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The Graphic Design Communication Major

The Graphic Design Communication major consists of a contemporary blend of a Liberals Arts education and applied technology. Graphic design students draw on their complete educational experience to create images and visual messages that are thought-provoking, well researched, and technically excellent.
A degree in graphic design communication prepares students for a career in a multitude of competitive creative industries. Successful candidates complete a portfolio of work that may be used as part; of an application for an advanced degree or for career opportunities.
The graphic design major recruits students who are creative, curious, and disciplined. Majors should be highly motivated and inventive individuals who like to work with technology but draw inspiration from a variety of academic, social, and environmental sources.


Majors pursuing the Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design Communication must satisfy the University Core Curriculum requirements and the College speech requirement, COMM 210. Specific requirements of the program are outlined below. In addition, majors must complete sufficient electives to total 120 credits. Majors are encouraged to apply electives taken outside the major toward a minor or a second major.
There are twelve courses in the graphic design communication major. Nine of the requirements are studio courses in graphic design, which are hands-on courses taught in the graphic design communication lab. A lecture course on the history of graphic design, one internship, and a two course sequence in one of the following areas is also required: anthropology, communication, computer information systems, or marketing. Graduating seniors display their work in the Senior Graphic Design Exhibition as part; of the Portfolio course (DSGN 450) to complete the major.
Required levels of academic achievement include a B average in all required graphic design courses.

Criteria for Admission

The requirement for entrance into the Graphic Design Communication major is a portfolio.
For entering freshmen, the portfolio process is managed through the Admissions Office. The options are a Standard portfolio of 18-20 examples, while the Targeted portfolio should consist of 10-15 examples including three assignments (all details may be found in the admissions section of this catalog or available at fcas/degree-offerings/graphic-design-communication). Multiple viewpoints are not considered as individual examples. Portfolios should include the student’s best work from a variety of mediums, not necessarily exclusively digital media that exemplify the applicant’s skills from craftsmanship to aesthetics to problem-solving. When in doubt, the Targeted Portfolio may be the best option. A student may opt for an in-person interview to show his or her portfolio to a faculty member which can be arranged through the Admissions office.
For students currently enrolled at RWU, application to the major may happen with a portfolio after satisfactorily completing the foundation courses – DSGN100 and DSGN110 – with at least a B-. Applications are accepted at the end of each semester and will be posted and announced in the labs. The requirements include examples of work (number determined by course level completion), an application form and a recommendation letter from a current or former graphic design faculty member. Students who apply in or after their sophomore year should be aware that the requirements for the major may require additional time at the University because of the sequential and progressive nature of the coursework.

Requirements for the Major

Core Courses:

DSGN 100 Introduction to Graphic Design Communication  
DSGN 110 Introduction to Typography  
DSGN 200 History of Design Communication  
DSGN 210 Advanced Design Communication  

Choose 3-300 level or special topic courses:

DSGN 300 Web Design Communication  
DSGN 310 Brand Identity  
DSGN 320 Publication Design  
DSGN 430 Special Topics in Graphic Design  
Note – Students must fulfill all of the above requirements prior to enrollment in DSGN 440
DSGN 440 Art Direction  
DSGN 450 Portfolio  
DSGN 460 Internship  

Choose one of the two-course sequences below:

Computer Information Systems

CIS 206 Computers and the Web: A First Course  
CIS 306 Computer and the Web: A Second Course  


MRKT 200 Principles of Marketing  
And any 300-level marketing elective


COMM 101 Introduction to Mass Media  
COMM 165 Introduction to Visual Communication  


ANTH 100 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology  
And any 200-level or above anthropology elective