Learn and Experiment

The 60 credit hour MFA degree in Visual Communication Design is composed of courses in communication design, interactive design, and motion and 3D digital design.

60 Total Program Credits


30 Major Course Credits

9 Academic Credits

12 Elective Credits

9 Thesis Credits

Required Academic Courses

The Visual Communication Design MFA program offers three required academic courses: Design History Seminar, Design Theory and Methods Seminar, and Professional Practices.

These seminars explore cross-disciplinary principles, theories and methods that can be used by designers. Through selected readings from current periodicals, critical writing, hands-on involvement, presentations and guest lectures, students will broaden their awareness of topics such as systems thinking, human factors, semiotic theory, and visual rhetoric.

Equally as important as design theory, these academic courses also focuses on the practical knowledge of production and design skills, and exposure to basic business practices. An overview of business and economics related to the design world, goal setting and productivity skills, professional ethics, marketing, the interviewing process, and strategic analysis is addressed.

Elective Courses and Thesis

Open elective courses are taken starting in the spring semester of the first year. These courses can be scheduled in varied order, as long as the total number of required credits for each category is achieved. Elective courses are selected individually by each graduate student based on their particular interests, goals and preferences.

A thesis project is the culminating experience for students in the program. It is produced independently by the student under the advisement of faculty members chosen to serve on that student’s thesis committee. The thesis involves design research and study, a creative project, and written and illustrated documentation.

Thesis candidates must defend their thesis project. During the defense, the candidate's thesis committee will review the work to determine whether the candidate has fulfilled all of the thesis requirements established in the candidate's proposal.