Jun 22, 2021  
2019-2020 University Catalogue 
2019-2020 University Catalogue [Archived Catalogue]

Graphic Design, BFA

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Angela Riechers, Program Director



The UArts Graphic Design program offers a wide view of what a graphic designer can and should be in today’s world, and prepares students for employment in fields ranging from publication design to motion graphics to branding and more. Coursework fosters the development of well-informed design processes and problem-solving strategies for all forms of visual communication. Students learn to think critically, creatively, and experimentally, and to consider broader personal maps of experience and knowledge in pursuit of eloquent design solutions.

Our robust curriculum based upon critical thinking, design theory, technique, and history balances experimental with practical concerns to equip graduates for success as professional designers. Starting with the first year School of Design core experience, tailored to provide students with a solid knowledge base for rigorous design studies in years two through four, the program emphasizes formal aesthetic, theoretical, and analytical knowledge along with intense exploration of today’s rapidly evolving media landscape. Each year’s studies step up in complexity and scope to allow students to build upon previous learning. The program is cross-disciplinary, collaborating with other programs at the University and local arts organizations, non-profits, and social agencies as well.

UArts Graphic Design graduates know how to analyze what they see; how to speak about it; and how to develop meaningful concepts and generate compelling design narratives and solutions. They know how to promote themselves and their work, and how to land jobs that excite, challenge, and nurture them throughout their careers.

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.

Program Requirements (120 credits)

Critical Studies (30 credits)

Composition (6-9 credits)

Students are placed into one of the following composition sequences after the completion of a writing placement exam. Students who do not complete the exam may be placed based on standardized tests scores (if available) or high school GPA.

Critical Approaches to the Arts and Culture (9 credits)

  • Select 3 courses from subject CRIT

Thinking Through Science (3 credits)

  • Select 1 course from subject ANTH, PSYC, SOCI, or SCIE

Critical Studies Electives (9-12 credits)

Students who complete the developmental composition sequence complete 9.0 credits of CS electives; all other students complete 12.0 credits.

  • Select courses from subjects:
    • AHST (Art History), HIST (History)
    • FRCH (French), ITAL (Italian), LITT (Literature)
    • PHIL (Philosophy), RELI (Religion)
    • SCIE (Science)
    • ANTH (Anthropology), PHIL (Philosophy), PSYC (Psychology), SOCI (Sociology)
  • Select courses from  : Art History or Critical Studies Elective.

Electives (9 credits)

  • Complete 9 credits. This requirement is satisfied by any undergraduate course that isn’t required by the program.

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