May 25, 2020  
2018-2019 University Catalogue 
2018-2019 University Catalogue [Archived Catalogue]

BFA in Graphic Design

Angela Riechers, Program Director



The Graphic Design program delivers a professional degree that develops the student’s mastery and expertise in the current marketplace for the practice of graphic design or a related communications-oriented field. Graduates will have experienced both hierarchical and non-hierarchical forms of collaboration as professional preparation, as well as the development of a unique intellectual and visual voice. Graduates will also possess the flexibility to adapt to a changing, unpredictable world and its communication needs where the methods of communication can be expected to evolve and expand.

Program Objectives

  • Teach students through paradigms rather than through projects. Train students as generalists within the field of visual communication to provide them with flexibility both within the culture of professional practice and in the evolving communications milieu of a shrinking, yet increasingly differentiated world.
  • Teach students from context throughout the curriculum, providing an introduction to human centered, cultural, and systemic contexts.
  • Evolve student-centered teaching strategies and apply them to students’ design processes.
  • Develop in students a strong work ethic driven by both logical and inventive working processes.
  • Develop student’s self-critical abilities.
  • Expose students to audiences that reflect diverse sensibilities or backgrounds. Evolve an ethical framework based upon an obligation to others, especially to those unlike themselves.
  • Provide experiences for students that model or expose various forms of collaborative, both hierarchical and non-hierarchical.
  • Develop in students a high level of expertise within industry-standard technological environments. Develop the propensity to prototype for high-level, complex technologically-based practices.
  • Introduce strategic thinking and the ability to explain these strategies as a fundamental aspect of their design process.
  • Develop the unique voice of the student, intellectually and visually.

Academic Plan

Academic plans provide a semester by semester suggested course sequence. Plans can be customized through discussions with academic advisors.

Program Requirements (120 credits)

Discipline History (12 credits)

Critical Studies (30 credits)

Students will complete a writing placement exam to determine their composition sequence. Students who do not complete the exam may be placed based on standardized tests scores (if available) or high school GPA. Some students may be required to complete additional developmental coursework.

Students will complete one of the following sequences:

First Year Writing (6 credits)



Critical Approaches to the Arts and Culture (9 credits)

  • Select 3 courses from subject CRIT

Scientific Inquiry Foundation Track (3 credits)

  • Select 1 course from subject SIFT

Critical Studies Electives (12 credits)

  • Select courses from subjects:
    • AHST (Art History), HIST (History)
    • FRCH (French), ITAL (Italian), LITT (Literature)
    • PHIL (Philosophy), RELI (Religion)
    • MATH (Math), SCIE (Science)
    • ANTH (Anthropology), PHIL (Philosophy), PSYC (Psychology), SOCI (Sociology)
    • STCU (Cultural Studies), STDA (Dance Studies), STGS (Gender & Sexuality Studies),
      STMU (Music Studies), STPF (Performance Studies) 
  • Select courses from  : Art History or Critical Studies Elective.

Electives (13.5 - 15 credits)

  • Graphic Design students who complete DESN*305 Business Writing & Communication must complete 15 free elective credits. Students who complete DESN*490 Design Internship must complete 13.5 free electives credits.