At which campus can I study this program?
Any Penn State Campus
This degree is intended to prepare students for careers in graphic design. The program includes the technical skills and the creative and intellectual capacity essential to the practices of graphic design and is intended to prepare students for employment in design studios, advertising agencies, packaging, publications and corporate design, film and television graphics, and Web and interactive design.
What is Graphic Design?
Visual communication. Packaging. Information. Branding. Connecting people with ideas and products and places. Aesthetics. Typography. Web, mobile apps, and interface development. Visual marketing. Information architecture. Interaction design. Crafting user experiences in the built and digital worlds. Helping companies reach consumers. Making causes memorable and accessible. Carefully considered communication of concepts to diverse audiences. Making ideas beautiful and information exciting. Graphic design explores systems, methods, and strategies for integrating typography, imagery, and form into a visual language that creates value, elicits emotion, and fosters understanding. Simply put, graphic design is an extraordinarily rich toolset for communicating the human experience.
You Might Like This Program If...
- Bad typography on billboards and passing trucks drives you nuts
- You love words and images and colors
- You are engaged and creative, digital and analog
- You like art, advertising, psychology, and entrepreneurship
- You defy classification and don't like being stuck in ruts
Designers are agile thinkers and creators who blend concepts and craft, art and ideas. If you’re interested in everything and love challenges, graphic design could be your ‘thing.’
Entrance to Major
Acceptance into the Graphic Design major is determined by a portfolio review by faculty after the completion of GD 1S, GD 100, GD 101, GD 102, and IST 110 with grades of C or better in all of these courses. Typically, this review will take place in the second semester.
Incoming First Year Students
Incoming first year students must apply to Penn State. Students apply to the pre-graphic design program (AADES). Admission to the pre-graphic design program is based upon a review of your academic credentials. No portfolio required. Once enrolled at Penn State acceptance into the Graphic Design major (BDes) is determined by a portfolio review after the completion of GD 1S (1), GD 100 GA (3), GD 101(3), GD 102(3), and IST 110 GS (3) with grades of C or better in all courses. Faculty conduct this review at the end of second semester.
Change of Major/Change of Campus Students
Change of major/Change of Campus students interested in pursuing the Bachelor of Design Degree in Graphic Design must first gain admission to the pre-graphic design program in the College of Arts and Architecture (AADES). To be considered students must have a cumulative GPA of 2.50 and will submit an essay by February 15, 2020. Acceptance into the Graphic Design major (BDes) is determined by a portfolio review after the completion of GD 1S (1), GD 100 GA (3), GD 101(3), GD 102(3), and IST 110 GS (3) with grades of C or better in all courses. Faculty conduct this review at the end of second semester. Regardless of semester standing, this degree requires a minimum of four years to complete after acceptance.
Transfer students must apply to Penn State. Transfer students interested in pursuing the Bachelor of Design Degree in Graphic Design must first gain admission to the pre-design program in the College of Arts and Architecture (AADes). To be considered students must apply by February 15, 2020 and submit an essay. Acceptance into the Graphic Design major (BDes) is determined by a portfolio review after the completion of GD 1S (1), GD 100 GA (3), GD 101(3), GD 102(3), and IST 110 GS (3) with grades of C or better in all courses. Faculty conduct this review at the end of second semester. Regardless of semester standing, this degree requires a minimum of four years to complete after acceptance.
For the Bachelor of Design degree in Graphic Design, a minimum of 121 credits is required:
|Requirements for the Major||73|
3-9 of the 45 credits for General Education are included in the Requirements for the Major. This includes: 3 credits of GS and 0-6 credits of GA courses.
Connecting career and curiosity, the General Education curriculum provides the opportunity for students to acquire transferable skills necessary to be successful in the future and to thrive while living in interconnected contexts. General Education aids students in developing intellectual curiosity, a strengthened ability to think, and a deeper sense of aesthetic appreciation. These are requirements for all baccalaureate students and are often partially incorporated into the requirements of a program. For additional information, see the General Education Requirements section of the Bulletin and consult your academic adviser.
The keystone symbol appears next to the title of any course that is designated as a General Education course. Program requirements may also satisfy General Education requirements and vary for each program.
Foundations (grade of C or better is required.)
- Quantification (GQ): 6 credits
- Writing and Speaking (GWS): 9 credits
- Arts (GA): 6 credits
- Health and Wellness (GHW): 3 credits
- Humanities (GH): 6 credits
- Social and Behavioral Sciences (GS): 6 credits
- Natural Sciences (GN): 9 credits
Integrative Studies (may also complete a Knowledge Domain requirement)
- Inter-Domain or Approved Linked Courses: 6 credits
University Degree Requirements
First Year Engagement
All students enrolled in a college or the Division of Undergraduate Studies at University Park, and the World Campus are required to take 1 to 3 credits of the First-Year Seminar, as specified by their college First-Year Engagement Plan.
Other Penn State colleges and campuses may require the First-Year Seminar; colleges and campuses that do not require a First-Year Seminar provide students with a first-year engagement experience.
First-year baccalaureate students entering Penn State should consult their academic adviser for these requirements.
6 credits are required and may satisfy other requirements
- United States Cultures: 3 credits
- International Cultures: 3 credits
Writing Across the Curriculum
3 credits required from the college of graduation and likely prescribed as part of major requirements.
Total Minimum Credits
A minimum of 120 degree credits must be earned for a baccalaureate degree. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 credits. Students should consult with their college or department adviser for information on specific credit requirements.
Quality of Work
Candidates must complete the degree requirements for their major and earn at least a 2.00 grade-point average for all courses completed within their degree program.
Limitations on Source and Time for Credit Acquisition
The college dean or campus chancellor and program faculty may require up to 24 credits of course work in the major to be taken at the location or in the college or program where the degree is earned. Credit used toward degree programs may need to be earned from a particular source or within time constraints (see Senate Policy 83-80). For more information, check the Suggested Academic Plan for your intended program.
Requirements for the Major
A grade of C or better is required for all courses in the major. To graduate, a student enrolled in the major must earn at least a C grade in each course designated by the major as a C-required course, as specified by Senate Policy 82-44.
|Prescribed Courses: Require a grade of C or better|
|GD 1S||First-Year Seminar in Graphic Design||1|
|GD 100||Introduction to Graphic Design||3|
|GD 101||Thinking Creatively: Defining Problems, Solving Problems, and Generating Ideas in Graphic Design||3|
|GD 102||Introductory Design Studio||3|
|GD 200||Graphic Design Studio I||3|
|GD 202||The History of Graphic Design||3|
|GD 203||Advanced Typography||3|
|GD 300||Design Photography||4|
|GD 301||Experience Design Process + Methods||4|
|GD 302||Applied Communication||4|
|GD 303||Applied Experience Design||4|
|GD 400||Time and Sequence||4|
|GD 402||Senior Problems||4|
|IST 110||Information, People and Technology||3|
|IST 250||Introduction to Web Design and Development||3|
|IST 256||Programming for the Web||3|
|PHOTO 200||Photo Studio I||3|
|Additional Courses: Require a grade of C or better|
|Select 6 credits from History of the Arts coursework, which may be counted toward General Education Arts requirement.||6|
|Select two of the following:||6|
The objectives of the university’s academic advising program are to help advisees identify and achieve their academic goals, to promote their intellectual discovery, and to encourage students to take advantage of both in-and out-of class educational opportunities in order that they become self-directed learners and decision makers.
Both advisers and advisees share responsibility for making the advising relationship succeed. By encouraging their advisees to become engaged in their education, to meet their educational goals, and to develop the habit of learning, advisers assume a significant educational role. The advisee’s unit of enrollment will provide each advisee with a primary academic adviser, the information needed to plan the chosen program of study, and referrals to other specialized resources.
Stuckeman School Undergraduate Academic Adviser
127 Stuckeman Family Building
University Park, PA 16802
Suggested Academic Plan
The suggested academic plan(s) listed on this page are the plan(s) that are in effect during the 2019-20 academic year. To access previous years' suggested academic plans, please visit the archive to view the appropriate Undergraduate Bulletin edition (Note: the archive only contain suggested academic plans beginning with the 2018-19 edition of the Undergraduate Bulletin).
University Park Campus
The course series listed below provides only one of the many possible ways to move through this curriculum. The University may make changes in policies, procedures, educational offerings, and requirements at any time. This plan should be used in conjunction with your degree audit (accessible in LionPATH as either an Academic Requirements or What If report). Please consult with a Penn State academic adviser on a regular basis to develop and refine an academic plan that is appropriate for you.
|ENGL 15, 15A, or 30‡||3||GD 102*#||3|
|GD 1S*#||1||Additional Course for Major (see list below)*1||3|
|GD 100*‡#||3||General Education Course||3|
|GD 101*#||3||General Education Course||3|
|IST 110#†||3||General Education Course||3|
|General Education Course||3|
|GD 200*||3||GD 202*||3|
|GD 201*||3||GD 203*||3|
|IST 250*||3||IST 256*||3|
|Additional Course for Major (see list below)*1||3||PHOTO 200*||3|
|General Edcuation Course||3||General Education Course||3|
|CAS 100A, 100B, or 100C‡||3||ENGL 202A, 202B, 202C, or 202D‡||3|
|GD 300*||4||GD 302*||4|
|GD 301*||4||GD 303*||4|
|General Education Course||3||Additional Course for Major (see list below)*1||3|
|General Education Course||3|
|GD 400*||4||GD 402*||4|
|GD 495*||3||Additional Course for Major (see list below)*1||3|
|General Education Course (GHW)||1.5||General Education Course (GHW)||1.5|
|Total Credits 121|
Course requires a grade of C or better for the major
Course requires a grade of C or better for General Education
Course is an Entrance to Major requirement
Course satisfies General Education and degree requirement
ADDITIONAL COURSE FOR MAJOR SELECTION (12 credits)
University Requirements and General Education Notes:
US and IL are abbreviations used to designate courses that satisfy University Requirements (United States and International Cultures).
W, M, X, and Y are the suffixes at the end of a course number used to designate courses that satisfy University Writing Across the Curriculum requirement.
GWS, GQ, GHW, GN, GA, GH, and GS are abbreviations used to identify General Education program courses. General Education includes Foundations (GWS and GQ) and Knowledge Domains (GHW, GN, GA, GH, GS, and Integrative Studies). Foundations courses (GWS and GQ) require a grade of ‘C’ or better.
Integrative Studies courses are required for the General Education program. N is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate an Inter-Domain course and Z is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate a Linked course.
All incoming Schreyer Honors College first-year students at University Park will take ENGL/CAS 137 in the fall semester and ENGL/CAS 138 in the spring semester. These courses carry the GWS designation and replace both ENGL 30 and CAS 100. Each course is 3 credits.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:
Erica Quinn, Academic Adviser
Penn State Graphic Design (PS-GD) develops a pathway for placement in the nation's top creative firms. The undergraduate B.Design program will prepare you for broad opportunities in today's global marketplace. In addition to providing you with a robust foundation in technical skills, key concepts, methods, and tools, the PS-GD program will foster and hone your overall creative and intellectual capacity. Our degree prepares students for employment in design studios, advertising agencies, publishing, corporate design, and more, creating broadcast graphics, packaging and print products, websites, mobile apps, and interactive media. You also can choose to undertake specialized graduate studies.
All Penn State Graphic Design (PS-GD) students complete at least one summer internship with leading creative agencies around the country. This provides real-world experience and helps you build a professional network even before you graduate. PS-GD students enjoy a nearly 100 percent placement in top agencies. In addition to gaining active faculty and alumni connections nationwide, as a PS-GD student you benefit from an in-house career adviser who can connect you with professional opportunities. Graphic designers are in high demand across industries, and PS-GD graduates are active in such diverse fields as film production, web design, advertising, publishing, and environmental design.
Opportunities for Graduate Studies
While graduates of Graphic Design programs may opt to pursue Master of Fine Arts (MFA) programs in specialized topics or focus areas, professional practice opportunities are readily available to Bachelor of Design graduates.
The Penn State Graphic Design program is accredited through the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. NASAD is an association of approximately 323 schools of art and design, primarily at the collegiate level, but also including postsecondary non-degree-granting schools for the visual arts disciplines. It is the national accrediting agency for art and design and art and design-related disciplines.