M.F.A. Design

Do you want to cultivate your knowledge and skills in diverse design disciplines?
Degree Type Master of Fine Arts
Careers & Salaries Graduate Degree Outcomes
Delivery Hybrid

Due to the unprecedented Coronavirus situation, the MFA in Design's priority deadline has been extended to June 1, 2020.

Our Master of Fine Arts in Design program, a 60-credit terminal degree, combines practical problem-solving, ‘change the world’ mentality and innovative teaching in an art school experience that will help you grow as a designer, provide cross-disciplinary opportunities, and prepare you for creative leadership or teaching.

You'll reach across multiple design disciplines to find a unique focus area tailored to your interests. / UW-Stout

With its outstanding reputation for undergraduate art and design programs, UW–Stout is uniquely positioned to offer this cross-disciplinary graduate program. Our program is uniquely broad and interdisciplinary.

Our Cross-Disciplinary Setting

  • Graphic design
  • Game design
  • Industrial design
  • Interior design
  • Interactive media
  • Digital Cinema
  • Animation

You will work with our dedicated faculty to create a focus area tailored to your interests through our robust course offerings and independent projects. Our customized instruction model can accommodate working adults as well as day students

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Program Overview

View program plans, credit requirements and course descriptions.
View Curriculum

The program provides a unique opportunity for experiential learning and design-based research through collaborative faculty-student projects that reach across design disciplines. Courses will be delivered through a Customized Instruction model that accommodates working adults as well as day students.

Meaningful Experiences

Our program prepares you for roles in the academic community and as design professionals and leaders.
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Design class looks into outdoor museum on blue-green algae awareness

A group of Master of Fine Arts in Design students, working with the university’s LAKES REU project, recently created the concept of having an outdoor museum in Menomonie that would help educate visitors about the blue-green algae issue on Lake Menomin and, in turn, possibly gain more advocacy about cleaner water.

“Design research consists of strategies and techniques designers use when tackling creative projects,” Erik Evensen, M.F.A. Design program director said. “At the graduate level, it usually means using research to dive into complex, interdisciplinary problems, just like the phosphorus pollution issue in the watershed. These students took on this challenge, utilized some intimidating research practices, and executed some really thoughtful and exciting solutions. I think this project has a lot of potential for real-world applications. We're definitely starting a conversation about what this could actually look like here in Menomonie.”

Global competition, a workplace that increasingly values creative workers, the increasing role of evidence-based design, and the search for sustainability have created the need for a new model for graduate education in design. The MFA in Design will prepare you to become transformational practitioners and educators with a focus on innovation, breaking boundaries, design leadership and sustainable models of practice.

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Tuition & Fees

Customized Instruction at UW Stout can be described as programs that are designed with the adult learner in mind. If you're comparing UW-Stout's customized instruction tuition to our competitors, keep in mind:

  • $1010 per graduate creditcustomized instruction tuition rate includes the textbook rental fee.
  • There are no additional university-based semester or technology fees.
  • Students in customized instruction programs pay the same rate of tuition regardless if Wisconsin residents, out-of-state or international participants.

Value for your Money

There’s more to value than just tuition. UW Stout also provides:

  • Program Director – faculty with discipline expertise.
  • Student Services adviser – one point of contact, providing support to students for each program.
  • Course sequences and matrices – know what courses are offered when so you can plan ahead.
  • Courses and programs may be stackable for use in another program.
  • Courses are flexible and convenient for working professionals.

Other universities will present costs and value differently - make sure you're comparing apples to apples.

Example Course Plan

This is an example of a three-year course plan. Please review the Graduate Bulletin for the official program planner, credit requirements and course descriptions.

The First Year (21 credits)

Fall Semester

  • DES-700 Design Seminar I (3 cr.) core
  • ARTH-720 History of Design Seminar (3 cr.) core
  • DES-XXX (3 cr.) studio elective

Spring Semester

  • DES-725 Research Strategies in Design (3 cr.) core
  • DES-712 Sustainable Design Practice (3 cr.) core
  • DES-561 Transmedia Studio (3 cr.) studio elective
  • Focus Elective (3 cr.)

Second Year (21 credits)

Fall Semester

  • ARTH-756 Special Topics in Design History (3 cr.) core
  • ART-614 Color Seminar (3 cr.) studio elective
  • Focus Elective (3 cr.)

Spring Semester

  • DES-710 Ethics in Design (3 cr.) core
  • DES-730 Critical Issues in Design Education & Practice (3 cr.) core
  • DES-XXX (3 cr.) studio elective
  • Focus Elective (3 cr.)

Third Year (18 credits)

Fall Semester

  • DES-800 Design Seminar II (3 cr.) core
  • DES-870 Creative Thesis in Design (3 cr.) core
  • DES-799 Independent Study (3 cr.) studio elective

Spring Semester

  • DES-870 Creative Thesis in Design (3 cr.) core
  • DES-XXX (3 cr.) studio elective
  • DES-XXX (3 cr.) studio elective
Admission Requirements

Due to the unprecedented Coronavirus situation, the MFA in Design's priority deadline has been extended to June 1, 2020.

General UW-Stout Graduate School Application

All prospective graduate students at UW-Stout must follow a standard application process through our Graduate School. Beyond that, each graduate program has specific requirements that must be met to be successfully admitted to the program:

Program-Specific Admission Requirements

To apply to the M.F.A. Design program, please submit the following additional application materials:

Visual Portfolio | digital submission

15-20 examples of creative/professional work from your area(s) of expertise:

  • A single, multi-page PDF document including 10-15 samples of creative/professional work and a list with brief written descriptions. Total PDF size should be no more than 20 MB. File-naming structure example: Nelson_VisualPortfolio.pdf
  • A limit of 5 motion/video images will be accepted as part of the total 15-20 examples. Each motion/video submission shall be no more than 3 minutes in length. Website links are also acceptable, but if a website is utilized, limit the work to the required number of examples.

All work must be created by you, the applicant. Failure to follow this rule will result in immediate rejection. If your work is the result of a group project, highlight the role you played in its creation within the written description list.

Written Statement of Interest | digital submission

This two to three-page statement should describe your goals for graduate study, your potential research question(s) for exploration, and also reference and contextualize your work included in the visual portfolio. Submit in PDF format. Please include as a digital file saved as .doc, .pdf, or .rtf, and titled with your last name (i.e. Nelson_StatementOfInterest.pdf).

Resume or Curriculum Vitae | digital submission

Please include as a digital file saved as .doc, .pdf, or .rtf, and titled with your last name (i.e. Nelson_CurriculumVitae.pdf).

Candidate Recommendation Form | online form

You must secure three (3) individuals who can qualify you as a potential graduate student and attest to your academic performance and experience within your profession. Each recommender must complete the Candidate Recommendation Form and submit it directly to the Program Director, either by e-mail or hard copy mail.

All program application materials (with the exception of the Candidate Recommendation Form) should be submitted digitally to: http://tinyurl.com/MFA-2017-2018.

 
Design Advisory Board

2020 Design Advisory Board

  • Erik Evensen, MFA, Program Director, MFA in Design; Associate Professor, CACHSS, Dept. of Design
  • Dave Beck, MFA, Associate Dean and Director of the School of Art and Design, CACHSS (ex-officio)
  • Seth Berrier, PhD, Associate Professor, CSTEMM, Dept. of Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science 
  • Robert Fraher, MFA, Associate Professor, CACHSS, Dept. of Design
  • Michael Heagle, MFA, Assistant Professor, CACHSS, Dept. of Design
  • Wendy Jedlicka, MIM, Lecturer, CACHSS, Dept. of Design
  • Kimberly Long Loken, M.Arch, Assistant Professor, CACHSS, Dept. of Design
  • Rochelle Maresh, Lead Designer - Store Planning & Design, Target
  • Joan Menefee, PhD, Professor, CACHSS, Dept. of English & Philosophy,
  • Sarah Murawski '00, Graphic Design Manager, Great Northern Corporation
  • Elham Nikoo, MFA, Assistant Professor, CACHSS, Dept. of Design
  • Michelle Mailey Noben, MFA '17, Team Leader for User Experience Research, Edward Jones
  • David Richter-O'Connell, MFA, Assistant Professor, CACHSS, Dept. of Design
  • Julie Peterson, PhD, Chair, Dept. of Design; Professor, CACHSS, Dept. of Design
  • Vincent Pontillo-Verrastro, MFA, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Art & Art History
  • Elizabeth Sanders, PhD, Associate Professor, Dept. of Design, The Ohio State University
  • Fred Sklenar, MBA, Owner, Fred Sklenar Design
  • Rich Walters '89, Product Design Manager, LSR
  • Julie Watts, PhD, Professor, CACHSS, Dept. of English & Philosophy; Founding Program Director of MSTPC
  • Jonathan Wheeler '13, MFA in Design Student Representative

Design

All Design News

Class of 2020: Liang Wu

Master of Fine Arts in Design graduate thankful for faculty support, excited about his future

Empty malls to sustainable senior living centers

Master’s degree graduate in design believes thriving senior living communities are the sustainable answer to empty shopping malls.

Reversible design could breathe new life into old buildings

With an undergraduate degree in architecture and a Master of Fine Arts in design from UW-Stout, Dharshana Gopalakrishnan appreciates buildings.