Jul 13, 2024  
2024-25 Western Washington University Catalog 
2024-25 Western Washington University Catalog

Design, BFA

Location(s): WWU - Bellingham

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Department of Design, College of Fine and Performing Arts

115-122 Credits


The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Design is the professional degree for students admitted to the major. The curriculum follows a structured sequence of classes that builds upon the knowledge and skills from the previous courses. Courses in the senior year focus on the integration of graphic design and digital media design in the solution of advanced visual communication problems.

Students first apply to the program as pre-majors through a portfolio review that takes place in the spring quarter. Admitted pre-majors start the following fall taking a series of 200-level lecture and project-based design classes during the fall and winter quarters. At the end of the winter quarter, students must submit a portfolio of completed work and/or work in progress from DSGN 210, 212, 213, and 230. The portfolios are reviewed by the faculty, who evaluates the potential of the student to succeed in the program. Admission to the major is selective and limited by space and resource availability. Passing the 200-level courses does not guarantee advancement to the junior sequence. All students must begin their BFA studies in the spring immediately following the review. Students who successfully complete all the 200 requirements but are not admitted to the major, or who choose not to apply for the BFA, will be granted a Design Minor.

 Contact Information

Design Department Chair
John Gialanella
Art Annex 252

Major Information:
Fine Arts 127

 Sample Careers

Graphic Designer | Creative Director | Project Manager | Web Designer | Interactive Designer | UX/UI Designer | Motion Designer | Product Designer | Environmental Designer | Publication Designer | Illustrator

 Major/Career Resources


How to Declare (Admission and Declaration Process):

Pre-major Application

The pre-major application process takes place in early spring quarter. Students must submit an application including a candidate’s statement, unofficial transcripts, and a portfolio of personal work. Incoming Freshmen are encouraged to submit their pre-major application concurrently with their application to WWU. Portfolios are reviewed by the design faculty once a year. By mid-spring quarter, applicants will be notified of the results. Admission is selective and limited by space availability.

Please refer to the Design Department’s website for deadlines and portfolio format guidelines.

Submit completed application materials at design.wwu.edu/admissions.html.

The pre-major courses are taught in a sequential manner starting Fall quarter. Most of the courses are only offered once a year and are pre-requisites for the winter quarter courses. It is highly recommended that Transfer students plan to begin their design classes in September. 

Major Application

The BFA degree application is made with a portfolio composed of completed work and/or work in progress from DSGN 210, DSGN 212, DSGN 213 and DSGN 230. The portfolio will be reviewed by Design faculty and evaluated on the basis of a demonstrated understanding of the elements of visual communication, technical proficiency, creativity, problem-solving and professionalism. The BFA applications will be reviewed at the end of winter quarter. Deadlines will be posted in the department office, website, and announced in design classes. Portfolios must be received by the announced deadline.

The number of applicants accepted to the major is limited due to the department’s limitations of faculty, staff, and facilities. This allows the program to offer a quality educational experience and ensure the students can complete the major in a timely manner.

For more information for admission into the design program go to design.wwu.edu/admissions.html.

Grade Requirements

Majors must maintain a 2.50 GPA both overall and in design courses taken at Western. Students falling below the 2.50 average will be placed on probation; failure to bring the cumulative GPA up to 2.50 by the end of two subsequent quarters will result in removal from the major.

A grade of C- or better is required for a student’s major or minor courses, and supporting courses for majors and minors.


For a plan of study, please visit design.wwu.edu/images/documents/DesignMajorCurriculumOverview.pdf.

Pre-Major (26 credits)

Major (89-96 credits)

Professional Development (3-10 credits)

❑ Students must complete 3-10 credits from the following courses:

Electives (3 credits)

❑ Students must complete 3 credits of any A/HI 200-level course.

Departmental Honors

In addition to the general requirements for all honors students, a design major who wishes to graduate with honors must complete an honors senior project in design.

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