2024-2025 Undergraduate Course Catalog 
    Jul 16, 2024  
2024-2025 Undergraduate Course Catalog

Communications Design, BFA

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Marc Stress, Program Coordinator
The Nancy Cantor Warehouse, mvstress@syr.edu


Rachel Aubrey, Rebecca Kelly, Roderick Martinez, Marc Stress, Meri Page


This B.F.A. degree program introduces a field offering almost unlimited options and professional opportunities. Its unique structure enables students to pursue a broad range of interests pertaining to the profession of communications design. Branding, corporate graphics and identity systems, advertising, packaging, environmental graphics, exhibition design, visual marketing, publication design and electronic and interactive media are some of the most common areas of study. The program is designed to accommodate many relevant interests in the overall design profession and pragmatically prepares graduates for careers in the field.

The courses emphasize, above all else, the conceptual and strategic aspects of advertising, marketing and communications design as well as the development of basic design skills, the use of technology, and the historical and theoretical foundations of design.

Student Learning Outcomes

1. Solve communication problems with a defined process

2. Demonstrate skills of indication, accuracy, and use of materials

3. Create/direct visual form/Image in response to communication problems

4. Visually organize compositions/layouts including, image and typographic hierarchy

5. Describe and respond with clear and original design concept decisions, to the audiences and contexts that communication solutions must address

6. Understand of the professionalism of basic business practices

Program Requirements

Art History Requirements: 12 credits

Liberal Arts Electives (12 credits)/Academic Electives (12 credits)*

Academic electives are most courses offered outside of art, design, or transmedia (for example, courses offered in CRS, Arts and Sciences, Whitman, and other colleges outside of VPA). These academic courses usually have non-art-related content, such as math, natural sciences, astronomy, global history, political science, psychology, and entrepreneurship, and languages at the 100-level, among others. You can find a comprehensive list of approved academic electives here.

*The required 24 credits should consist of 12 credits of Liberal Arts & Sciences, and 12 credits of Academic Electives.

Studio Electives 18 credits

Studio electives are courses usually offered in VPA through art, design, or transmedia.  The content of the courses directly relates to the preparation of students for professional careers in art, design, and transmedia. The course content includes, but is not limited to, conceptualization, process, product, and critique of creative work in studio practice. These courses meet for a much longer time, for a minimum of four hours per week for the duration of the semester. Usual meeting patterns are: the class meets once per week for four+ hours, or the class meets twice per week, usually for two or more hours each. You can find a comprehensive list of courses that count as studio electives here.

Free Electives 8 credits

Study Abroad

Pending a successful application and meeting program requirements, students may be eligible to spend the spring semester of their junior year abroad at the SU Center in London, UK or in Florence, Italy. Please refer to the SUAbroad website for eligibility and application criteria.

Total Credits Required: 120

Degree Awarded: BFA in Communications Design

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