MFA Program Info
Understanding the role of graphic design within a pluralistic society and a cross-cultural context are essential components of a graduate design education. The power of design thinking identifies challenges, frames opportunities, manages complex situations, generates approaches, creates deeper understanding, and shapes meaningful experiences.
Athens and Ohio University provide a peaceful and comfortable environment that serves as an incubator for thinking and making. The Master of Fine Arts degree in Graphic Design at Ohio University is a three-year program that allows a balance of rigorous professional work as well as social experiences. For those seeking a place as a refuge for graduate research in design, it is optimal.The area chair of Graphic Design is Professor Mark Franz. Prospective graduate students or others seeking additional information about the program can contact Professor Franz via email at firstname.lastname@example.orgPhilosophy
'Learning How to Learn' is the underlying methodology that gives Ohio University's graduate study in graphic design its unique strength. We focus on design research within a multi-cultural world addressing social awareness and contextual messaging as content. We emphasize and assist our candidates’ research in professional forums through papers and lectures, and publishing in established professional journals.
We rebuild fundamental skills of perception, interpretation, and invention as well as understanding the nature and meaning of visual form in context. Our graduating designers aim to secure positions within top design firms and educational institutions nationally and internationally. They design within a broad spectrum of applications from solving complex problems to planning and executing solutions. Curriculum
The first and second years of the MFA are devoted to studio research, seminars, art history, elective coursework, plus a professional experience in design. The third year is an intensive commitment to research in preparation for the thesis presentation that results in a comprehensive written document along with a complementary exhibition.
The graduate program leading to the MFA degree in graphic design requires the completion of at least 90 semester hours of graduate study, including at least
• 28 credits in studio courses within the major
• 12 credits of additional studio, these must not be drawn from the major
• 6 credits in seminars,(3-credit seminar in area + 3-credit School of Art teaching seminar)
• 12 credits of art history/academic studies (including AH 5101 and AH 5902 "theory” course)
• 7 credits of discretionary electives, (electives are selected in consultation with faculty, 4 credits written thesis is requested of all graphic design MFA students)
• 65 SUBTOTAL minimum course credit requirements
• 25 studio thesis
• 90 TOTAL The specifics for these categories are outlined in the Graduate Guide for your entering semester.
Graphic Design Courses:
Each course will research various design paradigms. Depending on the faculty, exploration can be done through a rebuilding of pragmatic processes or theoretical and critical analysis of design thinking.ART 5000 - Graduate Teaching Seminar
Assists graduate associates with practical and pedagogic support. Coursework investigates issues specific to teaching in the studio.ART 5510 - Graphic Design I
Research of various design paradigms will be explored through a rebuilding of pragmatic processes to an end that assists all students to reach an industry standard of research, skills, and exploration process.ART 5520 - Graphic Design II
Research of various design paradigms will be explored through a rebuilding of pragmatic processes to an end that assists all students to reach an industry standard of research, skills, and exploration process. Includes research to identify a site for the research to be conducted during ART 6510.
Year 2:ART 6500 - Graphic Design Seminar
Lectures, discussions, field trips, and media presentations dealing with contemporary issues of critical discourse in design and the related social dynamic. Seminar content will vary depending on the professor of record. Seminar content will vary.ART 6510 - Graphic Design Research Fellowship
Participation in a design internship/assistantship with a recognized designer or design firm, or a study abroad experience related to the field of research chosen and approved by the student’s committee.ART 6520 - Graphic Design III
Continued research of various design paradigms will be explored through the rebuilding of the pragmatic design processes. A comparative analysis process will prepare students for the thesis and third year of visual research. The design thesis proposal will be presented for approval.
Year 3:ART 6950 - Studio Art Written Thesis
Written studio art thesis. In addition to the MFA candidate’s final presentation format this course requires the thesis to be submitted in TAD (Thesis and Dissertation) format to the committee.ART 7960 - MFA Studio Thesis
Content will vary as per the MFA candidate’s topic. Regardless of topic, the MFA in Graphic Design’s thesis is identified in the following way. The thesis consists of two components: Visual and Written. How the thesis is presented can be decided by the student depending on audience and intention in consultation with their committee. Whichever final format the research takes, it needs to be submitted in TAD (Thesis and Dissertation) format to the committee.
These courses are offered when scheduling allows.ART 5530 - Letterpress and Bookmaking
An introduction to handprinting techniques utilizing the letterpress, with emphasis on the design and making of the handmade book.ART 5540 - Typography and Image
Experimentation and integration of typography for form and meaning in a variety of contexts. Use of traditional and experimental methods and materials to support and strengthen meaning and purpose. Our Facilities
The graphic design graduate finds their home within the College of Fine Arts along with video, film, music, theater, and dance. Cross-disciplinary activity is encouraged. MFA candidates in graphic design are encouraged to diversify their exploration through interdisciplinary research. Graphic Design shares Seigfred Hall with: printmaking (with the largest number of Bavarian limestones in the United States) along with papermaking, etching, and serigraphy; photography + integrated media, with its labs both new and traditional; ceramics, known as one of the top three ceramics research institutions; painting and drawing, offer both traditional and new-media with private studios at our Ridges’ facility; sculpture + expanded practice has one of the best foundries in the midwest and offers an expanded practices program; art history, researching topics such as contemporary Asian cultures, gender-specific extensions in critical art discourse along with traditional art history.
Our graduate students have the opportunity to work in the College of Fine Arts’ CREATE_space with other graduate candidates from the college. This environment is well established and is being continually advanced by the college.
Graduate candidates are highly encouraged to advance their research in this lab.
Graphic Design has an open research studio dedicated to the major.
The Vandercook letterpress room has an extensive and rare collection of metal and wood type for designing and printing. To Apply
Specific information regarding the School of Art + Design graduate programs and Financial Aid can be found in the Graduate Guide
. To apply, click here
BFA Program Info
All students enter the School of Art + Design as Bachelor of Arts (BA) majors and share common requirements in general academics, studio foundations, and art history. To become a studio art BFA major in graphic design, students must first complete the Foundations Program, take two 2000-level studio graphic design courses (ART 2510 and ART 2520) plus two studios outside of graphic design, and submit a portfolio of studio work for review at the end of the sophomore year.
(See details below)
For complete program requirements please see the Ohio University catalog:BFA Graphic Design Course Requirement Opportunities Upon Graduation
Many graphic design graduates secure positions with design firms nationally and internationally in areas such as corporate design, brand and identity design, package design, information design, interactive design, collateral design, publication design, book design, signage, environmental design and type design. Through the rigor of the academic studies as well as the development of practical skills, graduating designers are also prepared to enter advanced degree programs.
* Students interested in design might also want to explore the design program offered through the School of Visual Communication
in the Scripps College of Communication as well to ensure that they are selecting the program that best fits their goals. Facilities
Graphic design classes are held on the fourth floor of Seigfred Hall. The classrooms, on the north side, provide optimum lighting for color and studio activities. Because technology is inherent to graphic design, each student needs to maintain a personal computer as per the above specifications. Students are required to bring their computers with the recommended software and complete Graphic Design Font Library to all studio classes. The Vandercook letterpress room has an extensive and rare collection of metal and wood type for designing and printing. Portfolio Review for entrance into Graphic Design
• Along with the portfolio, include:— Department Data Sheet
— Statement of Purpose (typed on 8.5 x 11 plain white paper, 9–11 pt type)
— The Application to Major Area Form (available in the SoA+D office)
— Current DARS report
• This list is subject to modification, however any changes will be announced before the review.
• Sign-in to register your portfolio with the monitor.
• WARNING: Do not miss this deadline. NO late portfolios accepted. Portfolios missing any of the documents will not be reviewed.Portfolios are reviewed by all members of the graphic design faculty as well as the MFA Graphic Design students who participated in teaching the sophomore-level classes. The outcome of the review is based on the work that is presented and not on the grades received in the graphic design studio courses. This requires the student to be critical, selective and objective in order to show the very best of their work. The order and relationship of one piece to another effects how the work is viewed. Therefore, it is more than a gathering of good work, it is a design problem that considers color, form, texture, materials, scale, surprise, details and whole pieces that are sequenced with sensitivity to the rhythm within the whole. A well-considered portfolio, like a book, has a beginning, middle and end that highlights the work in the best possible way. The labels will be concise to enable the viewer to understand the project/to gather an overall impression without interfering with the designs.
The Application to Major Form, stating the results of the assessment, completed by all graphic design faculty, will include comments and recommendations. Please read this evaluation sheet carefully. Students denied acceptance into the graphic design program may continue on a path to secure their BA in Art by applying for entrance into other programs in the School of Art + Design. They must follow the portfolio requirements along with required forms of the individual disciplines.Schedule for Junior Review for Graphic Design
Junior Review Form should be carefully filled out and brought to the interview along with a portfolio of recent selected work.
At Ohio University, the graphic design area places emphasis on sustainability and social impact, as well as developing a capacity for critical thinking, problem solving, and innovation. Courses offer students an opportunity to study the symbiotic nature of design and culture in local and global communities. In addition to taking graphic design studio courses that cover topics such as typography, visual systems, motion, and interaction design, students in the area have opportunities to explore printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, painting, and photography. This interdisciplinary approach encourages a comprehensive understanding of the role of design and its relationship to fine art. Studio classes inside and outside of the graphic design program, as well as liberal arts courses, prepare students for a range of design practices while also providing intellectual, personal, and creative growth. The final year of study culminates in a group exhibition in the Ohio University School of Art + Design Gallery.
The area chair of Graphic Design is Mark Franz. Prospective students and others seeking further information about the program can reach Mark Franz via email at: