2022-2023 Graduate Course Catalog 
    Jul 23, 2024  
2022-2023 Graduate Course Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Design, MFA

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Donald Carr, Program Coordinator, Director of Graduate Studies
116 Smith Hall, 315-443-0355, dwcarr@syr.edu


Donald Carr, James W Fathers, Carmel Nicoletti, Jody Nyboer, Isabel Prochner


The master of fine arts (M.F.A.) in design is a two-year graduate program that engages students in collaborative practice within a dynamic multi-disciplinary studio environment. This professional graduate program breaks down boundaries in the academic and corporate worlds, bringing together students, faculty, communities, and businesses to work collaboratively on the world’s significant problems for the greater good. The program leads to a master of fine arts (M.F.A.) degree in design.

The M.F.A. in design is closely aligned with the internationally recognized strengths of Syracuse University, allowing design to be integrated with various campus-wide initiatives. The curriculum is propelled by research work that takes place on an ongoing basis, allowing students to gain unique perspectives and project-based design experiences that lead to a competitive advantage once they graduate. Currently the design program maintains a research focus based on inclusive design and various lifespan initiatives.

The program is housed within the Department of Design, in Syracuse University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA). The program leverages the energy and activities of other nationally and internationally prominent Syracuse University organizations such as the Aging Studies Institute, the Burton Blatt Institute, and the Syracuse Center of Excellence, as well as SU colleges such as the iSchool, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Newhouse School of Public Communications, Whitman School of Management, and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry.

A background in design is not required for admission to the program. Students with no design experience will learn basic technical skills and design methodology prior to beginning the program through a series of courses identified with your advisor.  All students, even those with a design background, are required to take the Intro to Design Communication along with Design Thinking & Strategies.

Student Learning Outcomes

1. Conduct design research and apply these methodologies to the discovery of key insights

2. Using a variety of design communication skills, convey concepts to a diverse group of stakeholders

3. Apply design thinking methodologies to a range of projects

4. Build and maintain collaborative teams through the management and facilitation of multi-disciplinary projects

5. Apply these concepts to project based efforts within the curriculum

6. Formulate a thesis question and subsequent thesis paper to be submitted to a committee of academic and industry experts and mounting a public exhibition of their thesis

Program Requirements

Required Courses

Total Credits Required: 60

Degree Awarded: MFA in Design

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