Visual Communication Design (Master of Fine Arts)

The MFA in Visual Communication Design is a terminal degree that allows students to concentrate in one specific discipline under the umbrella of Visual Communication Design (for example, web design or illustration) OR to complete individually crafted interdisciplinary programs of study also under the umbrella of Visual Communication Design. The course of study integrates both research and studio components and is designed to assist students in developing a professional portfolio by the completion of their degree. The 60 hour MFA program, with a possible completion time of three years, also prepares graduates to teach at the university level.

Both scholarships and teaching assistant positions are available to qualified applicants.

Application Deadlines

Applicants will be accepted for enrollment each fall, spring, and summer semesters. Deadline dates for applications and receipt of all required application materials are:

Date Event
October 1 Spring Admission
February 1 Fall and Summer Admission

Applicants may be considered after these deadlines based on availability. Preference will be given to applicants for full-time study. Contact the Department of Art and Design for more information at (256) 782-5626 or Graduate Admissions at (256) 782-5348. Applications will be accepted on an on-going basis with the review process following the October and February deadlines.

Application Materials Required for the MFA with a Major in Visual Communication Design

Applicants for the MFA degree with a major in Visual Communication Design must submit all of the following documentation to Graduate Admissions to be considered for admission:

Graduate Admissions
Jacksonville State University
700 Pelham Road North
Jacksonville, Alabama 36265-1602

  1. Completed JSU Graduate Application for Admission.
  2. Non-refundable $35.00 application processing fee.
  3. Official transcripts(s) from the baccalaureate degree awarding institution and all transcripts from institutions where post-baccalaureate work has been completed. To be considered for admission, applicants must hold a degree from an institutionally accredited institution or its foreign equivalent. (Students who have previously attended JSU do not need to request a transcript from the university.)
  4. Statement of Purpose – A statement of purpose should outline the applicant’s current or previous work as relevant to plans and objectives for advanced graduate study, describe professional goals, and state the areas of research and investigation the applicant would like to pursue and study in a visual communication and design program.
  5. Applicants must submit a portfolio of 20 examples of current work demonstrating proficiency in the area of visual communication design. Work should be submitted in the form of a single PDF, including titles, dates, media, and any relevant information or project descriptions. Applicants should demonstrate competence and understanding of design related digital technology, including proficiency in industry standard page layout, illustration, and image manipulation software. Prerequisites and/or technical experience specific to this field of study may be required prior to admission. Submissions will not be returned.
  6. International student applicants must see the International Student Applicants section of this catalog for other application and enrollment requirements.

Admission Requirements for the MFA with a Major in Visual Communication Design

In addition to meeting general admission requirements of Graduate Studies, applicants for the MFA with a major in Visual Communication Design must have an undergraduate major in Art, Graphic Design, or the equivalent, as determined by the head of the Art and Design Department. Applicants to the MFA must meet the following admission requirements:

  • Grade Point Average – At least 3.00 for the final 60 semester hours (90 quarter hours) of undergraduate study.
  • Deficiencies – Admission to the MFA program is based on the extent and quality of undergraduate preparation, including courses in studio art, art history, and other academic subjects. Quality of studio preparation is judged on the basis of careful evaluation of work done at the undergraduate level. Prior to the admission of the successful applicant, the graduate faculty will determine the individual’s deficiencies in art studio, art history, and general education, and inform the student of the findings. The prospective student will be given a clear indication of the prerequisites required, emphasizing that no coursework taken to compensate for deficiencies in undergraduate preparation can be counted as contributing to the minimum number of credit required for the MFA degree.

Unconditional Admission

Unconditional admission is determined by the faculty in the Art and Design Department.

Conditional Admission

Any applicant failing to meet the requirements for unconditional admission may be conditionally admitted with the recommendation of the graduate faculty in the applicant’s major and approval of the Dean of the Graduate School.

Applicants who are granted conditional admission must achieve a GPA of at least 3.00 on the first 12 graduate hours attempted. Failure to meet these conditions will result in the student being dropped from graduate studies.

Minimum Requirements for the MFA with a Major in Visual Communication Design

An overall 3.00 GPA is required on all coursework attempted for the master’s degree. Transfer credit cannot be used to raise the GPA to the required 3.00.

Minimum semester hours required: 60

Coursework required:

  • A minimum of 39 credit hours of studio: 30 credit hours must be in visual communication design studios
  • A minimum of nine credit hours in art academic courses (research, theory, and art history)
  • Suggested six credit hours of approved non-Art academic elective studies at the graduate level
  • Remaining credit hours (6) may be applied to any combination of studio, art academic, or elective courses
Course Title Credits
Studio Courses
ART 640Contemporary Media Communication Studio3
ART 641Traditional Communication Studio3
ART 643Design Studio Exhibition Research3
ART 644Design Studio Exhibition Research II3
Select 27 hours from the following courses: 127
Visiting Designer Artist Project
Graduate Interactive Design Studio
Graduate Screen Printing Design Studio
Special Topics in Graphic Design
Graduate Typography Design Studio
Design Studio
Advanced Contemporary Media/Communication Studio
Graduate Internship in Visual Communication Design
Graduate Independent Study
Art Academic Courses9
Graduate History of Graphic Design
Design Research Readings and Seminar
Select one course from the following:
Design Education Pedagogy Andragogy
Contemporary Visual Studies
Art Theory
Independent Study in Art History
Graduate Seminar in Art History
Art Electives 26
Non-Art Academic Electives 36
Total Hours60

 60 Graduate Semester Hours Required for this Degree

Studio Project required: Yes.

Studio Project: All MFA candidates must present for review at a public exhibition or other approved public venue.

Other requirements: Continuation in the MFA program beyond the first 30 semester hours requires an evaluation and recommendation of the MFA Committee (Candidacy Review).

Graduation and Comprehensive Exam

A Thesis Exhibition and Paper are required for this degree; please see the graduate advisor for full details. All students must apply for graduation by the given deadline of the semester in which they plan to graduate. Please see the Graduation and Comprehensive Exam section of this catalog for more information.