Bachelor of Science in Visual Communication Design

The 58-unit Bachelor of Science in Visual Communication Design encompasses and integrates graphic design and digital media topics and offers additional study addressing advanced concepts and a changing technological landscape with new opportunities for education and profession. Students are prepared to collaborate with other design disciplines in technology, user experience and creative problem solving.

Instructor gesturing towards wall with design schematics on paper
Vis Com Roadmap (This is the roadmap beginning Fall 2021. If you started earlier, you will see different requirements.)

First Semester in Major 

Second Semester  Third Semester  Fourth Semester 


6 units


16 units


15 units


15 units


15 units

DES 200* DES 370* DES 300* DES 425* DES 525 or 527
DES 222* DES 322* DES 325* DES 427* DES 505
  DES 356* DES 327* DES Major Elective DES 570
  DES Major Elective DES 324 DES Major Elective DES Major Elective
  UD GE B DES Major Elective DES Major Elective DES Major Elective
  UD GE D      

* means this is a prerequisite class.

Major Electives follow either a Graphic Design Pathway or an Interactive Design Pathway or a blend of both. The Electives are chosen with an Advisor.

General Education Requirements Met in the Major

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


  • DES 200     Visual Design Literacy    3
  • DES 222 Introduction to 2-D Digital Design    3


  • DES 356 History Of Design And Technology (UD GE-C)    3
  • DES 370 Introduction To Design     1
  • DES 300 Design Process     3
  • DES 322 Computer Graphic Imaging    3
  • DES 324GW GWAR Research And Writing For Design     3


  • DES 325 Graphic Design I     3
  • DES 327 Interactive Design I     3
  • DES 425 Graphic Design II    3
  • DES 427 Interactive Design II    3

(Choose At Least One Of These Classes)

  • DES 525 Graphic Design III     3
  • DES 527 Interactive Design III    3


(Select at least 6 courses from this list. No more than 6 units may be 200-level classes)

  • DES 226 Modern Letterpress
  • DES 227 Rethinking Digital Visual Media
  • DES 256 Design And Society
  • DES 475 Topics In Design
  • DES 523 Information Design I
  • DES 524 Information Design Ii
  • DES 625 Design Practicum: Design Working Group  
  • DES 627 Adv Projects In Visual Communication Design - Ux (3)
  • DES 628 Design Gallery
  • DES 699 Independent Study
  • Other Elective By Advisement
  • Other Elective By Advisement


  • DES 505 Senior Design Project (3)
  • DES 570 Professional Practices For Design (3)

Welcome Letter to Incoming Visual Communication Design Students

Students are required to take DES 370 in their second semester on campus (first semester for Transfer students). In this class students will be assigned an advisor and you should meet with them right away to fill out an Advising Contract. BSVCD Advisors are: Prof. Christensen, Prof. Hulick, Prof Hussaini, Prof. McVeigh-Schultz, Prof. Singer, Prof. Sosa-Tzec, Prof. Trogu, and Prof. van Kampen.

After this first meeting, students should meet with their advisor at least once a semester to remain on track for a timely graduation. Faculty advising in Design is available during fall and spring semesters with limited advising during the summer and winter.

Students can meet with an advisor prior to entering the University via arrangement with the Design office. Students continuing with an advisor can book appointments on EAB Navigator.

Laptop Requirement

Students are required to purchase a laptop with required software when they begin the major. Students accepted into the Design program will receive hardware and software recommendations for their particular course of study. Please follow the specifications for each major: Visual Communication Design (BSVCD) or Industrial Design (BSID_PDD). Educational discounts on both hardware and software are available through the SF State Bookstore, and through various online vendors. If you qualify for federal financial aid and have not already been awarded the annual maximum in federal student loans, you may request an increase in the federal student loan to assist you with the purchase of the laptop.

Note: All Design Majors and Minors are eligible for free Adobe Creative Cloud licenses. View additional details about the laptop initiative, and download the Vis Com Laptop Specs here

Career Pathways for Visual Communication Design

  • Branding and Agency Graphics
  • Interactive Design
  • Print Design
  • Data Visualization
  • User Experience (2D and Screen)

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