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Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) Degree

The School of Graphic Design’s BFA program guides students through the nuanced skill-development process required to achieve excellence in typography, print, packaging, branding, user experience, and motion graphics. The faculty is comprised of nationally recognized professionals who challenge their students to reach their personal creative potential.

BFA Graphic Design Unit Requirements

Core 36 units
Major 42 units
Art Electives 9 units
Liberal Arts 45 units
TOTAL 132 units

BFA Graphic Design Degree Requirements

  • 3 Written Communication courses
  • 4 Art Historical Awareness courses
  • 1 Employment Communications and Practices course
  • 1 Historical Awareness course
  • 1 Quantitative Literacy course
  • 1 Cultural Ideas & Influences course

And:

  • Minimum 2.0 GPA
  • Minimum grade of C- in all core courses, major courses, and LA 108 Composition for the Artist

Additional Information

BFA Program Learning Outcomes

Undergraduate students will meet the following student performance criteria:

Critical & Creative Thinking

  • Identify appropriate audiences for defined problems
  • Demonstrate the resourcefulness and flexibility necessary to conceive appropriate design solutions

Conceptual Skills

  • Develop and prototype potential design solutions for specific problems
  • Create visual communications that are audience appropriate
  • Develop design solutions that function within a defined context recognizing physical, cognitive, cultural and social human factors

Formal Skills

  • Create visual communications demonstrating competent formal design skills based in design principles: composition, balance, hierarchy, harmony, and contrast
  • Create visual communications demonstrating competent formal design skills based in aesthetics: appropriate typography, composition and construction of meaningful imagery
  • Utilize the appropriate media, materials, tools, technology, platforms, and techniques to create visual communications

Professional Readiness

  • Effectively present and communicate ideas
  • Demonstrate the skills necessary for chosen career path through the presentation of a satisfactory body of work

Academy of Art University Learning Outcomes
Graduates of the Academy of Art University will demonstrate the ability to:

  1. Produce a body of work suitable for seeking professional opportunities in their chosen field of art and design.
  2. Solve creative problems within their field of art and design, including research and synthesis of technical, aesthetic, and conceptual knowledge.
  3. Communicate their ideas professionally and connect with their intended audience using visual, oral, and written presentation skills relevant to their field.
  4. Execute technical, aesthetic, and conceptual decisions based on an understanding of art and design principles.
  5. Evaluate work in their field, including their own work, using professional terminology.
  6. Recognize the influence of major cultural and aesthetic trends, both historical and contemporary, on art and design products.
  7. Learn the professional skills and behaviors necessary to compete in the global marketplace for art and design.

Associate of Arts (AA) Degree

The Graphic Design AA program provides students a core understanding of the fundamentals of design including the basics of design thinking, typography, layout, packaging, interactive, and branding. Graduates with an Associate of Arts degree are well equipped for a seamless transition into the Academy of Art University's BFA Graphic Design program.

AA Graphic Design Unit Requirements

Core 33 units
Major 15 units
Liberal Arts 18 units
TOTAL 66 units

AA Graphic Design Degree Requirements

  • 2 Written Communication courses
  • 2 Art Historical Awareness courses
  • 1 Employment Communications & Practices course

And:

  • Minimum 2.0 GPA
  • Minimum grade of C- in all core courses, major courses, and LA 108 Composition for the Artist

Additional Information

AA Program Learning Outcomes

Undergraduate students will meet the following student performance criteria:

Concept Development

  • Address design problems in a variety of media

Content / Subject / Research / Information Hierarchy

  • Present information to an audience in a manner designed to maximize comprehension

Synthesis of Content and Images

  • Successfully combine content (what is being communicated) and form (the vehicle) into a cohesive whole

Formal Design Skills: Typography

  • Demonstrate proficient typographic skills

Formal Design Skills: Composition and Color

  • Demonstrate command of the principles of composition (e.g., balance, contrast, rhythm)
  • Demonstrate effective use of color in their portfolio work
  • Use grids proficiently in individual layouts and throughout a design system

Drawing Skills

  • Demonstrate appropriate sketching skills

Clarity in Communication

  • Clearly and visually communicate ideas

Professional Readiness

  • Produce basic materials required for an entry-level job search

Academy of Art University Learning Outcomes
Graduates of the Academy of Art University will demonstrate the ability to:

  1. Produce a body of work suitable for seeking professional opportunities in their chosen field of art and design.
  2. Solve creative problems within their field of art and design, including research and synthesis of technical, aesthetic, and conceptual knowledge.
  3. Communicate their ideas professionally and connect with their intended audience using visual, oral, and written presentation skills relevant to their field.
  4. Execute technical, aesthetic, and conceptual decisions based on an understanding of art and design principles.
  5. Evaluate work in their field, including their own work, using professional terminology.
  6. Recognize the influence of major cultural and aesthetic trends, both historical and contemporary, on art and design products.
  7. Learn the professional skills and behaviors necessary to compete in the global marketplace for art and design.

Certificate

The four year certificate program provides students with a disciplined approach to the study of Graphic Design. Student portfolios will demonstrate the variety of skills and creativity developed. Graduates enter the field prepared for professional opportunities in Graphic Design. Students take electives and art history courses to round out their experience. Unlike the BFA program, students pursuing the Certificate program do not take liberal arts coursework.

Certificate in Graphic Design Unit Requirements

Core 36 units
Major 42 units
By Advisement 24 units
Art Electives 12 units
Art History 6 units
TOTAL 120 units

Graphic Design Certificate Requirements

  • Minimum 2.0 GPA
  • Minimum grade of C- in all major coursework

Certificate Program Learning Outcomes

Undergraduate students will meet the following student performance criteria:

Critical & Creative Thinking

  • Identify appropriate audiences for defined problems
  • Demonstrate the resourcefulness and flexibility necessary to conceive appropriate design solutions

Conceptual Skills

  • Develop and prototype potential design solutions for specific problems
  • Create visual communications that are audience appropriate
  • Develop design solutions that function within a defined context recognizing physical, cognitive, cultural and social human factors

Formal Skills

  • Create visual communications demonstrating competent formal design skills based in design principles: composition, balance, hierarchy, harmony, and contrast
  • Create visual communications demonstrating competent formal design skills based in aesthetics: appropriate typography, composition and construction of meaningful imagery
  • Utilize the appropriate media, materials, tools, technology, platforms, and techniques to create visual communications

Professional Readiness

  • Effectively present and communicate ideas
  • Demonstrate the skills necessary for chosen career path through the presentation of a satisfactory body of work

Academy of Art University Learning Outcomes
Graduates of the Academy of Art University will demonstrate the ability to:

  1. Produce a body of work suitable for seeking professional opportunities in their chosen field of art and design.
  2. Solve creative problems within their field of art and design, including research and synthesis of technical, aesthetic, and conceptual knowledge.
  3. Communicate their ideas professionally and connect with their intended audience using visual, oral, and written presentation skills relevant to their field.
  4. Execute technical, aesthetic, and conceptual decisions based on an understanding of art and design principles.
  5. Evaluate work in their field, including their own work, using professional terminology.
  6. Recognize the influence of major cultural and aesthetic trends, both historical and contemporary, on art and design products.
  7. Learn the professional skills and behaviors necessary to compete in the global marketplace for art and design.

Classes

Not ready for a degree program? Explore our course catalog and take classes based around your interests and schedule online or in our world-class facilities in San Francisco.

Undergraduate Degree Breakdowns

Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA)

Rooted in practical skills and professional knowledge, the BFA degree provides students with a disciplined approach to the study of Graphic Design. The general education program (Liberal Arts) supports major coursework by promoting the breadth of knowledge, critical thinking and communications skills necessary to analyze issues from multiple perspectives. Student portfolios will demonstrate the variety of skills and creativity developed. Graduates enter the field prepared for professional opportunities in Graphic Design.

Associate of Arts (AA)

The Associate of Arts degree provides students with an introduction to a particular field of study in art and design with a firm foundation in the concepts and problem-solving skills of that field. Once earned, the Associate’s degree can also be used as a stepping stone to the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. The Academy of Art University Associate of Arts degree is specifically designed for seamless transition into the Academy of Art University Bachelor of Arts degree and to apply for entry level positions in the industry.

 

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