Furniture Design master of fine arts degree

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Overview

Advance your personal aesthetic through the study of contemporary practices and critical reflection.


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.

Industries


  • Performing and Fine Arts

  • Fashion

  • Design

  • Museums

  • Retail Stores

Typical Job Titles

Craft Artist Sculptor
Furniture Designer Designer

Featured Work

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Curriculum

Furniture design, MFA degree, typical course sequence

Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
CWFD-701
Furniture Design Graduate Studio I
Furniture Design Graduate Studio I is the first of a two-semester sequential class covering 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 sequence leads to the master's thesis, proposed by the student and approved by the faculty. **Fee: There is a lab fee required for this course**
6
CWFD-702
Furniture Design Graduate Studio II
Furniture Design Graduate Studio II is the second of a two-semester sequential class covering 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. Student will be encouraged to evaluate new techniques, materials and concepts. This sequence leads to the master's thesis, proposed by the student and approved by the faculty. **Fee: There is a lab fee required for this course**
6
ARTH-605
Thinking About Making: The Practice of Art in a Global Society
A discussion based art history elective for graduate students. The course seeks to bridge the gap between studio practice and contemporary art history. Students will explore very current work and ask questions about what is art, who is the audience, what is “our” art making practice and how does that fit within the larger context of the current state of the global art world. How do we measure success and artistic failure? The course emphasizes observation, critical analysis and written interpretation.
3
STAR-702
Studio Arts Research
Graduate students prepare for the written component of the thesis through practice with research, critical judgment, and development of outlines and essays. Contemporary art issues are clarified through discussion and readings in art history, art criticism, artist statements and interviews.
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.
3
STAR-706
Business Practices
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.
3
 
Free Electives
6
Second Year
CWFD-790
Furniture Design Thesis Initiation
Initiation is the first of a two-semester sequential class covering creation of the master's thesis exhibition. Students will develop a topic of investigation for the master's thesis, select a graduate thesis committee, and begin the planning, research, and development of a body of creative work. There will be a strengthening of woodworking techniques, design fundamentals and encouragement of personal expression. Student will be encouraged to evaluate new techniques, materials and concepts. **Fee: There is a lab fee required for this course**
6
CWFD-890
Furniture Design Thesis Resolution
Furniture Design Thesis Resolution is final course covering the completion of the Masters Thesis exhibition. Working from an approved topic of investigation for the Master's Thesis, students work independently and create a body of work supported by a written thesis paper. In consultation with a selected graduate thesis committee, students plan, research, and develop a body of creative work for exhibition and review. There will be a strengthening of woodworking techniques, design fundamentals and encouragement of personal expression. **Fee: There is a lab fee required for this course**
9
CGEN-703
Thesis Implementation
This course, coordinated and overseen by the School for American Craft's Graduate Director and Thesis Chief Adviser, will monitor the progress of a graduate student in the development of their Thesis. Students will review their work regularly throughout the semester, with both major faculty and the thesis committee. A minimum of three comprehensive thesis reviews with thesis committee members will take place during the semester. Students will create a written response, submitted to their Thesis Chief Adviser, for each review. In addition, a final and formal thesis critique by the student's thesis committee will take place at the end of the semester. Students will receive a written evaluation of this critique from the committee.
3
CGEN-704
Thesis Review
This course is a continuation of the process begun in CGEN-703 Thesis Implementation, coordinated and overseen by the SAC Graduate Director and Chief Thesis Advisor, will monitor the progress of a graduate student in the development of their written thesis as defined in the SAC Graduate Handbook. Students will review their work regularly throughout the semester, with both major faculty and the thesis committee. A minimum of three comprehensive thesis reviews with thesis committee members will take place during the semester. Students will create their written thesis based on the Timeline for the written thesis defined in the Handbook. A final and formal thesis critique by the student’s thesis committee will take place at the end of the semester. Students will submit their finished and Thesis Committee-approved written thesis as the culminating experience in this course.
3
 
Free Elective
3
 
CAD 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:

  • 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 and financial aid 

Additional Info

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.