Major in Graphic Communication

Students may seek an academic major in graphic communication.

The major in graphic communication provides students with a multidisciplinary portfolio-intensive study of the skills and technology needed to compete in today's rapidly changing visual arts and communication environments. The curriculum combines training in graphic art and design and computer graphics with studies in communication, including business-oriented writing and publication. Graduates are prepared for careers as graphic designers and related positions that require creative skills as well as an understanding of business communication.

Intended Program Outcomes

The student who graduates with a major in graphic communication should be able to

  • Produce tangible and effective visual communications that solve design problems by applying principles of composition, layout, color theory, and context. 
  • Plan, design, and execute multifaceted interactive solutions such as user interfaces, motion graphics, mobile applications, and Web designs. 
  • Gain a competitive edge in the market through professional presentation and practice, as reflected in the design portfolio. 
  • Use professional, analytical, collaborative, and technical design skills to support team goals, roles, and responsibilities. 
  • Define and direct creative strategy within the business environment by combining scope, messaging, and evaluation of success in an overarching design campaign and communicating with stakeholders about design goals.

Degree Requirements

Degree Requirements Update

Degree requirements are being updated for fall 2015. How does this affect you? Your degree requirements may vary depending on when you start your program.

A degree with a major in graphic communication requires the successful completion of 120 credits of coursework, including 33 credits for the major; 41 credits in general education requirements; and 46 credits in the minor, electives, and other degree requirements. At least 17 credits in the major must be earned in upper-level courses (numbered 300 or above).

Requirements for the Graphic Communication Major

Coursework for a major in graphic communication includes the following:

Note: Some coursework may require access to specific graphic design software. Students should review course descriptions for details.

Recommended Sequence

The following course sequence will fulfill all the requirements for the BA in graphic communication. Coursework for the major is indicated by Coursework for the major. Since some recommended courses fulfill more than one requirement, substituting courses for those listed may make it necessary to take additional courses to meet degree requirements. Students should consult an advisor whenever taking advantage of other options.

Graphic Communication Degree Courses

First Courses (to be taken within the first 18 credits)

Note: Placement tests are required for math and writing courses.

  • LIBS 150 Introduction to Research (1)
  • WRTG 101 Introduction to Writing (3)
    or WRTG 101S Introduction to Writing
  • MATH 106 Finite Mathematics (3)
    or a higher-level math course
  • Coursework for the major GRCO 100 Introduction to Graphic Communication (3)

Introductory Courses (to be taken within the first 30 credits)

  • HUMN 100 Introduction to Humanities (3)
    or other arts and humanities course 
  • BIOL 103 Introduction to Biology (4)
    or other biological and physical sciences lecture and laboratory course(s) 
  • ECON 103 Economics in the Information Age (3)
    or other behavioral and social sciences course 
  • Coursework for the major ARTT 110 Introduction to Drawing (3)
  • WRTG 293 Introduction to Professional Writing (3)
    or other writing course
  • IFSM 201 Concepts and Applications of Information Technology (3)
    or CMST 301 Digital Media and Society (3)

Foundation Courses (to be taken within the first 60 credits)

  • Coursework for the major ARTT 120 Design I: Arrangement and Color (3)
  • BEHS 103 Technology in Contemporary Society (3)
    or other behavioral and social sciences course (discipline must differ from first) 
  • NSCI 100 Introduction to Physical Science (3)
    or other biological and physical sciences lecture course
  • Coursework for the major ARTT 210 Intermediate Drawing (3)
  • HIST 125 Technological Transformations (3)
    or other arts and humanities/historical perspective course (discipline must differ from other humanities course) 
  • CMIS 111 Social Networking and Cybersecurity Best Practices (3)
    or other computing course
  • COMM 202 Media and Society (3)
    or other communication, writing, or speech course 
  • Coursework for the major GRCO 230 Typography and Layout (3)

Additional Required Courses (to be taken after introductory and foundation courses)

  • Coursework for the major GRCO 350 Intermediate Graphic Communication: Portfolio Development (3)
  • WRTG 391 Advanced Research Writing (3)
    or other upper-level advanced writing course 
  • Coursework for the major GRCO 354 Digital Media (3)
  • Coursework for the major GRCO 355 Digital Media II: Time and Motion (3)
  • Coursework for the major GRCO 450 Advanced Graphic Communication: Professional Branding (3)
  • Coursework for the major GRCO 458 Illustration (3)
    or GRCO 479 Motion Graphics or other supplemental course for the major

Capstone Course for Major (to be taken after all other courses for the major)

Coursework for the major GRCO 495 Graphic Communication Portfolio (3)

Minor and/or Elective Courses (46)
(to be taken in the last 60 credits along with required major courses)

Recommended Minors

Art, art history, or digital media and web technology 

Recommended Electives


Total credits for BA in graphic communication: 120

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