DEGREE REQUIREMENTS

Candidates for the MFA Book Arts degree must earn a minimum of 60 semester hours of credit, including at least 6 hours in the history of the book and 3 hours in an historical/theoretical, non-studio course appropriate to the goals of the individual student; at least 36 hours in the book arts studio; and 12-15 hours of electives within or outside the Book Arts Program. All course work must be completed with a grade average of “B” or better. All students enter the program in the fall and must spend four semesters in residence.

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All MFA students must complete, as part of the 60 credit hours, the following courses:

Core of Required Studies in MFA Book Arts Education

BA520 Printing I: Elements of Printing 3 hours

BA521 Printing II: Printing and Typography 3 hours

BA530 Binding I: Elements of Binding 3 hours

BA531 Binding II: An Exploration of the Paper and Cloth Bound Book 3 hours

BA541 Hand Papermaking 3 hours

CIS655 History of the Book: Book as Artifact 3 hours

CIS654 History of the Book: Print Culture and Society 3 hours

BA592 Graduate Symposium 3 hours [ Creative Thesis Project Proposal]

BA599 Creative Project Production, Thesis and Exhibition 9-12 hours

Total Core of Required Studies in Book Arts 33-36 hours

Other Studies in MFA Book Arts Education

12 units from among the following*:

BA522 Printing III: Printing and Publishing 3-6 hours

BA523 Printing IV: Printing and Publishing 3-6 hours

BA532 Binding III. Leather Bookbinding 3-6 hours

BA533 Binding IV. Binding Exploration 3-6 hours

BA534: Boxmaking 3 hours

BA593 Workshops in the Book Arts 1-6 hours

Total Other Studies in Book Arts 12 hours

Book Arts Electives

12-15 units from among the following, including 3 credit hours non-studio:

BA534: Boxmaking 3 hours

BA593 Workshops in the Book Arts 1-9 hours

BA594 Practicum in Teaching in the Book Arts 3-6 hours

BA595 Independent Project 1-6 hours

BA596 Directed Research in the Book Arts 1-6 hours 

BA597 Internship 1-6 hours

CIS653 Descriptive Bibliography 3 hours

CIS656 Electronic and Contemporary Publishing 3 hours

CIS658 American Literary Small Press 3 hours

Historical/theoretical non-studio course appropriate to individual goals 3 hours

Total Electives 12-15 units

* Students pursuing an emphasis in Printing/Publishing are required to take BA522 & BA523 for a total of 12 credit hours of advanced printing

*Students pursuing an emphasis in Bookbinding are required complete 12 credit hours of advanced binding including a minimum of 3 hours each in BA532 and BA533.

*Students pursuing an emphasis in the whole book must complete BA522, BA523, BA532 & BA533 at 3 credits each for a total of 12 credit hours of advanced binding and printing.

COURSE DECRIPTIONS

Letterpress Printing

BA 520. Printing I. Elements of Printing: 3 hours.
Craft skills used in fine letterpress printing are introduced in a studio environment. Through a number of printing/publishing experiments and projects, students gain an understanding of the nature and interaction of printing types with inks and papers; learn fundamental terminology; and gain familiarity with the equipment. The emphasis is on setting type, letterpress printing, and basic typographic design. Miller
BA 521. Printing II. Printing and Typography: 3 hours.
Prerequisite: BA 520
Explores contemporary attitudes and innovations in fine printing and fine press publishing through individual printing/publishing projects, as well as a collaborative project. The focus is on typographic design, editorial decision-making, color and image integration, and press work. Miller
BA 522. Printing III. Parallel Editions and Printing: 3 or 6* hours. Prerequisite: BA 521.
Students initiate and produce an edition of a relatively extensive book and/or participate in production of a Parallel Editions volume. Emphasis is on production, with manuscript selection and editing being critical aspects. Photopolymer platemaking processes are introduced in a desktop publishing environment adapted to historic tools and mediums. Such subjects as marketing and distribution of limited edition books are covered. Miller.
BA 523. Printing IV. Printing and Publishing: 3 or 6* hours.
Prerequisite: BA 522.
Refinement of typographical sensibility coupled with advanced book production experience, culminating in a limited edition handmade volume. Direct experience with bookbinders, artists, illustrators, book distributors, and myriad post-production considerations for the fine press printer/publisher. Miller
*required for those students with a concentration in printing/publishing


Bookbinding

BA 530. Binding I. Elements of Binding: 3 hours.
Drawing upon both the historic and contemporary western bookbinding tradition, this course is an initiation into fundamental binding forms, techniques, materials, and design. A series of cloth and paper bindings will be designed and made. While design and innovation will be stressed, the primary focus of the course will be upon learning technical skills. Embree
BA 531. Binding II. An Exploration of the Paper and Cloth Bound Book: 3 hours.
Prerequisite: BA 530.
Students will continue to hone their fundamental binding skills and acquire new ones while also experimenting with the possibilities that the paper and cloth case binding form offers, both one-of-a-kind and as multiples. The examination and use of non-traditional materials and of innovative binding design is encouraged. Embree
BA 532. Binding III. Leather Binding: 3 or 6* hours.
Prerequisite: BA 531.
A concentrated study of the use of leather as a binding cover material. Various binding styles and structures appropriate to leather treatment are studied. Familiarity with the preparation and application of leather in bookbinding is achieved through a series of assigned projects culminating in a final project. Though not the primary focus of the course, binding design and innovation will be studied and explored. Embree
BA 533. Binding IV. Binding Exploration: 3 or 6* hours.
Prerequisite: BA 532.
An exploration of bound books as expressive forms. Students will further refine their leather working and binding skills while developing their own binding styles. Emphasis will be placed upon personal binding interpretation of printed texts using traditional and non-traditional techniques and materials. Embree*required for those students with a concentration in bookbinding.
BA 534. Boxmaking: 3 hours.
Prerequisite: BA 530.
Traditional and experimental forms of boxes and other protective enclosures for books. The use of paper, cloth, and leather as well as other non-traditional materials will be explored. Embree


Papermaking

BA 541. Hand Papermaking: 3 hours.
Provides hands-on experience in the fundamentals of making traditional western style handmade papers using a variety of fibers. The objective is to produce reference samples of various kinds of sheets, as well as edition sheets of papers for book or art-making purposes. Miller


History of the Book

CIS 655. History of the Book: Book as Artifact: 3 hours.
Examines the book as a physical artifact, as the material embodiment of text. Topics include the transitions between hand production and mechanical production, methods of bookmaking, printers and publishers, the alphabetic code, paratext, letter forms and typography, paper, page formats and layouts, illustrations, bindings, and other semiotic systems and bibliographical signifiers, as well as the purpose of the book with special emphasis on the relationships between meaning and physical form and the complex conventions of the book. Weddle
CIS 654. History of the Book: Print Culture and Society: 3 hours.
Examines the book as a cultural artifact and explores the impact of print culture on communications and systems of authority in Europe and the United States. Topics include orality and literacy, the impact of printing, reading, authorship, control and censorship, copyright, markets and distribution, and the future of books in a digital age. Weddle LS 659. Special Topics in the History of the Book: 3 hours.
Studies in specialized topics in the history of the book.


Additional Courses

BA 592. Graduate Symposium: 3 hours.
Prerequisite: Fourth semester standing.
Discusses professional standards, professional presentation and portfolio building, creative project research, exhibition design, management of a small business, marketing, and other topics. Six meetings during the course of the semester with the Book Arts Faculty and guest lecturers.
BA 593. Workshops in the Book Arts: 1-12 hours.
Workshops covering all subjects in the book arts, held both on and off campus.
BA 594. Practicum in Teaching in the Book Arts: 3 or 6 hours. Prerequisite: Second-year standing
Practical experience teaching introductory courses in printing, binding, and other appropriate book arts.
BA 595. Independent Project: 1-6 hours.
Provides an opportunity for the student to pursue an independent project in the book arts.
BA 596. Directed Research in the Book Arts: 1-6 hours.
Provides an opportunity for an intensive investigation of both historical and technical studies of a book arts craft.
BA 597. Internship: 1-6 hours.
Prerequisites: Second-year standing and permission of the faculty. A direct learning experience in a studio of a professional book artist.
BA 599. Creative Project Production, Thesis and Exhibition: 9-12 hours.
The capping experience of the MFA in the Book Arts Program is the Creative Project, Thesis, and Exhibition. Working with a faculty advisor, and in formal meetings with the Book Arts Faculty, the candidate develops a project whose major purposes are to demonstrate a deep understanding of the craft and the aesthetic, historical, and critical contexts of the book, to establish technical expertise and to work independently. The thesis paper provides the student a formal means in which to articulate their work as well as the scope and merits of the creative project. A public exhibition provides the student with an opportunity to showcase both artistic and technical skills and contextualize the body of work produced during the course of the program. A public defense with a slide presentation is also required. Work on the Creative Project commences and comes to a guided conclusion during this course.