Graphic Design (MAGD)

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Graphic Design (MAGD) Overview

The goal of Chatham’s Master of Arts in Graphic Design (MAGD) 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 MAGD also bridges creativity with spatial planning, environmental graphics, and story-telling through branded identities.
Degrees Offered
  • MA
Program School
Admission Deadline

July 1

For fall enrollment, the recommended application deadline is July 1. Applications will continue to be considered as long as seats remain in the class.

Credits Required


The MAGD degree is a three-term, 30-credit-hour program that can be completed in one year.

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 Arts in 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. (Probationary admission may be granted for applicants with a GPA of less than a 3.0 who show extreme promise through their other achievements.)

Our application cycle for fall 2022 will open as we near the start of fall 2021 (August) courses.

If you have not already, please request info from Admissions to get updated communications from the graduate admissions department on availability of the new application cycle.

  • Completed application for admission, including:
    • Online application
    • Admissions Essay
    • Curriculum vita 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.

Admissions Materials may be submitted to:
Chatham University
Office of Graduate Admission
Woodland Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15232
Fax: 412-365-1609
Email Admissions

VCD 610: Sustainable Graphic Design

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

VCD 620: Digital Illustration Methods

Digital illustration tools and methods are explored within the context of publication for editorial, advertising, and institutional applications. 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.

FDT 676: Media Project IV: Visual Effects and Animation Modes

The class focuses on motion graphics and visual effects modes of animation. Students will learn the basics of key frame animation and visual effects processes and the technical attributes of animation and effects. Assignments will assist students in discovering practical uses of the technology and aesthetic reasoning for using effects and motion graphics over other types of media. Individual project grades will be based on technical proficiency, depth of content, experimentation, innovation, ambition, effort, and final portfolio submission.

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 Interdisciplinary Design

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.

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.

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.