Program Advising

Design your academic plan carefully


  • Completing the sequence of required courses takes five semesters. 
  • Students must pass a Portfolio Review to take 3000- and 4000-level graphic design courses.
  • Group advising sessions are held each semester prior to registration. 
  • Taking more than three studio courses a semester is challenging. Students should use General Education, Art History and Professional Development courses to balance their studio course workload. 
  • An internship can count as an elective, but is not required. For the best internship experience, take it after completion of ART 3202 Interaction Design I and ART 4102 Typography III.
  • Students in graphic design must earn a grade of C (2.00) or better in all Art courses to satisfy degree requirements.
  • Advising information for all Art majors is on the department’s Advising page .

Advising Resources


After you complete 30 semester hours and declare your major, you will be assigned a faculty advisor in your area. If you have declared your major and not been assigned an advisor, ask the office staff to assign you one. 


  • The Class Schedule  and information about when you can register can be found on the Registrar’s website
  • If you need a course override, contact the course’s instructor.

Course Substitutions

  • If you need a course substitution, contact your advisor.


A portfolio review is required to take 3000- and 4000-level graphic design courses. The Graphic Design Candidacy Portfolio Review is held twice annually at the end of the spring and fall terms. To be eligible for the review, students must complete or have in progress the following courses:

  • ART 1001 Foundations I
  • ART 1002 Foundations II
  • ART 1003 Foundations Drawing
  • ART 1102 Introduction to Graphic Design
  • ART 2102 Typography I
  • and either ART 2030 Art from Pre-History to 1400 or ART 2130 Art from 1400 to the Present.

Further details about the review are included on the Portfolio Review page.

Students planning to submit portfolios for review in a given term are advised to register for ARH 2230 History of Graphic Design, ART 3102 Typography II, ART 3302 Idea Lab, and prerequisites for ART 3202 Interaction Design I and ART 4102 Typography III the following term in advance of the review. 


Graphic design majors must complete a total of 120 credit hours to finish their degree, including the following requirements:

  • All university required/general education courses
  • 18 credit hours at Appalachian State University
  • 9 credit hours of foundations courses
  • 24 credit hours of required graphic design courses 
  • 9 credit hours of required studio art courses
  • 21 credit hours of electives in graphic design (9–12) and studio art (9–12)
  • 12 credit hours of art history courses
  • 6 credit hours of professional development courses
  • Junior Writing in the Discipline (WID) course (satisfied by an Art History elective with a WID designation)
  • Senior Capstone Experience (CAP) course (satisfied by ART 4202 Graphic Design Senior Studio)
  • 0–7 credit hours of free electives to total 120 hours for the degree

General Education

Students may count a maximum of 9 semester hours taught in the department or program of their majors toward General Education requirements.

Liberal Studies Experience (LSE)

Complete 12 semester hours from at least three discipline prefixes

Required for Graphic Design
  • ART 2030 Art from Pre-History to 1400 (Fine Arts Designation)
  • ART 2130 Art from 1400 to Present(Fine Arts Designation)
Other LSE courses on Graphic Design’s Program of Study
  • COM 2105 Public Speaking in the Disciplines
  • ECO 2030 Principles of Microeconomics
  • S D 2400 Principles of Sustainable Development

Integrated Learning Experience (ILE)

Complete 9 semester hours from a single theme.  For a list of themes, consult the General Education Program of Study. The following ILE courses are also on Graphic Design’s program of study :

  • ANT 1415 Understanding Culture (in Empire to Globalization theme)
  • ART 2019 Art for Social Change (in Revolution: Social and Politcal theme). Could fulfill a studio art elective.

Graphic Design Coursework

The Graphic Design Program of Study requires a series of core courses to be taken in sequence. Because courses at each stage are prerequisites for ones at the next stage, it takes a minimum of 5 semesters to complete all of Graphic Design’s core courses. Note that some graphic design courses have specific studio art as well as graphic design course prerequisites. Refer to the Graphic Design Program of Study or Curriculum Map for prerequisites. 

Core courses — 21 credit hours 

Before Graphic Design Candidacy Portfolio Review
  • ART 1102 Introduction to Graphic Design (3 credit hours)
  • ART 2102 Typography I (3 credit hours)

These courses may be taken simultaneously, or students may take ART 1102 followed by ART 2102.

After Graphic Design Candidacy Portfolio Review
  • ARH 2230 History of Graphic Design (3 credit hours)
  • ART 3102 Typography II (3 credit hours)
  • ART 3302 Idea Lab (3 credit hours)

We encourage students to take ARH 2230 History of Graphic Design, ART 3102 Typography II and ART 3302 Idea Lab the semester after upon being admitted to the graphic design program. 

  • ART 3202 Interaction Design I (3 credit hours)
  • ART 4102 Typography III (3 credit hours)

Students may take ART 3202 Interaction Design I and ART 4102 Typography III simultaneously.

  • ART 4192 Graphic Design Senior Seminar (3 credit hours)
  • ART 4202 Graphic Design Senior Studio (3 credit hours)

Electives — 9–12 credit hours total

Students must take 3 courses from the list below. Course offerings vary, but 2–3 electives are offered each term. 

  • ART 2302 Calligraphy
  • ART 3312 Motion Graphics
  • ART 3322 Sign/Symbol/Image
  • ART 3332 Design Methods
  • ART 3602 Special Topics in Graphic Design (topics vary; see the schedule for any given term for details)
  • ART 3900 Internship
  • ART 4302 Interaction Design II
  • ART 4312 Graphic Design Professional Practice


Required courses for the major are usually not offered in the summer, but electives are occasionally available. Students can satisfy some studio art and art history requirements over the summer, and/or complete an internship.