Bachelor of Science in Visual Communication Design

The Bachelor of Science in Visual Communication Design (BSVCD) is a program for students who intend to focus their studies on visual communication design applications relative to graphic design and digital media.  The major addresses a changing technological landscape and the resulting new opportunities for education and the profession in the realm of visual communication design. The design major prepares students for design study, research and practice, as well as flexible collaboration with other disciplines involving technology, user experience, and creative problem-solving.

Visual Communication Design (B.S.) — 58 units

Core Prerequisites and Foundation (19 units)

Nineteen units of core prerequisite and foundation courses are required of all DES majors.

Core Prerequisites (7 units)

All three must be taken during the first semester.

DES 323Visual Design Literacy3
DES 356A History of Design and Technology3
DES 370Introduction to Design and Industry1

Core Foundation (12 units)

DES 300Design Process3
DES 320Drafting and Sketching for Design3
DES 322Computer Graphic Imaging3
DES 324GWResearch and Writing for Design - GWAR3

Major Prerequisites (6 units)

DES 325Graphic Design 1: Introduction3
DES 327Digital Media 13

Major Requirements (9 units)

Select three of the following:
DES 425Graphic Design 2: Typography3
DES 427Digital Media 23
DES 525Graphic Design 3: Advanced3
DES 527Digital Media 33
DES 627Advanced Projects in Visual Communication Design3

Culminating Requirement (6 units)

DES 505Senior Design Project (to be taken in the last semester)3
DES 570Professional Practices for Designers3

Major Electives (18 units)

Six of the 18 elective units must be in DES and selected in consultation with a DES advisor.

General Education Requirements

Requirement Course Level Units Area Designation
Oral Communication LD 3 A1
Written English Communication I LD 3 A2
Critical Thinking LD 3 A3
Written English Communication II LD 3 A4
Physical Science LD 3 B1
Life Science LD 3 B2
Lab Science LD 1 B3
Mathematics/Quantitative Reasoning LD 3 B4
Arts LD 3 C1
Arts or Humanities LD 3 C1 or C2
Humanities: Literature LD 3 C3
Social Sciences LD 3 D1
Social Sciences: US History LD 3 D2
Social Sciences: US & CA Governement LD 3 D3
Lifelong Learning and Self-Development (LLD) LD or UD 3 E
Physical and/or Life Science UD 3 UD-B
Arts and/or Humanities UD 3 UD-C
Social Sciences UD 3 UD-D
SF State Studies
Courses certified as meeting the SF State Studies requirements may be upper or lower division in General Education (GE), in a major or minor, or an elective.
American Ethnic and Racial Minorities (AERM) LD or UD 3
Environmental Sustainability (ES) LD or UD 3
Global Perspectives (GP) LD or UD 3
Social Justice (SJ) LD or UD 3

Note: LD = Lower Division; UD = Upper Division.

First Time Student Roadmap (4 year)

This 2016 - 2017 roadmap opens in a new tab.

General Advising Information for Transfer Students

  1. Before transfer, complete as many lower division requirements or electives for this major as possible.
  2. The following courses are not required for admission, but are required for graduation. Students are strongly encouraged to complete these units before transfer; doing so will provide more flexibility in course selection after transfer.
    • a course in U.S. History
    • a course in U.S. & California Government
    • a 2nd-semester course in written English composition

For information about satisfying the requirements described in (1) and (2) above at a California Community College (CCC), please visit http://www.assist.org. Check any geographically accessible CCCs; sometimes options include more than one college. Use ASSIST to determine:

  • Which courses at a CCC satisfy any lower division major requirements for this major, including 2nd-semester composition;
  • Which courses at a CCC satisfy CSU GE, US History, and US & CA Government.

Remedial courses are not transferable and do not apply to the minimum 60 units/90 quarters required for admission.

Additional units for courses that are repeated do not apply to the minimum 60 units required for upper division transfer (for example, if course was not passed on the first attempt, or was taken to earn a better grade).

Before leaving the last California community college of attendance, obtain a summary of completion of lower division General Education units (IGETC or CSU GE Breadth). This is often referred to as a GE certification worksheet. SF State does not require delivery of this certification to Admissions, but students should retain this document for verifying degree progress after transfer.

Credit for Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, or College-Level Examination Program courses: AP/IB/CLEP credit is not automatically transferred from the previous institution. Units are transferred only when an official score report is delivered to SF State. Credit is based on the academic year during which exams were taken. Refer to the University Bulletin in effect during the year of AP/IB/CLEP examination(s) for details regarding the award of credit for AP/IB/CLEP.

Students pursuing majors in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines often defer 6-9 units of lower division general education in areas C and D until after transfer in order to focus on preparation courses for the major. (This advice does not apply to students pursuing associate degree completion before transfer.)

Transferring from institutions other than CCCs or CSUs

Review SF State's lower division General Education requirements. Note that, as described below, the four basic skills courses required for admission meet A1, A2, A3, and B4 in the SF State GE pattern. Courses that fulfill the remaining areas of SF State’s lower division GE pattern are available at most two-year and four-year colleges and universities.

Of the four required basic skills courses, a course in critical thinking (GE A3) may not be widely offered outside the CCC and CSU systems. Students should attempt to identify and take an appropriate course no later than the term of application to the CSU. To review more information about the A3 requirement, please visit http://bulletin.sfsu.edu/undergraduate-education/general-education/lower-division/#AAEL.

Identify and complete a 2nd-semester written English composition course before transfer. This is usually the next course after the typical “freshman comp” course, with a focus on writing, reading and critical analytical skills for academic purposes, and developing skills in composing, revising, and the use of rhetorical strategies.

Waiting until after transfer to take a single course at SF State that meets both US and CA/local government requirements may be an appropriate option, particularly if transferring from outside of California.

All students must meet the transfer eligibility requirements outlined below for admission. For more information, visit the Undergraduate Admissions section.

  • Complete 60 or more transferable semester units or 90 or more quarter units
  • Earn a college grade point average of 2.00 or better in all transferable courses. Non-local area residents may be held to a higher GPA standard.
  • Be in good standing at the last college or university attended
  • Complete 30 semester units (45 quarter units) of general education, including four basic skills courses:
    1. One course in oral communication (same as CSU GE area A1)
    2. One course in written composition (same as CSU GE area A2)
    3. One course in critical thinking (same as CSU GE area A3)
    4. One course in mathematics or quantitative reasoning, with intermediate algebra as a prerequisite (same as CSU GE area B4)
  • The four basic skills courses and a minimum of 60 transferable semester units (90 quarter units) must be completed by the spring semester prior to fall admission, or by the fall semester prior to spring admission. Earn a "C" or better grade in each basic skills course.