The Master of Fine Arts degree with a concentration in visual communication is focused 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 design innovation and problem-solving techniques, design business strategy, ideation and marketing, and prepare for a career in design education.

The capstone of this terminal degree is a thesis paper and exhibition on a topic with importance to business, education, and social responsibility. Utilizing traditional research and design-research methodologies, MFA-VisCom candidates are expected to develop a thesis that expands the current boundaries of knowledge and understanding through the revelation of tangible measurable data and/or results.

Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree, or its equivalent, with an art major or comparable experience, nine semester hours of art history, and a minimum grade point average of “B” in all undergraduate studio art courses.

In addition, applicants must submit to the Graduate Studies an application, application fee, all official bachelor’s transcripts, one letter of recommendation and an ART portfolio website link. All of these materials are important in considering an applicant’s suitability for graduate study, but the portfolio is of paramount importance because it represents the extent of a student’s education in art. Care should be taken in the selection and photographing of works for the portfolio (CD portfolio is acceptable). It is the Department’s preference that the portfolio be posted online and the link to the portfolio be provided to the appropriate graduate coordinator.

Veronica Vaughan, Graduate Coordinator for Visual Communication, email:

Master of Fine Arts in Art with a concentration in Visual Communication

ARTS 595 Research Literature & Techniques 3
ARTS 552 Master of Fine Arts Exhibition in Visual Communication 4
Required Courses (41 semester hours)
ARTS 540 Studio 1 Creative Method 3
ARTS 541 Stud 2 Design Education 3
ARTS 542 Studio 3 Design Writing 3
ARTS 543 Studio 4 Cross-Cultural 3
ARTS 545 Studio 6 Thesis Topic3 3
ARTS 546 Studio 7 Design Studio Processes 3
ARTS 547 Studio 8 Design Tchg 4
ARTS 548 Exhibition Development 4
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
ARTS 585 Exhibition Research Application 3
Required Support Courses (12 semester hours)
ARTS 507 History of Graphic Design 3
ARTS 511 History of American Typography 3
ARTS 502 Design Teaching Methods 3
ARTS 506 Design Teaching Environment 3
ARTS 597 Special Topics 3
Total Hours 60

Creative Methodologies Classes
Creative methodologies classes Exploring inventive creative processes to gain a heightened understanding of what makes an idea viable and sustainable.

MFA Business Innovation Classes (Professional Practice)
Empowering an individual’s business innovation through professional practice leadership, strategy, process and product.

Pedagogy Classes (Design Education)
Preparing Design Educators for a robust job market need, with a terminal degree.

The MFA with a concentration in Visual Communication is a marriage of artistic skill, professionalism, and business knowledge. To strengthen your creativity and marketability, apply to the A&M-Commerce Master of Fine Arts program now!

Housed at the Universities Center at Dallas near the Arts District, the graduate facilities in Visual Communication support the curriculum leading to the Master of Fine Arts. Here students work with graduate faculty, adjunct instructors, and professionals in the fields of design innovation and design business to develop advanced skills in creative conceptualization, design process, and product and pedagogy development.

The MFA is designed to accommodate applicants who are currently employed or have previous experience in the field of visual communication. For the working professional, our graduate classes are scheduled in the evenings. Students pursue the MFA to enrich their current creative, business, and design education skills and at the same time to engage in higher-order critical analysis and application of their work within society and the business world. Special concentration is placed on the cogency of art history, theory, and design criticism coupled with courses that stress creative strategies, sound business practices, working within design communities, professional leadership, and effective pedagogical approaches to art education. Because the Master of Fine Arts degree is regarded as the terminal degree in the field of visual arts, the MFA is an ideal choice for students with aspirations of teaching at the college level or advancing their professional career.

The curriculum of the MFA relies on three pillars of learning. The foundational courses, the Creative Methodologies Classes, emphasize critical thinking and creative strategies with particular attention to the generation of viable and sustainable concepts. Next are the MFA Interdisciplinary Classes, a selection of courses stressing innovative business practices, leadership in the workplace, and the processing and marketing of a product. The final pillar, the Pedagogy Classes, concentrates on the pedagogical theories and techniques of design education, preparing our students for the robust job market for college instructors in the area of Visual Communication.

The MFA Thesis Exhibition is the capstone project of the MFA degree. The Thesis Exhibition consists of a written thesis and an accompanying exhibition of original work. Undertaken after the completion of required courses, the Thesis Exhibition addresses an issue of social, educational, environmental, or economic significance. The research and methods employed by the student are expected to yield new knowledge and insights into the chosen topic and will culminate in the publication of both the written thesis and exhibited work.

The location of the UCD in downtown Dallas brings students close to the Arts and Design Districts of Dallas, and thus into the heart of one of our nation’s most vibrant centers of design and business. Further, because of our concentration on design education, MFA graduates who seek positions as instructors at community colleges and universities are especially successful in obtaining employment.