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Graphic Design MFA

"The modern visual designer must be broadly educated, articulate, and literate to compete successfully in today's world."

CVPA's Visual Design MFA is a 60-credit, 2- to 3-year program of study. The program allows students to explore visual communication in a broad sense. Areas of study include:

  • Digital Media
  • Graphic Design
  • Illustration
  • Photography

Under the guidance of a faculty committee, candidates develop a thesis project based on their own unique research. The thesis requires both visual and written components which are intellectually, formally, and technically rigorous. Students form a committee based on their thesis topic, choosing from faculty who provide a wide variety of viewpoints and expertise. The faculty advisors are highly proficient in traditional, time-based, and interactive media. Students are encouraged to explore various media, processes and methods while they develop their topic.

Artistic development, professional advancement

The Master of Fine Arts is generally recognized as the highest degree offered in the visual arts. It qualifies the recipient for professional work and positions in higher education within a variety of disciplines. There are also numerous allied career paths, such as curatorial work, arts administration, art direction, and publishing, which benefit from the level of accomplishment the Master of Fine Arts degree entails.

The faculty of the College of Visual and Performing Arts believe that the best graduate education is achieved through individualized attention to each student, and prides itself in the quality of the facilities and equipment.

If you wish to attain a higher level of personal artistic development, and aspire to advance in professional practice, then we invite you to apply.

A limited number of assistantships are available on a competitive basis. This award is subject to the work needs of the position and department, your satisfactory performance of duties, your academic record, and availability of funds, and may be subject to change.

Pursue your MFA at UMassD

  • Art history: strong emphasis on the methods and theory of design
  • Assistantships: provide stipends, tuition waivers and fee reductions
  • Exhibition opportunities: local, regional, and on campus
  • Facilities: labs, equipment, and tools for artistic exploration and production
  • Faculty: involved in scholarly, creative, and professional projects
  • Individualized attention extended to every student
  • Interdisciplinary projects and committees are encouraged
  • Location: an hour from Providence, Boston, and Cape Cod
  • New Bedford: an active downtown arts community
  • University education: access to faculty in other fields
  • Visiting artists: enrich your artistic and professional development
  • Visual Resources Center: more than 150,000 archived images
  • Workspaces: assigned to each graduate student

University requirements for graduate admissions

  • Statement of Purpose, minimum 300-600 words. Unless otherwise indicated in the program requirement details, indicate your graduate study objectives, research interests and experience, and business or industry experience if applicable. If you are applying for a teaching or research assistantship, include any special skills or experience that would assist us in making assistantship decisions.
  • Resume
  • Transcripts for all post-secondary institutions attended (regardless of whether a credential is earned or not). Unofficial transcripts are accepted for admissions application review, once enrolled a final official transcript is required.
  • Many programs have specific recommendations/requirements, please see the additional program-specific requirements for more information.
  • International students: official TOEFL, IELTS, Pearson PTE or Duolingo (if accepted by program) score. Unofficial scores are accepted for admissions application review, once enrolled official scores are required and must be sent by the testing agency (copies/scans not accepted). This is required of any applicant who did not earn a bachelor’s degree or higher degree from an accredited academic institution in the U.S. or accepted English-speaking country, see exemptions for more details. The Duolingo test is not accepted for the following programs: Art Education, Biology/Marine Biology, Luso-Afro-Brazilian Studies & Theory, Marine Science and Technology (MS, PSM, PhD), Nursing (MS, DNP, PhD), Portuguese Studies, Professional Writing and Communication, Psychology (ABA, Clinical, Research), Public Policy, and Teaching (MAT).

Program-specific requirements

Candidates must submit the required application materials, university requirements and program-specific requirements, for consideration.

  • Portfolio of 20 images representing your artwork, process of thinking, implementation of concepts, and studio production. The portfolio is the equivalent of the entrance examinations which other academic areas often require. Submit your portfolio to: SlideRoom.
  • 1 letter of recommendation. Applicants will be required to provide the recommenders name and email address so we can contact the recommender for the letter of recommendation.

Program deadlines

Explore more about Graphic Design

Program Progress Sheets

Course schedules and requirements

Related information

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