Graphic Design (MGD)

Have questions? We make it easy to get in touch:

Call Us


Text Us

412-419-3772 (standard text/SMS rates will apply)

Chat with Us

Launch Chat Now

Email Us

Request Information

Complete our Request for Information form

Or, answer a few questions and we will be glad to help.


Graphic Design (MGD) Overview

As of 8.1.23, applications and new enrollment for the 23-24 academic year to the MGD program have been paused. All currently enrolled students will progress through the program to completion. 

The goal of Chatham’s Master of Graphic Design (MGD) interdisciplinary program is to prepare students to face the changing role of today’s graphic designers and embrace new creative opportunities as they arise. At the core of this program is the ability to develop critical connections between the designer, the designed, and the end-user. The MGD also bridges creativity with spatial planning, environmental graphics, and story-telling through branded identities.

Degrees Offered
  • MA
  • MFA
Program School
Admission Deadline

July 1

The application deadline is July 1. 

Credits Required


Chatham offers a 30 credit hour Master in Graphic Design.

Cost Per Credit


Cost consists of program tuition (cost per credit times number of credits) as well as any applicable University and degree-specific fees.

Educational Guidance


A thesis advisor and advisory board work closely with each student to guide his or her research and to facilitate the free flow of ideas amongst departments and graduate students in other disciplines.

Explore the Master of Graphic Design Degree:


  • Have a completed baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university, with an overall undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or above on a 4.0 scale.
    If a student has below a 3.0 GPA, please feel free to apply if you show extreme promise through other achievements. Additional Admissions documents may be requested. 

Completed application for admission by the posted deadline, including:

    • Online application
    • Admissions Essay (current prompt found in application portal)
    • Curriculum vitae or Resume
    • Two letters of recommendation
    • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended
    • Portfolio or other examples of your work in various forms of media; please provide a wide array of two-dimensional works: drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, graphics, etc.  Can be submitted as an uploaded document and/or a website shared.

Admissions Materials can be uploaded in the application or submitted to:
Chatham University
Office of Graduate Admission-Berry Hall
Woodland Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15232
Email Admissions

Integrated Degree Program

Chatham University undergraduates applying through the Integrated Degree Program (IDP) must complete all requirements outlined on their respective admission or track tab on the IDP Portal Site. All IDP applicants should work closely with their academic advisor to ensure they are meeting all requirements according to their IDP course of study.

International Applicants

International Applicants must submit additional documentation to the Office of Admissions. A list of these documents can be found on the International Admission web page.

In addition to the 30-credit MGD program, Chatham also offers an MFA (36 credit hours) in Graphic Design. Admittance to the MFA program requires departmental approval and a six-credit thesis project.

VCD 510 Branding
This course offers a systematic approach to concept development and the problem-solving process applied to graphic design and utilized across a broad range of formats. Branding strategies are researched, explored and implemented. Use of the grid system, figure and ground relationships, typography, and symbolism are used within a comprehensive visual identity system for a non-profit or cultural institution identity.
VCD 530 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 semester-long project will focus on the realization of a concept involving publication design. The class will be organized into teams which will work collaboratively in the development of concepts, process design, layout, scheduling, production and the share of expense and production of the project. Multiple roles are developed within the group based on the needs of the project from: photographer, copy editors, art director, to illustrators and production artist.
VCD 620 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. 

View Full Curriculum

Ultimately design is a plan. Chatham has the hands-on experienced faculty to share with a diverse group of talented students, creative processes for success. Working with professionals in the field, traditional and digital media, we refine student skills and help them to express their unique creative voices. Students complete the program with stellar final portfolios that showcase their specialized skillsets and position them for the future.

–MARK BENDER, assistant professor in graphic design and media arts

Our Faculty

Faculty members are accomplished teachers, scholars, practitioners, and active leaders in the field.

Full Faculty
Photo of Prajna Paramita Parasher
Professor, Chair, Arts, Design and Communication and Program Director, Film and Digital Technology and Graphic Design
Photo of three people standing together looking at a shared journal and poster board.

Setting You Up for Success

From art direction to corporate communications to multimedia design specialties, our program moves through topics in design that encompass a wide array of professional challenges. Leveraging our networks, students employ their talents and knowledge to solve real-world problems with clients in the community.

Photo of a male Chatham University student standing in front of a posterboard presenting a project with diagrams.

Acquiring Mastery

Students move from foundations to mastery in an array of software and languages: Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Dreamweaver, After Effects), Final Cut Pro, HTML/CSS, and JavaScript. Graduates will move across interfaces and understand the tools' strengths and limitations when considering platforms and devices used for integrated communications.

Photo of a group of Chatham University students posing together in funny poses.

Local Networking Opportunities

Students can take advantage of Pittsburgh’s professional design resources and organizations such as AIGA Pittsburgh, the Professional Association for Design, and Artist Image Resources.

Do you have questions?

We make it easy to get in touch:

Call Us


Text Us

412-419-3772 (standard text/SMS rates will apply)

Chat with Us

Launch Chat Now

Email Us

Request Information

Complete our Request for Information form

Or, answer a few questions and we will be glad to help.

Expand to Get In Touch!