Kutztown University

Kutztown University Communication Design

Kutztown University curriculum


Kutztown University’s Communication Design is proud to offer the first MFA in Communication Design in the PA State System of Higher Education. Our program has received NASAD plan approval and is scheduled to begin offering courses for the fall semester, 2014. Please contact Graduate Admissions for more information about applying to the program or visit the MFA Applying page.

The program is a full-time residency program requiring 64 credits to be completed over five semesters. The final session is completed via distance education and may be completed during the summer or fall semester. A part-time approach may be pursued but will require a longer time period and is space-limited.

The MFA in CD will provide a high quality education at the graduate level to prepare candidates to think innovatively and use in-depth investigation to solve design problems with a focus on advanced preparation within the professionto be qualified to become faculty at regional and national two- and four-year institutions, to be prepared for career redirection or advancement and/or prepare candidates to be creative-business entrepreneurs.

MFA candidates will be able to integrate innovative typography into their creative projects as well as competently present an informative discussion forum to students, clients, or professionals. Each MFA candidate will be able to explore projects of a personal nature and select well-known past or present designers whom he/she is interested in studying further to gain creative inspiration. Lastly, each MFA candidate will write an originally researched thesis in an area of the design-related fields, create a visual final exhibition creatively representing the thesis research findings, create a professional level portfolio to showcase his/her creative work, and exhibit and present this work in a public forum.

Curriculum Structure

To download a .pdf of course requirements and curriculum structure, please click here.

MFA Core Program


Six credits of graduate level study is required in the history of graphic design. CDH 550, CDH 551. Note: Students with undergraduate credit equivalent to some courses will take the graduate topic via Individualized Instruction.


Eighteen credits of core studio courses are required. The courses were designed to be flexible and allow MFA students to pursue their personal and professional interests to meet their career goals as well as become knowledgable with current and emerging technologies, trends and topics. The courses are:

  • CDE 501: Personal Exploration Seminar
  • CDE 502: Professional Exploration Seminar
  • CDE 503 Graduate Seminar: Unconventional Typography
  • CDE 504 Graduate Seminar: Design Pioneers
  • CDE 505 Graduate Seminar: Emerging Media
  • CDE 506 Graduate Seminar: Contemporary Topics in Communication Design

View course descriptions


Sixteen credits of thesis related work is required in both academic and studio courses. The final thesis course may be completed via distance education during the summer or fall semester.

  • CDE 511: MFA Thesis I: Research Studies (Academic)
  • CDE 512: MFA Thesis II: Creative Studies
  • CDE 513 MFA Thesis III: Production/Presentation/Exhibition

View course descriptions

MFA Electives

Academic Electives

The academic portion of the MFA is composed of twelve credits. Courses are chosen in coordination with the MFA student's advisor to further the student's career goals and preapre them for later courses in the MFA program. The courses are:

  • Graduate Writing Elective
  • Graduate Research Elective
  • Visual Design/Media Elective
  • Graduate General Academic Elective

Studio Electives

MFA students are required to take a minimum of twelve credits in studio courses. Courses are chosen from 500-level CDE (not studio core or thesis), FAR or ARU courses. Note: Students with undergraduate credit equivalent to some courses will take the graduate topic via Individualized Instruction.