The Master of Fine Arts in Graphic Design at the University of Illinois is a 64 credit hour terminal degree rooted in self-initiated critical design practice and advanced creative research. The program seeks candidates who have both a distinguished background in design (or a related area) and an emerging research agenda or line of inquiry at the time of application.
The program values intellectual diversity in its graduate students and balances a structured curriculum (topical and thesis study) with opportunities for individually driven coursework (focus area and electives). Candidates in the program ultimately develop a thesis topic and formulate a research agenda that results in new contributions to design research and/or practice.
To strengthen thesis research and expand individual expertise, each candidate is required to declare a focus area that can be served by university courses outside of design. The focus area makes use of the richness and diversity of a research university and allows candidates to extend their expertise beyond that of the Graphic Design faculty.
The Graphic Design program supports students interested in teaching appointments in guided development of pedagogical practices and exposure to contemporary issues in design education. This support takes the form of coursework in seminars, undergraduate interaction opportunities, teaching assistant opportunities, and the possibility of teaching courses as instructor of record.