Prospective students for the MA with a Concentration in Visual Communication seek to bolster their creative skills, technical proficiencies, and business acumen in the rapidly changing design industry. For various reasons they cannot or do not wish to, pursue the lengthier and more rigorous MFA degree, which is regarded as the terminal degree in the field of visual arts. MA-seeking students will primarily be interested in graduate education to enhance their conceptual and practical skills in design, gain currency in changing technologies, and attain higher professional standing through the completion of a graduate degree.

Prospective students will range from professionals who work at or own design businesses to high school art teachers seeking to enhance their education and career viability. The MA in Visual Communication could be achieved in two years rather than the three years required for the MFA. Offering the MA and MFA degrees in conjunction with one another strengthens the overall graduate art curriculum at the Universities Center at Dallas and serves as a model and inspiration for the undergraduate students pursuing BFA degrees at the same location.

Program Description
The Advanced Texas A&M University-Commerce Master of Arts with a concentration in visual communication centers on meeting the needs of practicing professionals in the expanding field of Visual Communication who aspire to achieve a higher level of proficiency in creative innovation, design professional practice, and design leadership. The TAMU-C VisCom MA program explores creative process innovation; design professional practice leadership, strategy, process and product, and creative marketing promotion grounded in a social and business perspective.

The MA Visual Communication thesis research paper is the capstone project that addresses an issue of social, educational, environmental, or business significance utilizing research methods that yield new knowledge in the chosen field of study. The thesis culminates in a scholarly thesis research paper.

MFA Graduate Coordinator: Virgil Scott,

Required Courses
12 semester hours
ARTS 540 Studio 1 Creative Method 4
ARTS 542 Studio 3 Winning Audiences 4
ARTS 543 Studio 4 Cross-Cultural 4
Required Support Courses
9 semester hours
ARTS 549 Studio 9. User-centered Design Experience 3
ARTS 550 Studio 10. Ideation, Process and Product 3
ARTS 551 Studio 11.Creative Promotion and Innovation 1 3
3 semester hours
Required Art/Visual Communication Electives 3
ARTS 518 Thesis (6 semester hours required) 6
Total Hours 30

ARTS 540
Studio 1. Creative Methodologies, Four semester hours
Experimenting with both proven and experimental creative methodologies in a team based environment. An overview of innovative collaborative creative thinking processes. Pushing beyond one’s knowledge base through innovative role-play in self-problem solving techniques.

ARTS 542
Studio 3. Winning Audiences: Story Telling/ Presentation, Four semester hours
This course introduces students to basic skills surrounding persuasion and consensus-building. Students will learn to hone their oral and written presentations, and incorporate proven techniques for sharing ideas in a more coherent and compelling manner — effectively luring others (even skeptics) to listen, believe, and embrace a new vision.

ARTS 543
Studio 4. Cross-Cultural Marketing, Four semester hours
This course teaches advanced oral and written presentation skills within the context of a multicultural audience.  Students will examine the forces at work in today’s global marketplace and fine-tune their ability to bridge the cultural divide in order to connect with audiences whose history, customs, and beliefs they do not share.

ARTS 595
Research Literature & Techniques, three semester hours
This course is designed to give students focused instruction on primary and secondary sources of scholarly research, the proper use and citation of those sources, and other tactics of scholarly research.  The course will also guide students on the preparation of mandatory components of their thesis papers, including their IRB application (if applicable) and TAMUC thesis proposal.

Required Support Courses

ARTS 549
Studio 9. User-centered Design Experience. Three semester hours.
An introduction to the understanding, development and implementation of user-centered design thinking and problem solving. Emphasis will be placed on user personas, ethnography and other observational approaches, along with rapid prototyping methods towards building insights into product and service development

ARTS 550
Studio 10. Ideation, Process and Product. Three semester hours.
This 16 week course will be centered around innovation focused on creating value through ethnography, research, ideation and strategy in a marketing frameset. Students will explore radical ways of design thinking to create new business models or harness compelling value for products or services that do not currently exist in the marketplace. Projects will be collaborative and centered around the application of innovation through segmenting, brand positioning, target marketing, and the 4Ps (Product, Pricing, Promotion and Place).

ARTS 551
Studio 11. Creative Promotion and Innovation. Three semester hours.
This 16-week course will empower students to take their innovations and marketing plans to the next level and implement them into a viable and fundable enterprise. Students will create a prototype to be presented as a proof-of-concept with a compelling presentation to an angel investor. In addition students will be introduced to issues related to the patent process and angel investment process as it relates to their innovations.

Required Art/Visual Communication Electives

Twelve semester hours