Visual Communication Design Masters Degree Programs

Essential Information

A Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Visual Communication Design is a terminal degree in creative fields, meaning graduates are qualified to teach at the university level. Students develop work in both physically interactive communication - like urban graphics, icon systems or bookforms - and virtually interactive communication, like websites, interactive media or motion graphics. Design studio work is usually an important part of the curriculum.

Prerequisites for these programs typically include a bachelor's degree, GRE scores, college transcripts, letters of recommendation, and a design portfolio.

Master's Degree in Visual Communication Design

The first year of this master's program is usually made up of core curriculum, educating students in different techniques in a seminar setting. Students also critique each other's work, usually in a workshop setting. Students develop original research projects, and the degree culminates in a thesis. Theses for these programs can either be a written document, multimedia presentation, a designed artifact or a combination of the three.

Students can expect to spend a lot of time in design studios throughout the degree. Courses often combine visual communication design theory with workshops, studio time and thesis hours. Possible visual communications design courses include:

  • Design methods
  • Critical theory in design
  • Design and society
  • Illustration
  • Advanced motion graphics

Popular Career Options

Those who graduate with this degree usually take one of two career paths: graphic designer or post-secondary educator. It should be noted that while this degree qualifies graduates to teach college design courses, most professors are accomplished designers. Here are examples of some specific jobs graduates might have:

  • Illustrator
  • Graphic designer
  • Art director
  • Lead designer
  • Design manager

MFA programs in visual communications are composed of hands-on training in design studios as well as instruction in design methodology and theory. Graduates of these programs often enter careers in graphic design or post-secondary teaching.

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    • MA: Visual Communication Design
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    • MFA: Graphic Design

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    University of Chicago
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    University at Buffalo
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    The University of Texas at Austin
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    San Francisco Art Institute
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    North Carolina State University at Raleigh

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