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School of Graphic Design

MFA Program Learning Outcomes

The MFA graduate degree program in Graphic Design emphasizes mastery of the profession — including narrative abilities, presentation skills, strategic thinking, problem solving and the ability to develop innovative conceptual solutions. Areas of specialized training include typography, visual literacy, identity, and print publication. Students acquire the finely tuned design skills, self-discipline and professional expertise necessary to become advanced practitioners.

The graduate student's final thesis project must integrate concept and content with technical prowess to make an original contribution to the field of graphic design. The thesis project is critically reviewed and approved by the graduate final review committee, then professionally exhibited to the industry and public.

MFA graduates of the School of Graphic Design will meet the following student performance criteria:

  • Critical & Creative Thinking

    • Conduct appropriate research to identify problems and potential solutions
    • Initiate appropriate level of audience involvement and participation
    • Demonstrate the resourcefulness and flexibility necessary to conceive and execute design solutions
  • Conceptual Skills

    • Create compelling and engaging visual communications that convey appropriate messages and ideas
    • Address problems through a design process
    • Develop design solutions that function effectively within a defined context (social, cultural, technological, economic, etc.)
  • Formal Skills

    • Create visual communications demonstrating competent formal design skills which include: hierarchy, typography, aesthetics, composition and construction of meaningful images
    • Demonstrate competence in media, materials, tools, technology, and techniques
  • Professional Readiness

    • Demonstrate sound organization and design project management skills
    • Effectively present and communicate ideas
    • Demonstrate attention to detail in writing and language
    • Demonstrate the skills necessary for chosen career path through the presentation of a competent body of work
  • MFA Thesis Project

    • Produce a comprehensive graduate thesis project that successfully utilizes design to solve for an identified problem
    • Propose a graduate thesis project that identifies a problem, and has the potential for successful development using design

Academy of Art University Learning Outcomes

Graduates of the Academy of Art University will demonstrate the ability to:

  1. Produce a body of work suitable for seeking professional opportunities in their chosen field of art and design.
  2. Solve creative problems within their field of art and design, including research and synthesis of technical, aesthetic, and conceptual knowledge.
  3. Communicate their ideas professionally and connect with their intended audience using visual, oral, and written presentation skills relevant to their field.
  4. Execute technical, aesthetic, and conceptual decisions based on an understanding of art and design principles.
  5. Evaluate work in their field, including their own work, using professional terminology.
  6. Recognize the influence of major cultural and aesthetic trends, both historical and contemporary, on art and design products.
  7. Learn the professional skills and behaviors necessary to compete in the global marketplace for art and design.
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