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MFA Design at SVA, also known as MFA Designer as Author, launched in 1998 as an alternative to traditional master's programs, which emphasize form over content. MFA Design provides the tools, inspiration and experience to ensure that students transcend the common definition of designers as solely service providers to become individual and collaborative authors and originators of content.

As entrepreneurship has become more significant throughout the contemporary design scene, MFA Design has been in the forefront. Students are required to create their own content using any media; their thesis is produced directly for a specific marketplace of goods and ideas.

Students work individually and collaboratively during two intensive years to develop products of value through both digital and hand skills. They are encouraged to network with visiting and full-time faculty—professionals all—to ensure that their respective intellectual properties are aesthetically sound and conceptually viable.

MFA Design does not follow a linear curriculum, but instead embraces a broad set of visual languages and numerous communication platforms as the foundation for all creative activity. Students must convey ideas verbally and visually and be fluent in the languages of graphic design and typography. They are encouraged to draw inspiration from other artists and designers who share authorial aspirations. Students with backgrounds or interests in motion, sound, writing, and editing are welcome. Each year, new classes and lectures are offered, keeping the curriculum fluid and adaptable to change.

2016 – 2017 student population

31 matriculated students

Department co-chairs

Lita Talarico and Steven Heller

Some notable faculty members

Debra Bishop, Kevin Brainard, Ken Carbone, Allan Chochinov, Brian Collins, Anthony D’Avella, Stephen Doyle, Linda Holliday, Deborah Hussey, Milton Glaser, Keith Godard, Warren Lehrer, Lee Maschmeyer, Stefan Sagmeister, Jeff Scher, Edwin Schlossberg, Gael Towey, Ada Whitney, Willy Wong

Some notable alumni

Deborah Adler, Tarek Atrissi, David Hartman, Randy Hunt, Adam Katz, Jennifer Kinon, Matt Luckhurst, Bobby Martin, Lara McCormick, Andy Outis, Albert Pereta, Leen Sadder, Mohammad Sharaf, Nigel Sielegar, Lizzy Showman, Sue Walsh

Student exhibitions and events

Each spring, graduating students present their ventures to the design community at the SVA Theatre and an exhibition at the SVA Gramercy Gallery, where they showcase their products through interactive media and videos. An annual website featuring all the ventures can be found at design.sva.edu.

Department website

More information

SVA Admissions: 212.592.2107 | [email protected]

Media requests

SVA Communication: 212.592.2010 | [email protected]


209 East 23 Street, New York, NY 10010-3994 | Tel 212.592.2000 | sva.edu

School of Visual Arts | 209 East 23 Street, NY, NY 10010-3994 | Tel: 212.592.2000 | Fax: 212.725.3587