Design, BA

The Fine Arts department is committed to cultivating global thought leaders in the fields of Art and Design. The Major in Design addresses a need for innovative pedagogy exploring the expansive nature of contemporary design and its relationship to the humanities, the sciences, and emerging technologies. The curriculum emphasizes an integrated understanding of design that brings together different disciplinary approaches that respond to complex social, cultural, and environmental challenges. Students will acquire contemporary representation, prototyping, and fabrication skills and engage with theoretical frameworks yielding advanced research and knowledge production.

Students begin the Design Major with two required core studios that introduce fundamental design methodologies, computational literacy, technological fabrication, and the study of contemporary digital culture. Majors then select from a series of theoretical and historical seminars that contextualize and expand their understanding of design practices including data-driven, speculative, and inquiry-based design. Majors also have the freedom to select from an expansive list of art and design electives that further their interdisciplinary expertise. The Design Major culminates in a year-long design project, researched design brief, public exhibition, and panel review with leading experts in the field.

A goal for students entering the major is to develop the ability to critically and resourcefully synthesize the expansive potentialities of design. These skill sets are gained through exposure to diverse approaches to design methodologies, histories, and theories. Learning outcomes are evident in the individual and collaborative conceptual, technological, and speculative projects that emerge from the core and integrative studios. Design electives and seminars enrich, complicate, and expand disciplinary modalities, while engaging in deeper explorations of positionality within a global climate. Ultimately, the Design Major seeks to guide students through a process of learning to independently question, interpret, and analyze integrative design.

For information about the General Education requirements, please visit the College of Arts & Sciences Curriculum page.

College General Education Requirements and Free Electives
Foundational Approaches + Sectors1 + Free Electives20
Major Requirements
Core Studio Requirements 22
Students are encouraged to take these classes their freshman and sophomore years.
Art, Design and Digital Culture
Design 21: Design After the Digital
Integrative Design Studio Requirements3
Select 3 courses:
Art of the web: Interactive Concepts for Art & Design
Graphic Design I: Creative Technologies
Environmental Animation
Graphic Design II
Pixel to Print
Biological Design
Cultures of Making
Functions for Form and Material
Information Design and Visualization
Interfacing Cultures: Designing for Mobile, Web and Public Media
User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) Design
Design Tools and Technologies
Art History and Theory Requirements3
Art History- select one introductory level art history course, such as:
World Art before 1400
The Artist in History,1400-Now
Architect and History
Undergraduate Methods Seminar
Theory- select 2 of the following:
Theory I: Geometry in Architecture
Contemporary Theories of Design
Language of Design
Futures for All: Reimagining social equality through art and technology
Feminist Technoscience: Art, Technology, & Gender
Interrogative Design: Cultural Prosthetics
People and Design
Eye, Mind, and Image
Critical Issues in Art
The Chinese Body and Spatial Consumption in Chinatown
Public Art and Issues of Spatial Production
Mystics & Visionaries: Arts and Other Ways of Knowing
Is This Really Happening? Performance and Contemporary Political Horizons
Design Seminar Requirements 32
Design Senior Seminar Project (Fall) (Fall)
Design Senior Seminar Project (Spring) (Spring)
Art and Design Electives 44
Select any combination of four FNAR and DSGN courses to fulfill this requirement 5
Total Course Units34

You may count no more than one course toward both a Major and a Sector requirement. For Exceptions, check the Policy Statement.


Core studio requirements may be taken as early as freshman year and in any order as long as prerequisites are met.


Majors must take the Senior Seminar Project in consecutive semesters of their senior year.


Art and Design Electives can be taken in any order as long as prerequisites are met.


Fine Arts and Design courses can be found on the department website.

The degree and major requirements displayed are intended as a guide for students entering in the Fall of 2023 and later. Students should consult with their academic program regarding final certifications and requirements for graduation.