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Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design



Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) in Graphic Design

Example of student work, MoGreim Stationary

The graphic design program at JMU provides a professional education with an interdisciplinary approach. Program objectives for the graphic design student are:

1. Be able to articulate ideas and understand the fundamental elements and principles of graphic design while using correct terminology pertinent to the field.

2. Demonstrate a working knowledge of artistic methods, craft and formal structure as vehicles to enhance a solutions communicative value.

3. Be proficient in both traditional and digital ways of making.

4. Develop diverse problem-solving methodologies that combine theory, research, analytical skills and conceptualization to create effective graphic design solutions.

5. Develop a professional graphic design portfolio reflective of one’s knowledge and abilities that encompasses the contemporary design market.

Degree Checklist


The graphic design program objectives are enhanced by frequent field trips to design events, guest speakers, workshops and internship opportunities. While at JMU, design students have an opportunity to engage with design leaders in the field through our student-run chapter of the American Institute of Graphic Arts, the professional design organization.  

Admission to the graphic design program is selective and requires a portfolio review after completion of the introductory coursework. The reward for admission and completion of the program is significant as JMU graphic design graduates are considered valuable additions to creative teams across the U.S.  Our alumni are designers, art directors and leaders at the following: 

Deputy Design Director for Wired Magazine, San Francisco, CA 
Senior Art Director for The Atlantic Magazine, New York, NY
Senior Designer at The Martin Agency, Richmond, VA
Book designers at Penguin Publishing, New York, NY
Experience Design Lead at Adobe, San Francisco, CA
UX designer at Microsoft, Redmond, WA
Apparel Designer at Under Armour, Baltimore, MD 

In addition, our graduates are accepted to top graphic design graduate programs, such as RISD, RIT, VCU, and North Carolina State.

For Graphic Design computer requirements, visit the Computer Recommendations page at the JMU Bookstore.


Slideshow of Graphic Design Students' work


This award was created in honor of former JMU graphic design alum Rob Miller, class of 1997. Rob passed away in 2002. His parents, Dr. & Mrs. Martin Miller and his close JMU friend, Daniel Hoeck, committed to giving this award. This award is given annually to graphic design majors who are rising seniors and have shown outstanding accomplishments in their artwork as undergraduates at James Madison University

For additional information about the program or if you are a prospective or transfer student, please contact the program coordinator, Dawn McCusker, at 540-568-6500 or by email at



Dawn McCusker, Graphic Design Coordinator, Professor of Graphic Design
M.F.A. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; B.F.A. Eastern Michigan University 540.568.6500

Trudy Cole, Professor of Graphic Design,
M.F.A. Pennsylvania State University; B.F.A. K-12 Teaching Certificate, Tyler School of Art;
A.A. Bucks Community College 540.568.3488

David HardyAssistant Professor of Graphic Design
MFA University of Baltimore; BA University of Maryland Baltimore County 540.568.6833

Carissa Henriques, Assistant Professor of Graphic Design
M.F.A. Virginia Commonwealth University; B.F.A. James Madison University 540.568.3485

Richard Hilliard, Assistant Professor of Graphic Design and Illustration
M.F.A. University of Hartford; M.A. Syracuse University; B.F.A. Pratt Institute 540.568.6367