College of Fine Arts and Design


Design (MFA)

Designers are innovative problem solvers who process information and user needs to improve communication and environments. The variety and complexity of design issues is expanding. Developments in technology, information processing, and materials have affected design practice and education - new challenges confront the designer and the design educator. There is today a greater need for balance between human beings and their sociocultural, natural, and built environment.
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Department Mission Statement
The MFA Design Program is a pre-professional career preparation program that helps students excel in:

  • Developing unique, innovative and effective solutions to design problems
  • Clearly communicating concepts and solutions
  • Understanding philosophies, theories and terminology of design
  • Rendering, executing and producing design
  • Presenting concepts and solutions orally and in writing
  • Developing high standards of professional practice

The MFA in Design is a student-centered and a learning-centered environment which enables students to experiment and develop their potential beyond rigidly structured academic programs. Design graduate projects and research can help:

  • Expand the student's body of work in design
  • Increase the production of design knowledge in order to enhance design performance
  • Prepare students for change
  • Foster innovative thinkers
  • Allow/encourage independent and interdisciplinary projects
  • Network with the design community: local, national and global
  • Add significantly to the body of knowledge
  • Make positive contributions to society
  • Provide professional career preparation

Professional Preparation Areas of Study
The MFA in Design provides opportunities for students who are interested in:

  • Design education: Teaching and classroom instruction methodology
  • Design research: Advanced research and study in design
  • Design proficiency: Additional skills in creative problem solving

To meet the goal of helping the MFA student prepare a significant body of work, the culminating thesis can be a major project in design or a theoretical research project. All thesis projects require a detailed proposal with topic of study, project objectives, methodology and presentation formats.

Project and Thesis Committees
The MFA candidate's committee for project presentations, thesis proposal and thesis/project presentation is comprised of full-time faculty in the Department of Design and at least one additional graduate faculty member from outside the department.

Application Procedures
Admission Requirement for an MFA in Design Students seeking an MFA in Design must fulfill the following requirements before being formally admitted to the program. See the current UCO Graduate Catalog.

1. Apply for admission to the Jackson College of Graduate Studies
    Program admission standards: 2.5 overall GPA or 2.5 GPA in the last 60 hours attempted. A GRE score is not required for admission.

2. MFA Design Application Packet
    Submit to the Jackson College of Graduate Studies:
    A. An essay that includes the following:
       i. Why you wish to pursue a Master of Fine Arts degree in Design at UCO.
       ii. Your professional career plan and objectives.
       iii. Your proposed area of interest, topic, or focus of graduate study.
    B. Official transcript of undergraduate courses with degree posted.
       If transferring from another graduate program, also submit transcript showing
       graduate courses. Acceptance of a transfer class for credit depends on the class
       content, the method of evaluation, and the demonstration of skills that are
       expected in the equivalent course offered at UCO.
    C. A current resume.
    D. Three letters of recommendation with at least one of these from a
       design professional.  Letters from UCO faculty are not acceptable.
    E. A design portfolio that includes the following:
       i. 10-15 examples of your work submitted, preferably as slides.
       ii. A sheet identifying the project titles, dates, descriptions and other relevant
       iii. A self addressed stamped envelope to return the portfolio.

3. Application Deadlines
The MFA Design Application Packet must be submitted by:
Semester Application deadline
Fall                                  April 1
Spring                        October 1
Summer                        March 1

4. Prerequisites
If you do not have an undergraduate degree in Graphic Design or Interior Design, you will need to take up to 45 hours of undergraduate courses and/or conduct a portfolio review with the Design Graduate Advisor before beginning the MFA-Design program.

5. Acceptance into the MFA-Design Program
The Jackson College of Graduate Studies and the Faculty of the Department of Design will determine the acceptance status of each candidate.

Upon acceptance into the MFA - Design program, the Design Graduate Advisor will prepare, in consultation with the student, the Plan of Study with required, recommended, and elective courses necessary to earn the MFA-Design degree.

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