Chatham University

Master of Arts or Master of Fine Arts in Interdisciplinary Design Curriculum

The M.A. in Interdisciplinary Design is a three semester, 30 credit hour program that can be completed in one year. Students who wish to earn the M.F.A. in Interdisciplinary Design can continue for an additional year (36 credit hours). Our program is unique in that it builds upon designers' traditional design skills by deepening students' experiences in traditional visual communication (branding, packaging, typography) while introducing them to eMerging specialized fields of sustainable green design, film and video, and interactive design. Students develop design foundations, a knowledge of communication methodologies, design praxis, and problem solving techniques. These communication systems are modified and adapted to varying forms of media – from print, video to the web – so that students may become flexible and responsible designers working within a rapidly shifting global culture. Graduates will be prepared to work in design industries as well as bring these skills to associated venues. Courses are offered on a rotating basis.

Program Requirements

+MA Curriculum

30 credits with optional training available for Adobe and Apple software programs.

Communication
VCD510 Visual Communication Design: Branding

This course offers a systematic approach to concept development and the problem-solving process applied to brand construction. Students build visual identities for a variety of organizations through generative design processes for communication goals. Particular attention is given to logo and typemark development, photography/illustration, use of the grid system, color story, typography and messaging.

3
VCD520 Visual Communication Design: Typography

This course examines the concrete and conceptual aspects of typography as a communications tool. Typographic history, anatomy of form, type specimens, and grid structures, serve as foundations for the intersections between form and meaning. Typographic projects will range from typographic compositional studies, expressive typography, to information-focused typographic design systems.

3
VCD530 Print Design

This course introduces students to the roles that graphic design plays in society as shapers of style and ritual within contexts of community and commerce. The class will work collaboratively in the development of concepts, process design, layout, scheduling, production and the construction, expense, and production of the print publication artifact.

3
VCD540 History of Communication Design

To be determined

3
Film & Digital Technology
FDT550 Media Project I: Digital Video Production

Presents technical practices of digital video production: nonlinear editing, foundations of alternative screenwriting, videography, sound production, and other media-related processes are explored. Additional fee: Computing fee.

3
FDT571 e-Merging Media I

Maps ways the web can be utilized for the production of alternative narratives. Enables students to analyze and create works online using web-cams, streaming media, and interactive web-based projects. Additional fees: Course Computing fee

3
FDT650 Media Project 2

3
FDT671 Emerging Media II: Advanced Web Design

Focuses on the technical through advanced study. Students will produce DVD, CD-Rom, and other interactive projects. Additional Fees: Course Computing Fee

3
Technology Workshops
FDT510 Lab: Adobe Illustrator

This one credit supplemental lab explores the practical applications of today's computer hardware and graphic design software. The focus of the class will be on gathering critical knowledge and gaining basic mastery of a powerful design visualization and creative production tool. The ab will cover one of the essential design applications: Adobe Illustrator on the Macintosh platform.

1
FDT530 InDesign Lab

This one credit supplemental course will provide students with a foundational knowledge of the InDesign interface. Students will earn foundations of InDesign, threading text-boxes, importing photos and styling images, utilize baseline grid, hyphenation, and libraries to create simple and complex layout compositions

1
FDT520 Lab: Adobe Photoshop

This one credit supplemental lab explores the practical applications of today's computer hardware and graphic design software. The focus of the class will be on gathering critical knowledge and gaining basic mastery of a powerful design visualization and creative production tool. The Lab will cover one of the essential design applications: Adobe Photoshop on the Macintosh platform.

1
FDT500 Lab: Final Cut Pro X

This is a 2-credit supplemental course that will provide students with a foundational knowledge of Final Cut Pro X. In this hands-on course, students work with practical approaches to video editing, from basic techniques to Final Cut Pro's powerful advanced features. This is an Apple Certified Training Course. Additional Fee(s): Course Computing LAB Fee.

2
Interior Architecture
IAR520 Interior Architecture I

This studio addresses problem identification and problem solving in the context of small-scale projects of modest scope. Emphasis is placed on human factors, space planning, spatial experience, scale, basic elements of 2-D design, concept development, space planning, scale, textiles, and color with respect to user needs. Prerequisite(s): IAR502, IAR510

3
Thesis Interdisciplinary
VCD590 Masters Thesis in Interdisciplinary Design: Applied

This capstone course celebrates innovation, imagination, and creative solutions to design projects. The objective of this course is to enable students to synthesize design history and theory to demonstrate conceptual understanding of the aesthetic and technical aspects of design that combine inquiry, research, creative problem-solving, and design prototyping.

3

+MFA Curriculum

36 credits

Visual Communication Design
VCD620 Digital Illustration Methods

Digital illustration tools and methods are explored within the context of publication and branding. The contemporary illustrator becomes a conceptual interpreter of content through the potential mixing of primary graphic assets and secondary collected and manipulated graphic assets from digital archives and resources. Methods of information gathering are developed from photography, library, and archival research. This course includes a foundation to Wacom drawing tablet capabilities. Processes and techniques from printmaking, painting, 2-D design, photography and drawing are mediated through digital software and hardware.

3
VCD610 Green Graphic Design

Students will explore sustainable design within the context of graphic design. Through studio projects and exercises students will develop green graphic design standards: material/health selection, production techniques, eco-labeling/packaging, and green branding. Sustainable graphic design strategies while addressing environmental, social and cultural implications within core graphic design practices.

3
VCD630 - Information Design (3)
VCD650 Portfolio

This course provides students with essential marketing principles and advanced desktop publishing skills to complete individual design portfolios. Analysis of professional portfolios and research of target firm's requirements are completed to establish a deliverable format. Using advanced tools in Adobe InDesign and other design applications, students learn how to implement their portfolios as both print and interactive formats. Topics such as selective content, innovative graphics, consistent layout, stylized copy, and creative packaging are covered. The portfolios created in this course are used to market individual talents to any sector of the design profession. Additional Fee(s): Course LAB Fee

3
VCD660 Internship Practicum

Chatham MA/MFA students have the opportunity to gain hands-on professional experience in the Pittsburgh area and beyond through an academic internship program supervised in collaboration with department faculty.

3
OR
VCD670 Package Design

Packaging design systems combines graphics, fundamentals of marketing and an understanding of form and structure. Packages are evaluated based on creative strategies developed from marketing positions. Individual brand identities are developed which include: naming, type, visual graphics, color schemes, and applied to various forms of packaging and extended lines. Packaging projects range from mass marketed food/beverage, electronic, and household sectors to luxury goods. Additional Fee(s): Course Computing LAB Fee

3
Film & Digital Technology
FDT563 Media Contexts I: Media History

Provides overview for incoming graduate students of current rhetorical concerns related to independent media, film production, and histories.

3
FDT571 e-Merging Media I

Maps ways the web can be utilized for the production of alternative narratives. Enables students to analyze and create works online using web-cams, streaming media, and interactive web-based projects. Additional fees: Course Computing fee

3
FDT675 Media Project III: Advanced Sound Production

Focuses on advanced sound recording, editing, and mixing technologies using PRo Tools digital audio workstation. Additional Fee(s): Course Computing fee

3
FDT676 Media Project IV: Visual Effects & Animation Modes

Extends to visual effects, animation modes and compositing. Students will utilize this course to develop their masters' thesis topic and begin pre-production processes. Additional Fee: Course Computing Fee

3
LAR520 Prehistory of Landscape Architecture

The landscape traditions of the Western and Eastern worlds are surveyed from antiquity to the present. This course explores the relationships between designed landscape forms within each culture, as well as the political, social, philosophical, and artistic factors that could have determined and influenced the designed landscape. The course draws attention to the fundamental notion that landscape design is both an invention and cultural representation of landscape. Cross-lised as LNS 531.

3
Interdisciplinary Thesis
VCD680 - Interdisciplinary Design: Research and Critical Frameworks (3)
VCD690 MFA Thesis: Interdisciplinary Design Applied Project

The mastery production components: a self-directed project with an approved thesis topic generated by individual student interest. The final project is completed under joint guidance of the class instructor and an outside advisor. Cross-listed with FDT program. Additional Fee(s): Course LAB Fee

3