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School of Art + Art History

Graphic Design/Design & Visual Communications

Graduate Program (MXD) / Curriculum

video notes: Although Florencia Lathrop-Rossi pursued an MDP, we consider her one of our students—her pursuit of social design, including in her major project shared her, extensive work with Maria Rogal (committee chair) and Gaby Hernández (committee member), and participation in design courses informed an excellent project.

The MXD consists of 60-credit hours of coursework, resulting in the MFA in Design & Visual Communications, a terminal degree. 

Building on our 20+ year history of our design graduate program, we are committed to educating designers and design educators who will shape the future of the field, the state, and the world.

We recognize the value that design brings to the world and intend to push that in ways that are pragmatic, exploratory, and experimental. We also recognize the value of being informed by many disciplinary and other knowledges. These insights are manifested through the curriculum structure, the (project) work we undertake, and by offering you opportunities to cultivate your interests through electives, practica, and your MFA project.

Curriculum: Courses include seminars, studios, practica, electives, and your MFA creative project. It is a three-year residential program. A two-year option is also available.

Design-Centered: We offer a design-centered curriculum that allows you to dive deep into research, theory, and methods to design in and with communities. We emphasize culture, inclusivity, social justice, and sustainability so we make design matter.

With Interdisciplinary Opportunities: What do you want to explore through design? We recognize the value of exploring other disciplinary knowledges, particularly at such a top university. The “x” in the mxd curriculum allows you to inform your design practice by identifying and exploring other interests to inform your design trajectory, making your studies at the University of Florida even more rewarding. 

For questions and application information, contact MXD professor María Rogal at

YEARS 1 & 2
fall and spring (9 credits per semester)
GRA6930 Seminar (3 credits)
GRA6931C Research & Practice (3 credits)
​Elective* (3 credits)
— review of performance is conducted each semester
— admission to candidacy occurs during the spring of year 2. 

summers (6 credits total)
GRA6944 Practicum (3 credits)

GRA6973 Project in Lieu of Thesis (6 credits)
​Elective* (3 credits)

GRA6973 Project in Lieu of Thesis (9 credits)
public presentation of the project, oral examination, and documentation of the project is submitted during this semester.

Credit Overview

60 credits, allocated as follows:
24 credits graduate design courses (research seminars, studio and fieldwork practice)
6 credits practicum
15 credits MFA project (self-directed & designed, supervised by faculty member)
12–15 credits open electives

Descriptions of Required Courses (45 credits)

GRA6930 Seminar: Rotating Topics (12 credits)
Contemporary issues pertaining to design & visual communications and related areas. Discussion of literature, development of research questions, and framing methodologies.
Prerequisite: MXD student or permission of instructor. Corequisite: GRA 6931C Research & Practice

GRA6931C Research & Practice (12 credits)
A rotating topics course focused on the integration of research and practice to address complex problems within diverse contexts. The study and use of qualitative, quantitative, and mixed research methods appropriate for an expanded practice are addressed through discussions, case studies, writing, fieldwork, and presentations.
Prerequisite: MXD student or permission of instructor. Corequisite: GRA 6930 Seminar.

GRA6944 Practicum (6 credits)
An opportunity to conduct research and practice in partnership with an approved organization. Students will work on projects for social, cultural, and economic development in partnership with the organization, community, and/or other disciplinary experts.
Prerequisite: Design and Visual Communications major student and permission of faculty supervisor.

GRA6973 Project in Lieu of Thesis (15 credits)
Supervised research in an area of relevance to design and visual communications that combines design exploration and academic inquiry. Includes presentation of results in a public forum, and documentation of research and findings.
Prerequisite: Permission of supervisory committee chair, GRA6930 Seminar (B), and GRA6931C Research & Practice (B)

ARE6386 Teaching Art in Higher Education (3 credits) is required for students on assistantships.

Elective Opportunities (12—15 credits)

Elective options are intended to expand the student’s knowledge-base, skillsets, and professional aspirations. A course plan is required so they strategically support the student’s program of study. We have listed suggested electives here and encourage students to seek options across campus. 

ARE 6386: Teaching Art in Higher Education
Study of teaching art at the post- secondary level. This elective is required of all students who will teach or assist in any capacity. 

ART 6933: Area Methods: Rotating Topics
Readings, discussions, and/or studio exploration of various art issues.

ARE 6746: Methods of Research in Art Education
Study of qualitative and quantitative research methods. Review of research literature.

ARH 6938: Seminar in Museum Studies
History, purposes, and functions of museums in general, and art museums in particular.

ENT 6506: Social Entrepreneurship
Process of starting, financing, assessing and managing succession of mission-based for-profit and not-for-profit ventures.

ENT 6616: Creativity in Entrepreneurship
Explores the fundamental tools used to make both individuals and organizations more creative and innovative.

ENT 6706: Global Entrepreneurship
Consideration of global market context in starting entrepreneurial ventures internationally.

HUM 6340: Arts Advocacy and Public Policy
An in-depth study of the principles, practice, and policy of government’s involvement with the arts sector. Students will study the historic relationships between the artist and government at all levels of society.

HUM5357: Creativity and Health: Foundations of the Arts in Medicine
This online course explores the theoretical foundations that facilitate an understanding of the relationship of creativity to health and informs the field and practice of arts in medicine.

HUM5595: Arts in Medicine in Practice 
Prerequisite:none - only students accepted to the Graduate Certificate program will take this course.Exploring the practice of the arts in medicine in the fields of health and human services.  The course will be providing a dynamic, interdisciplinary overview of diverse practices and methodologies in the field of arts in medicine in community and healthcare settings. 

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