Apr 13, 2024  
2021-2022 Undergraduate Catalog 
2021-2022 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Graphic Design, B.A.

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Minimum number of credits required to graduate:  124

Minimum Cumulative GPA required to graduate:  2.0

Minimum number of credits to complete the major:  64


Graphic Design Major

As a graphic design major, you will develop your capacity for artistic and creative expression in both design and the studio arts.

This dynamic program, which blends art and design history, provides a rich and strong foundation that encompasses design thinking, theory, process, and practice, along with a background in the liberal arts.

Merrimack’s multifaceted graphic design curriculum combines research, critical questioning, problem analysis and the methodologies of the design industry. As a student in this program, you’ll sharpen your conceptual and critical-thinking abilities and develop a practical, in-depth understanding of current industry-standard technical skills. And, as part of the Mobile Merrimack Initiative, you will incorporate mobile technology into your learning.

The Graphic Design program

You’ll start with foundational courses. They will challenge you to look, think, question, make, critique, and to critically evaluate art and design. Graphic Design History, with an additional art history course of your choosing, will help you understand your major within the context of world culture. Next, you’ll choose one of two foci (Brand Design or Interaction Design) thereby selecting advanced coursework most appropriate to your learning, creative, professional and career goals. Lastly, in your senior level coursework you’ll dive into design research, enabling you to produce a professionally designed senior capstone project. Through courses of increasing complexity, as well as internships and opportunities for real-world design practice, you’ll learn to:

  • Understand and perform various types of industry-related research

  • Write for a broad range of applications

  • Develop the capacity to collaborate successfully, both online and in person

  • Motivate yourself and manage creative projects

  • Develop ideas that stand the test of critical analysis

  • Deliver effective oral presentations to students, professors and outside clients

  • Brand and market yourself by creating a professional identity and portfolio

  • Become proficient in relevant industry software, hardware and social media

  • Be accountable, responsible and ethical in your work

Technology Requirements for the Graphic Design Program

Graphic Design majors are required to have an Adobe Creative Cloud Subscription and a professional level laptop at the start of their junior year. Upon becoming a Merrimack student, you’ll receive an Apple iPad and Pencil as part of the Mobile Merrimack Initiative, which will be an added benefit to your creative explorations. Inquiries about technical requirements are always welcome. Please contact Nancy Wynn, Director of the Graphic Design program, by email: wynnn@merrimack.edu

Transfer Students to the Graphic Design Program

If you’re transferring into the program, the transfer of studio courses and level of placement in the Graphic Design program will be determined by the Graphic Design faculty. Upon application to Merrimack College, you’re required to submit a portfolio to the Department of Visual and Performing Arts for review. During the portfolio review, the Graphic Design faculty will assess your studio skills, as well as the courses to be transferred toward the degree requirements. Faculty will compare your level of accomplishment with the Graphic Design Program’s expectations to determine where you’re qualified for placement into the program.

Portfolios can be submitted in-person or digitally. To submit a portfolio, or ask questions about the process, please contact Nancy Wynn, Director of the Graphic Design program, by email: wynnn@merrimack.edu

Major Requirements

The Graphic Design major requires the completion of a minimum of 64 credits. You start with foundational courses, add history courses, choose one of two foci (Brand Design or Interaction Design) for your advanced courses, and finish with your senior level courses.

Foundations Courses

Advanced Courses - Brand Design

Advanced Courses - Interaction Design

Portfolio Review (required non-credit)

The Graphic Design program prepares you for professional employment. Part of your development will be to design and produce a portfolio and personal brand identity. The program includes a sophomore and junior portfolio review to aid with this requirement. Both courses are 0 credit and must be completed for the major.

Highly Recommended

Starting in your freshman year, you will be encouraged to work with the O’Brien Center for Career Development on your preparation for professional on- and off-campus internships. Though not required, they are highly recommended. Graphic Design students regularly complete one, and sometimes two, internships adding substantial work to their portfolio.

  • DES 4910 - Visual and Performing Arts Internship  Credits: 4
  • DES 4920 - Visual and Performing Arts Internship  Credits: 4

Other Elective Courses or Minors

Graphic Design intersects with other disciplines and industries. You may wish to include some of the following elective courses in your program of study, or explore a minor in Marketing, Communications, English, or another one of your passions. If not a minor, you may choose to complete a course to enrich your knowledge, or develop your technical chops. These are just a few courses to consider, but there are many more based on your interests.

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