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Admissions: Graphic Design Programs

Undergraduate Application Process

The following sections provide details regarding undergraduate application for incoming freshmenchange of major,  transfer students, Integrative Arts students, and minors.

Direct any questions about the application process or the Graphic Design program to gdesign@psu.edu.


First-Year Applicants:

Important Application Dates
Priority university admissions application date is November 30

Change of Major Applicants:

Submission deadline is February 15
Note: Applicants must have a 2.5 or greater cumulative GPA. The graphic design major is a four-year program beginning the fall semester of acceptance.

Step 1. Submit a design portfolio that includes 3-5 pieces of work.
Select three to five (3-5) samples of your best work for submission. These pieces do not need to be created specifically for submission, however it is important to show work that represents your current skills and experiences. Visuals may be graphic design or images from related disciplines, such as photography, illustration, drawing, painting, reproductions of 3-D media, time-based work, animations, etc. Please limit time-based submissions to a duration of 90 seconds.

Save still visuals in JPG, PNG, GIF, or PDF format. Videos should be saved as .m4v, .mov, .mp4, .wmv, .flv, .asf, .mpeg, .mpg, or .mkv files.

Step 2. Essay (500 word max)
Write a brief essay (500 word maximum) that explains one of your samples of submitted work. Please include what you are trying to communicate with your design/art and how your design inspired you to consider the graphic design discipline as a career. Save the essay in PDF format.

Step 3. Upload to SlideRoom

Once your portfolio and essay are completed, upload the digital files to SlideroomPlease create an account and follow instructions. Slideroom accepts videos that are up to 60MB in size in the above-listed format.

Transfer Applicants:

Submission deadline is February 15
Note: Applicants must have a 2.5 or greater cumulative GPA. The graphic design major is a four-year program beginning the fall semester of acceptance.

Step 1. Undergraduate Admissions Application
If you are enrolled in another university, you must submit an application to Undergraduate Admissions

Step 2. Submit a design portfolio that includes 3-5 pieces of work.

Select three to five (3-5) samples of your best work for submission. These pieces do not need to be created specifically for submission, however it is important to show work that represents your current skills and experiences. Visuals may be graphic design or images from related disciplines, such as photography, illustration, drawing, painting, reproductions of 3-D media, time-based work, animations, etc. Please limit time-based submissions to a duration of 90 seconds.

Save still visuals in JPG, PNG, GIF, or PDF format. Videos should be saved as .m4v, .mov, .mp4, .wmv, .flv, .asf, .mpeg, .mpg, or .mkv files.

Step 3. Essay (500 word max)

Write a brief essay (500 word maximum) that explains one of your samples of submitted work. Please include what you are trying to communicate with your design/art and how your design inspired you to consider the graphic design discipline as a career. Save the essay in PDF format.

Step 4. Upload to SlideRoom

Once your portfolio and essay are completed, upload the digital files to Slideroom. Please create an account and follow instructions. Slideroom accepts videos that are up to 60MB in size in the above-listed format.

Minor Applicants:

Important Application Dates
Minor application deadline is February 15

  1. Submit a design portfolio, poster, and statement of intent as detailed below.
  2. Upload your materials to SlideRoom. Please create an account and follow instructions.
  3. If you are an applicant from Integrative Arts and you have begun taking the Graphic Design sequence of approved courses, please check “advanced standing” in Slideroom when applying

Please feel free to contact our pre-minor adviser Joel Priddy with any questions you may have. 

The Design Portfolio for Minor Applicants

The minor portfolio will be evaluated by the Portfolio Review Committee which is comprised of graphic design faculty. The portfolio must consist of:

  1. Examples of visual work
  2. Original poster design
  3. Statement of intent

1.  EXAMPLES OF VISUAL WORK

Submit three (3) samples of your best work. These pieces do not need to be created specifically for this submission, however it is important to show work that represents your current skills and experiences. Visuals may be graphic design or images from related disciplines such as photography, illustration, drawing, painting, reproductions of 3-D media, time-based work or animations, etc. Please limit time-based submissions to a duration of 90 seconds.

2.  ORIGINAL POSTER DESIGN

 “An effective poster should attract attention, appeal to the intended audience, communicate a message to the viewer, and imprint itself upon their memory.”

Topic: Select a subject that relates to a particular social or environmental issue that you feel strongly about. Examples: Energy, Pollution, Deforestation, Hunger, AIDS, Health Care, Education, Racism, Animal Abuse, etc.

Medium: You may execute your design either digitally or in traditional media. You may use a computer program (Photoshop, In Design, Quark Express, etc.) or create your poster using conventional approaches like drawing, painting, collage, photo montage, cut paper; it’s up to you.

Submission Requirements: Images must be no larger than 8.5" x 11" and 10 Megabytes in size (20 Megabytes for PDF files). PLEASE NOTE: You must orient your pictures so that the design is right side up when you submit it.

There are a number of different applications that can help you resize your images. For example, Photoshop, PaintShop Pro, and PixResizer all have the capability to resize images and manipulate file sizes. SnipShot is a tool that can be used to resize and crop images online for a minimal fee. Photosize is a free tool that can be used to resize and crop images online.

3.  STATEMENT OF INTENT

Write a brief statement (no longer than one page) that explains your interest in the discipline of graphic design. How has design inspired you to consider the discipline as a career? What area of design most fascinates you?

Submit your visuals and written statement to the . Please create an account and follow instructions.

Submit a digital copy of your visuals in JPG, PNG, GIF, or PDF format.

SlideRoom accepts videos that are up to 60MB in size in the following file formats: .m4v, .mov, .mp4, .wmv, .flv, .asf, .mpeg, .mpg, .mkv.


Integrative Arts Students Wishing to Incorporate Graphic Design Coursework:

Important Application Dates
Submission deadline is February 15

Step 1. Cover letter (1 page)

Write a cover letter addressed to the graphic design faculty. Introduce yourself, briefly describe why you wish to incorporate graphic design coursework into your Integrative Arts program. You may also wish to reference the accompanying essay and how it supports your application.

Step 2. Essay (3-4 pages)

Write a succinct and compelling essay telling us:

  • What aspects of this diverse profession most interest you
  • What traits and accomplishments (skills, creativity, advocacy, innovations) you possess that show why you’re suited to pursuing graphic design

Step 3. Upload to SlideRoom

Once your letter and essay are well-crafted, create separate PDF files and upload to Slideroom. Submit your materials to SlideroomPlease create an account and follow instructions.

Information for Integrative Arts Students Wishing to Incorporate Graphic Design Coursework

  • Courses available for approved Integrative Arts students: GD 100, GD 101, GD 102, GD 200, GD 201, GD 202
  • Integrative Arts students approved to take the 100-200 level Graphic Design sequence of courses do not have to complete the spring portfolio gateway for Graphic Design pre-major students.
  • Integrative Arts students approved to take the 100-200 level Graphic Design sequence of courses may be interested in the Graphic Design minor. Please speak with your adviser and contact our pre-minor adviser Joel Priddy for further details. 

Questions?

Graphic Design Adviser
Erica Quinn

Graphic Design Pre-Minor Adviser
Joel Priddy


Deadlines

The submission deadlines and additional instructions for first-year, transfer, change of major, and change of major and campus students are available here.

Additional Assistance

Technical assistance is available in SlideRoom. If you are unable to supply digital images through SlideRoom, or if you have questions about the portfolio process, please contact the Penn State Graphic Design Program by calling: 81.865.0345, or by emailing ndb2@psu.edu.

Upcoming Events

Oct 26 2019 - 7:00pm

Graphic Design Internship Show

Schedule a Visit or Request Graphic Design Program Information

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