Frequently Asked Questions List
What do I send to the Office of Graduate Admission and what do I send to the Publications Design program director?
You can view and print out a checklist, but here are the basics: Submit your application (and application fee) and your statement of interest to the Office of Graduate Admission; you should also have your undergraduate and any graduate transcripts sent directly to that office. Email your portfolio and writing samples, as a single PDF, directly to the firstname.lastname@example.org mailbox.
What would you like to see in my design portfolio, and in what format would you like to see it?
The purpose of the portfolio is to show the program director your design skill level. You may show many pieces; if you have only a few, you should show those. Whatever you show should be representative of the design work you can do. The program director will use the work to determine what, if any, prerequisite courses you must take.
What kind of writing samples do you want to see?
We want to see examples of nonfiction writing that’s aimed at a particular audience. It could be a paper from a college class, an article for a newsletter, a press release or any other sort of professional writing you've done. It's best that it be as recent as possible. If you do not have a recent sample, an older one will do. The purpose of the writing sample is to show your level of writing skill. One or two pieces should be sufficient.
What’s the purpose of the statement of interest?
Your statement of interest explains to the program director why you are interested in enrolling in the Publications Design program. It might detail your experience and talk about ways the program will help you advance in your career or make a career change. It might explain what you feel you can contribute to the program. Remember, your statement of interest is another example of your writing; be sure that it reflects your skill and abilities.
I don't have any graphic design experience. What should I do?
The Publications Design program integrates professional writing and graphic design; we ask that entering candidates have a background in at least one of those areas. If you have some background in writing but do not have a background in graphic design, we have courses that can provide you the necessary background.
Will we have to use specific software in publications design courses?
The Klein Family School of Communications Design’s Digital Design Studio is Mac based; before you begin taking classes, you should know your way around the Mac operating system. We also expect you to be able to use the programs in the Adobe Creative Suite—InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator—as well as Dreamweaver. If you haven’t used them before, you may learn them through a community college or adult education program, or you can learn them on your own. You do not need to own this software, as we have a fully equipped graphics lab where you can work on your projects during your time at UB.
What computer should I buy?
The Klein Family School of Communications Design’s Digital Design Studio is equipped with Apple Macintosh computers, and many graphic designers prefer to work on Macs; however, the Publications Design program has no requirements regarding hardware. Cross-platform (Mac to PC or vice versa) transferring of projects can present problems. Lab assistants can provide some help, but ultimately, it will be your responsibility to manage such difficulties.
Do you have assistantships?
We have a limited number of graduate assistantships. Most are in the Klein Family School of Communications Design's Digital Design Studio and Media Lab. If you are proficient in Adobe Creative Suite 3 programs, you can apply for this assistantship. Students who come from out of town find jobs in the Baltimore/Washington, D.C., area in varied fields. If you have graphic design or writing experience, you can probably find a job in your field.
Can I transfer credits into the Publications Design program?
We can accept up to 12 transfer credits. For a course to transfer, it must be a graduate course, relevant to the program and approved by the program director, and you must have obtained a grade of B or better in the course. You may not use transfer credits as substitutions for required courses. If you would like to transfer credits into the program, please talk with the program director; you may need to provide catalog course descriptions and/or syllabi in addition to the official transcript. Except for special situations, we expect you to take all of your courses at UB once you’ve begun the program.
When can I register?
You may register for courses as soon as you’ve been admitted. Summer and fall registration usually begins in March; spring registration usually begins in November. For more information, visit the Office of Records and Registration.