Graphic Design


Program Information:

Program Statement:
    The Iowa State University Graphic Design Department offers two graduate degrees: the Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Graphic Design and the Master of Arts in Experiential Graphic Design (MAxGD). The focus in each of these degree programs is on expanding your knowledge through new problem-finding/solving situations. Each course of study relies heavily on such areas as methodology, history, research and testing to arrive at fresh new communications.
Degrees Offered:
  • Master of Arts (M.A.)
  • Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)
Program Handbook(s):
Learning Goals:
  • Clearly and accurately communicate scholarship orally and in writing, integrating theory, creation, research, and design problem solving.
  • Through the develop of a broad body of work, demonstrate proficiency in the design of communications through the use of technologies that incorporate human interaction within environments, objects, and electronic and traditional publications.
  • Demonstrate comprehensive understanding of scholarly literature in graphic design.
  • Articulate how the graduate program, including coursework and creative scholarship, fits into life and career goals.
  • Conduct scholarship, in teams or with independence, in ways that consistently demonstrate ethical practice and professionalism.
How long does it take to earn a degree?
  • Median time to earn the master’s: 2.2 years (Methods)

Program Contact:

Contact: Melissa Stenstrom
Phone: 515-294-3366
E-mail Address:

Mailing Address:

    Student Recruiter I
    Iowa State University
    College of Design
    159 College of Design
    Ames, IA 50011-3094

Admission Requirements:

Graduate College Requirements:
  • 4 year Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent)
  • Academic Records/Transcripts
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA (Program may alter requirement.)
  • Proof of English Proficiency.
Program Specific Requirements:
  • Digital portfolio (.pdf or website)
  • Resume
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Program Requires GRE: No
  • Program Requires GMAT: No
  • Program Will Review Without TOEFL or IELTS: No
International Requirements:
  • Financial Statement: Application
  • English Proficiency Minimum:
    TOEFL Paper (PBT) 550
    TOEFL Internet (iBT) 79
    IELTS 6.5
    PTE 53
    Duolingo (approved through spring 2025) 105

Application Information:

Application Deadlines:
    Students are only accepted for admittance in the Fall semester of each academic year. There are two review periods for graduate admission. Please submit your application by February 1 to be considered for a graduate assistantship. All MFA applications completed by February 1 are considered for funding. There is no separate application for this. MAxGD students are not offered assistantships. Applications completed by April 1 will also be considered for Fall admission. All materials must be available on the deadline date, or you may not be considered for admission. Spring and summer entry are not available.
Application Details:
    This program is open to domestic and international students.

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