Our regular program consists of 4 full terms plus a Summer term reserved for a studio independent study plus a recommended internship. Please see below our course of study and course descriptions. Please note that some of these offerings might be subject to change.
If an incoming student needs additional design skills to complete the graduate degree, a three-year program (2 additional terms) is offered. The undergraduate courses will be tailored to meet the individual needs of the student. After these two undergraduate terms, the student enters the traditional MGx course track.
Course of Study
Term 1 Fall
GTRA-501 Graduate Studio I 6
GTRA-502 Graduate Seminar I 3
GPRT-503 Graduate Typography 3
GPRO-504 Project Writing 3
GTRA-505 Mediatecture 3
Elective Screen-Based Elective 3
Term 2 Spring
GTRA-601 Graduate Studio II 6
GTRA-602 Graduate Seminar II 3
GPRO-603 Professional Leadership 3
GPRO-604 Project Writing 3
Elective 2D Form Elective 3
Elective Screen-Based Elective 3
Term 3 Summer
GTRA-701 Studio Independent Study 6
An internship is also recommended for this term
Term 4 Fall
GTRA-802 Graduate Thesis and Thesis Preparation I
GTRA-803 Design Research/Strategy 3
GTRA-804 Cross-Media Strategies 3
GPRO-805 Entrepreneurship 3
Term 5 Spring
GTRA-901 Graduate Thesis and Thesis Preparation II
GTRA-902 Elective/Indep. Study 3
GTRA-501: Graduate Studio I
This studio course begins the process for the graduate thesis. The connection of typography, form, and meaning across media is emphasized.
GTRA-502: Graduate Seminar I
This seminar creates a forum for discussion on critical issues in graphic design including: design’s context within culture and current professional practice.
GPRT-503: Graduate Typography
Students in Graduate Typography will explore typographic visual languages and graphic elements will engage innovative solutions and working prototypes for traditional and emerging media to be applied to print, screen and spatial contexts
GPRO-504: Project Writing
The course is designed to help students develop a level of proficiency and confidence with tools for writing about design for projects and as a consultant. This includes the ability to initiate, develop, and convey concepts in text.
An inter-disciplinary design studio exploring the current and emerging relationships between media, architecture and design. The synergy of electronic media and the built environment permeates and re-shapes our perception of everyday life; with moving images leaving the confinement of the TV screen to become a 3-dimensional building material in itself. The curriculum proposes and merges theory, research and practice towards the conception of new ideas and their embodiment and execution in a thought-provoking physical installation piece. Embracing the intersection of culture and technology, this course utilizes the tools at our disposal (software, digital film, video, modeling etc) to re-define or abolish the boundaries between thought and praxis.
GTRA-601: Graduate Studio II
This studio course continues the process for the graduate thesis. Concepts with typography, form, and meaning are explored. In addition, students began examination of other professional aspects: marketing, leadership, business models, branding, entrepreneurial development, self-authorship, and design for good.
GTRA-602: Graduate Seminar II
This seminar continues to be a forum for discussion on critical issues in graphic design, now including innovative business models and marketing approaches.
GPRO-603: Professional Leadership
In this course students will learn leadership techniques for individuals, teams, and organizations. They will gain an understanding of how to create entrepreneurial ventures from self-initiated projects, and manage existing projects of different scales. They will learn how design is developed with a collaborative structure and how leadership skills vary based on the business context.
GTRA-701, GTRA-802: Graduate Thesis I and II
The MFA degree requires completion of a graduate thesis. The thesis is a comprehensive and focused undertaking for advanced study. The thesis enables the student to direct a program of study for a specific experience in graphic design.
GTRA-803: Design Research/Strategy
Designers use research as a critical component of the design process to establish a strong problem foundation, to discover fresh, uncharted opportunities, and to test their design hypotheses. This course focuses on methods for design-centric research as an integral component of the design process that can be used in the strategic process.
GTRA-804: Cross-Media Strategies
This course is a studio that promotes the realization of an idea or branding initiative across multiple media, including cultural change and actions. A solution may involve print, identity, web, interactive, and environmental options. It may also be realized with social action or programmatic solutions. Students will choose the subject matter and reach a specified goal across all and any media or practice.
An entrepreneur is a true innovator, someone who recognizes opportunities and organizes the resources needed to take advantage of them. Henry Kaiser, the steel and automotive magnate, said that entrepreneurs “Find a need and fill it.” Entrepreneurship is about hard work, reducing risk, and promoting a simple solution. Entrepreneurs have a “prove it” attitude and pursue a complete understanding of how their product works. Entrepreneurs leave nothing to chance.
The MGx program is housed in an innovative space in the new 1111 building at the south campus. In line with the full design management training that the MGx program provides to students, the space is an experimental area that is to be given shape each term by the students in the program. This is to provide students with a complete ‘studio development capability’. The students are given a ‘Kit of Parts’ to design a fully functioning studio space for their work area for the term. This program is being supported by the research arm of a major American furniture manufacturer who will assist the students in developing concepts for their space and provide research resources to confirm the value of the space design executed. Each Term the students will have the opportunity to learn from the space design concepts from previous terms to refine the space to suit the needs of the team.
The mission of the Hoffmitz Milken Center for Typography [HMCT] is to set the global standard of excellence in typography and design education; provide a valuable service to the educationaland professional communities as well as thepublic, reinforcing the meaning and value of typography; elevate and advance the teaching and understanding of both letterform design and typographic practice; and honor the past while also anticipating the future of typography in print, digital, and emerging media.
HMCT serves as an educational and professional forum, a design laboratory, a research center and archive, as well as being a meeting place for learning, discussion, and the exchange of ideas and skills. HMCT holds workshops and special classes, symposia, lectures, exhibitions, and residency programs dedicated to all aspects of the typographic field.
The HMTC was established to honor the legacy of ArtCenter professor Leah Toby Hoffmitz Milken, a dedicated educator and renowned letterform designer and typographer. It was created to be a home and a catalyst for the advancement of typography and letterform design.
Archetype Press at South Campus is a unique creative resource for students and the community that continues the tradition of letterpress printing technology.
The 3,500-square-foot facility, established in 1989, includes eight Vandercook proof presses, a Chandler & Price platen press, a Heidelberg Windmill press and 2,400-plus drawers of rare American and European metal foundry type, wood type and ornaments, possibly the largest such collection of any design school.
Technical Skill Center
The Shops are the creation heart of Art Center and consist of the Model Shop, Paint Booths, Rapid Prototyping, Metal Shop, CNC, Laser, Plaster room, Sanding room, Composite Lab and the Tool Crib. Students from all departments may get trained to use the Shops and have access to professional instructors, quality modeling facilities and cutting-edge tools and technology to assist them in acquiring expert skills.
The work areas in The Shops are equipped with the latest professional equipment required to complete projects in woodworking, metal fabrication, vacuum forming, plastic sheet fabrication, and fiberglass and composite fabrication. There are dedicated facilities for sanding and buffing, rubber-mold making, plastic casting, sandblasting, spray-painting and plaster fabrication.
All Art Center students, with approved projects, have access to the latest in rapid prototyping technologies in our 3D prototyping shops, including various types of 3D printers, mills and routers. Laser cutters are also available to cut or etch plastic, wood or composites for a wide range of projects. The Shops also feature a well-stocked tool and equipment checkout area and a retail material sales area, making it easy to finish projects without driving to home supply centers.
Art Center’s printmaking facilities enable students to explore intaglio, screen printing, stone and plate lithography, and various photographic printmaking techniques. The 3,000 square-foot Printmaking Studio houses a press room, etching room and darkroom, as well as storage and office space.
James Lemont Fogg Memorial Library
The Library serves as an informal, collaborative learning environment, where students gather to do research, work on projects and study, supported by librarians offering research assistance.
The Library offers a comprehensive collection of resources on art and design, including over 86,000 books chosen for the practicing designer and artist; online resources in dozens of design disciplines including color forecasting, materials, business, entertainment, photography and fine arts; 8,000 films on DVD and other cinema formats; and high-resolution visual images. Limited and signed editions, portfolios, and pop-up books can be found in the Rare Book Room. Subscriptions are maintained for more than 400 magazines, while Web-based subscriptions provide access to thousands of magazine articles. Macintosh computers offer wireless Internet access and e-mail.
The Library also oversees the preservation of Art Center’s history in the College Archives in Room 202A. With more than half a million volumes, the library at nearby Occidental College serves as another resource for Art Center students.
Color, Materials and Trends Exploration Laboratory
In order to provide artists and designers with the resources to become better problem solvers, innovators, storytellers and leaders, Art Center has developed an innovative program to provide expanded resources and expertise in color and materials technologies, as well as understanding global trends. Supported by funding from Nokia and Avery Dennison, CMTEL hosts a variety of events, lectures and courses on topics such as sustainable design, trend forecasting, lighting technologies and more.
Art Center’s computer facilities are constantly evolving, as are the various ways in which users interact with these spaces. The College provides a variety of campus computing options, including free wireless access. With an eye on the future, Art Center’s model for classroom computing is becoming more mobile and ubiquitous to accommodate design education in the digital age.
Digital Imaging Lab
Workstations for high-resolution scanning, digital printing from desktop to wide format, and manipulation are available. A film recorder enables digital files to be output as black-and-white or color film in any format up to 4″ x 5″.
The Copy Center offers large-format, color laser and inkjet output from digital files. Color copying is also available. Self-serve, black-and-white copy machines are available for student use at both campuses.
Link to artcenter.edu facilities