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 only be accepted for enrollment each fall and spring semester. Deadline dates for applications and receipt of all required application materials are:

Date Event
February 1 Fall Admission
October 1 Spring 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 starting in mid-January.

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 all colleges/universities with degrees posted. (Students who have previously attended JSU do not need to request a transcript from the university.)
  4. Three Graduate Reference Forms completed by individuals who can provide qualitative assessment of the applicant’s potential for success in graduate coursework. Two of these must be from educators and/or professionals in the field of visual communication and design. Reference forms will be submitted electronically. Instructions for submission will be sent through email to the applicant upon submission of the online graduate application.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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 Graduate Studies.

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;
  • Remaining credit hours (6) may be applied to any combination of studio, art academic, or elective courses

Studio Project required: No other options are available.

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.

Graduation and Comprehensive Exam

A comprehensive exam is 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.