David R. Hayworth School of Arts & Design
Graphic Design

B.A. Design Studies with Concentration in Graphic Design

The Department of Art and Graphic Design at High Point University offers a dynamic immersion into the graphic design profession by mixing art and design as important knowledge domains that influence each other. Research shows that creativity, play, and learning experimental methods develops cognitive connections and problem solving. Students will be exposed to contemporary and award-winning methods within the graphic design process.

The Department offers two degrees focused on graphic design. The BFA, concentration in Graphic Design is a professional degree and recommended for those seeking careers in the field of graphic design, while the BA in Design Studies, concentration in Graphic Design exposes students to essential core courses, but offers flexibility to those students seeking to combine a minor or other major to help them reach their individual career goals.

B.F.A. in Studio, concentration in Graphic Design, 72 major credit hours

The Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA), concentration in Graphic Design degree is a professional degree, and is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art & Design (NASAD). This degree is recommended for those seeking careers in the field of graphic design and prepares students as innovative professionals competing in a wide range of design-oriented fields. By emphasizing and maintaining high standards, our curriculum reflects the quality and competitive rigor demanded by recognized and respected design firms.

Graduates acquire thoughtful proficiencies based around four primary foundation learning outcomes, Process, Thinking, Making, and Connecting. Synthesizing processes and techniques, students create competitive portfolios through the application of practical, expressive, and experimental methods. Study includes courses in graphic design, typography, brand identity, illustration, web design, digital imaging, motion design, and portfolio development. Proficiency in Adobe Creative Suite will be acquired through our Apple Macintosh computer environment with large scale printers, Creative Innovation Lab, Tech Lab, lighting studio, and other tools for digital design.

The professional undergraduate graphic design curriculum culminates in a distinctive senior capstone program involving the creation of a professional portfolio and a series of original works produced by each Bachelor of Fine Arts degree candidate.

B.A. Design Studies, concentration in Graphic Design, 48 major credit hours (effective Fall 2020)

The Bachelor of Science (BA) in Design Studies, concentration in Graphic Design offers a four-year liberal arts degree. This degree is offered to those students wanting to expand their knowledge of Graphic Design and possibly to combine a minor or major program of study outside of the discipline. B.A. students acquire a foundation in design techniques, aesthetics, and history, while maintaining the flexibility to explore additional disciplines across the University. Design Studies students are introduced to outcomes in graphic design that surround Process, Making, Thinking, and Connecting. The B.A. degree’s flexibility makes it a particularly good choice for students who are considering a double major.

Students who major in Design Studies with a concentration in Graphic Design take an array of courses that are primarily digitally based. These courses will focus on artistic development, emphasizing the conceptual understanding needed to produce thoughtful, engaging and professional work. Students within this major will also challenge notions concerning the making, exhibiting and viewing of art and graphic design. The ultimate goal of the program is to foster a new theoretical and aesthetic understanding of art and graphic design that leads toward a unique creative vision.


Admission Requirements (Effective Fall 2020)

Students wishing to pursue a BFA in Studio with a concentration in Graphic Design, or a BA in Design Studies with a concentration in Graphic Design will submit a portfolio after completion of the freshman level foundation courses:

  • Design Fundamentals (ART 1050) and Drawing (ART 1060) – BA and BFA
  • Digital Art and Design (ART 1150) and Visual Literacy and the Design Process (GDS 1140) – BFA only

Upon successful completion of both courses and faculty review of the portfolio, students will be officially accepted into the major.

For Portfolio Review, students submit a portfolio of work that consists of selected projects from the freshman-level foundation courses. Faculty will evaluate the quality of the portfolio of work along with the student’s professional behavior (attendance, work ethic, ability to accept constructive criticism) and overall GPA. The program does not have a quota and can accept all students that meet the department’s standards. It is, however, unlikely that students will pass Portfolio Review if the student has below a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or a grade of C- or below is received in either of the two foundational courses. Students must pass both courses to be eligible to apply for admission into the major. Students may retake the course and reapply at the end of that semester; however, students may not apply to the program more than twice.

To graduate with a BFA in Studio with a concentration in Graphic Design, or a BA in Design Studies with a concentration in Graphic Design, students must have an overall GPA of 2.0 or higher per the University’s requirements.

What can I do with this major?

In the spirit of the liberal arts tradition, the Graphic Design program encourages students to supplement their Design Studies degree with a minor or even another major in order to create a trajectory that meets their individual professional goals. Students frequently pursue supplemental course work in strategic communications, business, art, and computer science. Past students have crafted the following career paths:

  • Graphic Designer
  • Communications Manager
  • Creative Director
  • Freelance Designer
  • Web Designer
  • Multimedia Developer

Opportunities unique to graphic design

  • Digitally-based courses with emphasis on artistic development and the conceptual understanding needed to produce thoughtful, engaging and professional work
  • The power to combine artistic ability with technical knowledge to create designs used in print and electronic media
  • Faculty focused on a one-on-one approach to develop each student’s artistic and expressive abilities
  • Well-known visiting artists, such as Sebastian Guerrini, are welcomed to campus each year to provide students with experience and perspective
  • A 25-station Cintiq drawing and design lab
  • A 16-station drafting and design studio
  • Two Mac digital arts labs with large format printers, including a 3D printer
  • A fully equipped darkroom for photography
  • Well-equipped 2-D and 3-D studios
  • A laser cutter that instantly cuts through materials such as wood, plastics and acrylics and etches designs into glass, aluminum and stainless steel

Opportunities for experiential learning

The graphic design department within the School of Art and Design has many opportunities for experiential learning, in addition to studios, exhibition spaces and labs including:

  • Art trip to NYC that allows students to tour world famous graphic design firms, such as Google, and meet with professionals
  • Study abroad opportunities in Italy and France
  • The HPU Sechrest Art Gallery that houses a notable permanent collection of 18th through 21st century American and European Art, as well as rotating exhibitions of various contemporary artists
  • The Deal Student Gallery tha displays rotating exhibitions of HPU student art

What are grads doing with this major?

  • 85% of May 2015 graduates were employed by December 2015
  • 81% of May 2014 graduates were employed by December 2014
  • 5% go to graduate school after graduation
  • 100% of 2015 graduates that applied to graduate school were accepted
  • 100% of 2014 graduates that applied to graduate school were accepted

*Knowledge rate: 95% for 2013; 89% for 2014; 100% for 2015.


The High Point Admissions Office is Located in Wrenn Hall.

Tours are available 7 days a week. Please contact us to schedule your visit.
(800) 345-6993
(336) 841-9216
(336) 888-6382 (fax)

Graphic Design and Digital Imaging at HPU

School of Art and Design Photos