Master of Fine Arts in Communication Design

MFA communication design

Harrington College of Design’s Master of Fine Arts in Communication Design program challenges students to broaden the scope of design as a tool for awareness and change through collaboration on increasingly complex design problems.

The curriculum, created for individuals with a bachelor’s degree in communication design, graphic design or a related field, aims to enhance students’ understanding of theory, context and audience and also offers them the opportunity to immerse themselves in an area of specialization. (Students with a bachelor’s degree in a field other than graphic design, communication design or a related field may consider Harrington’s Master of Arts in Communication Design program.)

Harrington's MFA in Communication Design offers a flexible schedule so professionals can attend classes while still working full-time. The curriculum includes required core classes in communication design theory, research methods and business practices as well as studio-based courses in which theory, research and method are integrated through application in project-based work. Graduates will be expected to:

  • Forecast possible future design problems outside the traditional practice.
  • Synthesize effective methods and technologies to facilitate creative solutions and collaboration.
  • Consolidate various research strategies and tactics into their design thinking and processes.
  • Formulate, evaluate and actively defend a design proposal and strategy for business and/or clients.
  • Define, develop, produce, apply and assess a problem-based inquiry relevant to the field.

Courses in Harrington's MFA in Communication Design program enable students to acquire essential hands-on experience through a balance of studio, classroom and independent study. For example:

  • In Advanced Studio I: Creative Collaboration, students address design problems using a variety of collective and individual problem solving strategies. Design methods and technologies are applied directly to projects that range in scope, magnitude and duration. Students are encouraged to define and strengthen their leadership and group communication skills by adopting a gamut of roles within their teams. An integrated working environment, including collaborative media platforms, is used throughout the course to support the team environment and facilitate design coordination.
  • In Envisioning Information, students are exposed to strategies for analyzing information and the tools for shaping it into an intelligible, visual result. A critical awareness of how visual principles have influenced the perception of information historically will be emphasized. This foundation will enable students to synthesize efficient graphic solutions for various applications.
  • In New Media Seminar, course content includes a survey of the challenges and opportunities that emerging media bring to the practice of visual design. The class will look at the role of the designer as a creator, collaborator, and facilitator of interactive experiences. The class will focuses on the intersection of designer and audience, exploring the unique responsibilities, technologies, and tools of designing content for a connected, social, interactive, mobile world.

Other core requirements in this program include*:

  • Theory I: Ecology of Design
  • Methods I: Research Methods
  • Materials and Resources for CD
  • Theory II: Design and Society
  • Designing Social Awareness
  • The Business of Design
  • Visual Rhetoric Studio
  • Visual Culture Seminar
  • Graduate Typography
  • Thesis Prep for CD
  • Thesis for CD
  • Graduate Electives (5)

*Course curriculum is subject to change.

For accreditation information for this and other Harrington College of Design programs, please click here.