ACM | Graphic Design

The specialization in graphic design offers students an educational experience that focuses on preparation for professional practices in visual communication that include design for corporate identity, publication, and package and web design.

The specialization in graphic design offers students an educational experience that focuses on preparation for professional practice in communication design that includes branding and visual identity, publication, interactive, web, motion, and data visualization. This cross-media approach ensures that students are prepared to create both physical and digital experiences, and think critically about the most appropriate media for a particular message and audience. The program also includes a social impact-driven curriculum that embraces publicly-engaged and collaborative design practices through its partnership with Express Newark by means of the Design Consortium, Visual Means, and XPress initiatives.

The graphic design program consists of 27 courses earning 81 credits, with an additional 6 credits of Department of Arts, Culture, and Media (ACM) departmental requirements. Within this demanding curriculum, students not only gain exposure to various technical skills and design methodologies, but they are also exposed to complex theories and processes for research and problem-solving within the field. Along with studio work in design, students take advanced classes that explore art and design history, critical writings, theoretical approaches and diverse cultural/historical contexts, as well as professional practice. Students’ work is informed by this integration of history, theory, social/cultural conditions and practice, which bolsters students’ abilities of observation, analysis and synthesis. The goal of the specialization in graphic design is to develop practicing designers that possess the knowledge necessary to become innovative and responsible problem solvers and citizen designers. Students also may take advantage of internship opportunities in the Tri-State metropolitan area. During their senior year, students develop a body of advanced-level work through the Senior Capstone project that is exhibited in a professional gallery. The Capstone project and exhibition provide students with public exposure and helps build their portfolio for job placement and/or admission to graduate school.

All prospective and interested students in the Graphic Design program must reach out to Professor Chantal Fischzang, area coordinator, to discuss the program and declare the major. Her email is

Accordion Content

  • Foundation Courses (27 credits)

    21:085:102 Design Fundamentals (3)*

    21:085:103 3-D Design Fundamentals (3) or 21:085:109 Introduction to 3-D Modeling (3)

    21:080:121 Introduction to Drawing (3) *

    21:080:223 Figure Drawing (3)

    21:080:251 Introduction to Painting (3)

    21:080:261 Introduction to Photography (3

    21:080:273 Introduction to Printmaking (3)

    21:082:101 Introduction to Art History I (3) *

    21:082:102 Introduction to Art History II (3)*

    *These course should be taken during freshman year. They are prerequisites for other art courses.

     Art History Requirements (9)

    21:082:202 History of Design (3) (Writing Intensive Requirement)

     21:082:350 Development of Modern Art (3)

     21:082:360 Art Since 1945 (3)

    Required Critical Studies Courses (6 credits)

    21:080:285 Seminar in Contemporary Art (3) (ACM Critical Studies Core Requirement)

    21:085:399 Seminar in Contemporary Design (3)

    Senior Program (6 credits in consultation with adviser)

    21:085:497 Senior Studio Seminar I (3)

    21:085:498 Senior Studio Seminar II (3)

    Studio Specialization Requirements (33 credits)

    21:085:231 Graphic Design I (3)

    21:085:232 Graphic Design II (3)

    21:085:331 Graphic Design III (3)

    21:085:332 Graphic Design IV (3)

    21:085:333 Motion Design (3)

    21:085:334 Interactive Design (3)

    21:085:336 Interactive Design II (3)

    21:085:370 Computers in Graphic Design (3)

    21:085:496 Cross Media Design Studio (3)


    21:085:396 Visual Means (3), OR 21:085:398 Design Consortium (3), OR 21:085:305/306 Problems in Graphic Design Letterpress (3)

    ACM Departmental Core Requirements (6 credits)

    21:083:101 Introduction to Arts, Culture, and Media (3)

    21:083:301 Colloquium in Arts, Culture, and Media (3) or 21:083:401 Seminar in Arts, Culture, and Media (3)

    • Students will develop a command of composition as a vehicle of communication
    • Students will learn to approach technology as an ever-changing entity in order to serve their communication goals
    • Students will gain an understanding of typography/systems and image-making in order to build effective narratives
    • Students will learn how to conduct a rigorous research process, apply design methods and various processes for effective problem-solving and how to address complex systems
    • Students will learn about various theoretical approaches and cultural/historical contexts in order to articulate ideas and develop a critical perspective for their creative practice 
    • Students will learn how to strike a balance between originality of expression and appropriateness of purpose for a target audience
    • Students will be encouraged to work collaboratively to take advantage of the inherent interdisciplinary nature of design practice
    • Students will learn to effectively navigate our sociotechnical & data-centric landscape 
    • Students will learn to prioritize people’s needs and focus on a human-centered research process
    • Students will gain an understanding of the social and ethical responsibilities of communication design practice