Furniture Design Master of fine arts degree

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Overview

A furniture design master's degree designed to advance your personal aesthetic through the study of contemporary practices and critical reflection in furniture design.


The furniture design master’s program is structured to support each student’s individual interests and aesthetic development. While engaging in the design and construction of a range of furniture objects, students are challenged to advance aesthetic, conceptual, and design sensibilities while simultaneously strengthening their building techniques and construction strategies. Students are exposed to a broad range of contemporary practices and creative approaches to design and art making in support of experimentation, critical reflection, and the development of a personal aesthetic and design philosophy. 

The first year of the MFA in furniture design 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.

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 Art and Design, Rochester Institute of Technology, 73 Lomb Memorial Drive, Rochester, NY 14623-5603.

Industries


  • Performing and Fine Arts

  • Fashion

  • Design

  • Museum

  • Retail Stores

Typical Job Titles

Craft Artist Sculptor
Furniture Designer Designer

Featured Work

Featured Profiles

Curriculum for Furniture Design MFA

Furniture Design, MFA degree, typical course sequence

Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
CWFD-601
Furniture Design Graduate Studio
Furniture Design Graduate Studio covers the advanced aesthetics and techniques of woodworking and culminating in the master’s thesis. This program is structured on the basis of the individual student’s needs, interests and background preparation as they may be determined through faculty counseling. There will be a strengthening of woodworking techniques, design fundamentals and encouragement of personal expression. The student will be encouraged to evaluate new techniques, materials and concepts. This repeatable course leads to the master’s thesis, proposed by the student and approved by the faculty. Lab fee is required. (This course is restricted to students in the WOOD-MFA program.) Studio 12 (Fall, Spring).
12
STAR-701
Technology in Studio
This course will introduce a contemporary technology used by the course instructor in their studio practice. Students will be encouraged to investigate how this technology may be applied in their making process. The subjects offered in the course will vary according to the faculty teaching the class. The course can be taken multiple times with faculty permission. Studio 6 (Fall Or Spring).
3
STAR-702
Studio Art Research
This course will prepare graduate students for the written component of the thesis. Course content will cover defining research in the arts, arts based research, research through practice, critical judgment, writing strategically and critically for reflective thinking and scholarly dissemination. At the completion of this course students will be able to write a thesis proposal addressing a research question or direction along with objectives, context, and methods. (Prerequisites: STAR-701 or equivalent course.) Lecture 3 (Spring).
3
STAR-714
Ideation and Series
Creative flow, having an endless stream of ideas, alternatives, and choices for solutions, helps creative work evolve and reach more advanced levels. In this course students develop appropriate skills and strategies to generate ideas and develop them effectively into a cohesive body of work. (Prerequisites: This course is restricted to students in the FNAS-MFA or GLASS-MFA or METAL-MFA or CCER-MFA or WOOD-MFA programs.) Studio 6 (Fall).
3
 
Open Electives
6
 
Professional Elective
3
Second Year
CWFD-601
Furniture Design Graduate Studio
Furniture Design Graduate Studio covers the advanced aesthetics and techniques of woodworking and culminating in the master’s thesis. This program is structured on the basis of the individual student’s needs, interests and background preparation as they may be determined through faculty counseling. There will be a strengthening of woodworking techniques, design fundamentals and encouragement of personal expression. The student will be encouraged to evaluate new techniques, materials and concepts. This repeatable course leads to the master’s thesis, proposed by the student and approved by the faculty. Lab fee is required. (This course is restricted to students in the WOOD-MFA program.) Studio 12 (Fall, Spring).
12
STAR-706
Business Practices for Studio Artists
This class is devoted to business issues that artists must address including portfolio management, pricing and marketing strategies, and public relations for pursuit of a professional career as studio artists. Financial and communication skills are highlighted as are networking skills for the advancement of an artist’s work. (Prerequisites: This course is restricted to students in the FNAS-MFA or GLASS-MFA or METAL-MFA or CCER-MFA or WOOD-MFA programs.) Lecture 3 (Spring).
3
STAR-718
Research Methods and Publication
Students will conduct research appropriate for individual thesis directions, incorporate that research into writing, analyze and review their thesis body of work then produce and publish their written thesis document. (Prerequisites: STAR-702 or equivalent course.) Lecture 3 (Spring).
3
STAR-790
Research and Thesis
This is the first of two courses designed to advance a student towards completion of their thesis. Students will work independently on their approved proposal while meeting on a regular basis with their committee chair. Students are required to meet at least twice with their full committee during the semester. (Prerequisites: STAR-702 or equivalent course.) Thesis (Fall).
3
STAR-890
Thesis
For this final thesis course students continue working with their committee to evaluate work produced, and select the work to be exhibited. In addition, students will work with gallery coordinators and curators to install and exhibit their final body of work. Students are expected to defend their work to the committee through an oral defense and a written document. (Prerequisite: STAR-790 or equivalent course.) Thesis (Spring).
6
 
Open Elective
3
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:

  • Complete a graduate application.
  • Hold a baccalaureate degree (or equivalent) from an accredited university or college in a field of arts, sciences, or education.
  • Submit official transcripts (in English) of all previously completed undergraduate and graduate course work. Undergraduate degrees should include 50 semester hours in studio courses.
  • International applicants whose native language is not English must submit scores from the TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE. A minimum TOEFL score of 80 (internet-based) is required. A minimum IELTS score of 6.5 is required. The English language test score requirement is waived for native speakers of English or for those submitting transcripts from degrees earned at American institutions.
  • Submit a portfolio. (Refer to Graduate Portfolio Requirements for more information.)

Learn about admissions, cost, and financial aid 

Latest News

  • December 5, 2019

    Artist paints small wooden block.

    Craft in America  

    "Craft in America," a documentary series on handmade objects and the artists who make them, will feature furniture maker Wendy Maruyama '80 MFA (woodworking and furniture design). The episode is scheduled to air at 10 p.m. Dec. 27 on WXXI-TV.