Feb 21, 2024  
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog

Communication Design Major, B.F.A.

Department of Art  

College of Letters, Arts and Sciences  

  Available Program Format(s): In-Person  

About the Program

The B.F.A. in Communication Design is a professional degree that combines oral, written, and visual communication to address a diversity of design problems, from toothpaste tubes to cell phone screens, trademarks and logos, magazines and books to websites. This diversity of contemporary design practice is reflected in the degree which couples sound strategies in research, practice, and visual studies. The Department of Art’s Communication Design program challenges students to become informed, thinking designers. The Department of Art and MSU Denver are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (N.A.S.A.D.). 

Student Outcomes

  • Show evidence of intellectual inquiry and curiosity in design research. 
  • Convey ideas that are consistently reinforced through cohesive works that are the result of the process of making. 
  • Effectively articulate oral, written and visual design processes and concepts.

General Degree Requirements

To earn a degree, students must satisfy all requirements in each of the four areas below, in addition to their individual major requirements. 

Program Requirements

  • A total of 120 semester hours are required for graduation. 
  • A grade of C- or better is required for each course in this program to count toward the bachelor’s degree. Students should note that programs differ in the minimum grade required. 
  • A minor is not required for this program.  
  • Art History, Theory and Criticism is a distinct academic discipline from Art or Communication Design, although all reside within the Department of Art and share common foundations. 
  • All students entering the department wishing to pursue the Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) in Communication Design will be admitted under the B.A. in Art. Entrance into the B.F.A. Communication Design program is contingent on passing a formal portfolio review upon completing 21 credits in ART, CDES, or ARTH, inclusive of the 18 hours of foundations courses required for all students in the department. Students must earn a minimum of a 3.0 G.P.A. in this coursework in the major at the time of portfolio review and have completed the Written Communication, Oral Communication, and Quantitative Literacy General Studies requirements. The G.P.A. will be calculated in a degree progress report processed by the department as “what-if” for the Communication Design major) at the time of portfolio review. 
  • Students who are not admitted to the B.F.A. degree may reapply up to three times. Should a student not be admitted and continue in the B.A. in Art, that student must select a minor and work toward all of the requirements of the B.A. in Art, which includes upper-division ART coursework. 
  • The course CDES 3225 Integrated Production Techniques is restricted to Communication Design students who have passed the B.F.A. in Communication Design portfolio review. Students are advised to work with an advisor to plan their degree progress and anticipated portfolio application date well in advance of this course. 
  • Communication Design students must have a suitable laptop computer before proceeding with CDES 3225 and subsequent courses. See an advisor for specifications.

General Studies Requirements: 33 credits

Students should consult the General Studies Requirements  for a list of courses that fulfill the General Studies Requirements for degree completion.  

  • Written Communication (6 credits) 
  • Oral Communication (3 credits) 
  • Quantitative Literacy (3 credits) 
  • Arts and Humanities (6 credits) 
  • Historical (3 credits) 
  • Natural and Physical Sciences (6 credits) 
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences (6 credits) 
  • Global Diversity (0 or 3 credits**)


** Students will fulfill the global diversity requirement by taking an approved course within one of the following categories: arts and humanities; historical; natural and physical sciences; or social and behavioral sciences. 

Ethnic Studies & Social Justice Requirement: 0 or 3 credits

  • Students should consult the Ethnic Studies & Social Justice Graduation Requirement  for a list of courses that fulfill the ESSJ Requirement for degree completion.  
  • Many programs include courses that meet this requirement. Students should consult with their advisor to determine what program courses may fulfill this requirement. 

Communication Design Requirements: 58 credits

Summary of Requirements

General Studies Requirements 33 credits
ESSJ Requirement 0-3 credits
Art Foundation Requirements 18 credits
Communication Design Requirements 58 credits
Senior Experience 3 credits
Unrestricted Electives 5-14 credits
Total for the Communication Design Major, B.F.A. 120 credits

Required courses for the major may also count for General Studies and ESSJ requirements, so the total credits listed may be greater than the number required to complete the degree. Therefore, it is important that you work with your advisor to make sure you are meeting requirements for your degree.