Cover Photo Image

The major is a part of the School of Art, Design and Art History, an academic unit within the College of Visual and Performing Arts.

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

  • Articulate ideas and understand the fundamental elements and principles of graphic design while using correct terminology pertinent to the field.
  • Demonstrate a working knowledge of artistic methods, craft and formal structure as vehicles to enhance a solutions communicative value.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in both traditional and digital ways of making.
  • Develop diverse problem-solving methodologies that combine theory, research, analytical skills and conceptualization to create effective graphic design solutions.
  • Develop a professional graphic design portfolio reflective of one's knowledge and abilities that encompasses the contemporary design market.

The graphic design program objectives are enhanced by frequent field trips to design events, guest speakers, workshops and internship opportunities. Design students have an opportunity to engage with design leaders in the field through field trips, events and participation in a professional design organization.

Degrees Offered






Declaring the Major

New Freshmen and Transfer Students

All prospective freshmen, transfer or change of major students intending to major in graphic design must meet JMU admission requirements as stated in the Undergraduate Catalog. In addition to meeting JMU admission requirements, all students are required to submit a portfolio to the school's SlideRoom account ( There is a $10 charge for this submission. For transfer/change of major students, a statement that explains their educational and artistic goals is required; the educational/artistic goals form is located on the school's SlideRoom page. The submission of a portfolio is seen as evidence of a student's interest and potential for future success in art. It is also an opportunity for all students to be considered for a scholarship. All scholarship awards are based on merit and vary in amount, up to the full cost of tuition. It is advised that portfolios be submitted as early as possible for scholarship consideration.

Should a student desire feedback about their portfolio prior to submitting it to SlideRoom, the School of Art, Design and Art History will be offering portfolio feedback days. Portfolio feedback days will include an opportunity to meet with faculty, receive information about the Graphic Design major, and take a tour of the School's facilities. Students should register for the day they would like to attend by filling out an online RSVP.

Currently Enrolled Major Changers

See above.

Admission to the Major

Admission to the graphic design major is selective and competitive for a limited number of seats. Completion of all admission requirements does not guarantee admission to the major. Admission to graphic design is based upon completion of all prerequisite art courses and individual merit as determined by a faculty review of the art portfolio submitted in satisfaction of the course GRPH 208. Portfolio Review. All B.F.A. graphic design majors must register, participate in and pass the Portfolio Review before moving forward to upper level course work within the major.

Progressing in the Major

To progress in the graphic design major, students must be a declared graphic design major and have completed all lower-division (100 and 200 level) complete all of the following lower-division prerequisite foundation courses and introductory graphic design courses:

  • ART 102. Two-Dimensional Design
  • ART 104. Drawing I
  • ART 106. Three-Dimensional Design
  • ART 205. Foundations Seminar
  • ARTH 205. Survey of World Art I: Prehistoric to Renaissance
  • ARTH 206. Survey of World Art II: Renaissance to Modern
  • GRPH 101. Digital Media Design 
  • GRPH 200. Image Making
  • GRPH 206. Typography I

Students seeking official acceptance into the graphic design major must enroll in GRPH 208 and submit a portfolio representing work completed in GRPH 101. Digital Media Design, GRPH 200. Image Making and GRPH 206. Typography I. Students not admitted may reapply the following semester.

Portfolios developed as part of GRPH 208 are reviewed each semester prior to pre-registration. Students enrolled in GRPH 208 will be emailed at the beginning of the semester and will be informed of the exact time and location of the GRPH 208 portfolio review. Students not accepted to the Graphic Design major will have one opportunity to reapply in the following semester or may choose other majors within the School of Art, Design and Art History.

Graduation cap

Career Planning

A successful career and a meaningful life is what it’s all about. Whether it’s an internship, a great first job or a top graduate school appointment, JMU Dukes make their dreams ignite. You will, too.

Here are current openings available to JMU students.

Jobs for JMU Students
  • Please wait while this list loads...

This preview has limited results. Log in to Handshake to see the full list, try out additional keywords, filter by location, and apply for positions.

Internships for JMU Students
  • Please wait while this list loads...

This preview has limited results. Log in to Handshake to see the full list, try out additional keywords, filter by location, and apply for positions.

Back to Top