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Communication Design

Students jumping in front of Bauhaus, Germany

Texas State's revolutionary approach puts the needs of working designers on equal footing with full-time students. The program favors next-generation technologies for e-learning over traditional methods to teach advanced problem-solving methodologies, updated technological advancement relating to communication design and examination of historical events within the discipline and theoretical constructs.

The internationally recognized M.F.A. program provides students with advanced skills needed in the evolving world of communication design.

 Contact The Graduate College for general questions about getting started with your application, funding your degree, and more.
If you have program-specific questions after reviewing the program details, we encourage you to contact the following:

Graduate Advisor
Alice Lee
Joann Cole Mitte (JCM), Room 3104

Graduate Advisor
Molly Sherman
Joann Cole Mitte (JCM), Room 3107B

“Between the workshops with professional designers, opportunities for travel and the dedicated attention I received from my professors, I came away amply prepared for a great career and confident in my design sensibilities.ˮ

— Patrick Gosnell, M.F.A. ’15, Assistant Professor of Graphic Design, Austin Peay State University

Course Work

The degree will require a minimum of 60 credit hours: 18 credit hours of core curriculum, 30 credit hours of prescribed communication design studio electives, six credit hours of free electives, and six credit hours of thesis. The formal thesis will represent students’ research, creation, design, and documentation of an original hypothesis in communication design. The exchange of ideas on an international basis is an important component of the program. Students may enroll in studio course electives that include field trips to destinations important to the world of communication design.

Degree Hours Thesis Option Minor Option
M.F.A. 60 Thesis No minor
Joan Cole Mitte building

Online Availability
The majority of this program may be offered online. If you are not a Texas resident and will not relocate, please visit the Office of Distance and Extended Learning. International students, please visit the International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) regarding additional considerations in taking online courses.

Working professionals benefit from the program’s convenient course-delivery systems, which include online instruction, directed study, blended evening courses, weekend and international summer seminars.

Program Mission

The mission of the communication design master of fine arts (M.F.A.), a nontraditional, online, terminal degree program, is to educate a communication designer through advanced critical thinking methods, the analysis and the synthesis of communication design history and criticism, improvement of writing skills, advanced discipline research methods, and the study and application of emerging visual communication theory to professional practice. The strength of the program lies in the breadth and flexibility of the students’ experience and the continual focus on creative problem-solving.

Visit program website ›

Program Faculty

M.F.A. faculty demonstrate sustained activity in peer-reviewed forums, as well as through extensive commissions, invited talks, lectures, presentations, and internal and external grant awards. Recognition and publication of faculty design work are evident in published books from Graphis and Rockport and prestigious national journals such as Print and How. Faculty research topics include brand identity, typography, book design, typeface design, interactive design, the use of technology in design, student engagement, entrepreneurial ventures, design for social impact, and international perspectives in design.

Meet our faculty ›

Career Options

The M.F.A. program provides the strategic integration of technology and insight required to innovate and thrive in the evolving field of communication design. For students seeking a career in higher education, the program provides the appropriate academic credential and the terminal degree in the discipline of visual communication design: the M.F.A. degree.

Application Process

Step 1

Review Requirements

Application Deadlines

Deadlines U.S. Citizen International
Fall March 31 March 31
Spring October 31 October 1
Summer I No Admission No Admission
Summer II No Admission No Admission

Application Deadline
This program has a firm deadline.

Funding Information
The deadlines to apply for certain types of funding may be earlier than the deadline above.

Decision Timeline
This program reviews applications on a firm basis.

Application Requirements

The items required for admission consideration are listed below. Additional information for applicants with international credentials can be found on our international web pages.


  Review important information about the online application.


Application Fee

  • $55 nonrefundable application fee
  • $90 nonrefundable application fee for applications with international credentials

  Review important information about application fees.

Transcripts & GPA

  • baccalaureate degree in communication design, advertising art direction and design, digital media design, graphic design, illustration or related field from a regionally accredited university. Read additional information below.
  • a copy of an official transcript from each institution where course credit was granted
  • minimum 2.75 GPA in your last 60 hours of undergraduate course work (plus any completed graduate courses)

  Review important information about transcripts.

GRE Scores

  • GRE not required


  • Academic and professional statement of purpose (500-800 words) addressing the following:
    • What are your current design goals and specific reasons for seeking an MFA in Communication Design at Texas State University?
    • What experiences led you to this point, and how might they have shaped your current visual work?
    • What do you hope to achieve during your MFA studies?
    • What topics in design are you most interested in studying?
    • In addition to building a strong MFA community of learners, independent study is an essential feature of the low-residency model. It is important for us to assess your ability and potential for managing and defining your own educational direction. What other independent educational experiences have you pursued in design, and beyond?
  • Online portfolio (professional and/or student) showcasing 12-20 works in communication design
      Each sample must be clearly identified with a communicative message or project mission, media, and publishing information. Please create a PDF document that includes the portfolio URL. Read additional information about evaluation criteria.
  • Resume/CV
  • Three letters of recommendation from persons capable of evaluating your academic and professional ability

  Review important information about documents.


Applicants are required to submit TOEFL, PTE, or IELTS scores that meet the minimum program requirements below unless they have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or the equivalent from a country on our exempt countries list.

  • official TOEFL iBT scores required with a 78 overall and minimum individual module scores of
    • 19 listening
    • 19 reading
    • 19 speaking
    • 18 writing
  • official PTE scores required with a 52 overall
  • official IELTS (academic) scores required with a 6.5 overall and
    • minimum individual module scores of 6.0

  This program does not offer admission if the scores above are not met.

  Review important information about official test scores.

Additional Information

  Degree and Background Course Work
This program offers a leveling program on a case-by-case basis to students who submit strong application materials but lack some communication design skills. Leveling students are conditionally accepted into the M.F.A. program to take four leveling courses, two in the fall and two in the spring, with a "B" or better. Leveling courses do not earn credit towards the M.F.A. degree in communication design.

Your portfolio will be evaluated on:

  • ideation/design/presentation
  • role and scope of work
  • peer-review (state, regional, national, or international)