Graphic Design, BA

Graphic Design, BA

The BA program in Graphic Design provides you with broad exposure to various aspects of visual communications as well as opportunities to explore and experience other fields. You’ll develop advanced skills in typography, layout, information design, packaging design and other applications, and you’ll learn the software and technology necessary to deliver dynamic visual communications through print, web and new media.

You’ll focus on graphic design within the context of a broader program of general studies, with the opportunity to pursue a minor. You may also choose a concentration in web design. The Graphic Design, Web Design, BA will enable you to generate visual solutions for web-based design problems.

The Second Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design is available if you’ve already earned a bachelor’s degree.

What to Expect Your First Year

You’ll learn why, and how, to think more creatively and collaboratively in a hands-on way. You’ll participate in Columbia’s innovative and shared Foundations Program, which will provide you an opportunity to explore different areas and techniques, meet students in a wide variety of programs and prepare you for major-specific experiences. Through five-week, one-credit courses, you’ll hone your existing skills and learn new ones. You’ll choose three foundations skills courses each semester from more than a dozen offerings.

You’ll apply what you’re learning right away to develop solutions to problems presented in Making I and Making II, co-taught by faculty who are designers and artists. You’ll work in teams and learn to develop, present and document your work. Your classes will also include Introduction to Visual Culture, in which you’ll learn to see your own work through the eyes of an art historian across disciplines.

What to Expect Your Last Year

As a BA student in Graphic Design, you’ll have flexibility in class choices and an opportunity to use elective credits to explore outside your major and draw on the inspiration of this coursework to advance yourself as a designer. You’ll complete your Liberal Arts and Science requirements and choose three electives during each of your final two semesters. You’ll also choose between Packaging Design or Experimental Typography, based on your interests. You may also choose to pursue an internship, which is highly recommended but not required.

BA vs. BFA: What’s the Difference?

Bachelor of Arts (BA) programs feature a flexible curriculum that allows for exploration and the ability to tailor elective coursework beyond your major. Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) programs feature more focused, required coursework in the major.

If you wish to pursue entry to a BFA program, you must first gain admission to Columbia College Chicago. If eligible, you will be evaluated individually by your academic department sometime during your first or second year of enrollment.

Detailed Program Information

Download a Four-Year Plan

For More Degree Requirements and Transfer Plans, Visit the Catalog

Real-World Opportunities

What experience will I get outside the classroom?

You’ll benefit from the program’s location in Chicago, one of the great design cities in the world. You’ll have the chance to make professional connections, beginning with our award-winning faculty who are active and successful in the industry. You’ll have the opportunity to do client-specific graphic design, branding and visual identity work to build the contacts and professional portfolio needed to enter the profession of graphic design.

What are my internship options?

Internships are recommended, but not required. Our students have completed graphic design work as interns for firms such as Leo Burnett, Cards Against Humanity, Foote Cone & Belding, Pivot Design, INDO and Pressley Johnson Design.


Ready to Apply?

We’re happy you’re thinking of joining our creative community. We work hard to make our application process as simple and fast as possible, but should you run into any concerns, we're here to help at any time.

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