Graphic Design - B.S.

Effective Fall 2020, Johnson & Wales University will complete its transition from a term calendar to a semester calendar. Starting with the 2020–21 catalog, all programs will represent course requirements in semester credit hours rather than quarter credit hours. Students who started on terms and will finish their degree requirements on semesters should consult with their assigned academic counselor in Student Academic Services or faculty advisor on semester transition academic planning.

The Graphic Design bachelor’s degree program combines visual design foundation courses and pre-professional educational experience to prepare students for careers in professional graphic design.

Upon completion of the program, graduates are expected to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the common elements, vocabulary, visual culture and history of design, and the interaction of these elements in modern context.
  • Apply professional processes to analyze a problem, conduct research, propose solutions, write specifications and execute delivery of a product.
  • Communicate, create and develop successful solutions to visual concepts reflecting the principles of visualization and design, typography, imagery, user-experience and aesthetics.
  • Use traditional tools, technology, materials and production methods of the discipline to create effective solutions to design problems.
  • Design solutions that respond to the physical, cognitive, cultural, social and/or ethical elements of the audience.

Students in this degree program prepare for a wide range of career opportunities in the creative industries where graphic design and web design intersect. Sample job titles in this rapidly changing professional market include graphic designer, digital designer, visual designer, UI/UX (user interface) designer, web designer, creative/art director, digital designer, interactive designer, multimedia designer and more. 

The academic and experiential focus of this program prepares students to solve various digital communication problems using visual design and digital tools. Learning is professionally focused and performance-based using current digital software and hardware in university labs and studios.

There are two major focus areas that students can choose from: (1) web design or (2) print design courses to fine tune skills sets in two major areas of the field. 

In their sophomore year, students assemble a comprehensive portfolio that demonstrates their increasingly sophisticated mastery of design. Students begin to identify and present themselves as independent designers through the development of focused identity that carries through to all of their presentation materials. 

The senior year is highlighted with real-world experience in the Design Solutions Team courses and through internships. Students develop competitive skills in project management by creating, managing and presenting graphic design projects for real-world clients in nonprofit organizations.

In Design Solutions Team I and II, senior-level students apply their knowledge to real-world problems through experiential education. Working from the John J. Bowen Center for Science and Innovation Design Center on campus, students provide design solutions for nonprofit organizations. Students hone their design skills by creating, editing and presenting visual collateral that includes branding/logo design; print peripherals, including pamphlets, posters, organizational identity kits and info graphics; video; motion graphics; and websites. Students work in project teams supervised by faculty.

Students complete the Senior Portfolio Assessment course, which guides them through the assembly of a comprehensive digital and physical portfolio that demonstrates their increasingly sophisticated mastery of design. With faculty guidance, students gather, revise and organize their best works as well as enhance their portfolios with additional advanced design projects. In the final week of the course, students present and defend their work to a select group of faculty and visiting industry professionals. This course is the springboard for students to start applying for internships and other experiential education opportunities that are required of the program. 

Other opportunities such as study abroad, national competitions and school exhibitions are also available to qualified students and complement the college experience.

Graphic Design 

A four-year program leading to the bachelor of science degree

Major Courses
GDES1000Foundation Drawing and Digital Tools4.5
GDES1020Design Perspectives4.5
GDES1030Principles of Composition & Design4.5
GDES1040Screen Design & Coding I4.5
GDES1050Imaging for Digital Media4.5
GDES1060User Experience and Content Design I4.5
GDES2020Motion Graphics I4.5
GDES2030Editorial and Publication Design I4.5
GDES2040Portfolio Assessment4.5
GDES2050Content Management Systems4.5
GDES3010Design Solutions Team I4.5
GDES3020Design Solutions Team II4.5
GDES3300Digital Video I4.5
GDES4050Senior Portfolio Assessment4.5
MCST1210Foundations of Digital Photography4.5
Major Focus
Choose one of the areas below for a Major Focus:13.5
Web Design
Screen Design and Coding II
User Experience and Content Design II
Introduction to Programming with JavaScript
Advanced Content Management Systems
Print Design
Print Production
Editorial and Publication Design II
Brand Identity Design and Development
Related Professional Studies
ADVC1010Marketing Communications4.5
ADVC2001Creative Concepts and Strategy4.5
CAR0010Career Management1
PRMG2010Introduction to Project Management4.5
Applied/Experiential Learning
Choose 9 credits of the following: *9
Directed Experiential Education **
Technical Solutions Team I
Technical Solutions Team II
College of Engineering & Design Internship ***
A&S Core Experience
Communications Foundation Courses 13.5
English Composition
Advanced Composition and Communication
Communication Skills
Integrative Learning 9
Two ILS courses, one at the 2000 level, and one at the 4000 level.
Arts and Humanities 9
Art History
One course from HIST, HUM‡, LIT, PHIL or REL
A Survey of College Mathematics (or higher, based on student's placement)
One course from BIO^, CHM±, PHY° or SCI
Social Sciences 9
Sociology I
One course from ANTH°°, ECON, LEAD, PSCI or PSYC
A&S Electives9
Two courses with an EASC attribute, at least one at 3000 level or higher.
Free Electives #
9 credits selected from 1000-4999 numbered offerings within the university. 9
Total Credits181.0

Visit Courses by Subject Code for a listing of all campus courses.

‡HUM courses are not offered in North Miami or Online.
^BIO courses are not offered in North Miami, Charlotte or Online.
¶CAD courses are only offered in Providence.
±CHM courses are not offered in North Miami or Online.
°PHY courses are not offered in Charlotte.
°°ANTH courses are not offered in North Miami or Charlotte.

#  In addition to classes, free elective credit can be applied to a number of options such as Directed Experiential Education (DEE), Internship, Minor or Study Abroad. For Accelerated Master's program students, up to three graduate-level courses may apply. Students are strongly encouraged to contact an adviser before scheduling free elective credits.

NOTE: Students must pass MATH0010 Basic Mathematics or have equivalent placement scores to enroll in required math course(s).

Students who graduate with a bachelor's degree must leave Johnson & Wales University with effective writing skills to fulfill the graduation writing requirement. These writing skills will be assessed at the completion of ENG1021 Advanced Composition and Communication. Students who have met the requirement of ENG1021 Advanced Composition and Communication or ENG1027 Honors Advanced Composition and Communications: Civic Discourse outside of Johnson & Wales University must fulfill the graduation writing requirement through successful completion of ENG0001 Writing Workshop.

In collaboration with academic colleges across all JWU campuses, JWU Study Abroad programs offer a variety of international options for major, minor, Arts & Sciences, and elective credit at many price points for students during the academic year and summer. Faculty-led, exchange, affiliate, and direct-enroll programs range in duration from one week to a full semester. Financial aid is applicable and scholarships are available. Visit the study abroad website for information, program descriptions and online applications.