The introductory levels of the design major concentrate on the fundamentals of good design: color, value, line, surface, texture, composition, and their practical application in graphic design.
The intermediate levels are designed to increase the studentís technical abilities (with specific emphasis on computer-based design), to develop conceptual processes and a professional work ethic, and to provide a broader historical and contemporary framework for the understanding of design. At the advanced levels, students aggregate their knowledge and skills in the development of a thoroughly researched and executed senior project, and the preparation of a professional portfolio, which demonstrates the breadth and depth of the studentís design skills for potential employers.
Students majoring in visual communication design will be subject to comprehensive reviews at the end of the sophomore and junior years of study. These reviews are intended to assess the progress of the student in the major, and to determine the likelihood of the studentís successful completion of requirements for the major. Successful completion of these reviews is prerequisite for continuance in the visual communication design program. Students failing any of the reviews may be asked to repeat specific courses and may be subject to removal from the visual communication design major. Please consult the department concerning specifics of the sophomore and junior reviews.
Since design and the fine arts are totally interdependent, the design curriculum requires substantial experience in the fine arts. Students select studio courses that dovetail and enhance the area of applied design: drawing, painting, photography, and media arts. Academic electives are critical, relating the design function to the practical concerns of the designer: communications, marketing, business, and psychology, for example.
Advanced qualified students may participate in supervised internships, for credit, with agencies and corporations in the region. These internships provide practical experience in the field of design.