Graphic Design BFA

The Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Art with a major in Graphic Design is rooted in fundamental design principles, research, and applications while addressing current and emerging technologies through digital practice. The study of the historical and cultural context of the field broadens students’ knowledge and nurtures their creativity.

Program Objectives

Students learn design terminology, visual language theory, process and methodology, structure and craft, and industry-standard technologies and programs. Our specialized courses cover design for print, brand identity, illustration, interaction and web design, UI & UX, package design, and special topics courses addressing contemporary design issues and problems.

Coursework involves standards of professional practice and utilizing experimental thinking through varied design processes and research methods. The core of our program is the emphasis on developing a holistic skillset while honing a high level of craft. Success within the Graphic Design program requires students to be creative and willing to take risks. An entrepreneurial approach to work and life defines the spirit of our Alumni, who are design leaders in organizations such as The New York TimesWired, Adobe, and Google.

Admissions and Student Experience

The Graphic Design program is professionally accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Admission to the program is very selective. Admitted students to the School of Art, Design, and Art History are candidates for the Graphic Design major. After students complete Foundations, they must submit a portfolio of their sophomore-level work to be reviewed by a juried panel. Official admission into the Graphic Design program allows students to begin rigorous coursework at the 300 level. 

On campus, students can get involved in student clubs and organizations, such as student chapter of AIGA: The Professional Association for Design. There are opportunities to engage with visiting designers and exhibitions through the Duke Hall Gallery of Fine Art and collaborate with faculty and peers for shows at other JMU galleries. Graphic Design majors also have many opportunities to gain professional experience working for various JMU offices and organizations. Frequent field trips to design-related events, studio visits, guest speakers, and vetted internship opportunities provide students with exposure to top-notch professionals in the field. 

Studio Center

The Graphic Design program is housed in the Studio Center, along with Architectural Design and Industrial Design. The building is a hive of creative innovation and collaboration, providing graphic design students with the following designated spaces:

  • Large classrooms with digital projection
  • Seminar room
  • Dedicated classroom for interaction and web design
  • Large format drawing tablets for digital illustration
  • Professional quality scanners
  • iMac general computer lab with 22 workstations and Adobe Creative Suite installed
  • Print-production room with bookbinding/assembly equipment
  • Senior studio with designated desks for each student entering their senior year
  • Mobile print stations
  • Access to a books-arts room with bookmaking and letterpress
Hardware and Software Requirements

SADAH's programs require all students to have a laptop computer equipped with and capable of running any necessary software. SADAH considers a laptop an essential tool for total participation in classes and content. Read more about SADAH's hardware and software requirements.

Suggested Specifications

Operating System (OS) 

Storage (GB) 

Screen Size (IN) 

Random Access Memory (RAM) 

Graphics Memory (VRAM) 

Processor (CPU) 
M3 pro or Intel 13th Gen i7 / i9 

Required Specifications

Operating System (OS) 
MacOS or Windows 11 

Storage (GB) 

Screen Size (IN) 

Random Access Memory (RAM) 

Graphics Memory (VRAM) 

Processor (CPU) 
M3 pro or Intel 13th Gen i5

Required Software

Adobe Creative Cloud 
Microsoft 365* 





*Provided by JMU

Graphic Design Faculty

David Leicester Hardy

Associate Professor of Graphic Design


Carissa Henriques

Associate Professor of Graphic Design


Richard Hilliard

Professor of Graphic Design


Dawn McCusker

Graphic Design Area Coordinator, Professor of Graphic Design


SangJun Yoo

Assistant Professor of Graphic Design

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