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The Graphic Design Communication Major

Graphic Design is a professional discipline that synthesizes the creative process through distinct problem-solving methodologies, theories, and philosophies in order to develop an overall solution for a specific purpose and goal. A designer is curious about the world, interested in a variety of topics and typically is a life-long learner as they engage in research and analysis for every new challenge from different perspectives as critical thinkers and creative innovators. Therefore, the environment and academic expectations of a diverse plan of individualized study at RWU is an advantage for our graphic design communication graduates.
Our coaching methods integrate innovative teaching strategies to engage students in immersive, collaborative, and active learning in a contemporary blend of a liberal arts education integrating research, writing, and critical thinking skills with applied creative and technical skills. We expose students to the rigor and demands of a dynamic and rapidly evolving professional discipline on day one, in the foundation courses, and succinctly through the scaffolded curriculum requirements enabling students to discover methods that move from a designer as service provider to a designer as a cultural and economic collaborator.
We expose students to the practice and craft of Graphic Design on the ground level, assist in developing a portfolio in the foundation year that is continually evaluated through critique from professors and professionals alike, and encourage activity in the discipline through professional organizations and even immersive learning with community projects. Students who exhibit the propensity, proclivity, and passion for graphic design as majors will be mentored and must continue to meet base standards through evaluation in mandatory annual progressive portfolio reviews throughout their path in the program culminating in a final comprehensive portfolio and/or thesis. These mandatory reviews conducted by faculty and design professionals will typically occur at the end of each academic year for freshmen, sophomores, and juniors with a more intensive individualized critical analysis for students entering their final senior semester coursework. Any student who is not showing clear evidence of hitting certain benchmarks in the program, of growth in their work, or of continued development in technological skills will be notified in writing and mentored for a semester to improve their work for the next review.
At RWU, we recognize that many people may not realize the totality of the Graphic Design discipline until they have an opportunity to take a course. Therefore, we break down traditional boundaries allowing access to engage in the creative process in core concentration, minor and a Bachelor of Arts major. In order to receive the best advising and matriculate thru the program effectively, we encourage declaration of the major as early as possible either upon admission to the University or once enrolled in a foundation level course.


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.

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 Introduction to Web Development  
CIS 306 Web 2.0: Creative Expressive Web Sites  


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