Graphic Design

Admission Requirements Degree Requirements

Mailing Address:
School of Art and Design (MC 036)
929 West Harrison Street
Chicago, IL 60607-7038

Campus Location: 106 JH
Program Code: 20FS0148MFA
Telephone: (312) 996-3337
Web Site:
Director, School of Art and Design: Marcia Lausen
Director of Graduate Studies: Jennifer Reeder

The School of Art and Design offers work leading to the Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree in Graphic Design. The school also offers programs leading to the MFA degree in Industrial Design, Moving Image, New Media Arts, Photography, and Studio Arts. Consult the appropriate sections of the catalog for more information on these programs. The School of Art and Design is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).

Matriculating students in the graphic design program are required to have a laptop computer and appropriate software for use during their course of study. Specifications will be provided upon acceptance into the program.

Admission Requirements

Applicants are considered on an individual basis. Transcripts of all undergraduate and any graduate work must be submitted. In addition to the Graduate College minimum requirements, applicants must meet the following program requirements:

Master of Fine Arts

  • Baccalaureate Field No restrictions; however, individuals who apply must demonstrate an advanced level of competence in graphic design through their portfolio submission.
  • Grade Point Average At least 3.00/4.00 for the final 60 semester hours (90 quarter hours) of undergraduate study.
  • Tests Required None.
  • Minimum English Competency Test Score
    • TOEFL 580 (paper-based); 237 (computer-based); 92, with subscores of  Reading 19, Listening 17, Speaking 20, and Writing 21 (iBT Internet-based), OR,
    • IELTS 6.5, with subscores of 6.0 for all four subscores.
  • Letters of Recommendation Three required.
  • Personal Statement Required. This statement of purpose should outline the applicant’s current or previous work as relevant to plans and objectives for advanced study; describe professional goals and how these goals were developed; and state why the applicant would like to study in a research-oriented design program.
  • Other Requirements Applicants must submit a portfolio of 12 to 15 examples of current work demonstrating proficiency in the area of graphic design. Portfolios are submitted online at: No portfolios are to be submitted with application material. Competence and understanding of design-related computer technology, including proficiency in industry standard page layout, illustration, and photographic manipulation programs. Prerequisites and/or technical experience specific to this field of study may be required prior to entrance.
  •  Deadlines The application deadline for this program is February 1; contact the School of Art and Design for more information.

Degree Requirements

In addition to the Graduate College minimum requirements, students must meet the following program requirements:

Master of Fine Arts

  • Minimum Semester Hours Required 64.
  • Course Work Required Courses: 16 hours of AD 502, 16 hours of AD 510, and 20 hours of AD 511.
  • Electives: At least 12 semester hours of graduate-level electives are required. The completion of at least two courses in art history is strongly recommended.
  • Comprehensive Examination None.
  • Thesis, Project, or Course-Work-Only Options Project required. No other options are available.
  • Project: All MFA candidates must present for review a public exhibition or showing. Documentation in the form of a major paper and CD with images of the project must be presented to the school for archival purposes.
  • Other Requirements Continuation in the MFA program beyond the second semester requires an evaluation and recommendation of the Graduate Advisory Committee in the student’s area.