FB Pixel Skip to Main Content

Graphic Design

Bachelor of Arts

Degree Type



Art Department

Graphic design allows you to blend creativity and technology. From designing cutting-edge websites—to creating eye-catching logos, this field provides the opportunity to express your own creative vision in a variety of in-demand careers.

Program Overview

Master the ability to communicate through design.

In Western’s Graphic Design program, you’ll learn to acquire the creative and technical skills you’ll need to produce different kinds of media using professional tools and equipment. In small classes, attentive faculty will help you expand your conceptual abilities and improve your personal communication and presentation skills.

In the program, you’ll be encouraged to take cross-disciplinary studies as paired electives or independent projects to broaden your knowledge and expertise. You’ll also have the unique opportunity to participate in independent study courses that will help develop your individual interests in print production, illustration, fonts, package or web design and other creative or experimental directions.

Blending creativity and technology

Through a mixture of training and experience, the Graphic Design emphasis develops students’ creative and problem-solving capabilities while expanding technical and visual skills across industry-relevant media and materials.

Program Requirements

At Western, course rotations are crafted to encompass a variety of subject fields for a comprehensive education and versatile degree. For required courses and degree plans, visit the official University Catalog. Below is a general overview of courses at Western Colorado University related to this area of study.

Program Requirements

A minimum of 72 credits is required, including the 39-credit BFA Foundation Courses:

BFA Foundation Courses
ART 000Exhibition and Convocation Attendance (six semesters with “S” grade required)0
ART 119Foundation Drawing I3
ART 120Foundation Drawing II3
ART 171Foundation Design: Two-Dimensional3
ART 172Foundation Design: Three-Dimensional3
ART 173Foundation Design: Digital Art and Design3
ART 222Art History I3
ART 223Art History II3
ART 319Intermediate Drawing3
Art History (300 level)3
ART 400Artist's Portfolio/Senior Exhibition3
ART 491Seminar in Art3
ART 419Advanced Drawing3
Art History (400 level)3
Total Credits39

And the following 33 credits:

ART 246Introduction to Photography3
ART 257Introduction to Printmaking3
ART 270Introduction to Graphic Design and Illustration3
ART 271Typography3
ART 370Intermediate Graphic Design3
ART 375Intermediate Magazine Production (one semester required)3
ART 470Advanced Design and Illustration I3
ART 471Advanced Design and Illustration II3
ART 472Advanced Design and Illustration III3
COM 346Multimedia Communication3
CS 160Introduction to Web Design3
Total Credits33
Plan of Study Grid
Year One
ART 000 Exhibition and Convocation Attendance 0
ART 119 Foundation Drawing I 3
ART 171 Foundation Design: Two-Dimensional 3
ENG 102 Academic Writing (GT-CO1) 3
HWTR 100 First Year Seminar 1
MATH 105 Mathematics for the Liberal Arts (GT-MA1) 3
Gen Ed General Education 3
ART 000 Exhibition and Convocation Attendance 0
ART 120 Foundation Drawing II 3
ART 172 Foundation Design: Three-Dimensional 3
COM 202 Academic Writing and Inquiry (GT-CO2) 3
Gen Ed General Education 6
Year Two
ART 000 Exhibition and Convocation Attendance 0
ART 222 Art History I 3
ART 246
or ART 257
Introduction to Photography
or Introduction to Printmaking
ART 270 Introduction to Graphic Design and Illustration 3
Gen Ed General Education 6
ART 000 Exhibition and Convocation Attendance 0
ART 223 Art History II 3
ART 271 Typography 3
ART 370 Intermediate Graphic Design 3
Gen Ed General Education 6
Year Three
ART 000 Exhibition and Convocation Attendance 0
ART 257
or ART 246
Introduction to Printmaking
or Introduction to Photography
ART 375 Intermediate Magazine Production 3
ART Intro ART Elective 6
Gen Ed General Education 3
ART 000 Exhibition and Convocation Attendance 0
ART 319 Intermediate Drawing 3
ART 470 Advanced Design and Illustration I 3
ART 300-400 level Art History course 3
ART Intermediate ART Elective 3
Gen Ed General Education 3
Year Four
ART 000 Exhibition and Convocation Attendance 0
ART 400 Artist's Portfolio/Senior Exhibition 3
ART 471 Advanced Design and Illustration II 3
ART 491 Seminar in Art 3
ART Intro/Advanced ART Elective 6
ART 000 Exhibition and Convocation Attendance 0
ART 419 Advanced Drawing 3
ART 472 Advanced Design and Illustration III 3
ART 300-400 level Art History course 3
ART Intermediate/Advanced ART Elective 6
 Total Credits121

Courses listed in the Fall are only offered in Fall. Courses listed in the Spring are only offered in the Spring. With the exception of ART 286 Introduction to Watercolor, and ART 271 Typography and their Intermediate counterparts, Intro classes are exclusively offered in the Fall and Intermediate courses are offered exclusively in the Spring. Advanced offerings are available for all disciplines every semester.

ART 000 Exhibition and Convocation Attendance and ART 319 Intermediate Drawing are offered in both the Fall and the Spring.


Graphic Design

Mallory Logan


“I’ve always excelled in smaller environments, and Western fit that perfectly. The school attracts high quality professors because this community and the land around us is incredible."

Graphic Design

Barbara Szabo


“It’s not easy to balance these things [academics and athletics], especially when your goal is to make it to the Olympics straight out of college. “Balancing responsibilities became a good skill I learned for sure.”


Career preparation starts your first year at Western and is the primary focus of every degree.

Visit Career Services in Library 120 or online to discover your interests, define your goals, and land the career of your dreams.

The data below is automatically collected by Burning Glass Technologies, a firm that sources job market data and provides analytics. The statistics illustrate general trends in U.S. careers, but do not precisely represent every job and salary.


Alumni Association Future Alumni Scholarship

The Alumni Association Scholarship is a one-time scholarship of $1,000 and is applicable for the student’s junior or senior year at Western.

Any child or grandchild of an alumni is eligible to receive the Future Alumni Scholarship.

  • This is a one-time non-renewable scholarship of $1,000.
  • Only one Future Alumni Scholarship will be awarded per academic year.
  • GPA must be 3.2 or above (college).

Due date has been extended to April 1 for 2022. An Alumni selection committee, appointed by the Alumni Advisory Council, will review applicants and select awardee by June 1.


Alumni Legacy Scholarship

The Alumni Legacy Scholarship is a one-time non-renewable scholarship and is only applicable for the student’s first year at Western (incoming freshman or new transfer students are eligible).

Do you have a son or daughter looking at college? Have they considered attending Western? As an alumni, your son, daughter and/or grandchildren are eligible for certain benefits distributed through this scholarship, as follows:

  • This is a one-time scholarship of $1,000.
  • Nominee must be an incoming first-year student or new transfer.
  • The cost of orientation is reduced by half (a $45 value).
  • The admission application fee is waived (a $30 value).
  • GPA must be 2.5 or above (high school or college of transfer).

The applicant must fill out the application form found below. Application forms are accepted year-round. If the applicant meets the GPA guidelines, the scholarship will be awarded.


Mountaineer Alumni Recommendation Scholarship

The Mountaineer Alumni Recommendation Scholarship is a one-time non-renewable scholarship and is only applicable for the student’s first year at Western. This scholarship is not available to midyear transfers or students beginning in the spring semester.

Are you an alumni or employee of Western and know a prospective (or incoming) student who would be a great fit at Western? A recommendation from alumni and employees can support any new student and provide them a $500 scholarship their first year. (Western employees may not recommend a spouse or dependent receiving tuition benefits).

  • Any Western alumni/employee may nominate only one student per academic year to receive the $500 scholarship (distributed $250 per semester).
  • The scholarship is good for the first year only and is non-renewable.
  • The recommended student must be a full-time undergraduate student, attending Western for the first time.

The applicant must fill out the application form found here. The nominating alumni/employee must fill out the application form and submit the required documents by June 1. The recommended student must meet university admissions acceptance standards and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The Presidential Promise is guaranteed to students who have received a scholarship through the Denver Scholarship Foundation (DSF) and/or GearUp—and are eligible for a Pell Grant.

For students who meet these criteria, Western will cover the cost of tuition and fees through the combination of federal, state and institutional aid. For more information on the Presidential Promise, visit our scholarships page.


The Western Presidential Honors Scholarships, established by the Jack and Marilyn MacAllister Foundation shall be an elite class of scholarships awarded to Western’s highest achieving and most deserving students, celebrating the ideals of academic excellence and service to the campus and community. Recipients of the Scholarships will be members of the Western Colorado University Honors Program.

There are eight Presidential Honors Scholarships of $2500 each. Each year two new Presidential Honors Scholarships will be awarded to two incoming first-year students.

Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) or Central Plains (CP) tuition represents a substantial savings relative to normal, out-of-state tuition. Students eligible for the WUE or CP program will be charged 150% of Western’s total in-state tuition. For 2018-19, total in-state tuition was $8,934. WUE/CP tuition was $13,401. The WUE/CP discount is valued at $4,695.

For more information about the WUE and CP geography-based programs, visit Western’s Tuition Discount Programs Page.

Immediately upon acceptance at Western, every student is considered for a merit scholarship worth between $2,500-$4,500 per year for in-state students and $8,000-$10,000 for out-of-state students. The amount is based on the student’s GPA and ACT/SAT scores. Visit our Net Price Calculator at western.edu/cost to determine whether you qualify for a merit scholarship.

For more information about merit scholarships at Western, visit our scholarships page.

Get Involved

Take your education beyond the classroom.

Get the hands-on learning experience you need to apply your knowledge and launch your career.

  • Gallery Exhibits: Students have opportunities to display their work in numerous shows, exhibits, convocations and galas—on campus and in the community.
  • Pathfinder Magazine: An annual publication for student creative work.
  • Student Art League: A branch of the Council for Creative expression, the Student Art League is dedicated to providing visual arts, experiences, professional development, educational opportunities and outreach for Art students.

Creative expression

Graphic Design students develop skills in print production, illustration, fonts, packaging, web design and other creative or experimental directions.

News & Research

Western alums land ‘Dream Job’ with Ski.com

Western alums land ‘Dream Job’ with Ski.com

Read More about Western alums land ‘Dream Job’ with Ski.com

Department Information

Art Department

Department Chairperson

S. Chase Hutchison, MFA

Art Department Chair, Associate Professor of Art

Administrative Assistant

Anna Flynn

Administrative Assistant

Contact Information



Campus Location

Western Colorado University
Quigley Hall 202
1 Western Way
Gunnison, CO 81231

Take the Next Step

Apply to

Apply to

We understand that applying to a university can be daunting, which is why we make our admission process as simple and straightforward as possible. Learn more about applying to your program of choice at Western.



The best way to find out what makes Western such a special place is to experience it for yourself. Our student-led tours give you an insider’s perspective on everything from academics to student life.



We keep the Mountaineer spirit going strong within our alumni community. Whether getting together with friends at an annual event, making a donation or mentoring a student, graduates continue to play an important role in the Western community.



Want to discover more about Western? Request information today to get in touch with the admissions team.