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Master of Fine Arts in Design

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  • Entry requirements
    Graduate Studies Candidates:
    * Must demonstrate the adoption of cutting-edge technology in their design processes, and an interest in future trends.
    * Must have completed, or be in the final year of completing, an undergraduate degree in a design or related discipline.
    * Possess a high standard of skills in drawing and possess well-developed skills in 3-D spatial perception and form, as related to either general design and/or transportation design.
    * Complete the online application available here
    * Submit official college transcript(s). Applicants must have a minimum 3.0 college grade point average.
    * Present a portfolio in a digital format (either CD and/or personal web-site) that communicates the applicant’s problem-solving skill as well as technical and aesthetic skill levels.
    * Submit an original sketchbook (for admission to the Transportation Design Program).
    * Write a statement of purpose: the applicant’s objectives in seeking an MFA. This document also serves as the applicant’s writing sample*.
    * Submit a résumé/CV.
    * Provide three recommendations from people who know the prospective student’s academic or professional record and potential for graduate study.
  • Course description
    The program will be interdisciplinary in nature where students with a prior degree in any design discipline can be admitted. Additional key qualifying criteria will be:

    1. Accomplished expertise in one or a number of existing 2-D or 3-D digital design tools
    2. Demonstrated commitment to design
    3. Interest in pushing the frontiers of new technologies and their applications

    Students will be assigned to an interdisciplinary studio setting where they will work on individual as well as team projects (the program aims to ensure that each student participates in at least two team projects during his/her CCS graduate experience). Industry internships, as well as CCS undergraduate teaching assistantships will also be available to graduate students.

    In addition to the technology issues discussed, the path of study will require students to develop a keen awareness of global environmental issues and social change. The curriculum is designed to help students synthesize these external factors, translate them into a form that is meaningful in a business setting, and create relevant design solutions. “Relevant” in this context requires that students’ design solutions resonate with an identified market segment, from all design and functional standpoints.

    Each project assignment will require that students follow a design development path that commences with an extensive and rigorous research phase. A project definition or project brief will grow out of the research findings, and will serve as the plan of work for the completion of the studio course. Students will be expected to work through the subsequent project phases by creating high-quality visual material (concept sketches, computer 2-D/3-D renderings and layouts), and/or a 3-D model, either digitally created or hand built as appropriate.

    One objective of the studio component of the curriculum is to expose students to first-hand experience working with industry clients on commercially oriented, rigorous research projects. To this end, the program aims to provide each student with at least two opportunities to participate in industry-sponsored projects. As is established practice in the undergraduate curriculum, projects will only be accepted if they support the program’s curricular objectives. If accepted, students may gain academic credit through these formally structured industry internships.

    The studio component of the curriculum is supported by significant course requirements in business practices, social sciences and technology. These will include courses that cover subjects such as research methodology practices, business practices, design management, branding and related issues, the environment and sustainability, and interaction design and technology.

    Interdisciplinary Graduate Seminars will involve all CCS graduate students. In addition to being a platform for peer review and critique, the seminars will be a mechanism to expose students to industry and academic leaders in related fields. Social context, sustainability and ethics will be some of the themes addressed, possibly structured within a colloquial format. The seminars will require extensive reading, research, short fast paced design assignments, and individual and group presentations.

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