Graphic Design

The graphic design program focuses on the development of a cohesive, investigative body of work, also known as the student’s thesis. At Yale, the graphic design thesis is conceived as a loose framework within which each student’s visual method is deployed across many diverse projects during the two-year course of study. While every thesis project is unique, there are several common features: a focus on methodology, the application of a visual method to studio work, and the organization of the work in a thoughtfully argued written document and a “Thesis Book.”

The individual collection of graphic design work by each student is supported on several levels simultaneously: studio work led by faculty meeting weekly; small six-person thesis groups meeting biweekly; individual sessions with writing and editing tutors; and lectures, presentations, and workshops.

Although the School of Art provides digital lab facilities, all graphic design students are expected to have their own personal computer. Each student has a designated work space in the design studio loft and has access to equipment including bookbinding materials, wide-format printers, a RISO duplicator, Vandercook letterpress, and work spaces in the School of Art buildings. More resources supporting interdisciplinary projects including motion capture and VR are available at the nearby Center for Collaborative Arts and Media. In addition, students draw on the extraordinary resources of Yale University courses, conferences, films, lectures, and museums, and especially the extensive research and rare book collections of Sterling, Haas, and Beinecke libraries.

Each year, up to twelve students are admitted into the two-year graphic design program, and up to seven students are admitted into the preliminary-year program. Two-year-program students are expected to have substantial and distinguished experience in visual studies and related professional experience. Students applying to the preliminary-year program typically have relevant experience in a field of study outside design and demonstrate evidence of visual acuity. After successful completion of the preliminary year, these students automatically continue on in the two-year M.F.A. program.

Credit Requirements

45 credits in area of concentration, including ART 949, and 15 additional credits, including a minimum of 6 academic credits in courses outside the School of Art.

Typical Plan of Study

Preliminary Year, Fall-Term Minimum Credits
ART 370Motion Design3
ART 468Advanced Graphic Design: Series and Systems3
ART 710Preliminary Studio: Graphic Design6
ART 712Prelim Typography3
Preliminary Year, Spring-Term Minimum Credits
ART 266History of Graphic Design3
ART 369Interactive Design and the Internet3
ART 711Preliminary Studio: Graphic Design6
Studio Elective3
First Year, Fall-Term Minimum Credits
ART 720Graduate Studio: Graphic Design6
ART 949Diving into the Wreck: Rethinking Critical Practice3
Graphic Design Sequence6
First-Year, Spring-Term Minimum Credits
ART 721Graduate Studio: Graphic Design6
Graphic Design Sequence6
Academic or Studio Electives3
Second-Year, Fall-Term Minimum Credits
ART 730Graduate Studio: Graphic Design6
ART 738Degree Presentation in Graphic Design3
Academic or Studio Electives6
Second Year, Spring-Term Minimum Credits
ART 731Graduate Studio: Graphic Design6
ART 739Degree Presentation in Graphic Design3
Academic or Studio Electives6