This is the preliminary (or launch) version of the 2024-2025 VCU Bulletin. Courses that expose students to cutting-edge content and transformative learning may be added and notification of additional program approvals may be received prior to finalization. General education program content is also subject to change. The final edition and full PDF version will include these updates and will be available in August prior to the beginning of the fall semester.

Astrid Kensinger
Associate professor and chair

Student learning outcomes

Upon completing this program, students will know and know how to do the following:

  • Prioritize making as a primary mode of investigation and exchange: Students will engage with labor as a physical and emotional activity that is fundamental to the design process. They will understand and practice design as a process that is not driven by assumptions, presumptions or preconceptions.
  • Understand that research is an essential component of the design process: Students will employ research as a critical lens to understand context and to validate the relevance of design decisions and processes.
  • Develop capacity to design in collaboration with others: Students will become equipped to participate in broad and diverse exchanges that expand the range and depth of design processes that are oriented to nonhierarchical learning and making.
  • Develop cultural literacy: Students will be cognizant of forces that affect the formation and reinforcement of meaning and value. These forces define who we are and how the decisions we make can cultivate the dignity of individuals and communities.

Degree requirements for Bachelor of Fine Arts, Graphic Design (B.F.A.)

Course Title Hours
General education
Select 30 credits of general education courses in consultation with an adviser.30
Major requirements
• Major core requirements
GDES 220Design Practices4
GDES 221Core Studio I4
GDES 222Core Studio II 4
GDES 231Theory Inquiry 3
GDES 321Core Studio III4
GDES 322Core Studio IV4
GDES 331Precedents Inquiry3
GDES 380Multi Studio I (taken twice)8
GDES 398Dialogues (taken six semesters)6
GDES 431Critical Inquiry4
GDES 440Synthesis6
GDES 480Multi Studio II2
Ancillary requirements
Art Foundation Program
ARTF 131Drawing Studio3
ARTF 132Surface Research3
ARTF 133Space Research3
ARTF 134Time Studio3
ARTF 139Project Studio2
or ARTF 138 Project Seminar
ARTH 103
ARTH 104
Survey of Art I
and Survey of Art II
6
Additional requirements
UNIV 101Introduction to the University1
GDES electives (300 to 500 level)8
Open electives
Select any course.12
Total Hours123

The minimum number of credit hours required for this degree is 123.

Electives

Course Title Hours
GDES 302Book Arts4
GDES 308Web Design4
GDES 356Studio Management4
GDES 391Lecture Topics in Design1-3
GDES 392Research/Individual Study2-4
GDES 403Design Activism4
GDES 404Typeface Design4
GDES 412Typographic Systems4
GDES 414Exhibition and Environmental Graphic Design4
GDES 418Design Center3-9
GDES 481Practicum4
GDES 491Studio Topics in Design1-6

What follows is a sample plan that meets the prescribed requirements within a four-year course of study at VCU. Please contact your adviser before beginning course work toward a degree.

Freshman year
Fall semesterHours
ARTF 131 Drawing Studio 3
ARTF 132 Surface Research 3
ARTF 139
Project Studio
or Project Seminar
1
ARTH 103 Survey of Art I 3
UNIV 101 Introduction to the University 1
UNIV 111 Play VideoPlay course video for Focused Inquiry I Focused Inquiry I (satisfies general education UNIV foundations) 3
General education course 3
 Term Hours: 17
Spring semester
ARTF 133 Space Research 3
ARTF 134 Time Studio 3
ARTF 139
Project Studio
or Project Seminar
1
ARTH 104 Survey of Art II 3
UNIV 112 Play VideoPlay course video for Focused Inquiry II Focused Inquiry II (satisfies general education UNIV foundations) 3
General education course 3
 Term Hours: 16
Sophomore year
Fall semester
GDES 220 Design Practices 4
GDES 221 Core Studio I 4
GDES 231
Theory Inquiry
or Precedents Inquiry
3
GDES 398 Dialogues 1
UNIV 200 Advanced Focused Inquiry: Literacies, Research and Communication (satisfies general education UNIV foundations) 3
 Term Hours: 15
Spring semester
GDES 222 Core Studio II 4
GDES 380 Multi Studio I 4
GDES 398 Dialogues 1
General education course 3
Open elective 3
 Term Hours: 15
Junior year
Fall semester
ENGL 215 Reading Literature (satisfies general education BOK for humanities/fine arts and/or AOI for creativity, innovation and aesthetic inquiry) 3
GDES 321 Core Studio III 4
GDES 331 Precedents Inquiry (or GDES 231 if not already taken) 3
GDES 398 Dialogues 1
GDES elective (300-500 level) 4
 Term Hours: 15
Spring semester
GDES 322 Core Studio IV 4
GDES 380 Multi Studio I 4
GDES 398 Dialogues 1
General education course 3
Open elective 3
 Term Hours: 15
Senior year
Fall semester
GDES 398 Dialogues 1
GDES 431 Critical Inquiry 4
GDES elective (300-500 level) 4
General education course 3
Open elective 3
 Term Hours: 15
Spring semester
GDES 398 Dialogues 1
GDES 440 Synthesis 6
GDES 480 Multi Studio II 2
General education course 3
Open elective 3
 Term Hours: 15
 Total Hours: 123

The minimum number of credit hours required for this degree is 123.