Information For Postgraduates - University of Michigan

The School of Art & Design offers a unique three-year M.F.A. program structured to expand the intellectual reach of creative work, and utilize a comprehensive process for bringing creative work into the world.

In this unique program, all graduate students are required to reach beyond the cultures of art and design to develop robust engagements with one or more fields of knowledge and inquiry at the University of Michigan. Students are expected to carry out creative work informed by and interacting with the additional field of inquiry.

Successful applicants to the program will be expected to clearly reveal their interest and ability to carry out such work.

Viability in today's culture requires that one's creative work engage a broad intellectual and social context. In an effort to address this condition, the School of Art & Design graduate program requires all students to develop an intense engagement with one or more fields of knowledge beyond the traditional purview of art and design. Graduates of this program will be prepared to thrive in a variety of public and private roles and become cultural leaders in a rapidly changing global culture.

Few institutions of higher learning match the intellectual resources at the University of Michigan. These resources form the forefront of the nation's intellectual life — engaging critical issues of our time, addressing arenas such as social justice, the life sciences and medicine, the environment, information-communication technologies, visual culture, law and business. Individually and in combination, they are available at the University to inform creative work, providing unparalleled opportunities for artist-designers to contribute to the comprehensive culture.

Students in the MFA program access these resources through coursework and faculty advising, and ultimately incorporate them into their creative work processes.

Creative work is emergent — the results being unpredictable from initial premises. The MFA program fosters less predictable creative work, requiring a robust exploratory process.

The process begins with desire, from which all creative work emanates, followed by design, production, and distribution of that work. These four components are essential to guarantee the momentum of the process. Iterations of evaluation and feedback are also essential to the process.

Desiring: From innate to socially conditioned, human desiring is the wellspring for creative work. Understanding our desiring is an essential first step in establishing a sustainable ability to create.

Designing: Through designing, creators organize the methods and means necessary to achieve their desires. Designing enables establishing goals, directions and intentions. In a world of constantly changing contexts, the ability to perceive, understand, and apply alternative courses of action is crucial to contemporary creative practice.

Producing: Creative work emerges through making - an iterative process that integrates intellect, tools, materials and technologies.

Distributing: Distribution is an often-overlooked but essential aspect of the creative process. It tests the connection between desire and context. Issues of economic feasibility, information-communication technology, and social networking are central to this component of the process.

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