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Bachelor of Fine Art, Emphasis in Graphic Design

The Bachelor of Fine Art degree with Emphasis in Graphic Design focuses on design thinking, interactive and experience design, communication design, social practices, and developing professional production skills.

The program combines strategic interdisciplinary relationships with research, cultural investigations, and design and communication in a broad range of media. The 4-year program requires a summer internship, and prepares students for the collaborative, interactive, and participatory nature of careers in design fields and graduate study in related disciplines.


About the Program

Graphic Design is uniquely defined by the diversity of studio and academic courses available within the program. Interwoven with courses in liberal studies, are studio courses in fine arts, print and screen-based communication design, interactive and motion design, with emphasis on developing a range of technical, conceptual, and design process skills.

Our graphic design graduates work within diverse fields of interdisciplinary applications of professional design, including healthcare and marketing, motion design, animation, web design, interactive design, and design studio practices.

For questions or to arrange a visit during the academic year please contact: John Seefeldt at or 828.227.2946.

Major Requirements

Students interested in Graphic Design must successfully complete the Art Foundation studio classes: ART 131, 132, and 142, and submit an entrance portfolio. A limited number of seats are available in the program.

A grade of C or greater must be earned in all required ART classes within the Graphic Design program. If this benchmark is not met for the required graphic design studio classes, the class must be retaken before moving forward in the program sequence.

All required Graphic Design emphasis studio classes are sequential (prerequisites of the studio classes that follow in the sequence) and must be taken in the semester in which they are offered. Graphic design studio classes are currently offered once an academic year. Getting out of sequence can result in a delay of graduation.

Students pursuing the BFA with emphasis in Graphic Design are required to have a laptop that meets the system requirements for the current Adobe Creative Cloud software applications and an Adobe CC software license. Students use a range of the Adobe applications throughout the program. Educational discounts are available for laptops (Dell and Apple) through WCU Information Technology - Technology Commons. Adobe also offers educational discounts for its licenses.

Suggested computers are listed on the university Computer Requirements webpage, under College of Fine and Performing Arts Graphic Design Program.

different works by students in the graphic design program hanging in a gallery


Submission for CURRENT WCU students:

The BFA with Emphasis in Graphic Design requires each student to formally apply to the program. The entrance portfolio for Graphic Design is a separate process from applying to the university and selecting the BFA with Emphasis in Graphic Design.  

Students need to submit an entrance portfolio during the spring semester of their Freshman year. If a portfolio is not accepted, a student can resubmit the following spring in February. The Entrance Portfolio must be accepted prior to enrolling in Graphic Design emphasis studio classes, beyond foundation 100-level studio courses.

Deadlines for submitting entrance applications are in February of the spring semester. For more information contact: Professor Jillian Ohl: .

The next submission date is, February 7, 2025.

Applications are to be submitted here:


TRANSFER and INCOMING students (not yet accepted to WCU general Admissions) should submit a portfolio via Acceptd. Refer to the Prospective Students Information section on this webpage.

The BFA with Emphasis in Graphic Design requires all students to participate in an internship to graduate. This requirement strengthens the ability of graduates to excel in competitive professional opportunities.

Student successes working within the design professions after graduation include employment in: design studios, healthcare and marketing, motion design, animation, IT support technicians, web design, and interaction and experience design.

The School of Art and Design within the University is supported by a vibrant artist/designer lecture series including residencies and summer programs.

Recent visiting artists have included:

Karen Britt, Art Historian
Douglass Grimmett, Graphic Design
Hoss Haley, Sculpture
Ann Hamilton, Sculpture/Installation
Molly Hatch, Ceramics/Painting
Shaurya Kumar, Printmaking + Painting
Eleanor Lupton, Graphic Designer
Mark Mothersbaugh, Conceptualist, visual artist, composer
Paula Scher, Designer/Typography
Buzz Spector, Printmaker
Suzan Szenazy, Design Advocate
Piotr Szyhalski, Graphic Design
Sarah Tangy, Curator
Clare Twomey, Ceramics
Sam Van Aken, Interdisciplinary artist
Lee Walton, Sculpture
Chakaia Booker
Raven Chacon



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