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Professor Ziddi Msangi instructing graphic design students.

Graphic Design

Prepare for a career in graphic design by learning how to communicate visually.

You’ll develop your talents and skills to achieve a high level of professional ability, while pursuing your own creative goals. The BFA in Art + Design: Graphic Design will prepare you for the many career opportunities available in contemporary design practice.

The BFA is a professional degree with concentrated areas of specialization, so you will take more art and design courses than you would in a BA program. At UMass Dartmouth, you also have the advantages of a university education where you can diversify your studies and expand your career opportunities by exploring fields such as business, sustainability, writing/communication, computer science, and many more.

Our faculty—who are also professionals in their fields—will teach you how to:

  • research and analyze content as part of the design process
  • work within the context of the message, audience, environment, and technology
  • develop graphic translations such as symbols, books, posters, and interactive media
  • create art with a purpose

For the BFA in Art + Design: Graphic Design, you'll take 78 credits in design and related art courses, and 120 credits overall.

You will:

  • study the principles of design and communication theory
  • explore classical and contemporary typography
  • apply industry practices and collaborative work methods
  • engage in design thinking addressing human-centric perspectives
  • learn through community engagement on and off campus
  • consider cultural and environmental context
  • bridge digital and physical making experiences
  • solve visual, conceptual, and communication problems

Your projects in diverse media will include:

  • books and periodicals
  • corporate identity and branding
  • visual systems
  • interactive media
  • web design
  • app design
  • information design
  • typography
  • motion graphics and visual effects
  • packaging

As you progress through the program, you will develop a professional portfolio that represents your ability to design solutions to communications challenges.

You’ll work in newly refurbished studio spaces equipped with contemporary technology and equipment that’s among the finest in New England.

Computer requirement for CVPA majors

Course descriptions, schedules and requirements

The minor offers students the opportunity to accomplish the following:

  • understand the role of a graphic designer in business and communication industries
  • work with digital tools such as Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, HTML/CSS, Invision, and other mock-up tools
  • develop skills which will enable design problem solving, production
  • produce a portfolio of icon, packaging, poster, book design, with the opportunity to include web, app, and information design pieces

Most small- to medium-sized organizations seek employees who can meet multiple needs. This minor will result in a portfolio showing the ability for a graduate to bring additional design experience, skills, and knowledge to the workplace. Based on the courses chosen, this minor may build a portfolio that focuses on branding, web/UX/UI design, publication design, or a range of skills. However, a minor in graphic design will not prepare most students to enter the competitive field directly.

For the minor, you'll complete 18 credits. Two required classes provide students with experience designing basic projects and in Illustrator and InDesign. Four electives are chosen from a list of recommended digital, graphic design, and typography classes, allowing each student to build a portfolio aligned with their personal interests.

Note: Minors in this concentration may be required to have a laptop.

Graphic Design student work

Student success

Evan Grant Graphic Design '23
Evan Grant '23: Using creativity to solve problems

Senior graphic design major develops experience in the classroom, research, and the field.


  • Delin Design
  • Fresh Address, Inc.
  • Hasbro
  • Hill & Partners Branded Environments
  • ICA Boston
  • iRobot
  • Make & Co.
  • Next Mile Project
  • The Trustees of Reservations
  • Zeiterion Performing Arts Center

Graduate schools

  • Brown University
  • Cranbrook Academy of Art
  • New York University
  • North Carolina State University
  • Pratt Institute
  • University of the Arts
  • Vermont College of Fine Arts

Career placements

  • Alex and Ani
  • Arnold Worldwide
  • Bose Corporation
  • Boston Bruins / TD Garden
  • Brahmin
  • Catch Fire Creative
  • City of Boston
  • CVS Health
  • Digitas
  • EF Education First
  • Fidelity Investments
  • Game Seven Marketing
  • Grouper Design
  • Hasbro Gaming
  • Hill & Partners Branded Environments
  • KVH Industries, Inc.
  • Liberty Mutual Insurance
  • Matter Communications
  • Monotype Corporation
  • Monadnock Media Inc.
  • Puma
  • SmartPak
  • The Franchise Group
  • Uppababy

College of Visual & Performing Arts undergraduate mean starting salary:

NACE Data Collection of Class of 2022 Undergraduate Alumni

UMassD advantages

  • Internships: enhance your studies while gaining professional experience
  • Facilities: work with contemporary and historical tools; our computer and imaging labs feature industry-standard software and hardware workstations, printers, and scanners
  • CVPA Design Studio: work with real clients, cultivate community partnerships, navigate the business side of design, and produce professional work
  • Community: interact with professionals, alumni, and peers by attending guest lectures and workshops,  going on the annual trip to New York City, and participating in the Graphic Design Club


Expand your opportunities

Master of Fine Arts in Visual Design: Develop your personal voice and advance your technical skills with a master's degree. You can choose to specialize in digital media, graphic design, illustration, or photography.

Graphic Design faculty

Laura Franz headshot
Laura Franz
Lara Henderson
Lara Henderson
Michelle Bowers
Michelle Bowers
Spencer Ladd
Spencer Ladd
Yoon Soo Lee
Yoon Soo Lee
Ziddi Msangi
Ziddi Msangi
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