There are a few master's degree options for individuals who are interested in enrolling in graduate graphic design programs in the city of Chicago, most of which encourage students to study adjacent fields in art and design in addition to graphic design. Below, we will explore four of these options in greater detail by covering what is unique about each program, as well as general admission standards.
Chicago Schools with Graduate Programs in Graphic Design
University of Illinois at Chicago
The School of Design at the University of Illinois at Chicago offers students a Master of Design program with graphic design as an area of focus. This program can be completed in two years by students who have experience in graphic design, though the program also offers less experienced students the ability to pursue a preliminary year of study before beginning the curriculum of the master's degree. The master's-level curriculum includes courses in research, advanced graphic design, various graduate seminars, and studio courses. The program also offers students the ability to study abroad in Basel, Switzerland. All students in this program are expected to spend the duration of their studies designing and pursuing research in a graphic design-related topic of their choice to create a research project that they will present at the end of their second year.
School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Another option for students is the Master of Fine Arts in Studio, Design for Emerging Technology at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Beyond the traditional field of graphic design, this program also focuses on closely related and innovative topics like interface design and physical interaction design, as well as multidisciplinary fields like robotics and computer architecture.
This program is highly flexible, and students have a great deal of choice in the courses and curriculum they choose to pursue. Program faculty encourage students to explore areas outside of their primary discipline. Students in this program will likely take courses that explore design as a concept that allows people to express their emotions and desires, beyond the physical act of working in design.
Students may also be interested in the Master of Arts in Digital Communication and Media Arts offered by DePaul University. The interdisciplinary nature of this degree is due to the fact that it is jointly offered by both the College of Computing and Digital Media and the College of Communication. Graphic design students will likely be most interested in pursuing the Media Arts track, since this track enables students to become better digital storytellers by being able to put their design ability to work in a variety of media forms. Some courses that are required in this program cover topics like interactive media, the creative process, design workshops, and interface and user experience.
Admissions Standards for Graduate Programs in Graphic Design
When applying to graduate programs in graphic design in Chicago, students will need to submit a number of documents and application materials in order to be considered. These include an application form, undergraduate academic transcripts, letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and a resume. In addition, students will be required to submit some sort of portfolio of their past work in design, which typically does not have to be limited to projects in graphic design. Schools generally have different requirements in regard to the portfolio, so it is wise for students to check with the programs they are interested in to make sure they complete this part of the process correctly. Students are typically expected to have experience in graphic design or a related field through their past academic experiences or actual professional experiences. However, it's not necessary for an applicant's bachelor's degree to be specifically in the field of graphic design.
In summary, graduate programs in graphic design are available in the city of Chicago at the master's level. Some of these programs focus less specifically on the field of graphic design and instead encourage students to explore design from a multidisciplinary perspective.