Visual Communication Design

Apply to Herron’s M.F.A. in Visual Communication Design program

Herron welcomes applicants from many backgrounds beyond design, such as business, communication, public health, environmental affairs, engineering, technology, and biomedical sciences. Successful applicants to the program value academic rigor, professionalism, collaboration, and interdisciplinary exploration. They take creative risks and are interested in how design can improve people’s lives. They incorporate thinking, making, experimentation, and research into their evolving practice.

Application components

  • Complete the online application

    Visit IUPUI's online graduate applicationPlease note: SAFARI and CHROME users must enable pop-ups and third-party cookies in order for the application to function properly.

    On the "Application Information" tab within the IUPUI online graduate application, you must select a Fall term in the "Term" section. Herron does not admit students into the Visual Communication Design M.F.A. program in Spring or Summer terms.

  • Personal statement and resume

    Upload a personal statement describing your intentions for applying to this program, including a concise description of your past experiences qualifying you for this program as well as your future career goals. The statement must be 500 words in length.

    Also upload a resume outlining professional experiences into the Additional Uploads section of the application.

  • Recommendations

    Provide contact information (including names, street addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses) of three faculty members or professional references who will submit letters of recommendation via the online application system.

    After you submit the application, the online system will e-mail your contacts with instructions on how to submit their recommendations electronically. They will respond to several prompts by rating your abilities on a given scale. They will also have the opportunity to type, paste or upload a letter into the system. The letters should address your potential for academic success in the M.F.A program.

  • Transcripts


    Official transcripts are required from all undergraduate and applicable graduate programs you have attended. Contact each school and request that your official transcript be sent directly to Herron. Official transcripts are not required from IUPUI or another IU campus.

    Transcripts must demonstrate a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. If the original transcripts are not in English, the documents must be in the native language and must be accompanied by verified English translations.

    If you are in the process of completing a bachelor’s degree when you apply, a transcript showing your first three years of study is acceptable. If admitted to Herron, you must submit a final, official transcript to the Office of Admissions and Student Services, verifying the completion and award of your degree prior to your matriculation.

    Transcripts may be mailed to:

    Herron School of Art and Design
    Office of Admissions and Student Services
    c/o Graduate Admissions
    735 W. New York Street HR 126
    Indianapolis, Indiana 46202-5222

    Electronic Transcripts

    Herron accepts official transcripts that are electronically generated from official university or college system. We do not accept emailed PDFs of transcripts.

    Electronic transcripts may be sent to If your school is sending limited-time login credentials that allow us to access their transcript system, be sure to make your request during regular business hours.

  • Portfolio

    The nature of your portfolio depends on the nature of your experiences.

    If you are a recent graduate from an undergraduate program in design, your portfolio will most likely represent the best of your undergraduate studio experiences. If you have worked professionally in a field of design, your portfolio will most likely represent client work. In either case, focus on as much communication as possible, showing your design processes.

    Do not create a portfolio that contains only designed products. Your portfolio should demonstrate how you solve problems. Include "briefs" that define the problem or opportunity statements and communication objectives, as well as the audience and context for each project so that your work can be evaluated meaningfully.

    Submit up to 10 portfolio pieces online at The cost to use the site is $10. It is possible to submit time-based work using Slideroom.

  • Proof of English proficiency for international applicants

    Proof of English proficiency is required for international students unless the applicant&undergraduate degree is from a university that is located in a country where English is the official language.

    Most commonly, students submit TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System) scores. TOEFL scores must total 79 or higher on the iBT (550 or higher on the paper-based test). IELTS scores must total 6.5 or higher.

    Applicants must request that an official copy of their test results be sent directly to IUPUI by the testing agency. The IUPUI reporting code for TOEFL is 1325. Other tests or ELS coursework may be accepted in order to verify English proficiency.

    For a list of all options and minimum scores required, please see the IUPUI Office of International Affairs English Requirements.

  • Further documentation for international applicants

    For a full list of required documents, please visit the IUPUI Office of International Affairs.

Application fees

  • IUPUI online graduate application fee: $60 for U.S. citizens, $65 for international applicants.
  • Herron portfolio submission fee: $10 (non-refundable; cannot be waived)

Herron will waive the $60 online application fee for U.S. citizens who attend the Herron Grad Open House or who talk with a Herron representative at the Chicago Graduate Portfolio Day event. Unfortunately, the $65 online application fee for international students cannot be waived.

Application deadline

The fall admission deadline is February 1. This program does not accept applications for spring or summer admission.


Ask an admissions advisor, or contact Herron’s Office of Admissions and Student Services directly at 317-278-9400 or