Academic Programs of Study

Visual Arts (Graphic Design, Illustration)

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

  • Low-residency program designed for working professionals
  • Faculty of renowned designers and illustrators
  • New York City study tours

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Visual Arts (Graphic Design, Illustration) at Marywood

Marywood’s Master of Fine Arts (MFA) program is a low-residency program designed specifically for working professionals: art directors, graphic designers, illustrators, educators, and other artists. You can earn your MFA in just three years, through four two-week summer sessions at Marywood, six study tours, and independent work.

Renowned Faculty

We believe that working directly with successful designers and illustrators is the best way to improve your own work. Our MFA program offers personal, hands-on training from prominent artists, like Ed Brodsky, Steven Brower, Seymour Chwast, Ray Cruz, Lisa Cyr, John Gall, Melanie Mall, Megan Halsey, Zina Saunders, Nancy Stahl, Craig Welsh, and Chistopher Zacharow.

Study Tours

Twice a year, students in Marywood's MFA program meet in New York City, Boston, or another large city to tour the studios of well-known designers and illustrators and visit ad agencies, museums, and professional organizations.

More About This Degree

James Romberger

Ann Nocenti

Melanie Hall

Ray Cruz

Our MFA program helps practicing designers and illustrators hone their technical skills and explore new depths of creativity and conceptual thinking. The Master of Fine Arts is a terminal degree that will qualify you to teach at the college level.


I'm a designer at Seventh Generation in Burlington, Vermont.

Seventh Generation is a company whose mission is to nurture the next seven generations. They produce household products and baby products with the world and the future in mind. I work on designing the packaging of the products you see in store. I focus on promoting our brand through design packaging, POS materials, digital assets, and other media. I love working with the Seventh Generation family...I truly have found a career that welcomes me, challenges me, and inspires me every day. I'm grateful for the education I have received at Marywood, and where it lead me to today. Being a designer, a mom, and a lover of our planet—I couldn't have picked a better career than where I am right now.

Graduate Admissions Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university
  • “B” average during undergraduate study or demonstrated potential for graduate work
  • Completed application
  • Essay
  • Official, sealed transcripts
  • Two or three letters of recommendation

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The Master of Fine Arts in Visual Arts

3-D (Ceramics, Sculpture), 2-D (Painting, Printmaking, Photography), Graphic Design**, Illustration**)

60 semester hours


15 semester hours

ART 600 MFA Seminar
ART 642 Art Criticism
ART 549 Aesthetics
ART History


30 semester hours

Chosen from one of the specific studio areas listed above

**The sequence and schedule of courses for these concentrations differ from the other concentrations, with the majority of the residency being required in the summer and significant work continued during the fall and spring semesters in metropolitan areas. This is a customized delivery system for a 60-credit Master of Fine Arts Degree in Visual Arts with concentrations in Illustration and Graphic Design. It was specifically designed for working art directors, ad designers, illustrators, and teachers of art who have to budget their time and resources carefully, while continuing their full-time occupations. You can continue working at your current job and earn a fully accredited Master of Fine Arts degree at the same time. Interested students should see and contact the Art Department for specific information.


15 semester hours

Chosen from other graduate level studio courses or practicum offerings


ART 639 A,B Thesis Project, Exhibit

Specific course sequence, etc. can be found in the Art Department's Handbook for Graduate Students. Interested students should contact the department.

Certificate in Sequential Art and Storytelling 

As part of the "Get Your Master's with the Masters" MFA Program for Educators and Working Professionals, a low-residency 26-credit Certificate in Sequential Art and Storytelling is offered. By the end of the second Summer, students will produce a publishable full-length graphic novel. In addition, students within the "Get Your Master's with the Masters" Program may choose this line of study with their concurrent program. 


First Summer:
ART 642W Rendering Ideas 3
ART 643W Conceptual Exercises 3
Fall Independent Study:
ART 560A Creative Problem Solving 3.5
ART 560B Creative Problem Solving II 3.5
Spring Independent Study:
ART 560C Creative Problem Solving 3.5
ART 560D Creative Problem Solving II 3.5
Second Summer:
ART 644W The Children's Book 3
ART 646W Communication Concepts 3

MFA Degree in Visual Arts

With Opportunity for Study in Florence, Italy

Marywood/SACI MFA Option

The Marywood M.F.A. program offers an option for graduate students in the fine arts to complete a portion of their M.F.A. degree requirements by studying in Florence, Italy. This opportunity is offered through collaboration with Studio Art Centers International (SACI) in Florence. The Marywood/SACI option offers a traditional M.F.A. from Marywood University in Visual Arts, but with a separate eighteen-credit track of study available from SACI in the disciplines of Ceramics, Painting, Photography, Printmaking, and Sculpture. The 60 credit hours of this M.F.A. option are distributed as follows:

Semester I (Fall) = 12-15 credits at Marywood
Semester II (Spring) = 12 credits at SACI
Summer Sessions (Late Spring) = 6 credits at SACI
Semesters III and IV (Fall & Spring) = 27-30 credits at Marywood

Of the 18 credits taken at SACI, 9 credits may be in the student's area of concentration, and 3 credits may be in Art History. The remaining SACI credits will be studio electives which can be selected from a full range of offerings including: Drawing, Painting, Fresco, Etching, Lithography, Sculpture, Ceramics, Photography and Video.

Studio Arts Centers International (SACI) is an Independent American university-level school for the arts, located in the very center of Florence, Italy. SACI is recognized as one of the leading overseas institutions in the areas of studio art and art history. The SACI studios are situated only a moment's walk from many of the greatest works in all of Western Art. Integrated into the SACI program are frequent organized trips that offer access to important cultural sites throughout Italy. All SACI courses are taught in English.


In conjunction with the gallery coordinator, the student will experience the preparation for a visiting artist gallery exhibition in the student’s area of study. Through this experience the student works directly with the artist and curator on publicity, research, production of gallery poster, exhibit administrative duties, and the set-up and display of the actual exhibits.

The successful completion of this 60-credit program will earn the degree of Master of Fine Arts in Visual Arts from Marywood University.