Art and Design at Missouri State

Graphic Design

Students in the Design program explore a wide range of subjects including Web design, information architecture, interactive new media, information graphics, applied typography, publication and editorial design, branding, identity and a broad range of topics related to illustration and applied image making. We teach designers to create visual communication of value that is responsive to the needs and wants of society. This program has been recognized by national and international professional design organizations and publications as one of the best in the region and nation. Our students have also received recognition in the form of scholarships, competition and exhibition awards, and publication of their works.

Degree options

Advisement Resources

Careers and outcomes

design studio, consultation, publishing house, Web development, newspapers/magazines, studio owner, advertising, journalism, portraiture, education, entrepreneur

Student Learning Outcomes




To begin course work in the field of graphic design, you initially need to be admitted to Missouri State. Before completing 75 credit hours, you must also be admitted to a degree program.

Admission requirements

In addition to completing Foundations courses (ART 100, 101, 110, 115) students must have a GPA of 2.50 or higher in the major and a Missouri State cumulative GPA of at least 2.50 to pass the Advisory Review administered by the Design Program Coordinator in the spring of the freshman year for provisional admission to the program.

In the spring of the sophomore year students must apply for Candidacy Review. A committee of Design faculty will administer this review. A student must submit a portfolio consisting of 12-20 pieces selected from Foundations and Design Core courses including: ART 115 or 215, ART 202, DES 202, 210, 301, 303 and may include additional work chosen with faculty advisement. Students must choose an option at this time: Graphic Design, Illustration, or Graphic Design and Illustration. This is a competitive program—if students are not accepted into the program they may consider repeating courses and/or doing additional work and reapplying for admission the following spring, but acceptance is not guaranteed. Students must have a GPA of 3.00 or higher in the major and an Missouri State cumulative GPA of at least 2.50 to be admitted to candidacy.

Transfer students choosing the BFA in Design must apply for admission to the program. The application with portfolio and transcript must be made to the Design Program Coordinator in the spring semester for admission to the program in the fall. (Students are not encouraged to apply for spring admission.) The Design Program Coordinator in consultation with the Design faculty will review the application with portfolio and transcript. Students must receive permission from the Design Coordinator before enrolling in any Design course. To be admitted to the Design Program transfer students must have a GPA of 2.50 or higher in the major if transferring 12 hours or less in the major, or a GPA of 3.00 or higher in the major if transferring more than 12 hours in the major. All transfer students must have a combined (Missouri State and transfer) GPA of at least 2.50 to be admitted to the program.

The admission process

To gain full admittance into the graphic design program, follow the steps below:

  1. Declare or change your major to graphic design by visiting the Academic Advisement Center, University Hall 109
  2. Meet with your assigned advisor to discuss admission requirements and to develop a plan of study
  3. Complete the program’s admission requirements
  4. Work with the art and design department to complete the Application to a Degree Program form to update your record

When you declare your major, you will be listed as a pre-major until you satisfy all admission requirements.

Program requirements

  1. General Education Program and Requirements
  2. Major Requirements (78-93 hours)
    1. Foundations (12 hours): ART 100(3), 101(3), 110(3), 115(3)
    2. Design Core (18 hours): ART 202(3), 215(3); DES 202(3), 210(3), 301(3), 303(3)
    3. Art History (15 hours): ART 271(3), 272(3); ART 273(3) or 274(3) or 382(3); ART 377(3); and ART 480(3) or 484(3)
    4. Studio Art (12 hours): ART 225(3), 255(3), 315(3), ART 235(3) or 242(3)
    5. Professional Design Practicum (3 hours): DES 490(3)
    6. Public Affairs Capstone Experience will be fulfilled by completion of DES 490(3).
    7. Complete one of the options below
      1. Graphic Design (18 hours):
        1. DES 330(3), 331(3), 332(3), 340(3), 430(3)
        2. 3 hours of Design electives from DES 345(3), 440(3), 497(3), 499(3)
      2. Illustration (18 hours):
        1. DES 250(3), 350(3), 452(3)
        2. 6 hours of DES 497(3) Special Topics in Illustration. May not repeat the same topic.
        3. 3 hours of electives chosen from: Photography-ART 354(3), 355(3), 356(3), 357(3), 358(3); Printmaking-ART 242(3)*, 243(3), 342(3), 343(3); Drawing and Painting-ART 315(3)*, 316(3), 325(3), Digital Imaging-ART 310(3), 410(3); Computer Animation-ART 230(3); Design-DES 345(3), 497(3)-may not be same topic; DES 499(3)

          * ART 315 and ART 242 cannot be counted both here and toward the Studio Art requirement, however, ART 315 may be repeated.
      3. Graphic Design and Illustration (33 hours):
        1. 15 hours in Graphic Design: DES 330(3), 331(3), 332(3), 340(3), 430(3)
        2. 9 hours in illustration: DES 250(3), 350(3), 452(3)
        3. 6 hours of DES 497(3) Special Topics in Illustration. May not repeat the same topic.
        4. 3 hours of design electives: DES 345(3), 440(3), 497(3) Special Topics in Illustration. May not repeat the same topic, DES 499(3)
  3. General Baccalaureate Degree Requirements

Design internships

DES 499, Design Internship, may be arranged through the Office of Cooperative Education, and may be used to fulfill art or design electives by design majors. Permission to take an internship for credit must be obtained before the work is done. For more information on how to enroll in DES 499 contact the Design Program Coordinator.

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