2019-2020 Course Catalog

Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Design

The M.A. in Interdisciplinary Design is a three semester, 30 credit hour program that can be completed in one year. Our program is unique in that it builds upon designers' traditional design skills by deepening students' experiences in traditional visual communication (branding, packaging, typography) while introducing them to eMerging specialized fields of sustainable green design, film and video, and interactive design. Students develop design foundations, a knowledge of communication methodologies, design praxis, and problem solving techniques. These communication systems are modified and adapted to varying forms of media – from print, video to the web – so that students may become flexible and responsible designers working within a rapidly shifting global culture. Graduates will be prepared to work in design industries as well as bring these skills to associated venues. Courses are offered on a rotating basis.

Admission Requirements

Recommended application deadline for FALL entry: July 1
Recommended application deadline for SPRING entry: November 1
Note: applications will continue to be accepted and considered for admission as long as seats remain in the class.

  • Have a completed baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university, with an overall undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or above on a 4.0 scale.
    If a Student has below a 3.0 GPA, please feel free to apply if you show extreme promise through other achievements. Additional Admissions documents may be requested.
  • Completed application for admission, including:
    • Online application
    • In approximately 500 words, please explain why you are interested in pursuing this degree.  How will the degree impact your future personal and career goals? 
    • Curriculum vita or resume, please feel free to include volunteer activities
    • Two letters of recommendation
    • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended
    • Portfolio or other examples of work in various forms of media. Please provide an array of 2-dimensional works (drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, graphics, etc.). The portfolio can be sent as an email attachment or weblink

Admissions Materials may be submitted to:
Chatham University
Office of Graduate Admission
Woodland Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15232
Fax:  (412) 365-1609
Email: graduate@chatham.edu

For specific questions about the Program, please reach out to Rachel Fiscus at 412-365-1141 or at r.fiscus@chatham.edu.

Integrated Degree Program

Chatham University undergraduates applying through the Integrated Degree Program (IDP) must complete all requirements outlined on their respective admission or track tab on the IDP Portal Site. All IDP applicants should work closely with their academic advisor to ensure they are meeting all requirements according to their IDP course of study.


+MA Curriculum

30 credits with optional training available for Adobe and Apple software programs.

VCD510 Visual Communication Design: Branding

This course offers a systematic approach to concept development and the problem-solving process applied to brand construction. Students build visual identities for a variety of organizations through generative design processes for communication goals. Particular attention is given to logo and type mark development, photography/illustration, use of the grid system, color story, typography and messaging.

VCD520 Visual Communication Design: Typography

This course examines the concrete and conceptual aspects of typography as a communications tool. Typographic history, anatomy of form, type specimens, and grid structures, serve as foundations for the intersections between form and meaning. Typographic projects will range from typographic compositional studies, expressive typography, to information-focused typographic design systems.

VCD530 Print Design

This course introduces students to the roles that graphic design plays in society as shapers of style and ritual within contexts of community and commerce. The class will work collaboratively in the development of concepts, process design, layout, scheduling, production and the construction, expense, and production of the print publication artifact.

VCD540 History of Communication Design

To be determined

Film & Digital Technology
FDT550 Media Project I: Digital Video Production

Media Project I introduces the production process for digital video and other media work, from concept to production to completed piece. This course provides an understanding of the tools for each step of production and students focus on the technical elements of shooting and editing video.

FDT571 e-Merging Media I

Maps ways the web can be utilized for the production of alternative narratives. Enables students to analyze and create works online using web-cams, streaming media, and interactive web-based projects. Additional fees: Course Computing fee

FDT650 Media Project II: Advanced Digital Video Production

The course expands on the knowledge gained in Media Project I and focuses on the nonlinear editing process. Students develop their existing foundational software knowledge, learn to navigate additional NLE systems used by the industry, and have the opportunity to explore how these programs can enhance traditional editing techniques.

FDT671 Emerging Media II: Advanced Web Design

Focuses on the technical through advanced study. Students will produce DVD, CD-ROM, and other interactive projects. Additional Fees: Course Computing Fee

Technology Workshops - Optional Training
FDT510 Lab: Adobe Illustrator

This one credit supplemental lab explores the practical applications of today's computer hardware and graphic design software. The focus of the class will be on gathering critical knowledge and gaining basic mastery of a powerful design visualization and creative production tool. The ab will cover one of the essential design applications: Adobe Illustrator on the Macintosh platform.

FDT530 InDesign Lab

This one credit supplemental course will provide students with a foundational knowledge of the InDesign interface. Students will earn foundations of InDesign, threading text-boxes, importing photos and styling images, utilize baseline grid, hyphenation, and libraries to create simple and complex layout compositions

FDT520 Lab: Adobe Photoshop

This one credit supplemental lab explores the practical applications of today's computer hardware and graphic design software. The focus of the class will be on gathering critical knowledge and gaining basic mastery of a powerful design visualization and creative production tool. The Lab will cover one of the essential design applications: Adobe Photoshop on the Macintosh platform.

FDT500 Lab: Final Cut Pro X

This is a 2-credit supplemental course that will provide students with a foundational knowledge of Final Cut Pro X. In this hands-on course, students work with practical approaches to video editing, from basic techniques to Final Cut Pro's powerful advanced features. This is an Apple Certified Training Course. Additional Fee(s): Course Computing LAB Fee.

Interior Architecture
IAR520 Architecture Studio II

This studio addresses problem identification and problem solving in the context of medium to large-scale projects of modest scope. Emphasis is placed on human factors, space planning, spatial experience, scale, basic elements of 2-D and 3-D design, concept development, space planning, scale, textiles, and color with respect to user needs.

VCD620 Digital Illustration Methods

Digital illustration tools and methods are explored within the context of publication and branding. The contemporary illustrator becomes a conceptual interpreter of content through the potential mixing of primary graphic assets and secondary collected and manipulated graphic assets from digital archives and resources. Methods of information gathering are developed from photography, library, and archival research. This course includes a foundation to Wacom drawing tablet capabilities. Processes and techniques from printmaking, painting, 2-D design, photography and drawing are mediated through digital software and hardware.

Thesis Interdisciplinary
VCD590 Masters Thesis in Interdisciplinary Design: Applied

This capstone course celebrates innovation, imagination, and creative solutions to design projects. The objective of this course is to enable students to synthesize design history and theory to demonstrate conceptual understanding of the aesthetic and technical aspects of design that combine inquiry, research, creative problem-solving, and design prototyping.



Prajna Parasher

Program Director/Department Chair


(412) 365 - 1182