Bachelor of Science in Visual Communication Design
The Bachelor of Science in Visual Communication Design encompasses and integrates graphic design and interactive design while offering additional study addressing advanced concepts and a changing technological landscape. Students are prepared to collaborate with other design disciplines in technology, user experience, and creative problem-solving.
Program Learning Outcomes
The BSVCD program's learning objectives strive to enable students to:
- Demonstrate knowledge in design literacy: history, trends, practices
- Demonstrate knowledge in theory and principles of perception, visual language, and cultural context.
- Demonstrate proficiency in industry methods and approaches through a portfolio of completed design projects including:
- Design process
- Industry-relevant technical skills and tools.
- Ability to adapt and respond nimbly to emerging forms, media, tools, and methods
- The Iterative process
- Creative thinking, problem-solving, and the ability to work collaboratively
- Be able to articulate design problems and processes
- Demonstrate proficiency in presentation (written, verbal and visual) and will be able to frame their work through effective storytelling and communication
- Be able to effectively give and incorporate constructive feedback
- Demonstrate proficiency in graphic design skills including: typography, composition, form
- Demonstrate proficiency in user experience design including system design, interactive prototyping, research, and user testing
- Have exposure to, and the ability to design for, emerging media
- Develop the programming literacy to collaborate with computer engineers/developers
At the time of admission to the University, all students may elect to be Visual Communication Design majors. No special permission, application, or portfolio is required. Before advancing to courses at the 300 level or higher, however, all majors must:
Visual Communication Design (B.S.) — 58 units
General Education Requirements Met in the Major
The requirements below are deemed “met in the major” upon completion of the courses listed (even though the courses and their prerequisites are not approved for GE). This is true whether or not the student completes the major.
- Upper-Division General Education, Arts and/or Humanities (UD-C) is satisfied upon completion of DES 356 .
Foundation Requirements (6 units)
|DES 200||Visual Design Literacy||3|
|DES 222||Introduction to 2D Digital Design||3|
Core Requirements (13 Units)
|DES 300||Design Process||3|
|DES 322||Computer Graphic Imaging||3|
|DES 324GW||Research and Writing for Design - GWAR||3|
|DES 356||A History of Design and Technology||3|
|DES 370||Introduction to The School of Design||1|
Major Requirements (15 units)
|DES 325||Graphic Design I||3|
|DES 327||Interactive Design I||3|
|DES 425||Graphic Design II||3|
|DES 427||Interactive Design II||3|
|Select one of the following:||3|
|Graphic Design III: Advanced|
|Interactive Design III|
Major Electives (18 Units)
The Major Electives are intended to build a professional design portfolio, and as such, upper-division courses are strongly encouraged. Select six classes from the list below. Take no more than two classes (6 units total) from the 200-level.
|CSC 210||Introduction to Computer Programming||3|
|DES 226||Modern Letterpress Printing: Traditional and Digital Techniques||3|
|DES 252||Rethinking Digital Visual Media: History, Technology, and Content||3|
|DES 256||Design and Society: Contemporary Design Issues and Applications||3|
|DES 305||Lab Safety Basics||1|
|DES 310||Product Design I||3|
|DES 320||Drafting and Sketching for Design||3|
|DES 321||Technical Drawing I: Introduction to CAD||3|
|DES 405||How to Develop, Patent, and Market an Idea||3|
|DES 456||Design Thinking Principles and Practices||3|
|DES 475||Topics in Design||3|
|DES 523||Information Design I: Data Visualization||3|
|DES 524||Information Design II||3|
|DES 525||Graphic Design III: Advanced 1||3|
|DES 527||Interactive Design III 1||3|
|DES 576||Practical Experience: Internship||3|
|DES 625||Graphic Design Practicum: Design Working Group||3|
|DES 627||Advanced Projects in Visual Communication Design||3|
|DES 628||Design Gallery: Exhibitions and Communications||3|
|DES 685||Projects in the Teaching of Design||1-4|
|DES 699||Independent Study in Design||3|
|JOUR 235||Photojournalism I||3|
|JOUR 450||Publication Design and Graphics||3|
|Other electives as approved by an advisor||1-3|
Culminating Requirements (6 units)
|DES 505||Senior Design Project (to be taken in the last semester)||3|
|DES 570||Professional Practices for Designers||3|
DES 525 and/or DES 527 can be counted as elective credit if they were not used to satisfy the major requirement. If both courses are taken, students will get credit for both the Major Requirement and Major Electives, but if only one is taken, students will get credit for the Major Requirement only.
General Education Requirements
|Requirement||Course Level||Units||Area Designation|
|Written English Communication||LD||3||A2|
|Arts or Humanities||LD||3||C1 or C2|
|Social Sciences: US History||LD||3||D2|
|Lifelong Learning and Self-Development (LLD)||LD||3||E|
|Physical and/or Life Science||UD||3||UD-B|
|Arts and/or Humanities||UD||3||UD-C|
|SF State Studies|
|Courses certified as meeting the SF State Studies requirements may be upper or lower division in General Education (GE), a major or minor, or an elective.|
|American Ethnic and Racial Minorities||LD or UD||3||AERM|
|Environmental Sustainability||LD or UD||3||ES|
|Global Perspectives||LD or UD||3||GP|
|Social Justice||LD or UD||3||SJ|
Note: LD = Lower-Division; UD = Upper-Division.
First-Time Student Roadmap (4 Year)
- In order to choose your English Composition A2 course and your QR/Math B4 course, please complete the online advising activities at writingadvising.sfsu.edu and mathadvising.sfsu.edu. Questions? Contact Gator Smart Start.
- Select the row that matches your English course choice for A2.*
- Select the column that matches your QR/Math course choice for B4.
- Click the Roadmap that lines up with your row and column.
|Course Choice||One-Semester Course||Two-Semester Sequence or Support Course|
|ENG 114||Roadmap A||Roadmap C|
|ENG 104/ENG 105||Roadmap B||Roadmap D|
* Composition for Multilingual Students: If taking ENG 209 as your first English course, choose the ENG 114 row. If taking ENG 201 or ENG 212 for your first English course, choose the ENG 104/ENG 105 row.
SF State Scholars
The San Francisco State Scholars program provides undergraduate students with an accelerated pathway to a graduate degree. Students in this program pursue a bachelor’s and master’s degree simultaneously. This program allows students to earn graduate credit while in their junior and/or senior year, reducing the number of semesters required for completion of a master’s degree.
General Advising Information for Transfer Students
- Before transfer, complete as many lower-division requirements or electives for this major as possible.
- 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
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;
- Which courses at a CCC satisfy CSU GE, US History, and US & CA Government requirements.
Remedial courses are not transferable and do not apply to the minimum 60 semester units/90 quarter units 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 a 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 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 (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 bulletin.sfsu.edu/undergraduate-education/general-education/lower-division/#AAEL.
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.