Graphic Design is a creative process that utilizes the combination of image, language, and technology to communicate a message. Students studying graphic design at CMU will learn the skills necessary to be effective visual communicators and prepare to be active and mindful members of the creative community. The graphic design curriculum provides students with a broad foundation of the history and theories of design, an understanding of contemporary issues facing design, experience in the development and application of conceptual ideas, and focused instruction in the use of typography, image making, and current technologies. These tools are then used to create work that communicates to a wide audience through multiple media including print, the web, and interactive media. Students are then prepared to enter professional practice where they will be able to apply their knowledge and become leaders in the field of graphic design. Students that graduate with a BFA in Graphic Design are able to work in a variety of areas in the design field including print, editorial, advertising, web, and interactive. Alumni of our program are employed around th​e state and across the country in all areas of design and serve a variety of industries, institutions and non-profits.

The Department of Art and Design has an active design student group that organizes speakers, workshops, and an annual trip out of state to visit professional design studios.  

Program Overview​

​​The art program curriculum at CMU meets the requirements for accreditation by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design and offers a variety of art courses that help students master artistic skills in drawing, painting, printmaking, or photography.

The course listings and requirements are taken from the 2017-2018 bulletin.

This degree program, which requires 78 hours in art, o ers art majors a rm foundation in basic courses such as drawing, design, and art history. This foundation not only provides a strong base for all specialized studio areas, but also prepares students to qualify for advanced degree programs.
Because Core Courses I comprise a foundation of courses that form the basis for all successive courses in the major, it is expected that students complete ART 106, 117, 119, and 125 before enrolling in any 300+ studio course. It is mandatory that all Art Majors register for and complete ART 096 for each semester in the program. Students should seek advising assistance from the department upon arrival to the university and should select a major advisor in their area of concentration at the beginning of their junior year, once they have been accepted into the program. Students must have an overall grade point average of 2.3 for all art courses counted toward the major. Courses taken on a credit/no credit basis, except for ART 096, may not be counted toward ful llment of requirements for the art major or minor.

Students seeking admission to the Graphic Design Concentration must, upon completion of ART 231, 235 and 349, submit a portfolio; no further Graphic Design Courses may be taken until accepted into the Concentration. Admission is limited. Students who fail to be ac- cepted are welcome to reapply the following year.

In addition to the general curricula, the candidate for the B.F.A. degree must complete the following requirements:

1. Sign B.F.A. degree with advisor in the Graphic Design concentra- tion.

2. Exhibit a cohesive thesis body of creative work and all responsibili- ties that are included in the exhibition.

3. Submit a nal portfolio to the Art Department including a resume, artist’s statement, visual documentation of thesis work, visual documentation list, and other supporting materials.

​ART 096
​Art Event Attendance 0(0-0)
​ART 106​Intro to Drawing 3(0-6)
​ART 117​Intro to Contemporary Issues in Art 3(3-0)
​ART 119​Design Foundations 3(0-6)
​ART 125​Digital Design 3(0-6)
​ART 283​Intro to Western Art, Part I 3(3-0)​
​ART 285Intro to Western Art, P​art II 3(3-0)
Select from the following:
​ART 175Fiber Structures and Weaving 3(0-6)
​ART 214Intro to Ceramics 3(2-3)​​
​ART 217​Introduction to Figure Drawing 3(0-6)
​ART 233​Introduction to Painting 3(0-6)
​ART 241​Introduction to Photography 3(0-6)
​ART 251​Introduction to Printmaking 3(0-6)
​ART 261​Introduction to Sculpture 3(0-6)
You may choose to take ART 341, 363, and 366, but may only count one of these courses toward the Core III requirement.

Select from the following:​​
​ART 28​7​Introduction to Non-Western Art 3(3-0)
​ART 312
​Special Studies in Art History 3-9(3-0)
​ART 317
​Digital Art History and Archaeology 3(2-3)
​ART 319​The Methods of Art History 3(3-0)
​ART 341History of Photography 3(3-0)​​​
​ART 363​History of Design: 1750-2010 3(3-0)​
​ART 366​Contemporary Design Issues 3(3-0)
​ART 380​Greek Art and Architecture 3(3-0)
​ART 381​Early Christian and Byzantine Art 3(3-0)
​ART 382/
WST 382
​Gender and Art 3(3-0)
​ART 383​Modern Architecture 3(3-0)
​ART 385​European Art from 1890-1940 3(3-0)
​ART 386​American Art 3(3-0)
​ART 387​Baroque Art 3(3-0)
​ART 388​Eighteenth-Century Art 3(3-0)
​ART 389​Art of the Ancient Near East and Egypt 3(3-0)
​ART 480​Roman Art and Architecture 3(3-0)
​ART 481​Western Medieval Art 3(3-0)​
​ART 482​Italian Renaissance Art 3(3-0)
​ART 483​Nineteenth Century European Art 3(3-0)
​ART 485​Art After 1945 3(3-0)
​ART 486​Independent Study in Art History 1-6(Spec)
​ART 488​Northern Renaissance Art 3(3-0)
​ART 489​Islamic Art 3(3-0)
​ART 495
​Art History Study Abroad 1-9(Spec)
​ART 580​Seminar in Ancient/Medieval Art History 3-6(3-0)
​ART 581​Seminar in Early Modern Art History 3-6(3-0)
​ART 582​Seminar in Modern and Contemporary Art History 3-6(3-0)
​ART 586​Special Topics Seminar in Art History 3-9(3-0)
​ART 589​Research Seminar in Art History 3(3-0)​​
ART 472Graphic Design Capston Experience 3(0-6)
ART 231Introduction to Graphic Design 3(0-6)
​ART 235​Logo and Identity Design 3(0-6)
​ART 335​Design Bureau 3(0-6)
​ART 349​Typography 3(0-6)
​ART 358​Web Design I 3(0-6)
​ART 363​History of Design: 1750 - 2010 3(3-0)
​ART 435​Professional Design Practices 3(0-6)
​ART 438​Motion Graphics 3(0-6)
​ART 449​Advanced Typography 3(0-6)
​ART 458​Web Design II 3(0-6)
​ART 535​​Digital Multimedia for Designers 3(0-6)
​Select any ART course except ART 114 or 126.


Degree Outlook​

JobMedian PayJob Growth through ​2022​
Graphic designer$44,150 per year7% (17,400 more jobs)
Art director$80,880 per year3% (2,200 more jobs)
Multimedia artist/animator$61,370 per year5% (4,300 more jobs


After being admitted to CMU, students interested in the graphic design program must complete an application to the Department of Art and Design. Applications are accepted once a year, and they are due the Tuesday following Spring Break​ by 5pm in the Art Office (Wightman 132).

BFA Application and Instructions



Three state of the art computer labs equipped with up to date software, scanners, and printers

Access to large format printing

3D printing

Small print studio that includes a variety bindery equipment​