Teamwork2The Museum Exhibition Planning + Design Program prepares its graduate students to be critical and strategic thinkers in the world of exhibition and program development and design. Our MFA program centers both on content development and design-thinking processes currently used by professionals in the field but also projects outward to the opportunities available in an ever-changing society. Students are involved in pushing innovative thinking as well as applying that thinking to real world situations to test and understand how they would work in the field.

The MEPD Program provides a collaborative working environment for you, our faculty and fellow students and utilizes a variety of techniques and media to strategically implement the best interpretive methods to engage visitors. You will be immersed in processes that address needs, conceptualization, research, organization, design, production and assessment of the ultimate impact of interpretive planning and museum exhibitions. You will be engaged in practical experiences of critical analysis through written and oral critique, presentations and the best means to give, receive, and apply feedback.

J.TurellSpecifically you will learn the skills of sketching, model-making, environmental graphic design, design research, audience research, prototyping/pilot testing, sustainable design practices, accessibility/universal design, academic and informal or exhibition writing, information architecture, developing voice, and community engagement. You will have philosophical discussions regarding: museums and their role in society; advocacy; the museum as a place of dialog and discourse; and the design of inviting and accessible spaces that evoke a sense of wonder and inspiration.

Additionally, because exhibitions are for diverse audiences both within the museum as well as beyond its walls, our program extends beyond the classroom to work directly with museum clients and other important community partners throughout the city.

Your work in our program will help you build a foundation of skills, professional vocabulary, real-world project based investigations, field application and the theoretical underpinnings needed for your professional career.

You should consider the UArts MFA in MEPD if:

  • You are a naturally curious person and need to know how and why things work the way they do (both intellectually and physically), and want to share that knowledge with others.
  • Have an interest in design, communication, informal education and community impact.
  • You like to make + create, draw + write, learn + apply and think + share.
  • You want to create a dialog with others through material culture (the “real stuff”)
  • Have a passion to problem solve elegant solutions for and with public audiences.

Charrette4Who are we looking for?

Our students recognize the role of public interpretation as necessarily interdisciplinary. We want you to bring your own perspectives, experiences, and academic discipline to your study and application of museum practice with inspiring the visitor or end-user as the ultimate goal.

What sets our program apart?

Our unique combination of coursework, studio training, independent research, internships, presentations, charrettes and projects will help you further your professional career. By combining studio experience with other forms of instruction, our curriculum ensures that graduates are adept at using visual communication strategies to accomplish innovative institutional objectives. Our students get hired and have had the ability to make impact in the field.

How do I apply?

For information, contact Polly McKenna-Cress, Director of Museum Exhibition Planning + Design Program at To get started with the application process, contact the University’s Admissions Office.