BFA in Graphic Design

The Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Graphic Design provides a sequenced studio approach to design thinking and problem solving for visual communication, preparing students to thrive in a dynamic professional environment.

Freshman year foundation courses introduce visual concepts in two and three dimensions. Students specialize in graphic design coursework beginning in their sophomore year. Yearlong graphic design and typography studios emphasize form and communication. Junior-level graphic design and typography studios address authorship, audience, and medium. Students are challenged to think creatively and strategically by developing content, defining an audience, and determining an optimum communication platform. Senior year culminates in a thesis project where students articulate a personally driven design methodology to examine relevant and valued topics in contemporary practice. Electives complement the core graphic design and typography studios, affording the opportunity to specialize in areas of interest and providing the essential curricular agility to navigate in a changing practice.

Faculty members work closely with students to strengthen students’ technical and conceptual abilities through both carefully defined and open-ended projects. They also serve as an entry point into professional practice through their own studio practices and professional networks. Students are expected to actively participate in the Boston-based design community through organizations like AIGA in order to cultivate their own professional networks. The Graphic Design program benefits from cross-disciplinary engagement with the College of Communication and the Questrom School of Business, and the expertise and collaboration with creative individuals in various communication-driven fields.


All students entering as freshmen in Fall 2018 and after will pursue coursework in the BU Hub, a general education program that is integrated into the entire undergraduate experience. BU Hub requirements are flexible and can be satisfied in many different ways, through coursework in and beyond the major and, in some cases, through co-curricular activities. Students majoring in Graphic Design will ordinarily, through coursework in the major, satisfy some BU Hub requirements in Philosophical, Historical, and Aesthetic Exploration; Diversity, Civic Engagement, and Global Citizenship; and the Intellectual Toolkit. Remaining BU Hub requirements will be satisfied by selecting from a wide range of available courses outside the major or, in some cases, co-curricular experiences.

Graphic Design Program of Study

The BFA requires 132 semester credits.

Graphic Design
Visual Arts Foundation Requirements
CFA AR 131 and 132 Drawing I 8 cr
CFA AR 141 Foundation Painting 4 cr
CFA AR 121 Foundation Sculpture 4 cr
CAS AH 111, 112 Art History 8 cr
Graphic Design Major Requirements 
CFA AR 225, 226, 381, 382, 483, 484 Sophomore, Junior, and Senior Graphic Design Studio (6 semesters) 24 cr
CFA AR 385, 386, 487, 497 Sophomore and Junior Typography Design (4 semesters) 8 cr
Photography: CFA AR 415, 508, or 515 4 cr
Graphic Design electives: 123, 502, 524, 530, 571, 572, 573, 576, 577, 581, 582, 587, 589, 593, 594, 595, 597 4 cr
Web/Interactive Design: CFA AR 581, CFA AR 582, CFA AR 589 (2 cr each) or CAS CS 103 (4 cr) 4 cr
CFA AR 580 History of Graphic Design 4 cr
Printmaking elective: CFA AR 250, 251, 270, 425, 447, 448, 451, 452, 517, 518 4 cr
BU Hub Requirements Outside Major and Electives
BU Hub requirements outside the major, including First-Year Writing Seminar (e.g., WR 120) and Writing, Research, and Inquiry (e.g., WR 150/151/152) 32 cr
Additional BU Hub requirements and/or Studio/General electives 24 cr
132 cr