Graphic and Interactive Design MFA


About the Program

The Graphic and Interactive Design (GAID) program at the Tyler School of Art and Architecture is a two-year, 60-credit program. It offers intensive, research-driven immersion in the practice of design, with mentorship from passionate, award-winning faculty members who push students to hone their visual voices and use their talents to change the world.

GAID MFA students are a close-knit cohort of thinkers and makers who drive original concepts through interdisciplinary collaboration in Tyler’s state-of-the-art facilities with the specialists, technology and resources of Temple, a leading research university. Tyler students have unique opportunities to apply their socially conscious designs across Philadelphia. This is a city that’s a living laboratory for design-driven solutions with a booming design community that hosts one of the largest national chapters of the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) and offers easy access to other major design hubs, like New York and Washington, D.C.

Tyler GAID MFA graduates find jobs in top studios; start their own advertising agencies; work in the film, television and music industries; teach in leading colleges and universities; and improve society with the understanding that good design has the power to make a real difference.

Time Limit for Degree Completion: 4 years

Campus Location: Main

Full-Time/Part-Time Status: Full-time status is required.

Interdisciplinary Study: Through Art History classes, electives and seminars, students are engaged in emerging topics in the field and the broader art world.

Accreditation: This degree program is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).

Areas of Specialization: The design faculty at Tyler is made up of practicing graphic and interactive designers with established reputations in the field. It is the goal of the design faculty to challenge students to achieve the highest level of excellence in their work.

Job Prospects: Graduates from the MFA program have been extremely successful in the field. They work for print and web design companies, advertising agencies, publishing companies, and design departments of major corporations. They also work in film and television, music packaging and promotion, product design and packaging, and as freelance illustrators.

Non-Matriculated Student Policy: MFA courses are restricted to matriculated students.

Financing Opportunities: In addition to federal student aid, teaching assistantships and fellowships are available on a competitive basis to support Tyler MFA students.

Admission Requirements and Deadlines

Application Deadline:

Fall: January 6

Applications are evaluated together after the deadline date.

APPLY ONLINE to this graduate program.

Letters of Reference:
Number Required: 3

From Whom: Letters of recommendation should be obtained from college/university faculty members, art directors and/or designers familiar with the applicant's academic and artistic competence. The letters should be submitted with the application at, along with the statement of goals and resume.

Coursework Required for Admission Consideration: 40 undergraduate studio credits and 12 art history credits are required.

Bachelor's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline: A baccalaureate degree and a portfolio specific to Graphic and Interactive Design are required. Official transcripts from all universities/colleges attended, whether or not a degree was awarded, must be sent to the Tyler School of Art and Architecture, Graduate Admissions Office, 2001 N. 13th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19122-6016.

Statement of Goals: In approximately 500 to 1,000 words, share your interest in Tyler's program, your research goals, your future career goals, and your academic and artistic achievements.

Standardized Test Scores:
Applicants who earned their baccalaureate degree from an institution where the language of instruction was other than English, with the exception of those who subsequently earned a master’s degree at a U.S. institution, must report scores for a standardized test of English that meet these minimums:

  • TOEFL iBT: 79
  • IELTS Academic: 6.5
  • PTE Academic: 53

Portfolio: As a Master of Fine Arts applicant, you must submit a portfolio that consists of 20 images representative of the immediate direction of your work. Portfolios are to be uploaded at, as instructed at the website. SlideRoom requires an additional fee for this service. Original work, slides, CD-ROMs, catalogs, photographs, books and/or binders are not acceptable substitutes for the SlideRoom portfolio and will not be reviewed or returned.

Resume: Current resume required.

Transfer Credit: Upon approval of the department chairperson, the student's advisor, and the Associate Dean, up to 9 credits of graduate work completed at Temple University within a five-year period may be transferred into the program. Up to 6 credits of graduate coursework taken at other accredited institutions within the prior five years before matriculation may be considered for transfer into the program after the student has enrolled. No decisions are made until students have successfully completed 15 matriculated credits at Tyler. The maximum number of credits a student may transfer is 9.

Program Requirements

General Program Requirements:
Number of Credits Required to Earn the Degree: 60

Required Courses:

Project and Seminar Courses
ART 8001Graduate Professional Practices3
GAD 8001/8002Visual Design Graduate Seminar (4 terms) 112
GAD 8083Graphic Design Graduate Projects (3 terms)9
GAD 8095/8096Visual Design Thesis (4 terms) 112
Art History Courses 212
Studio Electives 312
Total Credit Hours60

Culminating Events:
Thesis Exhibition with Slide Show:
An approved thesis exhibition, written statement, and slide portfolio are required at the final review in order to meet MFA requirements. Approval of the student's graduate committee is required.


Program Web Address:

Department Information:

Tyler School of Art and Architecture

Graduate Admissions Office

2001 N. 13th Street

Philadelphia, PA 19122-6016


Mailing Address for Official Transcripts:

Tyler School of Art and Architecture

Graduate Admissions Office

2001 N. 13th Street

Philadelphia, PA 19122-6016

Submission Address for Portfolio:

Submission Address for All Other Application Materials:

Department Contacts:

Graphic and Interactive Design MFA Program Director:

Kelly Holohan


Department Chairperson:

Dermot Mac Cormack