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MFA Graphic Design Courses

View titles & descriptions for the Graphic Design (MFA) program's courses offered.

Click a Course's Title to read its description .

Course # Course Title Credits
CRT5402 Design Theory and Practice 3.00 credits
Students build their knowledge of design discourse and professional design methodologies through a mix of readings, writings, lectures, and discussions. Students deepen their vocabulary for discussing, evaluating, and observing a broad range of design practices, including typography, branding, experience design, service design, information design, social design, and design for sustainability. Students are required to respond each week to intensive writings by contemporary and historic designers, critics, and theorists. This course prepares students for framing and producing an independent thesis project. Graduate students take this course with senior-level undergraduate students; graduate students are expected to take a leadership role in the course.

Graduate and Post-Baccalaureate students only (All programs)

CRT5618 Thesis Writing and Research 3.00 credits
This three-credit Critical Studies course is designed for graduate students in their final semester. The writing process supports ongoing thesis research and helps students make sense of their work and share it effectively with a broader community. Outcomes of the course include an essay about each student's culminating degree project at MICA. The course includes a combination of on-campus meetings and online feedback to written work. Class meetings will combine group critiques, individual meetings, and discussion of readings.

Graduate and Post-Baccalaureate students only (All programs)

GD5350 Interactive Media & Pub I 3.00 credits
The ink on interactive publications never dries. Interactive designs have multiple dimensions, such as interaction, motion, and time, that can be used to enhance user experience. This graduate-level studio course explores modern online and on-screen design, production, and publishing practices. Students will learn the basics how to design and build websites using HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Students will also be exposed to the electronic publishing process, standards, and techniques. This class will cover the essential materials needed to either create or direct web (and other on-screen) experiences. This beginner level class is ideal for students that haven’t had a lot of web design and production experience.

Graduate and Post-Baccalaureate students only (All programs)

GD5360 Graduate Screenprint Studio 3.00 credits
Graduate students will learn the techniques of screenprinting and how to apply the methods, materials, and aesthetic character of this medium to their own creative work. Students from all disciplines are encouraged to apply screenprinting techniques to work they are doing in their graduate program and/or to develop a new body of work specific to this course. Class time will be used for hands-on demonstrations, discussions of techniques, printing in the lab, and troubleshooting, as well as discussion of student work-in-progress where appropriate.

Graduate and Post-Baccalaureate students only (All programs)

GD5398 Graduate Independent Study 3.00 credits
The independent study allows graduate students to pursue an individual area of interest with a particular instructor on subject matter not covered by regularly scheduled classes. To register for an independent study, a student needs to work with the instructor to complete an independent study contract that articulates the topic of study, anticipated learning outcomes and timeline for the work. The independent study contract needs to be signed by both the instructor and the graduate program director before registration. An independent study may not be used to substitute for a program’s core requirement.

GD5450 Interactive Media & Pub. II 3.00 credits
Interactive designs have multiple dimensions, such as culture, interaction, motion, and time, all of which can be pushed to create memorable and useful user experiences. This graduate-level studio course is a continuation of Interactive Media I. The course continues to explore best-practice modern online and on-screen design, production, and publishing practices including HTML, CSS, CMS, blogging and other social media. Students will have the flexibility to connect the technology and coursework to their graduate theses, core studio, and/or personal work as appropriate. The class will meet in smaller groups to accommodate the different levels of experience among students.

Graduate and Post-Baccalaureate students only (All programs)

GD5470 Signs, Exhibits, & Spaces 3.00 credits
This course examines the relationship of communication design to the 3d realm. Large scale graphics, signage systems, and exhibition design are explored through a series of projects and presentations. Students will gain skills in developing environments for sharing information. Materials, fabrication processes, and documentation methods will be reviewed.

Graduate students only (All programs of study)

GD5500 Design Studio I 3.00 credits
Participants in this hands-on studio confront specific design problems, working both individually and in teams, that explore a variety of forms, techniques, media, and methods. Group discussions and critiques are balanced with individual meetings with faculty and visits with guest artists.

Graphic Design MFA students only

GD5505 Visiting Designers I 3.00 credits
This graduate design course supports work taking place in GD MFA Studio I with weekend workshops with prominent designers. Two three-day workshops take place each semester. Workshops focus on design process and serve to launch projects that continue in depth in GD MFA Studio I.

Co-requisite: GD 5500

GD5512 Advanced Publication Design 3.00 credits
In this portfolio-oriented course, graduate students will work on publication design projects involving complex typographic systems, hierarchies, formats, and sequences. The course will encourage students to expand and demonstrate their typographic vocabularies. Undergraduates may register for the course with permission from the Directors of the GD MFA program.

Post-Bac GD and GD MFA Students Only.

GD5535 Graduate Typeface Design 3.00 credits
This course focuses on type design through a series of workshops, assignments and lectures. The course will expose students to professional working methods, lettering techniques, typeface design principles, and typography. GD MFA and GD PBac only. Undergrads may enroll with permission.

Graduate and Post-Baccalaureate students only (All programs)

GD5550 Design Studio II 3.00 credits
Participants in this hands-on studio confront specific design problems, working both individually and in teams, that explore a variety of forms, techniques, media, and methods. Group discussions and critiques are balanced with individual meetings with faculty and visits with guest artists. Students begin defining a thesis project at the close of the semester.

Graphic Design MFA students only

GD5555 Visiting Designers II 3.00 credits
This graduate design course supports work taking place in GD MFA Studio II with weekend workshops with prominent designers. Two three-day workshops take place each semester. Workshops focus on design process and serve to launch projects that continue in depth in GD MFA Studio II.

Co-requisite: GD 5550

GD5562 Design Language Studio 3.00 credits
This course is a laboratory to explore how processes and materials can both form and inform design. The synthesis of old and new, analog and digital, and hand- and computer-based methods provides students with an opportunity to work beyond the constraints of the computer and take advantage of the aesthetic effects that actual materials bring to visual communication. Students will complete a series of experiments investigating different approaches to synthesizing analog and digital methods into graphic design artifacts. Undergrads may enroll with permission.

Graduate and Post-Baccalaureate students only (All programs)

GD5568 Graduate Typography 3.00 credits
This course serves as a deep immersion into advanced typographic practice. Typographic syntax and refinement will underscore more complex investigations of information hierarchy, grid systems, typographic voice, compositional strategy, and typography across media. Through a structured series of short exercises and sustained projects, students will increase their facility and confidence as typographers.

GD5569 Motion + Interaction 3.00 credits
This course focuses on time-based design elements of space, pacing, motion, and interaction as they relate to graphic communication. Students are encouraged to focus projects around their thesis work or other self-determined endeavors. The course engages motion graphics and web technologies as strategic mediums for experimentation and communication, while introducing some of the software and techniques for creating motion and interactive work, including a basic introduction to After Effects and Processing. Students will apply these tools to their work as artists and designers. Taking a variety of (mostly) pre-written code, students will focus on tweaking it to their needs as a way of laying a foundation for more complex coding in the future. A LAPTOP IS REQUIRED FOR THIS COURSE.

Graphic Design MFA students only

GD5570 User Experience & Interface I 3.00 credits
This class will prepare students to design interfaces that work and generate positive experiences. UX & Interface Design I examines the space where computers, people and design intersect, with an emphasis on supporting effective communication between designers and their audience. Fundamental principles and practices of human-computer interaction, including human capabilities, interface technology, design methods, and evaluation techniques will be covered. Students will complete projects that allow them to gain hands-on experience in all phases of interface design and evaluation.

Graduate and Post-Baccalaureate students only (All programs)

GD5571 User Experience & Interface II 3.00 credits
Building on the UX/ID principles acquired in UX & Interface Design I, students will be challenged with advanced and real-world UX and Interface Design conundrums. And since students will learn how to design, administer and analyze user research studies, students will design solutions informed by user behavior, motivation and affinity. Finally, this studio class will cover a number of UX models, design tools, and documentation techniques for mobile, tablet and desktop UX/ID design.

Prerequisite: GD 5570 or Permission

GD5575 Graduate Game Lab 3.00 credits
This course is an experimental laboratory that uses game design methodology to inspire new modes of design thinking and ideation. Students will complete one large self-initiated project following a number of shorter exercises and charrettes that explore the potential of new media and games as tools for creative thinking and making. The contemporary phenomenon of gamification will be examined as a model for making graphic design more inviting and engaging. Specific emphasis will be given to developing formal skills across a variety of analog and digital media. Thesis students are encouraged to apply the course prompts and project to their thesis work.

GD5580 Film Branding Workshop 3.00 credits
Filmmakers will work with graphic designers to brand films being developed in MICA's MFA in Filmmaking program. Multidisciplinary teams (one designer/one filmmaker) will develop strategies, materials, and campaigns to enable filmmakers to build an audience, find funding, and launch their films. Participants in this practical workshop course will actively engage contemporary media and crowdfunding platforms to achieve real-world results and master principles of contemporary entrepreneurship that can be applied not only to film but to numerous independent creative endeavors.

MFA/PB Graphic Design or MFA Filmmaking students only

GD5677 Graduate Letterpress 3.00 credits
This course, taught by Bob Cicero, former owner of Globe Poster, covers the craft of letterpress as it relates to the art of poster-making. Cicero discusses the history of Globe, best-known for its eye-popping, content-rich design of music posters, and the style and form that made Globe posters so distinctive. In 2011, MICA acquired many of Globe's assets — extensive wood type, photo and illustration cuts, hand-carved lettering, and sketches and posters. Using these materials, students will learn the craft of letterpress printing, from setting type to locking up forms to printing on the Vandercook proof presses in the studio.

Graduate and Post-Baccalaureate students only (All programs)

GD5732 Information Visualization 3.00 credits
Students explore a range of possibilities in visualizing data and information. In addition to archetypical diagrams such as pie, bar, plot, line diagrams, complex data can be expressed through matrices, graph-based visuals, comparisons, three-dimensional visuals, or motion graphics. Various methodologies will be explored for visualizing information for clarity, readability, and editorial voice. May be repeated for up to 6 credits.

GD5817 Publishing Workshop 3.00 credits
This course puts into practice the idea of "designer as author," engaging students in hands-on work creating content for real-world publications as well as speculative personal projects and prototypes. This course combines intellectual study with down-and-dirty production. All students are expected to have a make-it-happen attitude; be prepared to use all your skills, including writing, photography, design, and production.

Graphic Design MFA students only

GD6500 Design Studio III 3.00 credits
Second-year students begin intensive development on their thesis projects, working to define an area of study, articulate personal and professional goals, generate formal work, and create realistic plans for following through on the complete project. A thesis project is an original body of work that employs the language and techniques of graphic design to a subject, medium, or methodology. The final thesis consists of the following components: exhibition, publication, written essay, and web site. Throughout the semester, students meet individually and in small groups with faculty and visiting artists. With guidance from faculty, each student takes individual responsibility for defining a project that is personally satisfying and professionally valid.

Prerequisite: GD 5500, Graphic Design MFA students

GD6505 Visiting Designers III 3.00 credits
This graduate design course supports work taking place in GD MFA Studio III (thesis) with weekend workshops with prominent designers. Two three-day workshops take place each semester, in addition to two visits with visiting critics. Workshops focus on design process and serve to provide each designer with new insights and challenges to shape their thesis process.

Co-requisite: GD 6500

GD6550 Design Studio IV 3.00 credits
Second-year students bring their thesis project to completion in the spring semester. The final thesis consists of the following components: exhibition, publication, written essay, and web site. Students explore creative methods for presenting and interpreting their work to the public as well as documenting their work for their portfolios and for other future uses.

Graphic Design MFA students only

GD6555 Visiting Thesis Critics 3.00 credits
This graduate design course supports work taking place in GD MFA Studio IV (thesis) with critical feedback from outside designers. The course consists of two meetings about work in progress and a final presentation with an outside critic. Designers receive additional feedback throughout the semester from their primary thesis advisor and other faculty.

Co-requisite: GD 6550