Visual Communication Design SF Scholars Roadmap

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.

This roadmap is a suggested plan of study and does not replace meeting with an advisor. Please note that students may need to adjust the actual sequence of courses based on course availability. Please consult an advisor in your major program for further guidance.

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
Fall SemesterUnits
ENG 114 Writing the First Year: Finding Your Voice (A2) 1 3
GE Area A 2 3
GE Area B: Quantitative Reasoning (B4) 3 3
GE Area C 3
SF State Studies or University Elective or 200-level DES Course 4 3
Spring Semester
GE Area A 3
GE Area B: Physical Science (B1) and Laboratory Science (B3) 5 3-4
GE Area C 3
GE Area E 3
SF State Studies or University Elective or 200-level DES Course 4 3
Second Year
Fall Semester
DES 200 Visual Design Literacy (Major Foundation) 3
GE Area C 3
GE Area D - Take Two 6
SF State Studies or University Elective or 200-level DES Course 4 3
Spring Semester
DES 222 Digital Design Foundations I (Major Foundation) 3
DES 228 Introduction to Web Design (Major Foundation) 3
DES 370 Introduction to The School of Design (Major Core) 1
GE Area B: Life Science (B2) and Laboratory Science (B3) 5 3-4
GE Area F ± 3
U.S. and California Government 3
Third Year
Fall Semester
DES 322 Digital Design Foundations II (Major Core ) 3
DES 356 A History of Design and Technology (Major Core ) 6 3
Major Electives (15 Units Total) - Take One 7 3
GE Area UD-B: Upper-Division Physical and/or Life Sciences 3
SF State Studies or University Elective 3
Spring Semester
DES 300 Design Process (Major Core ) 3
DES 324GW Research and Writing for Design - GWAR (Major Core ) 3
DES 325 Graphic Design I (Major Requirement) 3
DES 327 Interactive Design I (Major Prerequisite) 3
Major Electives (15 units total) - Take One 7 3
Fourth Year
Summer Semester
GE Area UD-D: Upper-Division Social Sciences 3
SF State Studies or University Elective 2
Fall Semester
DES 425 Graphic Design II (Major Requirement) 3
DES 427 Interactive Design II (Major Requirement) 3
Major Electives (15 Units Total) - Take Three 7 9
Spring Semester
DES 505 Senior Design Project (Major Culminating Requirement) 3
DES 570 Professional Practices for Designers (Major Culminating Requirement) 3
Select One (Major Requirement): 3
Graphic Design III: Advanced
Interactive Design III
DES 700 Seminar in Design Research (Graduate Core) 3
Graduate Elective (9 Units Total) - Take One 8 3
Fifth Year
Fall Semester
DES 724 Graduate Research and Writing Methods in Design (Graduate Core) 3
DES 800 Seminar in Design Topics (Graduate Core) 3
DES 852 Directed Experience in Design (Graduate Core) 3
Graduate Elective (9 Units Total) - Take One 8 3
Spring Semester
DES 755 Seminar in Design Management (Graduate Core) 3
DES 805 Seminar in Design Methodology (Graduate Core) 3
Select One (Culminating Experience): 3
Creative Work Project
Master's Thesis
Graduate Elective (9 Units Total) - Take One 8 3
 Total Units150-152

ENG 114 can only be taken if you complete Directed Self-Placement (DSP) and select ENG 114; if you choose ENG 104/ENG 105 through DSP you will satisfy A2 upon successful completion of ENG 105 in the second semester; multilingual students may be advised into alternative English courses.


To avoid taking additional units, it is recommended that you meet the SF State Studies (AERM, GP, ES, SJ) requirements within your GE or major.


To determine the best B4 course option, students should complete the online advising activity at Questions? Contact Gator Smart Start.


Students are encouraged, but not required, to take additional 200-level DES courses to gain more experience in the field of Design. These additional 200-level DES courses will not be applied towards the Major Electives.


Consider taking a class combined with a laboratory or a separate lab to fulfill B3 if not already satisfied.


Upper-Division General Education, Arts and/or Humanities (UD-C) is satisfied upon completion of DES 356.


Major Electives (15 units)

The Major Electives are intended to build a professional design portfolio, and as such, upper-division courses are strongly encouraged. Select five classes from the list below. Take no more than two classes (6 units total) at the lower-divison.

CSC 101 Introduction to Computing (3 units)

DES 220 Introduction to Drawing for Designers (3 units)

DES 226 Modern Letterpress Printing: Traditional and Digital Techniques (3 units) (C1)

DES 252 Rethinking Digital Visual Media: History, Technology, and Content (3 units)

DES 256 Design and Society: Contemporary Design Issues and Applications (3 units) (C1)

DES 277 Exploration in Meaning and Discourse Through Design (3 units)

DES 305 Lab Safety Basics (1 units)

DES 310 Product Design I (3 units)

DES 311 Image Making for Designers (3 units)

DES 320 Drafting and Sketching for Design (3 units)

DES 321 Technical Drawing I: Introduction to CAD (3 units)

DES 367 Introduction to Game Design (3 units)

DES 377B Visual Storytelling (3 units)

DES 405 How to Develop, Patent, and Market an Idea (3 units)

DES 448 User Experience Design (3 units)

DES 456 Design Thinking Principles and Practices (3 units)

DES 475 Topics in Design (3 units)

DES 523 Information Design I: Data Visualization (3 units)

DES 525 Graphic Design III: Advanced (3 units)*

DES 527 Interactive Design III (3 units)*

DES 575 Contemporary Design Workshop (3 units)

DES 576 Practical Experience: Internship (3 units)

DES 625 Graphic Design Practicum: Design Working Group (3 units)

DES 627 Advanced Projects in Visual Communication Design (3 units)

DES 628 Design Gallery: Exhibitions and Communications (3 units)

DES 677 Exploration in Delightful Design (3 units)

DES 699 Independent Study in Design (3 units)

JOUR 235 Photojournalism I: Foundations of Photojournalism (3 units) (C1)

JOUR 450 Publication Design and Graphics (3 units)

Other electives as approved by an advisor


Graduate Electives (9 units)

Select supporting upper-division/graduate courses as approved by Graduate Coordinator.


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.


Given catalog rights, fall 2023 transfer students do not need to complete an Area F course.