Graphic Design FAQs

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Q: What is the difference between BA Design Studies and BFA Graphic Design?

A: The Graphic Design Program admits every student as BA Design Studies. Upon the completion of DsGD 100 and with at least 3.0 GPA, Students are eligible to apply for pre-admission to BFA Graphic Design.

Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Design Studies—Program for students who wish a broad-based study of graphic design principles, history and theory. The requirements will provide an understanding of the aesthetic as well as the technical skills needed to produce innovative design projects. Students are encouraged to combine their studies in design with electives in the arts and other fields.

Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Graphic Design—This program prepares students for intellectually and aesthetically challenging careers in Graphic Design by providing courses that emphasize theory and professional practice. The program concentrates on the organization and visual communication of information and includes typography, form and image, information architecture, user interface, interactive design, and motion graphics. Passage of two portfolio reviews is required for admission to the program. Passage of two Junior and two Senior Reviews is required to advance through the BFA GD program. All students are required to complete a professional internship. In addition to the regular curriculum, students have the opportunity to attend special classes and workshops led by studio professionals and faculty members. Students must maintain a 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale in all art/design courses; failing this, the BFA status will be changed to the BA-Art Design Studies. 

Q: How do I apply for the Graphic Design Program?

A: Please click here for complete information on SJSU Admissions.

Q: What is the admission criteria for fall 2020?

A: Admission policies for fall 2020 are available here.

Q: What should I take in Junior/Community College to prepare for BA Design Studies (Graphic Design area)? What classes transfer from my Junior/Community College?

A: Any drawing, photo, art history, and digital applications (Adobe Creative Suite) are good preparation for transferring to SJSU. Lists are available here

For questions about academic plan, progress, transfer units, and GE fulfillments, please contact the general advisors at H&A Student Success Center at Clark Hall Room 244, Phone: 408.924.5095, E-mail:, Website:

Q: Should I take all of my GE classes at a Junior/Community College?

A: Transfer students should try to finish all their lower GE at the community college prior entering SJSU. Students who enter as freshmen could take three Graphic Design major courses along with two GE courses each semester.

Q: I already have a Bachelor’s degree. Can I still apply to SJSU?

A: Unfortunately SJSU is not currently accepting students interested in pursuing a second Bachelor’s degree. In addition, the Graphic Design program does not currently offer a graduate degree.

Q: I am a current SJSU student. Can I change my major to BA Design Studies (Graphic Design area)?

A: Yes, we welcome students who have GPA of 3.0 and above to join the program. Please obtain the proper change of major form here.

Q: Is there a portfolio review for admission?

A: At this time, there is no portfolio review for admission for our BA Program. However, a Portfolio Review is required to gain admission to our BFA Program.

Q: When should I apply for BFA Graphic Design?

A: We accept every student as BA Design Studies. After the completion of DsGD 100, students are eligible to apply for pre-admission to the BFA Graphic Design degree. Portfolio review is required.

Q: What kind of work should I submit for the BFA Graphic Design Review?

A: Selected work from all of your previous SJSU Graphic Design courses. You can see the complete details by downloading DsGD 100 Portfolio Review Form (pre-admission to BFA) and DsGD 104 Portfolio Review Form (confirmation to BFA) at Dept. of Design Forms page.

Q: What type of computer will I need?

A: Our students use both PCs and Macs; go with what you are most comfortable using Laptops are required (at least 15 inch monitor is recommended), as many classes require work in class to be done on a laptop. Computers should be fast enough to run the minimum system requirements for Adobe Creative Suite.

Q: What computer programs will I need?

A: San José State provides currently enrolled students in eligible classes with free Adobe software for their campus computers and their home computers.

Q: Who do I contact for advice regarding Graphic Design classes?

A: For all general information about the Graphic Design Program please contact Design Department Office
: Art Building 120, 408-924-4340,

For questions about your major courses (prerequisite approval, substitution, and graduation application, please bring your major form and unofficial transcript to see the graphic design major advisors—Prof. Yoon Chung Han, Prof. Chang Kim, Prof. Diane Lee, and Prof. Randall Sexton—during their office hours (you can acquire their office hours at Art Building 120).