Highest Honors: 2016 Top Design Schools


GDUSA recently published its annual roundup of Students To Watch sponsored by The Creative Group. The students were so interesting — and so many readers have asked to learn more about the schools which nurture them — that we’ve compiled an alphabetical roundup of the institutions represented. We’ve enhanced that list with a handful of other favorites based on GDUSA and other surveys of designers and educators, combined with own subjective observations. The theme: education is more important than ever as the lines between the studio and the classroom, the office and the academy, the university and society, continue to blur.


With more than 16,000 students, Academy of Art University is the largest accredited private art and design university in the nation. Founded in 1929, the school and San Francisco have grown up together and served as mutual sources of inspiration and talent. Academy of Art University offers accredited AA, BA, BS, BFA, B. Arch, MA, MFA and M. Arch degree programs in more than 30 areas of study, as well as continuing art education for personal enrichment and pre-college programs for high school students. Flexible online degree programs are available in most areas of study, including graphic design. What makes the School of Graphic Design special is its emphasis on portfolio development. From the very first class, students are trained and encouraged to create an exceptional portfolio that demonstrates their skill in traditional drawing and painting as well as their well-rounded education in typography, print and editorial design, branding, information design, web design, and packaging. Academy of Art University is an accredited member of WSCUC, NASAD, CIDA (BFA-IAD, MFA-IAD) and NAAB (B. Arch, M. Arch). Contact

For more than 80 years, Art Center College of Design has remained focused on the core educational mission of developing creative leaders and innovators in art and design. The institution is leading the way with cross-disciplinary programs and studios that prepare students within and outside their chosen fields. Art Center College has an international reputation for its rigorous, transdisciplinary curriculum, faculty of professionals, strong ties to industry and a commitment to socially responsible design. The school has roughly 2,000 students, undergraduate and graduate. Contact

The Graphic Design Program at Auburn University prepares students to practice visual communication in a competitive global environment. Auburn’s nationally regarded BFA is NASAD accredited and concentrates on interactive design and mobile design, user experience design, strategic branding, typography, publication design, packaging, illustration and image making, and fine arts. Students receive hands-on design instruction in a professional studio environment with a strong sense of community among students and faculty. Courses emphasize a systemic approach to design by incorporating cross-disciplinary collaborations and train students to become versatile designers and art directors. The program hosts exhibitions, design symposiums, and guest lectures by industry leaders, and the internship program provides real-world experience and opportunities to network. Students build a strong portfolio of work as a result of their overall experience and education. The Program is housed among other prestigious design disciplines within the beautiful traditional campus setting. Contact

Founded in 1839, Boston University is an internationally recognized institution of higher education and research. With more than 33,000 students, it is the fourth-largest independent university in the U.S. The College of Fine Arts offers professional training in the arts in conservatory-style environments for undergraduate and graduate students complemented by a liberal arts curriculum for undergraduate students. The Graphic Design program is traditionally-based with a modern orientation, and is supported by a stellar faculty. As working professionals, faculty provide honest real world insight, countless avenues for creative inspiration, and insider knowledge of design studios, thoroughly preparing students for post-collegiate life. Graphic design students learn photography from the darkroom to critical evaluation of the print, study typography as an element of design, and learn to relate 3-D graphics to architectural and package design. Students also participate in interdisciplinary projects across the campus. Contact

California College of the Arts (CCA) educates students to shape culture and society through the practice and critical study of art, architecture, design, and writing. Founded in 1907, the college currently offers 22 undergraduate and 13 graduate programs to its nearly 2000 students. Graphic design students at CCA learn how to engage the mind and the senses by translating ideas into provocative forms and powerful experiences. They identify problems and find solutions that move people to think, feel, and act. Contact

California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) is a highly regarded private art college near Los Angeles. The Program in Graphic Design is one of the premier and highly-ranked graphic design programs in the country. It offers both a BFA and MFA degree, with courses in web and interface design; motion graphics; print and publication design; branding, identity, and type design; as well as in design history and education. The curriculum emphasizes both practical and conceptual skills. Throughout its history, the program in graphic design has been home to prestigious design educators and has produced influential graduates, garnering a reputation for boundary-pushing visual experimentation and academic rigor. In both the BFA and MFA programs, students create a body of work that is not simply a string of assignments, but which is uniquely theirs, preparing them, upon graduation, to carve an independent path into design practice. Contact

Carnegie Mellon’s School of Design is one of the oldest and most respected programs, with a rich history in Product Design, Communication Design, Interaction and Service Design. It is one of the only leading programs to offer design degrees at the undergraduate, graduate and doctoral levels within a multi-disciplinary, multi-cultural research university. The School of Design houses approximately 250 students within a historic building on the beautiful campus in Pittsburgh, one of America’s most livable cities. School officials state: “The demand for our graduates is increasing, and each year during Confluence, our career fair, many students receive offers of employment prior to graduation.” Contact

Located in the heart of Detroit, the College for Creative Studies (CCS) educates artists and designers to be leaders in the creative professions. A private, fully accredited college, CCS enrolls more than 1,400 students pursuing BFA and MFA degrees. The College also offers non-credit courses in the visual arts through its Continuing and Precollege Studies programs and opportunities for youth through its Community Arts Partnerships programs. CCS’ Graphic Design program strengthens students’ design and research skills and develops their ability to use a variety of media in creating engaging communications. The program focuses on design planning; symbol, logo and identity systems, editorial design, book design, media design, interaction design, motion graphics, package design, environmental design, advertising design and experience design. Contact

Columbus College of Art & Design teaches its undergraduate and graduate students in the midst of the thriving artistic community of Columbus OH. Founded in 1879, CCAD is one of the oldest private art and design colleges in the United States, offering ten majors in art and design that produce graduates equipped to shape culture and business at the highest level. CCAD’s Advertising & Graphic Design program features a multidisciplinary approach that prepares its students to be thought leaders in all manners of graphic design and advertising fields, from illustration to package design to branding and copywriting. Professors are active in their own fields and bring real life experience to the classroom. Contact

Cranbrook Academy of Art is a top ranked, graduate-only programs in architecture, design and fine art. Each year, just 75 students are invited to study and live on our landmark Saarinen-designed campus, which features private studios, state-of-the art workshops, a renowned Art Museum, and 300 acres of forests, lakes, and streams, all a short drive from the city of Detroit. The focus at Cranbrook is on studio practice in one of ten disciplines: Architecture, 2D and 3D Design, Ceramics, Fiber, Metalsmithing, Painting, Photography, Print Media, and Sculpture. The program is anchored by celebrated Artists- and Designers-in-Residence, one for each discipline, all of whom live and practice on campus alongside our students. U.S. News and World Report consistently ranks Cranbrook as one of the top ten schools in the country for graphic design. Contact

Drexel University’s Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design offers seventeen undergraduate programs, six graduate degree programs, and one PhD program, all predominantly studio based. The College maintains an award-winning faculty of industry practitioners. Westphal College is home to the Mandell Theater, the Pearlstein Gallery, Drexel’s tv and radio stations, the Rudman Institute for Entertainment Industry Studies, MAD Dragon Records and Drexel’s Historic Costume Collection. The Graphic Design program prepares students to inform, persuade and entertain through the creative use of word and image, and a balance of traditional and technical artistic studies. Students learn to conceptualize, design and produce visual communication in books, magazines, posters, ads, packaging, websites, interactive media, information systems, exhibition design, motion and other forms of media; and then use this work to develop an expansive portfolio, which, along with co-op experiences, prepares them for successful employment after graduation. Contact

Full Sail University’s Art & Design School provides a range of design Degrees for careers in the media industry. For traditional artists, the university offers Associate’s and Bachelor’s degrees in Graphic Design, where students learn professional methods of layout and design for print and electronic media. Digital graphics are taught in the Digital Arts & Design Bachelor’s degree program, which applies traditional art theory to the latest multimedia platforms. The Web Design & Development Bachelor’s degree program focuses specifically on online media, and the processes for developing interactive Web content. The Art & Design School also features the Media Design Master’s of Fine Arts degree, which covers subjects like studio management and brand development, as well as the Instructional Design & Technology Master’s degree, which helps teachers bring multimedia to the classroom. The school is home to a community of talented instructors, and guided by an advisory board of art professionals. Contact

The Kansas City Art Institute is a private, independent four-year college of art and design awarding the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with majors in animation, art history, ceramics, fiber, filmmaking, graphic design, illustration, interactive arts, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture and studio art with an emphasis on creative writing. KCAI also offers a post-baccalaureate program in art education, as well as certificate programs. KCAI hosts a free public lecture series; free exhibitions at its H&R Block Artspace gallery; and evening, weekend and summer classes for children and adults. Founded in 1885, KCAI is Kansas City’s oldest arts organization. Contact

MICA has become a leader in the education of artists and designers by fostering a community of talented, creative individuals committed to redefining the boundaries of art and design and to expanding their own vision and perspective through rigorous study. The College’s innovative curriculum, well-equipped campus and world-class faculty provide the education, experiences and resources needed to prepare the artists and designers who will lead in the 21st century. The College offers a BFA and MFA in Graphic Design, an MA in Social Design and a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Graphic Design. Within in these programs of study, students gain the creative and technological skills and knowledge to successfully compete nationally and internationally and to contribute to the public discourse of design. Contact

MIAD is Wisconsin’s only four-year, private college of visual art and design, offering BFA degrees in Studio Art, Illustration, Communication Design, Industrial Design, and Interior Architecture + Design. School officials state: “There is a gritty energy to this place, and we thrive on it. We build off of one another, collaborate and solve problems together. We connect in meaningful ways to the community and take inspiration from our environment. We believe in the power of art and design to not merely reflect the world, but to change it … Throughout MIAD’s Communication Design program, you’ll have opportunities to take on internships at advertising and design firms in Milwaukee and around the nation, as well as build your portfolio with real-world experience. MIAD graduates fill important positions in prestigious marketing communication firms and major corporations.” Contact

Since 1886, MCAD has been a strong regional, and is now a growing national, leader in areas such as fine arts, graphic design, and comic art. The school offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs, as well as certificate and continuing education programs. Its student body includes more than 700 students many states and countries. The campus, which shares a block with the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, comprises classroom buildings, professional facilities, gallery spaces, student housing, artist studios and a sculpture garden. Contact

The Northwestern University School of Professional Studies has an extensive offering of online master’s degrees and certificate programs, and this now includes an online Master of Science in Information Design and Strategy (IDS). As digital output increasingly becomes the backbone of most business strategy, there is an acute need for professionals with a better big-picture understanding of information management, design and technology. The program teaches students how to blend digital skills like information architecture and experience design with branding and messaging needs, translate data into compelling visual forms and narratives, and understand how research and analytics can drive communication strategies and tactics. The program prepares students to step into a cross-functional or leadership role by developing a deep and holistic understanding of today’s sophisticated digital media. The program is particularly useful for people in creative fields who want a stronger grounding in business strategy, so that they can expand career opportunities and make a larger impact on their organizations. The program is part-time and completely online. Contact

Based in New York but active around the world, this leading institution offers undergraduate and graduate programs in the full spectrum of design disciplines. Parsons’ five schools, which encompass 27 rigorous undergraduate, associates and graduate degree programs, offer options for both focused training and interdisciplinary study. The School of Art, Media, and Technology embodies the frisson between art and design, with programs in Communication Design, Design and Technology, Fine Arts, Graphic Design, Illustration and Photography. The AAS in Graphics Design can be completed on campus, online or in combination and goes beyond basic technical knowledge to provide a complete design education. The program investigates up-to-the-minute tools and trends of the trade, including web design, while providing a solid foundation in traditional practices and concepts. Contact

Pennsylvania College of Art & Design, a fully accredited art college in Lancaster, PA, believes graphic design provides a means to communicate powerfully and effectively through images and typography. In PCA&D’s graphic design program, students focus on demanding conceptual and technical courses, enhanced by gradual involvement with clients. Benefiting from a curriculum informed by PCA&D’s over-arching education philosophy “Communications as Currency,” students experience how the creative process involves collaborating with other designers, photographers, digital artists, and illustrators to meet the needs of a client. All faculty are freelance or full-time designers who bring professional jobs to the classroom as competitive assignments. Selected designs enhance students’ portfolios with professional work before they graduate. The required senior internship is the perfect opportunity to demonstrate skills to potential employers. The senior year culminates with the final portfolio and senior exhibition, honing presentation skills. PCA&D’s graphic design BFA program is structured to prepare students to work successfully in this highly competitive field. Our forward-looking curriculum, experienced faculty and staff, current technology and life in the creative City of Lancaster, combine to support our students— the new generation of artists and designers: “Strong Thinkers, Strong Makers, Strong Communicators.” Contact

The mission of the Graphic Design Communication program is to cultivate design strategists with an innovative spirit and superior critical thinking skills applicable to a diversity of human needs. Consistent with the University’s overall mission to provide professional training with a rigorous Liberal Arts and Business core, the curriculum fosters an appreciation for design as a cultural craft with a relevant historical background and a rapidly evolving future that includes multiple disciplines. Culminating in a BS degree, the program is conceptually based on the belief that designers’ highest value is to be able to generate ideas — that intellectual property is his/her creative capital. Real-world assignments are featured to engender practical, active, hands-on learning. The curriculum emphasizes traditional design skills, and the ability to create and develop visual and verbal responses to complex visual communication problems across media. Contact

Portfolio Center in Atlanta GA is a graduate-level communication arts school whose mission is to prepare students for creative practice and leadership. Thanks to a small, intimate environment, the school is able to break the boundaries of traditional instruction. The education is hands-on and interactive. Believing in the importance of good design, design that is useful and beautiful, students learn to render content with real meaning and to create innovative solutions that actually contribute to the culture. Says Director of Design Hank Richardson: “Because great communication begins with sound reasoning, we train students to think.” Portfolio Center offers both full time and part time intensive programs; students graduate with a Certificate of Professional Studies in Art Direction, Copywriting, Design, Web Design, Illustration or Photography. Portfolio Center recently joined Miami Ad School’s global network of 14 schools. Contact

Founded in 1887, Pratt Institute is a global leader in higher education dedicated to preparing its 4,700 undergraduate and graduate students for successful careers in art, design, architecture, information, and liberal arts and sciences. Located in a cultural hub with historic campuses in Brooklyn and Manhattan, Pratt is a living lab of craft and creativity with an esteemed faculty of accomplished professionals and scholars. The Institute has Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programs in communications design, which are part of Pratt’s School of Design. The Undergraduate Communications Design department offers concentrations in illustration, advertising art direction, and graphic design, and teaches students to craft the strongest and most impactful communications possible by being creative problem solvers and elegant image-makers. Pratt’s Graduate Communications Design department educates graphic and package designers, and offers MFA in communications design and MS in package design degree programs. Both programs provide students with the opportunity to develop and refine their design process, design voice, and creative skills, preparing them for leadership positions in their field. Contact

PrattMWP students spend their years immersed in, not one, but two strikingly different environments with lively art cultures. Students who select this route complete the first two years of their program on the Utica campus in upstate New York, and are then guaranteed a seamless relocation to Pratt’s main Brooklyn campus at the beginning of their junior year. The PrattMWP campus allows students to achieve the prestige and benefits of a Pratt art education at a location that develops their confidence, individual voice and insights. PrattMWP shares its campus with the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute, which offers collections, exhibits, classes and events that attract artists and art enthusiasts worldwide. PrattMWP offers majors in Fine Arts, Communications Design, Art Education, and Photography. It is the perfect choice for students who prefer to transition to the big city with advanced skills and a tight group of friends. Communications Design students have recently been recognized by GDUSA, Print, Creative Quarterly, Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, United States Mint, and the British Journal of Aesthetics. Contact

Rich, multifaceted and encompassing a broad range of media, Graphic Design at Rhode Island School of Design respects the foundations of formal, aesthetic and analytical knowledge and skills while exploring the ever-changing context and function of visual communication. Since 1877, RISD has stood out as a leader in art and design education, attracting extraordinary people who thrive in its creative culture. As one of the first colleges of its kind in the country – founded simultaneously with the RISD Museum of Art – it has always been something of a maverick. Contact 

For nearly 85 years, Ringling College of Art and Design has cultivated the creative spirit in students from around the globe. The private, not-for-profit fully accredited college offers the BFA degree in eleven disciplines and the BA in two. The rigorous curriculum employs the studio model of teaching and immediately engages students through a comprehensive, first-year program specific to the major of study and focused on the liberal arts. The Ringling College teaching model ultimately shapes students into highly employable and globally aware artists and designers. The Graphic Design program guides students to identify and solve communication problems and create solutions in print, motion, and interactive media with projects of all varieties. The school teaches the fundamentals of typography and image making using the latest hardware and software, as well as also incorporating sketching and building with your hands. The goal is to cultivate expert visual storytellers and communicators with a body of work that is “breathtaking, original, and effective.” Contact

Graphic designers create to communicate. They are visual problem-solvers who use a wide variety of methods and media to inform, direct, promote, entertain, motivate, engage, and educate. RIT’s BFA graphic design program prepares students to integrate design principles and methodologies with messages and images to connect with targeted audiences. Graphic design students are introduced to a full range of topics including web and interaction design, user experience design, information design, branding, advertising, editorial design, packaging design, and professional practices. Students gain the knowledge and skills to develop innovative and effective design solutions with a balance of history, theory, conceptual exploration, human interaction, and integration of technology. Access to the world-renowned Vignelli Center for Design Studies, Cary Graphic Design Archive and Cary Library enable students to further enhance learning and inquiry. Internships, co-ops, and freelance experiences are encouraged. Additionally, interdisciplinary and collaborative projects result in hands-on design projects that encourage students to explore the social, ethical and environmental impact of design. Contact

At Sage, students broaden their artistic vision through intensive studio work, internships, service learning, and interdisciplinary opportunities. Graduates leave Sage with the confidence to influence their world with creative vision, critical thinking and problem solving capabilities. Accredited since 1978 by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design, Sage’s Department of Art + Design features a faculty who are accomplished working professionals in their fields and offers three major program areas — Graphic + Media Design, Interior Design and Fine Arts, each with its own BFA degree. The Graphic + Media Design program reflects Sage’s vision for the designer of tomorrow: an artist equally at home in graphic design, interactive design, motion design and illustration. Graphic + Media Design graduates leave the program ready to enter the profession as creative problem solvers and self-reliant critical thinkers “and they get good jobs when they graduate.” Contact

The Savannah College of Art and Design is a private, nonprofit, accredited university conferring Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at distinctive locations to prepare talented students for professional careers. SCAD offers degrees in more than 40 majors, and minors in more than 60 disciplines. With 32,000 alumni worldwide, SCAD is known as a thought leader, preparing graduates for professional success. At locations in Savannah and Atlanta; in Hong Kong; in Lacoste, France; and online through SCAD eLearning, the diverse student body consists of more than 12,000 students, from across the U.S. and over 100 countries. SCAD’s innovative curriculum is enhanced by advanced, professional-level technology, equipment and learning resources. Curricular collaborations with companies and organizations including Google and the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) affirm the professional currency SCAD champions in its degree programs. The university, students, faculty and alumni have garnered acclaim and top rankings from respected organizations and publications worldwide. Contact

The School of Advertising Art is a small college with one focus – graphic design. SAA offers personalized training to aspiring designers, preparing students for successful careers. The SAA Associate Degree Program is a two-year program that leads to a degree in Applied Business in Advertising Art. The program consists of design and professional development courses that focus on creativity, typography, graphic design, photography, web design, illustration, video/motion design, and communication and presentation skills. With a job placement rate of 100%, SAA is committed to providing career services to recent graduates and alumni. SAA has a strong reputation among employers for educating designers who are creative and prepared for the demands of the advertising industry. Contact

A leader in educating artists, designers, and scholars since 1866, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) offers nationally accredited undergraduate, graduate, and post-baccalaureate programs to more than 3,500 students from around the globe. One of the most historically significant accredited independent schools of art and design in the nation located in one of the greatest American cities. Its accolades are many, including recognition by Columbia University’s National Arts Journalism survey as “the most influential art college in the United States. Located in the heart of Chicago, SAIC has an educational philosophy built upon an interdisciplinary approach to art and design, giving students unparalleled opportunities to develop their creative and critical abilities, while working with renowned faculty who include many of the leading practitioners in their fields. Contact

School of Visual Arts has been a leader in the education of artists, designers and creative professionals for more than six decades. With a faculty of distinguished working professionals, dynamic curriculum and an emphasis on critical thinking, SVA is a catalyst for innovation and social responsibility. Comprised of more than 6,000 students at its Manhattan campus and 35,000 alumni in 100 countries, SVA also represents one of the most influential artistic communities in the world. SVA’s BFA Design program focuses on teaching visual communication problem solving, extending students’ practices beyond conventional graphic design with coursework in 3D design, interactive design and motion graphics. The College’s MFA Design program, founded in 1998, aims to provide students with the tools, inspiration and experience that prepares them for careers in which they succeed as individual and collaborative authors and entrepreneurs. Contact

Founded in 1997, Sessions College for Professional Design is a fully online school of visual arts offering degree and certificate programs. Associate degree majors include Graphic Design, Web Design, Digital Media, Illustration, Advertising Design, and Digital Photography. The mission is to prepare art and design professionals for successful careers by providing the highest quality of online arts education; students gain a thorough training in the technical, creative, and critical thinking skills required for a fast-changing industry. In the Graphic Design Associate degree program, first year students gain proficiency in the traditional elements of art and design. Software and coding classes build skills in contemporary design tools and technologies for digital imaging, illustration, layout, and web publishing. Second year classes explore a range of media including layout projects, print production, packaging, and branding and marketing concepts. Contact

The Art Institute of Tampa, a branch of Miami International University of Art & Design, is one of The Art Institutes, providing an important source of design, media arts, fashion and culinary professionals. The Institute offers programs and degrees in Culinary Arts, Digital Image Management, Fashion, Web Design & Development, Graphic Design, Digital Filmmaking & Video Production, Digital Photography, Game Art & Design, Interior Design, Media Arts & Animation, Visual Effects & Motion Graphics and Interactive Media. Coursework is reviewed and influenced by industry leaders and prominent employers who determine what skills are needed in the workplace. Many faculty members also are working in their respective fields outside of the classroom. The Graphic Design programs at AI Tampa teach students to combine form and function into a concept or product that is visually compelling and meets consumer needs. Contact

Founded in 1876, the University of the Arts is one of the nation’s only universities dedicated solely to educating students in the visual and performing arts, design and writing. UArts is a leader in educating creative individuals through an innovative and flexible, yet rigorous and well-rounded curriculum. With more than 1,800 students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs on its campus in the heart of Philadelphia’s Avenue of the Arts, UArts’ students collaborate across disciplines and benefit from being in such a vibrant city. Graphic Design at UArts has been recognized as one of the nation’s top design programs – on the leading edge, delving into new technologies, as well as re-inventing how handmade images and messages uniquely speak to the electronically engaged world. The program emphasizes unique invention, and its students explore both new technologies and old-world craft. Contact

The UCLA Department of Design Media Arts (DMA) offers a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach to media creation that fosters individual exploration and innovative thinking. Within the context of the department, design is a process and way of thinking, and media arts foreground experimental media creation. The results emerge in and on books, galleries, game consoles, installations, films, magazines, performances, public spaces, televisions, and websites. They “strive to create socially and culturally relevant objects, experiences, and spaces.” Contact 

The School of Media, Culture & Design promotes cross-disciplinarity as a core attribute of the school. Of course, cross-fertilization of ideas happens naturally among students in the school’s many majors but Woodbury also provides more structured mechanisms to spur collaborative brainstorming and conceptual innovation. For example, classes between majors are intentionally paired to bring multiple perspectives to bear on the same design problem. Advanced seminars that transcend any one major allow students to work together. The Graphic Design program is highly ranked and the BFA degree is included in the University’s accreditation by NASAD. It is a professional degree, which translates to a top education resulting in strong, competitive student portfolios. Woodbury students consistently win international and national design awards, and have achieved recognition in entertainment design, web design, advertising design, package design, photography, identity design and environmental graphics. Small class size allows individual attention from the professional faculty, and educational experiences both inside and outside of the classroom, provide students with the ability to create effective and engaging visual communication solutions. The program has gained a reputation for graduating designers ready to take their place in the profession. In addition, Woodbury’s Los Angeles CA location offers students numerous internship and networking opportunities. Contact

This highly selective MFA program accepts up to ten students each year, and up to seven students for a preliminary year program. The degree program focuses on the development of a cohesive, investigative body of work, also known as the student’s thesis. It is is conceived as a loose framework within which each student’s visual method is deployed across many diverse projects during his or her two-year course of study. While every thesis project is unique, there are several common features: a focus on methodology, the application of a visual method to studio work, and the organization of the work in a thoughtfully argued written document and catalogue raisonné, also known as the “Thesis Book.” Students applying to the preliminary-year program typically have relevant experience in a field of study outside design and demonstrate evidence of visual acuity. Contact