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Bachelor of Fine Art, Emphasis in Graphic Design

The Bachelor of Fine Art degree with an emphasis in Graphic Design focuses on design thinking, interactive and experience design, social research and practices, and professional production combined with strategic interdisciplinary relationships to cultural and historical investigation.

The program is a pre-professional, 4-year program plus an internship, which leads to diverse careers in the design field and graduate study in related disciplines.

Graphic Design Students


About the Program

Graphic Design is uniquely defined by the diversity of studio and academic courses available within the program. Interwoven with challenging multidisciplinary content in literature, philosophy, technology, business and science are courses that support print and screen-based communication, interactive and animated media, and in-depth work developing a range of technical, conceptual, and design process skills.

Students intending to pursue the BFA with emphasis in Graphic Design must submit an entrance portfolio and be accepted prior to taking 300 level Graphic Design studio classes. There are a limited number of seats available in the program.

For questions or to arrange a visit during the academic year please contact: MaryAnna LaFratta,, 828-227-2463.

Major Requirements

Students should enroll in the 200-level Graphic Design emphasis studio classes, upon acceptance of their entrance portfolio. These graphic design classes require successful completion of the Art Foundation studio classes: ART 131, 132, and 142.

A grade of C or greater must be earned in all required ART classes within the program. If this benchmark is not met in the Graphic Design Emphasis studio classes, the student cannot move forward in the program without retaking the course. Graphic Design students must maintain a 3.0 average in the following courses: ART 270, 271, 371 and 374, before enrolling in 400 level studio courses within the graphic design concentration. 

All required Graphic Design emphasis studio classes are sequential and must be taken in the semester in which they are offered. Graphic Design emphasis studio classes are only offered once a year. Getting out of sequence can delay graduation in the graphic design program. All 300 and 400 level Graphic Design Emphasis studio classes are for majors only.

Graphic Design Emphasis Studio courses require students to have a laptop that meets the system requirements for the Adobe Creative Cloud (all) applications, and an Adobe software license. Students use a range of the Adobe applications throughout the program.

Educational discounts are available for laptops (Dell and Apple) through WCU Information Technology, Technology Commons. Adobe also offers educational discounts for its licenses.

different works by students in the graphic design program hanging in a gallery


All BFA programs within the School of Art and Design require each student to formally apply with a portfolio of work. Students wishing to pursue a BFA with an emphasis in Graphic Design from WCU will need to submit an entrance portfolio during the spring semester of their Freshman year or the fall semester of their Sophomore and be accepted prior to taking 300-level Graphic Design studio classes.

Student work



The 5th Friday of the fall and spring semester. The Fall 2021 deadline is Friday, Sep. 24th. 


Students must submit a portfolio digitally via Slide Room

Graphic Design Portfolio Guidelines

The BFA program with an emphasis in Graphic Design requires all students to participate in an internship to graduate.

This requirement strengthens the ability of graduates to excel in competitive professional opportunities.

Student successes working within the design professions after graduation include employment as: graphic designers within design studios, healthcare and marketing, motion designers, animators, IT support technicians, web designers, and interaction and experience designers.

The School of Art and Design within the University is supported by a vibrant artist/designer lecture series including residencies and summer programs.

Recent visiting artists have included: 

Karen Britt, Art Historian
Douglass Grimmett, Graphic Design
Hoss Haley, Sculpture
Ann Hamilton, Sculpture/Installation
Molly Hatch, Ceramics/Painting
Shaurya Kumar, Printmaking + Painting
Eleanor Lupton, Graphic Designer
Mark Mothersbaugh, Conceptualist, visual artist, composer
Paula Scher, Designer/Typography
Buzz Spector, Printmaker
Suzan Szenazy, Design Advocate
Piotr Szyhalski, Graphic Design
Sarah Tangy, Curator
Clare Twomey, Ceramics
Sam Van Aken, Interdisciplinary artist
Lee Walton, Sculpture
Chakaia Booker
Raven Chacon



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