Graphic Design (BFA)


Effective 1 June 2016 through 31 May 2017

Please see the Undergraduate Catalog Archives for PDF versions of past catalogs.

This program offered by Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts/Department of Art, Design, and Art History

Program Description

The BFA in graphic design degree integrates art and design based on studio practice and a comprehensive examination of the history and theories of visual studies. Through this trans-media approach, students learn to connect content with design in order to convey a significant message, individually and through collaboration with others. Students acquire technical knowledge, practical professional experience, and achieve an awareness of relevant ethical issues. Throughout the program, students learn how graphic designers can make a positive, sustainable impact on society by engaging in many different forms of cultural production, thereby promoting leadership through the development of innovative work in an ever-changing global community.

Students in the BFA program with an emphasis in graphic design fulfill the same core requirements as for the BA in studio art. In addition, they must complete 6 further credit hours in art history and criticism; 24 further credit hours in design courses; 3 credits of a practicum experience; and 3 credit hours with the BFA thesis.

This program is offered through the Department of Art, Design, and Art History in the Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts. Please see the Colleges, Schools, and Departments section of this catalog for further information.

Learning Outcomes

Successful graduates of the Art with an emphasis in Graphic Design program will be able to:

  • Express an individual, creative voice through an artistic practice that engages with contemporary global art and design discourse
  • Implement the formal vocabularies of art and design as a foundation for artistic dialogue
  • Practice drawing as a means to develop ideas
  • Draw upon the history of art and design as a wellspring for ideas, solutions, and meanings within one's own artistic practice
  • Analyze and discuss art and design through discipline-and emphasis-specific vocabularies and methods
  • Implement technical knowledge, skills, theory, and methods applicable to the field of graphic design in concept development, research, production, craft, and presentation
  • Employ design-specific ethics and values while engaging with contemporary issues in the field of graphic design
  • Practice innovation as a professional graphic designer

Special Requirements

Advanced standing as a major in the Department of Art, Design, and Art History is achieved by faculty evaluation of a portfolio of the student’s studio coursework during Major Acceptance Review. This evaluation is usually done during the first semester of the sophomore year or after a student has successfully completed 30 credit hours of study, providing the student has completed a minimum of 18 credit hours of studio coursework.

Following Major Acceptance Review, students are formally advised of admittance to the department as candidates for the BA program or are advised to resubmit their portfolios the following semester. Students whose portfolios do not receive a favorable evaluation when resubmitted are advised to seek another department for their major. The department notifies students of portfolio review dates.

Students must apply for BFA candidacy by completing the BFA candidacy form and presenting an acceptable selection of specialized work. This must take place one year prior to graduation. Successful completion of a written application and submission of a selection of work that demonstrates emphasis specialization, technical facility, and conceptual sophistication are required for acceptance. Students receive either written notification of acceptance or a recommendation to continue pursuing a BA after the portfolio and application are reviewed by the faculty of the Department of Art, Design, and Art History.

Degree Requirements

A minimum of 128 credit hours consisting of the following:

  • 84 required credit hours
  • Applicable Global Citizenship Program hours, as adjusted for Art and Design BFAs
  • Electives

Global Citizenship Program for Art and Design BFAs

  • FRSH 1200: First Year Seminar
  • 6 credit hours from courses designated ‘Roots of Cultures’ (ARHS 2200 or ARHS 2210 can fulfill GCP and major requirements simultaneously.)
  • 3 credit hours from courses designated ‘Social Systems & Human Behavior’
  • 3 credit hours from courses designated ‘Global Understanding’
  • 3 credit hours from courses designated ‘Physical & Natural World’ or ‘Quantitative Literacy’
  • KEYS 4XXX: Global Keystone Seminar

NOTE: Except where specified otherwise, the above courses must not also satisfy major requirements. GCP skills requirements may be fulfilled with the courses above, courses in the major, or electives. Arts Appreciation is satisfied in meeting the requirements for the major.

Required Courses

Core Distribution:

  • ART 1010 Creative Strategies (3 hours)
  • ART 1110 Introduction to Drawing (3 hours)
  • ART 1120 Principles of Drawing (3 hours)
  • DESN 1210 Design Concepts (3 hours)
  • DESN 1220 Design: 3-D (3 hours)
  • ART 2110 Figure Drawing (3 hours)
  • ART 2120 Intermediate Drawing (3 hours)
  • ARHS 2200 Current Art (3 hours)
  • ARHS 2210 Intercultural History of Art (3 hours)
  • ART 2900 Art Major Acceptance Review (0 hours)
  • ART 4020 Visual Arts Seminar (3 hours)

Studio course distribution (see below) (15 hours)

BFA-specific courses:

  • ART 3900 B.F.A. Review (0 hours)
  • ARHS courses at 3000 level or above (9 hours)
  • DESN 1500 Digital Visualizations (3 hours)
  • DESN 2200 Design Play (3 hours)
  • DESN 2300 Type Dialogues (3 hours)
  • DESN 2500 Design for Digital Portfolios (3 hours)
  • DESN 3200 Design Theory and Methods (3 hours)
  • DESN 3050 Topics in Design (1-3 hours)
  • DESN 3800 Professional Practice in Graphic Design (3 hours)
  • DESN 4200 Design for Good (3 hours)
  • ART 4800 Practicum (3 hours)
  • ART 4950 BFA Senior Thesis (3 hours)

Other Program Requirements

  • Students must complete a minimum of 15 credit hours of coursework selected from at least five of the following studio areas: ceramics, drawing, electronic and time-based art, painting, papermaking, printmaking, photography, and sculpture.

Recommended electives outside of Art, Design, and Art History:

  • ADVT 3500 Visual Communication for Advertising and Public Relations (3 hours)
  • ADVT 4040 Advertising Production: Print (3 hours)
  • ADVT 4040 Advertising Production: Internet (3 hours)
  • ADVT 4910 Advertising Campaign Production (3 hours)
  • INTM 1600 Introduction to Interactive Digital Media (3 hours)
  • INTM 2200 Visual Design for Interactive Digital Media (3 hours)
  • INTM 3200 Interface Design (3 hours)