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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, research and social practices, and developing professional production skills.

The program combines strategic interdisciplinary relationships with research, cultural investigations and design in a broad range of media. The 4-year program requires a summer internship, and prepares students for the collaborative, interactive, and participatory nature of careers in design fields 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 content in literature, history, technology, business and science, are courses that support print and screen-based communication, interactive and motion design, and in-depth work developing a range of technical, conceptual, and design process skills.

Our graphic design graduates work within diverse fields of professional design including: healthcare and marketing, motion design, animation, web design, interactive design, and design practice.

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

Major Requirements

Students interested in Graphic Design must first successfully complete the Art Foundation studio classes: ART 131, 132, and 142, and submit an entrance portfolio. A limited number of seats are available in the program.

A grade of C or greater must be earned in all required ART classes within the Graphic Design program. If this benchmark is not met students cannot move forward in the program without first retaking the course. Graphic Design students must maintain a 3.0 average in the following courses: ART 270, 271, 371 and 374, to continue in the program.

All required Graphic Design emphasis studio classes are sequential and must be taken in the semester in which they are offered. These classes are only offered once a year. Getting out of sequence can result in a delay of graduation.

Graphic Design Emphasis Studio courses require students to have a laptop that meets the system requirements for the current Adobe Creative Cloud software 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.

Suggested computers are listed on the university Computer Requirements webpage, under College of Fine and Performing Arts Graphic Design Program.

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


The BFA with Emphasis in Graphic Design requires each student to formally apply with a portfolio of work. Students need to submit their entrance portfolio during the spring semester of the Freshman year or the fall semester of the Sophomore year. Acceptance is mandatory prior to enrolling in Graphic Design emphasis studio classes, beyond ART 270 Communication Design.

Transfer students must submit their entrance portfolio prior to enrolling in the Graphic Design emphasis program. Students should contact the Graphic Design coordinator for submission details; portfolio criteria are detailed here: BFA with emphasis in Graphic Design Portfolio Guidelines

Incoming students can submit their entrance portfolio prior to enrolling in classes at WCU. Students should contact Mary Anna LaFratta at and John Seefeldt at New students for Fall 2021 may submit prior to the start of Fall semester OR wait until the September 24th portfolio deadline. Please email Professors LaFratta and Seefeldt to discuss options.

TRANSFER and INCOMING students should submit a portfolio via Acceptd. Refer to the Prospective Students information.


The 5th Friday of the fall and spring semesters. The Fall 2021 deadline Friday, September 24th, midnight.

Submission for CURRENT WCU students: 

Instructions for PowerPoint

BFA with emphasis in Graphic Design Portfolio Guidelines

The BFA with 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 in: design studios, healthcare and marketing, motion design, animation, IT support technicians, web design, and interaction and experience design.

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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