The Design Arts major is geared towards students who are interested in Graphic Design, Environmental Design and the broadening field of Visual Communications. The program provides a formal education in design with an emphasis on promoting the development of problem solving and design skills that are practical, portable and enduring in rapidly changing, technologically driven, creative fields.

The Design Arts major consists of Studio Art, Graphic Design, Environmental Design, Communications and English Composition courses. The breadth of the curriculum reflects the interdisciplinary nature of the program and is structured to promote intellectual and esthetic understanding of visual communications, environmental design and promote the development of problem solving and presentation skills.

Students enrolled in upper-level courses will learn how to apply design principles to a variety of media including graphic design, magazine publishing, interactive design such as web site design, illustration, symbol design, the study and use of type and using video as a story telling tool. Studio courses integrate technology use and skills development in a problem-solving studio learning environment. Students learn to use standard professional design software as tools of the design process.

The environmental design studios develop design skills through the exploration of human scale problems. The studio courses have typically been centered on a variety of real-world projects that have included the design of business and living spaces, the redesign of industrial river frontage into green space and urban renewal projects to name a few. The studio projects typically have actual clients, with students responding to important community issues that require creativity based in design and problem solving methodologies.

The ultimate goal of the program is to equip students with the knowledge, problem-solving ability and design skills that will enable them to make significant contributions as design professionals.