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Furniture Design MFA

Program overview

The MFA program in furniture design is structured around the individual student’s needs, interests, and background. As such, the program seeks to strengthen students' techniques, advance their aesthetic and design sensibilities, and hone their personal expression. The first year of the program exposes students to a broad range of critical issues related to the conception and production of art, serves to inspire and provoke their critical reflection, and facilitate the development of a preliminary thesis topic. In the second year students propose and fully engage in a thesis project, which culminates in a major exhibition in the spring.


Furniture design, MFA degree, typical course sequence

CourseSem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
CWFD-701 Furniture Design Graduate Studio I 6
CWFD-702 Furniture Design Graduate Studio II 6
ARTH-601 Forms of Inquiry 3
ARTH-605 Thinking About Making: The Practice of Art in a Global Society 3
CGEN-702 Crafts Graduate Seminar 3
  Open Graduate Electives 9
Second Year
CWFD-790 Furniture Design Thesis Initiation 6
CWFD-890 Furniture Design Thesis Resolution 9
CGEN-703 Thesis Implementation 3      
CGEN-704 Thesis Review 3
  Open Graduate Elective 3
  CIAS Studio Electives 6
Total Semester Credit Hours 60

Admission requirements

To be considered for admission to the MFA program in furniture design, candidates must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Hold a baccalaureate degree in a field of art, science, or education from a regionally accredited institution in the United States,
  • Demonstrate, through the quality of the undergraduate record and creative production, a genuine, professional potential,
  • Submit official transcripts (in English) of all previously completed undergraduate and graduate course work (undergraduate degree should include 50 semester hours of studio courses), and
  • Complete a graduate application
  • International students whose native language is not English must submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language. Minimum scores of 550 (paper-based) or 80 (Internet-based) are required. Scores from the International English Language Testing System are accepted in place of the TOEFL. An IELTS score of 6.5 is required. For international students coming from countries where the baccalaureate degree is not given for programs in the practice of art may be admitted to graduate study if the diploma or certificate received approximates the standards of the BFA, BA, or BS degrees, and if their academic records and portfolios indicate an ability to meet graduate standards.

Additional information

Studio Residency program

The School for American Crafts offers a Studio Residency program for students in ceramics, furniture design, glass, and metals and jewelry design. Residence positions are limited and are awarded after the review of all applicants’ portfolios, transcripts, and references. An interview is required. Accepted residents are required to register for one independent study credit during each semester of residence. 

Accepted residents are expected to be present in their assigned studio during class hours and to contribute up to 10 hours of work per week in the main studio. These work hours are coordinated and overseen by the faculty in the resident's discipline. In exchange, the school will provide workspace, access to facilities, and supportive instruction. The resident is invited to participate in the full range of studio activities.

Participants may be those seeking additional studio experience prior to undergraduate or graduate study, early career professionals, or teachers on leave who wish to work again in an academic studio environment. The faculty in each discipline will make decisions concerning appropriate candidates.

Inquiries should be made to the Studio Residency Program, School for American Crafts, College of Imaging Arts and Sciences, Rochester Institute of Technology, 73 Lomb Memorial Drive, Rochester, NY 14623-5603.

Career Outcomes

Job Titles

Self-employed furniture makers; cabinetmakers; limited edition, production & architectural woodworkers; shop employers; freelance designers for industry; sculptors; modelmakers; teacher/instructor at every level; boatbuilders; reproduction furniture makers and restoration workers; specialty woodworkers including airplane & boat interiors; musical instrument makers


Assistant master craftsperson; create craft pieces; operate craft studio; teach in school systems privately; design one-of-a-kind and industry produced wood pieces

Recent Employers

Gunlocke, Hardwood House, Atlantic International

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