Graphic Design (BA)


Turn Your Passion into a Career as a Graphic Design Major

Learn how to turn your artistic interests into a profession as a graphic design major at Southern New Hampshire University.

Unlike fine arts schools, SNHU can expand your career options by enhancing your arts degree with courses in advertising, business, communication, marketing, psychology, technology and many other areas. Career-oriented skills include creating:

  • Logos, logotypes and symbols
  • Advertisements and posters
  • Brochures and marketing materials
  • TV commercials and documentaries
  • Web sites
  • Interactive designs

Where You Can Go as a Graphic Design Major

Graphic design majors are in great demand, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Opportunities can be found in print, web design and multimedia design at ad agencies, newspapers, magazines, Internet-hosting companies, broadcast television production studios, and corporate and nonprofit marketing departments, to name a few. In fact, you’ll find our students and alumni at a number of great companies, including:

  • BAE Systems
  • Timberland
  • Segway
  • Fox News Network
  • Raytheon 
  • DYN
  • Silvertech

Faculty and Professional Connections

SNHU faculty – including an award-winning filmmaker, a digital media pioneer and the creative director of Altos Marketing – inform their classes with years of academic and professional experience. Graphic design majors will network with professionals through attendance at regional and national professional conferences as well as through program affiliations with AIGA and the New Hampshire Creative Club.

Graphic Design Major Curriculum

In addition to minors and coursework in other disciplines, you can opt to focus in three career-oriented subject areas:

  • Information Technology 
  • Advertising 
  • Video Production

Using the latest design technologies, we provide ample opportunities for hands-on experience and collaboration through coursework and internships.

Required Core Courses

General Education Program

School of Arts and Sciences Required Courses

BIO-210: Introduction to Anatomy and Physiology
Discussion/comparison of the principles of mammalian form and function. Includes molecular and cellular mechanisms of major processes (such as muscle contraction, neural transmission, and signal transduction) and examines the structure and function of the 11 organ systems of the human body. Laboratory exercises (BIO-210L) to follow lecture topics.
COM-212: Public Speaking
This course is designed to help students develop abilities, including organization and delivery skills, for all speaking situations. The evaluation and improvement of voice, diction, articulation and posture also are studied. May not be used as literature elective.

HIS ELE - Students may also select one 200+ level History elective.

Graphic Design & Media Arts Major Courses

COM-128: Language and Practice of Media Arts
This is an introduction to the practice of media production and the study of visual media literacy. The course examines the fundamental components and structure of moving image texts, explores how dynamic relationships between those elements convey meaning, and then exercise that knowledge through media production. Production design, language, technology, and methods will be discussed enabling all students in the class to have a common language of image analysis and creation. Readings and discussions on topics such as cinematography, narrative meaning, image and sound design, editing, genres, and culture will be included. Creative interpretative and expression of ideas will be exercised in the production of media.
COM-230: Graphics and Layout in Print Media
This course is an introduction to the principles and practices of graphic design. Students are introduced through lecture, demonstration and hands-on computer work to the basic elements of graphic visual communication. Adobe Illustrator is used as a primary tool in exploring visual perception through a variety of creative exercises that familiarize the student with basic visual principles such as figure/ground manipulation, shape grouping, letterform shape creation, and grid and system creation. Formal elements of graphic design such as line, shape, color, texture, pattern, balance, symmetry, rhythm, space and unity are thoroughly explored by example and hands-on computer exercises; special topics included are: designing with type, layout strategies, logo design, symbol and pictogram development and stationery systems.
COM-232: Desktop Publishing
This course is an introduction to the software application Adobe InDesign designed for the novice user. The Macintosh platform is used in the classroom studio lab, and the student is introduced to the creative and practical aspects of the desktop publishing program that is considered indispensable in the contemporary communications and design industries. This course is based on a series of introductory exercises and a regimen of hands-on practice that teaches software and design skills; students learn how to combine the use of InDesign with other professional graphics and work-processing software such as Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop and Microsoft Word.
FAS-226: Digital Photography
Photography as a visual medium is integral to the study of contemporary communication. This course introduces students to the history and practice of producing photographic images. The course is a combination of lecture and the hands-on practice of both the analog and digital methods of photographic image-making. The traditional darkroom is dispensed with, giving over to the computer the role of dark- room, with the student using Adobe Photoshop and other image editors to process traditional film and digital image captures. The student is taught to use various digital cameras techniques to capture, process, and print a portfolio of several original photographic images. Lectures on pictorial composition, subject matter choice, and methods of presentation display will accompany hands-on technical exercises.
FMM-101: Basic Design and Color Theory
This course examines the basic principles of design, including balance, emphasis, proportion and rhythm. The art elements of line, space, texture and color are studied with special emphasis on how they relate to advertising layout and design and visual merchandising. This course is cross-listed with GRA-101.
GRA-101: Basic Design and Color Theory
This course examines the basic elements and principles of design, including balance, emphasis, proportion and rhythm. Students are introduced to visual designing systems that guide the student through the application of computer graphics tools. The basic visual design elements of line, space, texture and color are creatively explored as students complete a series of projects that relate to advertising layout and design and visual merchandising.
GRA-220: Introduction to Digital Imaging
Using Photoshop and Illustrator software, this course is a Mac-based introduction to professional computer graphics creation and to the software and hardware typically used in the graphic design, video, photography and interactive Web/multimedia industries. Emphasis will be placed on the professional use of image- capturing devices, such as scanners, digital still cameras and video cameras. Image editing and color management systems will be discussed and demonstrated. The important differences between vector and bitmap graphics will be defined, as will the significant differences in preparing images for print, broadcast and Web distribution. Students will be encouraged to experiment with their own and preexisting images using sophisticated digital editing techniques such as layering, channel masking, filtering, cloning and montaging. Students will output their work from inkjet printers and record it on CD, video and film. Special attention will be paid to copyright awareness in the age of digital image.
GRA-310: Digital Graphic Design for the Web
This course presents digital graphic theory and develops skills that meet the design and technical requirements of professionally created digital images for commercial applications on the World Wide Web on a variety of platforms and Internet appliances. Each student will develop a professional portfolio consisting of printed and CD-ROM material. Students also develop working Web sites to display their graphic design projects. Topics include design strategies, Web authoring environments, color calibration and aesthetics, special HTML tags, image mapping, style sheets, digital cameras and scanners, GIF animation and an introduction to Dynamic HTML.
GRA-340: Typography
Typography deals with the language of type, the history of typography, typeface and character recognition, legibility, appropriate uses of measure, manuscript specifications and the individual visual dynamics of letterforms. In this class students will learn how to work with type as a stand-alone design element. Students will also learn how to incorporate type successfully with imagery. The assignments will cover a broad range of type applications. Students will primarily focus their efforts towards developing a greater understanding of typographic form through exercises based on the setting of words, phrases, sentences and short paragraphs. Students will first focus on the appropriate setting of spaces in-between the letters that make up words and projects will gradually increase in scope and complexity up to the setting of pages of text with multiple levels of hierarchical meaning.
GRA-410: Advanced Digital Graphic Design for Web
This course engages upper-level design students in current industry standards used in designing content for multimedia and interactive communication. Emphasis is placed on designing for computers, tablets and phones. The course is divided into teaching modules emphasizing the integration of several software packages for design problem solving. Emphasis is placed on conceptualization and the mastery of professional site mapping and wire framing techniques. Exercises and projects provide challenging design problem-solving experience. Project themes involve self-promotion and client-based work. All projects rely on the student's ability to integrate previously mastered techniques in a broad range of software.
GRA-310 or IT-375
GRA-420: Advanced Digital Imaging
This hands-on computer graphics course combines skills from previous design courses to explore the history, process and essential skills required to develop successful brand identity systems. Topics such as logo design, selection of corporate fonts and colors, and the development of branded marketing materials are covered in depth. In addition, the important techniques of imaging software integration and file format compatibilities are discussed and applied while preparing images for print, video and Web. At the conclusion of this course, students will have developed a complete corporate identity system and assembled a portfolio presentation for public viewing.

Students may take either FMM-101 or GRA-101.

Select One of the Following:

FAS-320: History of Design
This course introduces the major movements in the history of design since the Industrial Revolution, including the Arts & Crafts Movement, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, the Bauhaus, constructivism, and contemporary trends in popular design. Student will be encouraged to apply their learning to practical design exercises.
FAS-326: History of Photography
This course will examine the history of photography from its invention in 1839 to the present time. The course will endeavor to address the technical artistic and social underpinnings of this most modern of art forms.

Required Hardware and Software: Graphic Design Majors

It is essential that Graphic Design students have industry-standard hardware and software equipment.

Student discounts are available.

Required Hardware

Minimum Mac Specifications:

  • Model: MacBook Pro
  • Memory: 16 GB RAM
  • Display size: 15-inch
  • Hard drive: 750 GB or larger
  • Antivirus software: Your choice; antitrust software is required for students to connect to the SNHU network.

Required Software

  • Annual subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud design suite

University Accreditation

SNHU is a fully accredited university. Access our list of accreditations. More...

Contact Us

Office Hours
Monday - Friday: 8 am to 4:30 pm

Phone: 603.645.9611
Fax: 603.645.9693