Department of Art and Art History Design

Undergraduate Program Overview

The Design Division shares the university's mission of contributing to the advancement of society through research, creative activity, scholarly inquiry, and the development of new knowledge.

Students enrolled in the NASAD-accredited B.F.A. and B.A. in Design degree programs receive individualized instruction from expert faculty and local industry professionals in small studio classes designed to develop their research, critical thinking, problem-solving, visualization, fabrication, project development, collaboration, and presentation skills. Design students also enjoy the low tuition and extensive resources of one of the world’s great public universities. The university’s rich core curriculum course offerings and wide array of design supportive courses in other departments foster breadth of vision and provide students with opportunities to design graphics, objects, interactions, systems, and services as members of interdisciplinary teams.

Students pursuing a design degree may opt to further broaden their perspective on the field and the world by declaring a double major, enrolling in a Bridging Disciplines Program, or studying abroad in their junior year. With careful planning, most students who enter the B.F.A. or B.A. programs as freshmen can choose one of these options and still complete their degree within four years.

Degrees Offered

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Design (B.F.A. in Design)

The B.F.A. in Design is a pre-professional degree program encompassing typography, image creation/manipulation, interaction design, and 3D design that is intended to prepare students for employment or graduate study in the field of design. B.F.A. students culminate their studies by completing one or more paid professional internships, undertaking a substantial capstone design project, and presenting their work publicly in the senior B.F.A. exhibition. By choosing from a wide range of pre-approved supportive courses in fields across the university, B.F.A. students acquire not only the visual discernment and technical skills necessary to gain entry-level employment or admission to graduate school, but also the capacity for research, critical thinking, writing, and speaking that enables them to rise to positions of creative leadership as designers, art directors, project managers, executives, and entrepreneurs.

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Design

The B.A. in Design is intended for students who desire a solid foundation in design techniques, aesthetics, research methods, history, and theory, but who prefer the flexibility and breadth of a liberal arts degree to the more studio-intensive and employment-oriented pre-professional B.F.A. degree. B.A. students enroll side-by-side with B.F.A. students in rigorous introductory design studio courses; however, B.A. students take fewer upper-division studio courses in exchange for foreign language study and more electives. The B.A. degree’s flexibility thus makes it a particularly good choice for transfer and add-/change-of-major students.

Portfolio Instructions

Your portfolio is an opportunity to show us your technical skills, your creativity and ideas, and what makes you unique. Submit 12 of your best works. Two of your submissions must be observational or perspective drawings.


How to Assemble a Strong Portfolio

1. Place your strongest works first.
2. Submit works that closely relate to your major of choice.
3. Crop out the negative space around the work; or photograph works against a neutral background.