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Graphic Design

Program in Graphic Design (B.F.A.)

Graphic Design Students


Design is for people. Design is communication. We discover design problems collaboratively and consider the context and appropriate platforms. We introduce design thinking, design research and a range of methods to design and develop strategies and context-appropriate solutions. We create a positive design impact with bright possibilities for the way people live in the world.

B.F.A. Graphic Design

Bring life to businesses and brands. Tell captivating stories across diverse media. Graphic designers interpret cultural and technological trends and engage audiences with dynamic, compelling and informative content through visual communication.

The School of Design offers a Professional B.F.A. (Bachelors of Fine Arts) in Graphic Design that comprises design studio, lecture and professional application. Graphic Design majors study visual communication theory and process in digital, print, time-based (animation), on-line and interactive media (web and app design). Areas of study include: design foundations, creative thinking, computer graphics, typography, photography, illustration, motion graphics, publication design, identity systems, interactive design, design research, animation, professional practice or internship, portfolio and a graphic design specific senior capstone course. The program aims to develop knowledge base for careers promote to professional practice, and student prepare a graphic design portfolio for use after graduation seeking positions in business and industry or graduate school, as well as nonprofit organizations.

Students complete 86 credits in design studies with 33 credits of institutional requirements and additional electives to reach 120 credits needed for graduation. Graphic design majors qualify for an art minor as part of their normal degree progress. Students may also pursue certificates/minors/majors or additional course work in other areas of study, such as: design studies, animation, film studies, art history, advertising, entrepreneurial studies, computer science and psychology.

Graphic Design Curriculum Chart
Design Studio - 86 credits; Institutional Requirements - 33 credits; Elective - 1 credit; Total - 120 credits


SDSU's graphic design offers the Bachelor of Fine Arts, which is the most prestigious bachelor's degree in the visual arts. The B.F.A. graphic design degree prepares students to develop both practical and conceptual skills and to integrate visual language with imagination and technology.


SDSU graphic design grads work at companies around the globe: IBM, Disney, Google, NBC Sports, Fame, Target, Colle McVoy, Little and Company, Mono, Epicosity, Daktronics, Lawrence and Schiller, Fresh Produce, Lemonly, HenkinSchultz, Janus Et Cie, Sanford, VVI, Paulsen and many more. Graphic design student portfolios are highly competitive and are recognized at national and international design competitions and exhibitions. 


Graphic Design Field Studies

Graphic design students interact with visiting professionals including:

  • The IBM Visual Design Team Leader
  • Leo Burnett Creative Directors And Art Directors
  • Victoria's Secret Creative Director
  • AIGA Medalist Rick Valicenti from Thirst
  • 50,000FT Co-Founder Michael Petersen
  • GRAMMY Award-Nominated Designers
  • SDSU Alumni
  • Pentagram Partner DJ Stout
  • and many more!


South Dakota State University is the largest university in South Dakota with a comprehensive program in graphic design. SDSU offers a rich academic experience in environment of inclusion and access through student-centered education and creative activities. The university provides multicultural experiences, innovative ideas and nurtures creative minds SDSU is home to students from diverse countries and has nearly 1,000 international students. 

Across the university, travel studies have provided SDSU alumni, friends and family with exceptional educational travel journeys to more than 50 countries each year. Each trip in the graphic design program is unique and defined by exclusive experiences that only SDSU graphic design travel studies can provide. Travel studies are an integral part of the graphic design curriculum, which enhance learning and prepare student designers to be globally competitive.


  • Seoul, South Korea
  • Tokyo, Japan
  • Beijing and Hong Kong, China
  • Toronto and Vancouver, Canada
  • Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Delhi, India
  • London, England
  • Helsinki, Finland
  • Rome, Italy
  • New York, New York
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Los Angeles, California
  • Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Portland, Oregon
Graphic Design Travel Studies


Graphic design faculty and the Office of Career Development are dedicated to helping students and alumni with career and internship searches, providing job search assistance and offering resources to discover their dream jobs. At SDSU, our relationship with you doesn't end when you graduate. As an alumnus, you can continue to use the extensive array of career services SDSU provides.

"Graphic design professors strive for progress of an individual student. i was challenged to be a better graphic designer every day." - Rachel Klein | B.F.A., graphic design, 2019

"I don't have to be great to start, but I start learning to be great from the design experts and professors." - Sam Tusha | B.F.A., graphic design, 2019


  • Rachel Klein, IBM
  • Tom Bates, Fresh Produce
  • Mitch Torbert, Fernson Brewing Company
  • Ladan Bahmani, Assistant Professor at Illinois State University
  • Marisa TenBrink, Freelance Designer
  • Hunter Murphy, Art Director, Figure Agency
  • Caitlin Pisha, Graphic Designer and Web Designer