Undergraduate Frequently Asked Questions

Is the SF State School of Design the same thing as the former SF State Design and Industry Department?

Yes. The program decided to change its name to better reflect the current reality of our curriculum and students.

Can I use one of the Advanced Placement (ROP) courses I took in high school as one of my prerequisite pre-major courses?

Advanced Placement courses may be used only if SF State has given you credit for that on your Advanced Standing Evaluation (ASE), your SF State transfer credit list or the new Academic Progress Report (APR) as a college level course. To confirm whether your course is acceptable, please contact the SF State Student Advising Center and confirm this.

I know I am interested in design, but I don't know whether I should apply to Industrial Design or Visual Communication Design. What's the difference?

Industrial Design relates to the design of industrially manufactured, tangible goods (i.e. physical, concrete objects like furniture, lighting, bicycles, consumer electronics, toys, etc.) and related services. Visual Communication Design is the design of visual communications for a variety of platforms including print, web, mobile, motion, games, spatial graphics, etc. All design fields involve user needs research, user experience design, aesthetics, technology, and creative problem solving. View the bulletin for a list of classes.

If I am accepted to the University, will I be able to enroll in summer School of Design classes before the Fall semester I am applying for?

Each summer session can be different, but if we are able to extend these classes to our newly accepted majors, we will notify them of this fact in the Welcome Message which informs them of their acceptance, what classes to register for in the fall, information about the Design Laptop Requirement, etc.

I already have a bachelor’s degree in another subject. Will I be able to apply to one of your undergraduate majors?

No, SF State is currently not accepting second baccalaureate applications to any program but Nursing. This policy is set per campus so this may work at other CSU campuses. Note that this policy is subject to change in an era of unpredictable support for public higher education. View SF State's current transfer policy. Note that the School of Design has a graduate program, an M.A. in Design.

Does the School of Design offer Internships?

Note that the School of Design offers course credit for design internships with local companies and not-for-profit organizations. We offer workshops and opportunities to network with local companies through courses and our student chapters of AIGA and IDSA.

What types of careers do School of Design graduates go on to pursue?

Because the Design majors offer grounding in design thinking and design principles within the context of an undergraduate liberal arts education, Design majors go on to find rewarding careers in diverse fields. Some graduates pursue design careers as graphic designers, web/mobile designers, UX designers, packaging designers, game graphics designers, model makers, or product designers and developers. From these areas, they move on to become Art Directors and Principle Designers. Other graduates find meaningful careers in marketing, advertising, or retail sales where their design background and problem solving skills are valuable assets. Still others find careers in the media, arts and entertainment fields. Some graduates even start their own businesses. Note that design is a dynamic field with new technologies and new professional opportunities emerging on a continuing basis.

What types of skills will be required in my field?

As a Design major, you will be introduced to the research, design thinking, problem solving, organizational, conceptual, and practical skills of the design trade. Strong sketching and ideation skills, and fabrication or development skills will be important for all design fields. Todayall entry-level designers are expected to have a high level of digital media skills. For Visual Communication Design students, this includes mastery of such programs as Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, Prototyping tools such as Invision and Axure, along with front-end web coding (HTML, CSS, JavaScript, etc.). Experience with motion graphics programs such as After Effects and Unity are a plus. For industrial design, software skills might include SolidWorks, Rhino, and other modeling programs.

What is the salary outlook for designers?

As reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, and the Occupational Outlook Handbook, here are some links to see in-depth information on vocational prospects for designers: