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Oct032010

PRATT TO OFFER M.F.A. IN COMMUNICATIONS DESIGN

New Facility Opens in Manhattan for Graduate Communications and Package Design Students
 

Lanny Hong (front) and Steven Johnson, second-year M.S. Candidates in the Graduate Communications and Package Design program work in the new Communications Design studios.

Pratt's Department of Communications and Package Design, which has been granting master of science degrees in communications design and package design since 1966 and 1972, respectively, has created its first master of fine arts degree program in communications design and is now accepting applications for fall 2011.

The new terminal degree program will emphasize full-time studio practice and prepare its graduates to teach at the college and university level. Students will participate in studio courses approaching design as a means for behavioral change in socially and environmentally sustainable ways, which differentiates it from other programs of its kind through a broader educational experience.

To accommodate the new M.F.A. program, Pratt has opened a new, 8,750-square-foot facility at 123 West 18th Street that houses 125 student studios, a computer lab, printing facilities, a resource center, and a lecture and seminar room.

Current students from Pratt’s master of science degree programs in communications design and package design have already begun using the space. 

The two-year, 60-credit M.F.A. degree program will emphasize full-time studio practice; research and scholarship; design teaching methodologies; and academic studies of visual media such as history, theory, critical analysis, aesthetics, and related humanities and social sciences. It will consist of seven M.F.A. studio courses that will investigate current practice and the future direction of communications design. The courses will emphasize research, critical thinking, and design strategy coupled with entrepreneurship and an iterative design process and will be taught by resident and visiting faculty members.

Never have designers been expected to cultivate such a diverse set of skills and knowledge as today. Over the next 10 years the graphic design profession will experience a paradigm shift in what we do, how we do it, and why. The students in Pratt’s M.F.A. program will play a major role in determining this future,” said Jeff Bellantoni, chair of Pratt’s Graduate Communications and Package Design Department.

The Graduate Communications and Package Design department was ranked ninth in the nation according to U.S. News & World Report in its 2009 guide to America’s Best Graduate Schools

The new Grad Comm-D Studios

Photos: Diana Pau

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Reader Comments (20)

Will students that already completed the MS be able to return to "finish" as an MFA?

they should've offer this earlier. I dont think MS graduates wouldnt come back for this;...

October 13, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterformer MS Comm D

Got my MS at Pratt in Communications Design and never understood that designation actually. Would have much preferred to see MFA on my diploma since everything I did there was fine art and it eventually took me completely into that world for the rest of my life. It was a good solid program with a lot of individual flexibility when I went through it in the early 80's but I am sure it is much more exciting now with the new technology. All the best to the students who have the opportunity to experience the new space and new ideas.

October 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNancy Ori

Finally! If Pratt had this program back in the early 90's, I would certainly have pursued it.

This MFA will definitely be a plus. Would Pratt be able to allow former MS graduates the opportunity to finish as an MFA? It would also be
terrific if the program was further designed to allow the working professional the opportunity to get an MFA, similar to Syracuse University's MFA program and the program now being offered by Merrywood University. Many of us working in the field would like to obtain an MFA, but cannot leave our daily careers. Please consider those professionals that also wish to pursue this degree. What better
place than NYC to offer such a program?

October 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSteve Longo

I have to second this question. " Will students that already completed the MS be able to return to "finish" as an MFA?" Please let us know, since it will do great to our careers. I need the MFA to go to the next level in my career as a Professor. I don't need this degree as a designer, I am doing very well, but I do need it for may teaching profesion. After 10 years of teaching at the same University, I am still Assistant Professor only because my MS from Pratt is not a terminal degree. I have been offered a Chair position in the VIsual Communication Department, but I can not take it because I don't have an MFA. Please Pratt Institute, help those of us who got the MS get our MFA.

Thanks
Kessle Silva
Comm. Designer MS Pratt Institute 1998

October 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKessle Silva

I do not think we need to finish anything. As far as I am concerned, we already finished. It was a lot of work and I would not want to put any more time or money into it. It is worth just as much as an MFA, cost just as much and was just as much work and my guess is was a very similar program for its time. The question is ...why on earth did they ever call it an MS.

October 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNancy Ori

The MFA degree vs. the MS has been a battle in EVERY college and university that I have taught in, that require MFA degrees
for promotion and tenure. While we were taught by the best, this is not honored when it comes to administration policies. The
bottom line is MFA. My degree from '77 was terrific and prepared me for the Package and Corporate ID fields. Unfortunately,
academia doesn't agree. My professional work sometimes fills in the gap, but very rarely. I would definitely avail myself
of this program, provided it was flexible for working designers. The program needs to address the hundreds of professionals
that have graduated from the MS program and whether the program can also be similar to that at Merrywood Univ.

October 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSteve Longo

That is really a shame that the academic world does not honor that degree in the same way. I guess being in the corporate communications area for a pharmaceuticals company, an MS was understood probably better than an MFA would have been. It served me well but now that I am teaching in the fine art world, I would prefer it to be an MFA.
I wonder if we complained enough if they would change it. How different can it be? Yes, what they are teaching now are different topics but these are very different times given the technology that we could only dream about back then. To me a Masters in Communications Design is a Masters in Communications Design. What you label it should not be such a big issue to change.

October 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNancy Ori

An MFA degree is the only degree that will be considered if you are planning to teach Fine Art. The job applications for those
wanting to teach at the college level require the MFA. Also, the people on the hiring committees have this degree and consider it
to be part of the requirement for the job and the terminal degree. The job postings indicate that the MFA is one of the requirements
in all instances, even in Industrial Design. What makes this degree issue even more interesting is that two different colleges last year created a PHD program in Graphic Design! Where this can lead is open to debate. No longer does professional standing
hold weight, the degree also has to be part of the equation. And unfortunately it becomes the emphasis. What I have experienced
is that students are getting their undergraduate degrees and moving directly into MFA programs without any professional work
or show experience. These same students than become faculty and are teaching undergrads. Do you see something wrong with this scenario? The gurus of our industry would be denied a teaching position for lack of an MFA.

October 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSteve Longo

Wow. That's really bad and frankly for educated people, pretty stupid. The story goes back to Pratt then who didn't get it with the MS designation. How could they not get that? Obviously they get it now. It doesn't matter to me now but it sure matters to people like you who are teaching at the college level. I teach at museums and art centers and run my own workshops in digital photography. Everyone looks at my life experience in photography and that is where my credibility comes from. They don't really even care that I have a masters degree. I have been exhibiting and teaching for decades and have 25 years experience in corporate communications as the manager of a video and photography department. The only thing that the masters did for me actually is got me an extra weeks vacation but I am proud that I went through it. I am better for it.
Do you think that going to the powers that be at Pratt and explaining this to them that it might make them understand that those two little letters are really messing with your future and if they turn them into three little letters retroactively that you would be eternally grateful?

October 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNancy Ori

I would like to invite those of us that got the MS, and always needed the MFA to farther our teaching careers, to write and all of us sign a letter asking Pratt Institute to help us finish with an MFA. We, Pratt graduate designers are the best of the country, and yet we can not teach at some of the best Universities only because our degree is not terminal? This makes not sense to me.

i will second a question again "...why on earth did they ever call it an MS?"

October 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKessle Silva

I guess I am still also questioning whysome of you are mentioning 'finishing' our degree as an MFA. As far as I am concerned, I finished a long time ago. With today's standards and modern curriculum, we would have to start over in order to complete what the kids are completing today in terms of topics. I just would want them to change what they called our degree and reissue a new document to that effect.

October 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNancy Ori

You are sooo right Nancy, they should just change our degree and reissue a new document for us. Anybody else will second that?

October 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKessle Silva

It really doesn't much matter to me but it sure sounds like something the rest of you should definitely follow up on. The school has changed their understanding of this degree to a designation that you guys understood all along. They should be supporting you in your careers not holding you back. You went the distance and got short changed in a way that could be fixed very easily.

October 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNancy Ori

If it took us 48 credits to get our MS in Communications Design, and now the MFA in the same field is 60 credits, then Pratt should allow us to go back for the remaining 12 credits so we can get the MFA degree. We have all being active in the field, we know what graphic design is today and how it works. Also, the mayority of us have been teaching for many years in the field. Why Pratt Institute can't just look into that and consider changing the MS they gave us back then for the MFA they are offering now?

October 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKessle Silva

Again, I would just ask for a change of designation. They can give you life credit for your job experience for the difference. And maybe you would have to pay for the paperwork. I would start there and negotiate the difference.

October 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNancy Ori

The courses will emphasize research, critical thinking, and design strategy coupled with entrepreneurship and an iterative design process and will be taught by resident and visiting faculty members.

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Current students from Pratt’s master of science degree programs in communications design and package design have already begun using the space.
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