategies for identifying, framing, and solving research problems in design and other fields.

The design program is simultaneously intimate and worldly. Each graduate cohort of approximately five students works closely with Design Division faculty in small classes that facilitate individualized instruction. Yet students take up to 50% of their coursework in programs other than design, drawing on the expertise of faculty at a top-tier research university that boasts programs in nearly every field of specialization.

By definition, MFA programs prioritize making, yet UT Design strives to develop not only expert designers, but also thoughtful practitioner-critics who can communicate effectively in writing and speech as well as through design work. Ultimately, the UT Design MFA curriculum offers a platform for self-directed students to design an educational experience that will prepare them for careers in many fields. Alumni of the program enjoy successful careers not only as designers, but also as inventors, writers, entrepreneurs, strategists, CEOs, and college faculty.

Degree Offered

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 six credits outside of the major.

In addition to the course of study, MFA candidates complete two graduate reviews, the first held at the end of the first spring semester, and the second at the end of the second fall semester. During These examinations, or critiques, the student exhibits design work and makes an oral presentation, after which the Design faculty engages the student with question-and-answer period. All Design graduate students attend and observe these reviews.

Finally, students are required to disseminate their work through annual MFA exhibition and a written Master’s Report.