Master of Fine Arts in Visual Communication Design

General

Program Description

Overview

This visual communications degree offers a comprehensive opportunity to investigate the intersection of graphic, interaction and motion design. You will focus on conceptualizing and creating user-centered design wherever there is a screen or digital experience. This can include mobile phones, automotive instrument panels, medical devices, wearables and more. This major reinforces the importance of user experience design by combining insight from all areas of design. Choose to focus your studies or combine course sequences from communication design, interaction design, motion design, and design studies. By combining historical, communication and aesthetic theory, principles, and creativity, your work will anticipate design evolution and lead innovation.

The MFA in visual communication design focuses on all areas of design, including graphic design, user experience/interaction design, design studies, motion graphics, and 3D digital design. The changing landscape of people’s everyday interactions has blurred the lines between respected design fields, giving designers new responsibilities to shape experiences. The MFA program embraces this new technology through its curriculum, which addresses these merging skill sets.

Plan of study

The MFA in visual communication design provides a learning environment for advancement in innovative research, user-centered design, and professional practice focusing on the creative potentials of visual communication through a full spectrum of media. Students may advance their design knowledge and technical skills by choosing an option in communication design, interaction design, or motion and 3D digital design.

The cross-disciplinary nature of the program offers a greater potential to foster innovation and creativity in visual communication design. The program reflects the current views and changes occurring in the professional design field. The skill sets required of graphic, interactive, and digital design have now crossed over and are interrelated.

Industries

  • Design
  • Internet and Software
  • Electronic and Computer Hardware
  • Advertising, PR, and Marketing

Typical Job Titles

  • Consulting Art Director and Visual Designer
  • Designer/Animator
  • Type Designer
  • UI/UX Designer
  • UI/UX Designer and Developer
  • User Experience Designer
  • UX and Visual Designer

Curriculum

Visual communication design (communication design option), MFA degree, typical course sequence

First Year

  • VCDE-701 Design History Seminar
  • VCDE-706 3D Modeling and Motion
  • VCDE-707 Web and UI Design
  • VCDE-708 Typography
  • VCDE-709 Digital Design in Motion
  • VCDE-712 Design Studies Seminar
  • VCDE-717 Design Systems

Choose one of the following:

  • VCDE-718 Project Design and Implementation
  • VCEE-722 Praxis I
  • Professional Elective
  • Free Elective

Second Year

  • VCDE-742 Information Design
  • VCDE-746 Professional Practices
  • VCDE-790 Thesis Research and Planning
  • VCDE-890 Thesis Implementation and Evaluation
  • Professional Electives
  • Free Electives

Visual communication design (interaction design option), MFA degree, typical course sequence

First Year

  • VCDE-701 Design History Seminar
  • VCDE-706 3D Modeling and Motion
  • VCDE-707 Web and UI Design
  • VCDE-708 Typography
  • VCDE-709 Digital Design in Motion
  • VCDE-712 Design Studies Seminar
  • VCDE-723 Interaction Design

Choose one of the following:

  • VCDE-718 Project Design and Implementation
  • VCDE-722 Praxis I
  • Professional Elective
  • Free Elective

Second Year

  • VCDE-736 UX Design Strategies
  • VCDE-746 Professional Practices
  • VCDE-790 Thesis Research and Planning
  • VCDE-890 Thesis Implementation and Evaluation
  • Professional Elective
  • Free Electives

Visual communication design (motion and 3D digital design option), MFA degree, typical course sequence

First Year

  • VCDE-701 Design History Seminar
  • VCDE-706 3D Modeling and Motion
  • VCDE-707 Web and UI Design
  • VCDE-708 Typography
  • VCDE-709 Digital Design in Motion
  • VCDE-712 Design Studies Seminar

Choose one of the following:

  • VCDE-718 Project Design and Implementation
  • VCDE-722 Praxis I
  • VCDE-728 Motion Graphics
  • VCDE-731 3D Visual Design
  • Professional Elective

Second Year

  • VCDE-636 3D Motion Design
  • VCDE-746 Professional Practices
  • VCDE-790 Thesis Research and Planning
  • VCDE-890 Thesis Implementation and Evaluation
  • Professional Elective
  • Free Electives

Admission Requirements

To be considered for admission to the MFA program in visual communication design, candidates must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Complete a graduate application.
  • Hold a baccalaureate degree (or equivalent) from an accredited university or college.
  • Submit official transcripts (in English) of all previously completed undergraduate and graduate course work.
  • Submit a portfolio of work demonstrating strong design skills, visual sophistication, and aesthetic awareness. (Refer to Graduate Portfolio Guidelines for more information.)
  • Submit a personal statement of educational objectives that details attribute the candidate brings to graduate study, including expectations and professional goals they wish to achieve.
  • Submit three letters of recommendation from academic or professional sources.
  • International applicants whose native language is not English must submit scores from the TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE. A minimum TOEFL score of 90 (internet-based) is required. A minimum IELTS score of 7.0 is required. The English language test score requirement is waived for native speakers of English or for those submitting transcripts from degrees earned at American institutions.

Portfolio

The portfolio, along with written records of achievements and recommendations, serves to inform the faculty of the applicant’s readiness for advanced graduate study. It provides understanding into the applicant’s performance to date, ability to create advanced, self-directed work and his/her aesthetic development and maturity.

Last updated October 2019

About the School

With more than 80 graduate programs in high-paying, in-demand fields and scholarships, assistantships and fellowships available, we invite you to take a closer look at RIT. Don't be fooled by the word ... Read More

With more than 80 graduate programs in high-paying, in-demand fields and scholarships, assistantships and fellowships available, we invite you to take a closer look at RIT. Don't be fooled by the word "technology" in our name. At RIT, you will discover a university of artists and designers on the one hand, and scientists, engineers, and business leaders on the other – a collision of the right brain and the left brain. Read less