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Bachelor of Design

Program Overview

The Bachelor of Design degree in Graphic Design is a four-year course of study exclusively offered at the University Park campus. The program provides students the technical and creative skills essential to the practices of graphic design and is intended to prepare students for employment in design studios, advertising agencies, packaging, publication and corporate design, film and television, and Web and interactive design.

Students interested in pursuing the Bachelor of Design Degree in Graphic Design must first gain admission to the pre-design program of the College of Arts and Architecture (AADes). Admission to the pre-design program is based upon a review of the application for admission with complete academic credentials.

Acceptance into the Graphic Design major (BDes) is determined by a portfolio review after the completion of GD 001S(1), GD 100 GA(3), GD 101(2), GD 102(3), and PHOTO 100 GA(3) with grades of C or better in all of these courses. Faculty conduct this review at the end of second semester. Applicants who are not accepted into the major may re-apply the following year but must realize that this course of action could delay their graduation by at least one year.

Students who apply to transfer/change into the program will need to submit for review a creative portfolio that includes solution to a design problem, three examples of existing visual work, and a written statement. Note that transfering from another location or major will require a longer stay of study. The program does not accept transfer credits for core required classwork.

For the B. Des. degree in Graphic Design, a minimum of 120 credits is required.

Resources

Study Abroad

Because of the highly structured curriculum of the Graphic Design program, graphic design majors who wish to study abroad during the Fall or Spring semester without delaying graduation are limited to one study abroad program, Studio Art Centers International (SACI) in Florence, Italy. SACI offers graphic design courses in the fall and spring that can be substituted for required first or second year courses at University Park. Consequently, Graphic Design majors must study abroad during either their first or second year.

SACI’s “Beginning Graphic Design” course can be substituted for Penn State’s GD 102. SACI’s “Intermediate Graphic Design” course can be substituted for Penn State’s GD 200, and, SACI’s “Typography” course can be substituted for Penn State’s GD 201. These courses are also beneficial to Graphic Design minors.

SACI is a four-year art school in the heart of historic Florence. In addition to a full compliment of studio art courses, SACI offers a selection supporting humanities courses (art history, Italian language, creative writing, and opera history) which can be used for General Education or General Education Arts requirements. For more information, go to: bit.ly/PennState-GD-SACI

Application Deadlines:
For Fall Semester: January 20th
For Spring Semester: May 1st
For Summer Semester: February 1st

For More Information:
Randy Ploog
Email: RandyP@psu.edu
Coordinator of International Programs
College of Arts and Architecture

Study Abroad Summer Options

A number of summer study abroad options are available in lieu of the SACI Florence programs. View information about study abroad summer options.

Curriculum (Graphic Design Courses) 

  • GD 001S First-Year Seminar in Graphic Design (1) An orientation to the historical, social, and professional context of design and an exposure to a variety of ethical, philosophical, and topical ideas from the world of design. Prerequisite: admission to the AADES program  
  • GD 100 (GA) Introduction to Graphic Design (3) A beginning level graphic design course. Instruction touches on the practice, theories, history and processes of the graphic design industry. 
  • GD 101 Thinking Creatively: Defining Problems, Solving Problems, and Generating Ideas in Graphic Design (2) An introduction to the theory and practice of defining problems, developing solutions, and generating ideas in design.
  • GD 102 Introductory Design Studio (3) A studio course in defining problems, solving problems, and generating ideas. Prerequisite: GD 001S and GD 101  
  • GD 200 Graphic Design Studio I (3) A beginning graphic design studio course. Instruction focuses on the practical and analytical process of creating graphic designs and their critical evaluation. Prerequisite: GD 102  
  • GD 201 Typography (3) A consideration of the word in relation to visual organization and its application to communication. Prerequisite: GD 200  
  • GD 202W The History of Graphic Design (3) A survey of graphic design, especially emphasizing influential movements, innovative designers and technological advances relevant to contemporary visual communication. Prerequisite: GD 001SGD 100GD 101
  • GD 294 Research Project (1-12) Supervised student activities on research projects identified on an individual or small-group basis. 
  • GD 295 Internship (1-18) Supervised off-campus, nongroup instruction including field experiences, practica, or internships. Written and oral critique of activity required. 
  • GD 296 Independent Study (1-18) Creative projects, including research and design, which are supervised on an individual basis and which fall outside the scope of formal courses.
  • GD 297 Special Topics (1-9) Formal courses given infrequently to explore, in depth, a comparatively narrow subject which may be topical or of special interest. 
  • GD 297A Introduction to Graphic Storytelling (3) A drawing and writing-intensive studio course exploring the visual language of comics and graphic novels. 
  • GD 299 (IL) Foreign Studies (1-12) Courses offered in foreign countries by individual or group instruction. 
  • GD 300 Design Photography (4) An investigation of graphic photography processes and how print technology affects the final appearance of a photograph. Prerequisite: GD 201 and successful portfolio review  
  • GD 301 Graphic Design Technology I (4) Theoretical and practical aspects of computer application to graphic design. Prerequisite: GD 201 and successful portfolio review  
  • GD 302 Applied Communication (4) Definition and concentrated involvement in problem/audience analysis, with emphasis on understanding symbol and image in evoking audience response. Prerequisite: GD 300GD 301  
  • GD 303 Graphic Design Technology II (4) Advanced application of digital technology as a medium of graphic design. Prerequisite: GD 300GD 301  
  • GD 304 Practical Communications (3) Practical design experience for students through design/publicity problems from the University and community non-profit organizations. Prerequisite or concurrent GD 300GD 301  
  • GD 310 Studio Apprenticeship (3 per semester/maximum of 6) Direct involvement in the creative process of the artist-teacher in the studio environment. Prerequisite: Junior or senior standing in Graphic Design. Prior approval of proposed assignment by instructor.  
  • GD 395 Internship (1-18) Supervised off-campus, nongroup instruction including field experiences, practica, or internships. Written and oral critique of activity required. 
  • GD 397 Special Topics (1-9) Formal courses given infrequently to explore, in depth, a comparatively narrow subject which may be topical or of special interest. 
  • GD 397A Advanced Typographic Systems (3) Advances knowledge of formal typographic systems. Investigates the communicative potential of emerging methodologies on language systems in visual culture. 
  • GD 400 Time and Sequence (4) Development of visual sequence as replies to graphic design problems. Prerequisite: GD 302  
  • GD 401 Package Design (3) Orientation to packaging designs as it relates to the consumer, client, and to societal and environmental concerns. Prerequisite: GD 302  
  • GD 402 Senior Problems (4) Development of visual replies to graphic design problems. Prerequisite: GD 400GD 401  
  • GD 403W Graphic Design Seminar (3) A seminar on subjects which relate to the field of graphic design. Prerequisite: GD 302  
  • GD 404 Book Design (3) Writing, designing, illustrating and production (printing) of a book. Prerequisite: GD 302  
  • GD 494 Research Project (1-12) Supervised student activities on research projects identified on an individual or small-group basis. 
  • GD 494H Research Project (1-12) Supervised student activities on research projects identified on an individual or small-group basis. 
  • GD 495 Internship (1-18) Supervised off-campus, nongroup instruction including field experiences, practica, or internships. Written and oral critique of activity required. 
  • GD 496 Independent Study (1-18) Creative projects, including research and design, which are supervised on an individual basis and which fall outside the scope of formal courses. 
  • GD 496H Independent Study - Honors (1-18) Creative projects, including research and design, which are supervised on an individual basis and which fall outside the scope of formal courses. 
  • GD 497 Special Topics (1-9) Formal courses given infrequently to explore, in depth, a comparatively narrow subject which may be topical or of special interest. 
  • GD 499 (IL) Foreign Studies (1-12) Courses offered in foreign countries by individual or group instruction.

Contact/Visit Info

Graphic Design Program
30 Borland Building
University Park, PA 16802
Phone: 814.865.0345
Fax: 814.863.8706
Contact: Diana Nolten