BFA in Graphic Design

Units required for major: 78
Minimum units required for BFA: 121

Program Description

The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design has been developed to prepare students for professional practice and/or preparation for admission to graduate level study.

The course of study is a layered exploration that starts with fundamental principles of visual communication paired with an intensive introduction to the creative process. Exposure to multiple facets of two and three-dimensional design opens up the students’ ability to engage in interdisciplinary work. Each successive layer builds in complexity to encompass technical, conceptual, and research challenges that run concurrently with a series of classes devoted to professional practice. Historical perspective and ethical concerns are addressed throughout the curriculum. A series of curated electives provide an additional conduit for students to explore possible interdisciplinary connections in their future design practice. The programs goal is to provide the community with a comprehensive visual problem solver that has a strong aesthetic ability coupled with a clear understanding of the strategic and conceptual challenges facing them in practice.

Admission Requirements

The Graphic Design program at Sacramento State is one of the most highly sought-after programs in Northern California. Due to the large number of applicants, the program is officially impacted and enrollment in upper division coursework is subject to a supplemental application.

The application for admission includes completion of a specific set of required lower division prerequisites and submission of a portfolio. Portfolio specifications and application procedures are available on the Department of Design website. It is highly recommended that interested students speak with a Graphic Design advisor as soon as possible.

Minimum Grade Requirement

Students wishing to become Graphic Design majors must complete a series of required lower division courses with a grade of "C" or better and then must apply for admission to the program. 

Prerequisite Lower Division Course Requirements

When submitting an application with the required portfolio students must have completed or be enrolled in the following courses:

DSGN 4Design and Thinking3
GPHD 5Introduction to Graphic Design3
GPHD 20History Of Graphic Design3
GPHD 25Visual Basics3
GPHD 30Visual Basics II5
INTD 20Design3
INTD 25Design Fundamentals3
PHOT 11Digital Photography I3
PHOT 20The Photographic Self3
Total Units29

Technology Requirement

Students that have been accepted to the Graphic Design program, with the Department of Design, are required to own a laptop computer with appropriate software for upper division courses. Upon beginning upper division coursework this requirement must be met. Before purchasing, please consult your major advisor or the Department of Design Office for the specific minimum requirements for the laptop computer and software.

Program Requirements

Required Lower Division Design Core Courses (21 Units)
DSGN 4Design and Thinking3
GPHD 20History Of Graphic Design 13
GPHD 25Visual Basics3
INTD 20Design 13
INTD 25Design Fundamentals3
PHOT 11Digital Photography I 13
PHOT 20The Photographic Self3
Required Lower Division Major Courses (8 Units)
GPHD 5Introduction to Graphic Design 13
GPHD 30Visual Basics II5
Required Lower Division Art History (3 Units)
Select one of the following:3
Art, Religions, and Power before 1400
Art, Empires, and Cross-Cultural Exchange, 1400-1800
Global Modern and Contemporary Art
Traditional Asian Art
Modern and Contemporary Asian Art
Art of the Americas
Required Upper Division Courses (40 Units)
GPHD 120Typography I5
GPHD 125Graphic Design Systems I5
GPHD 130Typography II5
GPHD 135User Interface Design5
GPHD 140User Experience Design5
GPHD 145Typography II5
GPHD 150Graphic Design Digital Portfolio,Professional Practice5
GPHD 155Graphic Design Systems II5
Required Electives (6 Units)
Select two of the following:6
Introduction to Cultural Anthropology 1
Ethnographic Analysis
Culture Theory
Culture Change
Beginning Drawing 1
Intermediate Drawing
Beginning Electronic Art
Advanced Drawing
Digital Printmaking
Intermediate Electronic Art
Advanced Electronic Art
Media Communication and Society
Communication and American Culture
Introduction to Computer Science
Introduction to Internet Technologies
Introduction to Programming Logic
World Design and Visual Culture
Fieldwork in Graphic Design
Special Problems
Introduction to Computer Aided Design
Survey of Western Architecture and Interiors
American Design
Principles of House Design
Urban Design and Society 1
Principles Of Marketing
Marketing Research and Information
Buyer Behavior
Public Relations and Ethics in Business
Digital Photography II
Darkroom Photography
Photography, Inception to Mid-Century
Photography, a Social History
Intermediate Digital Photography
Intermediate Darkroom Photography
Total Units78

General Education Requirements1

Area A: Basic Subjects (9 Units)
A1 - Oral Communication3
A2 - Written Communication3
A3 - Critical Thinking3
Area B: Physical Universe and Its Life Forms (13 Units)
B1 - Physical Science3
B2 - Life Forms3
B3 - Lab (Note: Lab experience to be taken with one of the following: B1, B2 or B5)1
B4 - Math Concepts3
B5 - Additional Course (Any B to reach 12 units) - Take upper-division course to complete Area & upper division requirements.3
Area C: Arts and Humanities (6 Units)
C1 - Arts 30
C2 - Humanities3
C1/C2 - Area C Course 30
C1/C2 - Area C Course - Take upper-division course to complete Area & upper division requirements.3
Area D: The Individual and Society (3-9 Units)
Area D Course3
Area D Course 30 - 3
Area D Course - Take upper-division course to complete Area & upper division requirements. 30 - 3
Area E: Understanding Personal Development (3 Units)
Area E Course3
Area F: Ethnic Studies (3 Units)
Area F Course3
Total Units37-43

Graduation Requirements1

Graduation Requirements (required by CSU) (9 Units)
American Institutions: U.S. History3
American Institutions: U.S. Constitution & CA Government3
Writing Intensive (WI)3
Graduation Requirements (required by Sacramento State) (12 Units)
English Composition II3
Race and Ethnicity in American Society (RE)3
Foreign Language Proficiency Requirement 26