BFA in Graphic Design

The Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in graphic design is the professional degree for students intending to enter the field of visual communication and design. The program provides courses in typography, illustration, photography, book design, advertising, package design, computer graphics and design theory.

The study of graphic design develops the ability to solve communication problems within a cultural, aesthetic, technical, ethical and economic context. Designers create visual messages that serve many needs including advertising, packaging, publishing, identity and branding, websites and digital graphics. These solutions require creativity and lateral thinking, as well as the technical, verbal and written skills to solve specific client problems in their communications.

Graphic design has its roots in a variety of disciplines, including sociology, linguistics, technology, and art and design history. The field has traditionally been linked to commerce and the ability of merchants and institutions to communicate with specific audiences. It is also related to philosophical, literary, architectural and artistic movements.

Throughout their course of study, graphic design majors assemble a professional portfolio of work to present to potential employers. Career options include advertising agencies, art studios, corporate art departments and freelance work.

The art foundation studies program and the preparatory coursework in the graphic design program enable design majors to meet criteria for application into the degree after the mid-program review. A limited number of students are accepted into the program based on portfolio review during ARTF 202. Students admitted into the program are required to complete the graphic design emphasis coursework during the four consecutive semesters of their junior and senior years. They are also required to enroll in ARTG 354 each of those semesters for a total of 4 credit hours.

Program Requirements

A minimum total of 120 credit hours is required for the BFA in graphic design and includes 62 credit hours of art and art history courses. Students must also meet the university’s scholastic, residence and general education requirements for graduation. A grade of C (2.000 grade points) or better is required in all major courses. A minimum GPA of 2.000 is required within the major. In addition to meeting the requirements of the WSU General Education Program, students in the BFA in graphic design must take the following courses. (One ARTH 125_ may count as a general education course.)

Course Title Hours
General Education
Select courses to meet General Education requirements 134-35
Art Foundation Curriculum
ARTF 102Introduction to Art and Design 23
ARTF 136Foundation 2-D Design 23
ARTF 145Foundation Drawing 23
ARTF 189Foundation 3-D Design 23
ARTF 202Mid-Program Review0
Art History
Select two different ARTH 125_ courses (one of which may count towards General Education)6
Select two different ARTH courses at or above the 300 level6
Introductory Graphic Design
ARTG 110Vector Applications1
ARTG 111Pixel-Based Applications1
ARTG 112Layout Applications1
ARTG 216Typography I3
ARTG 234Introduction to Graphic Design3
ARTG 235Graphic Design Concepts3
Graphic Design Program Studies
ARTG 316Typography II3
ARTG 334Exploration of Graphic Design Media3
ARTG 335Sequential Media3
ARTG 337Drawing for Visual Communication3
ARTG 354Professional Practices in Graphic Design (complete four enrollments)4
ARTG 434Graphic Design Campaigns3
ARTG 435Graphic Design Capstone3
ARTG 490Graphic Design Applications3
ARTG 491Interactive Design3
ARTG 481NInternship1
ID 300Design Thinking and Innovation3
MKT 300Marketing3
COMM 425Advertising and Promotional Writing3
Major Electives
Graphic design electives should be chosen with the approval of a graphic design advisor. In addition to any graphic design courses, students may also choose electives from other courses offered in the School of Art, Design and Creative Industries including studio arts, art education and art history. Students may also choose classes from other programs within the university including communication, business, entrepreneurship, marketing and technical theatre.12
Total Credit Hours120

Note: 45+ upper-division credit hours are required for graduation. Model programs of study are available in the School of Art, Design and Creative Industries office and at the ADCI website3.


Required major courses may also count towards General Education requirements. Students will need to select additional electives to reach 120 credit hours required for graduation with assistance from an advisor.


At least 6 credits of ARTF courses must be completed and students must be concurrently enrolled in the remaining ARTF courses to enroll in ARTF 202.


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Applied Learning

Students in the BFA in graphic design program are required to complete an applied learning or research experience to graduate from the program. This requirement can be met by completing four semesters of ARTG 354, as well as a sequence of four upper-division studio classes, including a capstone course ( ARTG 334, ARTG 335, ARTG 434 and ARTG 435).