Graphic Design - B.S.

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 skill 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 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 Design 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, students provide design solutions for community partners. 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 infographics; 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. Students also show their work in the annual Senior Showcase Exhibit. 

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
GDES1000Drawing for Design3
GDES1001First Year Design Student Seminar1
GDES1020Design Theory and Practice3
GDES1030Vector-Based Design3
GDES1040Foundations of Web Design3
GDES1050Image Editing and Design3
GDES1060User Experience and Content Design I3
GDES2030Editorial & Publication Design3
GDES2050Content Management Systems3
GDES2060Portfolio Assessment for Digital3
GDES2061Portfolio Assessment for Print3
GDES3015Design Team I4
GDES3025Design Team II4
GDES3250Brand Identity Design and Development3
GDES3300Design for Video I3
GDES4050Senior Portfolio Assessment3
IDES1010Introduction to 3D Design3
Major Focus
Choose one of the areas below for a Major Focus:9
Web Design
Screen Design and Coding II
User Experience and Content Design II
Introduction to Programming with JavaScript
Advanced Content Management Systems
Print Design
Advanced Publication & Print
Package Design
Wayfinding & Environmental Graphics
Applied/Experiential Learning
Choose 6 credits of the following:6
Directed Experiential Education D
College of Engineering & Design Internship Ic
Technical Solutions Design Project
Related Professional Studies
ADVC1010Marketing Communications3
CAR0010Career Management1
FYS1020First-Year Seminar1
A&S Core Experience
Communications Foundation Courses 9
Rhetoric & Composition I
Rhetoric & Composition II
Communication Skills
Integrative Learning 6
Two ILS courses, one at the 2000 level, and one at the 4000 level
Arts and Humanities 6
Art History
One course from HIST, HUM, LIT, PHIL or REL
A Survey of College Mathematics (or higher, based on student's placement)
Statistics I
One course from BIO, CHM, PHY or SCI
Social Sciences 6
Sociology I
Honors Seminar: Social Inequalities
One course from ANTH, ECON, GEND, LEAD, PSCI, PSYC or RES
A&S Electives6
Foundations of Digital Photography
One course with an EASC attribute
Free Electives #
6 credits selected from 1000-4999 numbered offerings within the university6
Total Credits122.0

D Directed Experiential Education (DEE) opportunities are based on project availability with community partners and student eligibility. For more information, visit Experiential Education & Career Services (EE&CS). 

IcTypically, internships require a minimum of six credits. Students interested in a 9 or 12-credit internship can apply additional experiential learning and free elective credits, if available. Students are strongly encouraged to contact a faculty advisor before scheduling internship and free elective credits.

#  In addition to classes, free elective credits may be applied to a number of options such as internship, study abroad, Directed Experiential Education courses and courses in a specialization or minor as relevant. For Accelerated Master's program students, up to three graduate-level courses may apply. Students are strongly encouraged to contact a faculty advisor before scheduling free elective credits.

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

Note: Students must pass ENG0001 Writing Workshop or have equivalent placement scores to enroll in ILS 2000-level courses

In collaboration with academic colleges across all JWU campuses, JWU Global Study Abroad programs offer a variety of international options for major, minor, arts and sciences, and elective credit at many affordable price points for students during the academic year, break periods, and summer. Faculty-led, exchange, affiliate, and direct-enroll programs range in duration from one week to a full semester or full year. Financial aid may be applied and scholarships are available. Visit the study abroad website for information, program descriptions and online applications. Where will you go?