Graphic Design (BFA)


Effective 1 June 2022 through 31 May 2023

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

This program is offered by the Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts/Department of Art, Design and Art History and is only available at the St. Louis home campus.

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 transmedia 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 graphic design program 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; 30 further credit hours in design courses; 3 credits of a practicum experience; and 3 credit hours with the BFA thesis.

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.
  • 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

All Graphic Design majors must register for ART 1900: FIrst-Year Exhibition in the spring of their first year.  The First-Year Exhibition is an opportunity for students to display their work with their first-year cohort in a group exhibition with a public reception, offering an opportunity to consider their progress and direction, and celebrating their accomplishments.  DADAH faculty review the work and offer feedback.

All Graphic Design majors must register for ART 2900 DADAH Critique in the first semester after completing 18 studio credits. For traditional freshmen this will occur in the fall or spring of their sophomore year. For transfer students this will occur in their first semester at Webster, or when they have a combined total of 18 studio credits. The DADAH Critique is a review of student progress by DADAH full and part-time faculty held on one day during the fall and spring semesters. Following the review, students will meet with their advisor to discuss faculty concerns and recommendations as written on the evaluation form by the advisor during the review. In some cases a student may be advised to undergo a second review in the following semester. 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 a studio specialization, technical facility and conceptual sophistication are required for completion of the degree. Students receive either written notification of acceptance or a recommendation to resubmit after review of the portfolio and application are reviewed by the faculty of the Department of Art, Design and Art History.

Degree Requirements

For information on the general requirements for a degree, see Baccalaureate Degree Requirements under the Academic Policies and Information section of this catalog.

  • 70 required credit hours
  • Applicable University Global Citizenship Program hours, with accommodations for art and design BFAs
  • Electives

Global Citizenship Program for Art and Design BFAs

  • GLBC 1200 Global Cornerstone Seminar
  • 6 credit hours from courses designated ‘Roots of Cultures’ (ARHS 2200 or ARHS 2210 will 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. One course from above must be coded for the 'Ethical Reasoning' skill; other GCP skills requirements are fulfilled by DADAH core distribution courses. 'Arts Appreciation' is satisfied in meeting the requirements for the major.

Required Courses

Sec.1 Core Courses (18 hours)

  • ART 1010 Creative Strategies (3 hours)
  • ART 1150 Observational Drawing (3 hours)
  • ART 1310 Materials and Making (3 hours)
  • DESN 1500 Digital Visualizations (3 hours)
  • ARHS 2200 Current Art (3 hours)
  • ARHS 2210 Intercultural History of Art (3 hours)

Sec.2 Additional ART Courses (12 hours)

  • Elective ART credits in any studio art media (12 hours)

Sec.3 Additional History and Theory Courses (6 hours)

  • Elective ARHS credits at the 3000-level or above (6 hours)

Sec.4 Graphic Design Courses (36 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)
  • Select 3 courses from the list below (9 hours)
    • DESN 3050 Topics in Design (9 hours)
    • DESN 3100 History of Graphic Design (3 hours)
    • DESN 3500 Design for UX/UI (3 hours)
  • DESN 3800 Professional Practice in Graphic Design (3 hours)
  • DESN 4200 Design for Good (3 hours)
  • ART 4030 Senior Critique (3 hours)
  • ART 4800 Practicum (3 hours)
  • ART 4910  Senior Exhibition (1 hour)

Sec.5 Review Process (0 hours)

  • ART 1900 First-Year Exhibition (0 hours)
  • ART 2900 DADAH Critique (0 hours)
  • ART 3900 BFA Review (0 hours)

Recommended electives outside of Art, Design and Art History

  • ADVT 3600 Social Media Content and Development (3 hours)
  • ADVT 4910 Advertising Campaign Production (3 hours)
  • ANIM 1000 Animation I (3 hours)
  • INTM 1600 Introduction to Interactive Digital Media (3 hours)
  • INTM 3200 Interface Design (3 hours)
  • FTVP 1400 Graphics and Effects (3 hours)
  • FTVP 2400 Motion Graphics (3 hours)