Study Graphic Design in Boston

Today's graphic designers must possess a technical and aesthetic skill set that is both contemporary and fluid. In order to create innovative multidisciplinary designs, you have to be proficient in a wider range of media. Our NASAD accredited Master of Arts program in Graphic Design was created to meet the challenge of this constantly evolving field. It emphasizes sophisticated design and communication skills using new and emerging technologies, combining a curriculum that is practice-oriented. As an candidate in Suffolk’s MA in Graphic Design Program your program will culminate with a thesis project that enables you to pursue a path of advanced study in an aspect of design that interest you. Because of this individualized approach, you’ll work closely with the Graduate Program Director, the design faculty and thesis advisors to develop sophisticated and contemporary design solutions.

Graphic Design Graduate Program Objectives

  • Develop creative, intellectual and practical skills to grow aesthetically and professionally.
  • Provide a context for advanced study and research beyond the baccalaureate level.
  • Offer a balanced approach to design, equally emphasizing theory and practice.
  • Create a visually engaging, conceptually strong and competitive professional portfolio.
  • Develop awareness of global design trends and multicultural traditions through international study.

Degree Requirements

Candidates for the master’s degree must complete a course of study consisting of 30 credits. Applicants possessing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design can typically complete their master's degree with 30 credits of graduate study (700-level or higher).

All graduate students should be aware that the specific courses for which they are permitted to register in any given semester will depend on prior art background, transfer/waived credits, prerequisite requirements, and course scheduling. Therefore, it may not be possible for a student who wishes to take a full course load to do so.

The letter "S" preceding a course number indicates a studio course. A studio fee is assessed for all studio courses.

Degree Requirements: 10 courses, 30 credits

  • ADG-700 Graphic Design Graduate Internship

    Prerequisites:

    Consent of Program Director required.

    Credits:

    3.00

    Description:

    The purpose of this course is to provide students with an opportunity to explore areas within the graphic design field that they have not previously experienced. Interns will observe and participate in all office procedures permitted by their place of internship and will be required to maintain a journal of their observations and submit sample work. Required classroom seminars will reinforce new skills, share learning experiences, and answer questions or concerns. Students with prior extensive and documented work experience in the field may be exempt from the internship requirement, with the approval of the Masters in Graphic Design Program Director; however, such students will be required to substitute a 3-credit studio elective for the internship.

    Term:

    Offered Both Fall and Spring

  • ADG-810 Graphic Design Graduate Seminar

    Credits:

    3.00

    Description:

    The graphic design graduate seminar should be taken during the student's first semester in the MAGD program, ideally before significant work on the thesis begins. The seminar will begin with class visits by visionaries and innovators in art-related fields, who will present their work, providing students the opportunity to begin exploration of these designers' thought processes. This exposure is intended to aid students in coalescing their own methods of thinking, approaching and executing their own work. Two student-designed projects will follow: a presentation on the work of a design innovator identified and selected by the student, and the compilation and execution of a theoretical project based on a societal need. Students are encouraged to present in any combination of field-appropriate media and both projects are intended to encourage the independent thinking required in the preparation of the thesis.

    Term:

    Offered Both Fall and Spring

  • ADG-S820 Graphic Design Graduate Studio I

    Credits:

    3.00

    Description:

    In this graduate studio, students will explore complex graphic design problems, particularly those requiring a multi-disciplinary approach. The goal of the course is to extend the student's viewpoint beyond simple one-dimensional solutions and to encourage thoughtful and inventive design, and innovative problem-solving.

    Term:

    Offered Fall Term

  • ADG-S822 Graphic Design Graduate Studio II

    Prerequisites:

    ADG S820

    Credits:

    3.00

    Description:

    In this advanced-level studio, students will continue their exploration of the more complex graphic design projects begun in Graphic Design Graduate Studio I (ADG S820), with the emphasis on design problems requiring a multi-disciplinary approach. Students will be exposed to projects that encompass a broad variety of design circumstances, and they will be encouraged to guide clients to more inventive and unique solutions. Each project assigned has a student-generated component in its selected topic and scope. The formation of project details requires students to engage in considerable research prior to starting the application of design.

    Term:

    Offered Spring Term

  • ADG-S840 Thesis Research

    Credits:

    3.00

    Description:

    The Master's program in Graphic Design culminates in a thesis, an independent project based on an original idea designed and developed by the student in concert with a team of advisers. Thesis Research Studio requires the definition of a graphic design problem, research of case studies and visual works relevant to the thesis topic, and the creation of an outline for the thesis studio project. The class will culminate in the preparation of printed documentation, as well as an oral/visual presentation. All students are required to attend meetings outside of the scheduled class time for one on one instruction with their professor/adviser.

    Term:

    Offered Both Fall and Spring

  • ADG-S842 Graphic Design Thesis Studio

    Prerequisites:

    ADG 840

    Credits:

    3.00

    Description:

    The Graphic Design Thesis is a focused independent project on a single original topic, developed by the student working in conjunction with a team of advisors. During this studio course students will test various formats for visualizing their thesis and will execute the design work necessary to realize their project. Emphasis will be placed on creative inquiry and the development of unique solutions that are conceptually strong and content rich. The final thesis will be comprised of the design project along with extensive written documentation. Students must demonstrate independence in relation to their own design process and the ability to realize a complex graphic design solution.

    Term:

    Offered Both Fall and Spring

  • ADG-S844 Graphic Design Thesis Documentation Studio

    Credits:

    3.00

    Description:

    This studio course represents the final phase of the thesis process. Having defined the design problem, completed the necessary research and finalized the design solution, the students will then document the process and project in written and visual form. Thesis documentation will consist of the visual manifestation of the design solution as well the professional level production of a printed, bound volume or other appropriate format in which the thesis project, research, and solution are presented in both text and images. All students are required to attend meetings outside of the scheduled class time for one on one instruction with their professor/adviser.

    Term:

    Offered Both Fall and Spring

Choose 3 elective courses at the 700-level or higher from those listed in the courses tab.


Thesis

The master’s program culminates in a final thesis project, an independent inquiry based on an original idea associated with a student’s chosen area of concentration. Graphic Design Thesis Research (ADG-S840), Thesis Studio (ADG-S842), and Thesis Documentation (ADG-S844) are the core courses in the master’s program curriculum sequence. Successful completion of Thesis Research is a prerequisite for enrollment in Thesis Studio and successful completion of Thesis Studio is likewise a prerequisite for enrollment in Thesis Documentation.


    Portfolio Review and Thesis Exhibition

    End-of-semester Portfolio Reviews are required of all master’s and pre-master’s students, as is participation in the Graduate Student Thesis Exhibition. Please note that degrees will not be awarded until these requirements have been successfully completed.

    Applicants Without an Undergraduate Arts Degree

    Applicants possessing an undergraduate degree in the visual arts (other than graphic design) can often be exempted from the Foundation Studies Program, leaving foundational graphic design coursework (a maximum of 43 undergraduate credits) and 30 credits of graduate study (700-level or higher) to complete. Such students should expect to spend at least two and, in some cases, up to three years of year-round study to complete the degree.

    Applicants possessing an undergraduate degree in a field not related to the visual arts generally will be required to complete a maximum of 72 credits of Foundation Studies and foundational Graphic Design study, as well as 30 credits of graduate study (700-level or higher). Such students should expect to spend at least three and, in some cases, up to four years of year-round study to complete the degree.

    Please refer to the Preparatory Pathways tab for further course information.

    Admission Requirements

    Applications are accepted on a rolling basis for admission in the fall or spring. You may study full- or part-time. Merit-based scholarships and other forms of financial aid are available.

    Admission Requirements

    • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university
    • International applicants: Successful completion of the TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE-Academic
    • Portfolio (20 pieces of recent original artwork) submitted online via Slideroom.com
    • Interview with program director

    For full details, please visit Graduate Admission

    Gateway Summer Program 

    Build your admission portfolio with our 10-week intensive summer program

    Careers

    For over 85 years, the New England School of Art & Design at Suffolk University has prepared its graduates for success as professional artists and designers. Our alumni have worked around the globe in an impressive array of roles– exhibiting work in New York galleries, hosting design shows for HGTV, illustrating books or designing for the NBA and the NHL. We’re proud of what our alumni have achieved, and what they continue to accomplish as members of the Suffolk community. And most would agree that it’s the training that began early on in their academic careers that has fueled their professional success.

    Our graphic design graduates work across all media and around the globe. Whether your studies lead you to become a web designer, a creative director, work in television or run your own studio, graphic design is a diverse and growing field. Our grads have held design positions at many notable companies, including the Boston Red Sox, Walt Disney, Reebok International, Arnold World Wide, HBO and the White House (yes that White House), just to name a few.

    Summer Programs

    Gateway Summer Program

    If you want to pursue graduate studies in design, but don't have a visual arts background, the Gateway Program for Graduate Design Studies is a quick and affordable way to prepare your admissions portfolio. Program Details 

    Accelerated Pre-Master's Program

    The Accelerated Graphic Design Summer Program is a 10-week summer program for admitted Master of Arts in Graphic Design candidates, who want to build their design skill competencies, increase their preparedness for the fall and expedite their progress through the Masters program. Program Details