Bachelor of Fine Arts in Design

Design studies at Mason Gross School of the Arts are grounded in graphic design and interaction design, reflecting the rapidly evolving nature of visual communication and technology. Students gain expertise in developing innovative ways of communicating ideas in a wide range of concrete and dynamic media. They acquire skills in typography, publication design, coding, and data visualization, while shaping content and form in both speculative and real-world situations.

The program encourages experimentation and a critical engagement with contemporary culture, equipping students for a lifetime of practice as digital and/or print designers. The curriculum prepares graduates to contribute to shaping the future direction of design.

Students wishing to pursue the BFA in Design apply to the BFA in Visual Arts and declare the Design major during their sophomore year, after completing the Art & Design department-wide foundation year.

Design studio courses emphasize context and audience in formats including posters, books, identities, mobile applications and web sites. In upper-level courses, students undertake real-world assignments that hone their sense of design in the everyday via an internship or practicum. Technically, students develop a grasp of the limitations and possibilities of a wide range of software and hardware. Seminar courses promote an understanding of design history and key issues and debates in contemporary practice.

Liberal Arts Classes

Students are required to take one additional academic elective (3 credits) chosen from a list of university courses, provided by the design faculty and relevant to design study or to a student’s interest area, such as: The Structure of Information [04:189:152], Social Media and Participatory Culture [04:567:275], Architectural Design [11:550:133], Media and Popular Culture [04:567:333].


This capstone course requires students to shape a body of self-initiated work in their final year that becomes public, whether in the form of website, book, an app, or other appropriate format.