B.A. in Design Studies

APU’s design studies major prepares students to think creatively about visual communication challenges by giving them experience in print, digital, and UIUX design.

Major Requirements

53-56 units

  • Students must successfully complete the Design Portfolio Review (DPR) before progressing to the DSGN 450 Portfolio course. The review dates are announced every term and are available in the Department of Design.
  • All students must maintain at least a 2.0 grade-point average in major courses to graduate.
  • All majors and minors in the Department of Design are required to have a laptop computer with access to the Adobe Creative Cloud.
Core Courses
DSGN 120Introduction to Computer Graphics3
ART 130Two-Dimensional Design3
ART 135Three-Dimensional Design3
ART 145Drawing I3
DSGN 221Production for Print Design3
ART 160Photography I3
DSGN 281Graphic Design I3
ART 356Writing 3: History of Modern Art and Architecture 13
DSGN 258History of Graphic Design and Illustration3
DSGN 282Digital Design3
DSGN 283Graphic Design II3
DSGN 385Graphic Design III3
DSGN 450Portfolio 23
DSGN 475Design Internship1-4
DSGN 481Graphic Design IV3
Breadth Courses (see list below)10
Total Units53-56

Breadth Courses

Select 10 units from the following:

Design Application
ART 210Printmaking: Relief3
ART 111Printmaking: Serigraph3
DSGN 384Interactive Design3
DSGN 386Multimedia I3
DSGN 430Applied Design1-4
DSGN 446Graphic Design Processes1-3
DSGN 495Special Topics in Design3
COMM 200Introduction to Mass Communication3
MKTG 361Integrated Marketing Communications (MKTG 260 prerequisite)3
MKTG 362Consumer Behavior3
ART 146Painting I3
ART 230Figurative Lab3
ART 240Drawing and Painting II3
ART 350Illustration3
ART 260Photography II3
DSGN 320Digital Imaging3
ART 360Photography III3
ART 460Photography IV3
ART 465Advanced Photography Studio3
or ART 466 Commercial Photography
DSGN 495Special Topics in Design3
Art History
ART 354History of Ancient Art and Architecture 13
ART 357History of Contemporary Art and Architecture 13
ART 359Women In Art3
ART 361History of Early Christian and Medieval Art and Architecture 13
ART 362History of Renaissance to Rococo Art and Architecture 13
DSGN 495Special Topics in Design3
HUM 223Core Texts in Aesthetics 13
HUM 323Core Texts in Aesthetics 13

Recommended General Education Courses

Intellectual and Practical Skills
GE 100First-Year Seminar3
WRIT 110Writing 1: The Art and Craft of Writing3
Writing 23
Writing 2: Writing for Christian Practice
Writing 2: Writing in the Humanities
Writing 2: Film Analysis and Criticism
Writing 2: Writing for Visual Thinkers
Writing 33
Writing 3: History of Modern Art and Architecture
Oral Communication3
Public Communication
Physical Education1
PE 1XX: Fitness for Life
Quantitative Literacy3
College Algebra
Mathematics in Society
Introduction to Statistics
Knowledge of Human Cultures and the Physical and Natural World
Humanities: Fine Arts3
History of Early Christian and Medieval Art and Architecture
History of Renaissance to Rococo Art and Architecture
Using Digital Media in a Visual World
Humanities: History3
United States History Since 1877
Humanities: Literature3
Studies in Literature
Social Sciences3
General Psychology
Human Growth and Development
Natural Sciences w/lab4
Biblical, Theological, and Philosophical Formation
MIN 108Christian Life, Faith, and Ministry3
UBBL 100Introduction to Biblical Literature: Exodus/Deuteronomy3
UBBL 230Luke/Acts3
PHIL 100Introduction to Philosophy3
Upper-Division Bible3
Personal and Social Responsibility
Civic Engagement3
Intercultural Competence3
Integrative and Applied Learning3
DSGN 450Portfolio3
Foreign Language
Proficiency requirement may be met by APU proficiency test; an SAT, AP, CLEP, or FLATS test score; or completion of an APU language course numbered 102 or higher.
Available through APU study away programs: CT (Cape Town, South Africa), ECU (Ecuador), LA (L.A. Term), or PMB (Pietermaritzburg, South Africa). See full program options in the General Education and Study Away sections of this catalog.
Total Units65

Program Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete this program shall be able to:
  1. General Knowledge and Essential Skills: Design work that demonstrates fluency with visual vocabulary, principles, composition, and excellence in craft and technical skills, developed with familiarity with professional standards, contemporary issues, and technological developments in design.
  2. Inquiry, Research, and Critical Thinking: Construct innovative design solutions that result in measurable outcomes, through research, conceptualization, and synthesis of information, and using narrative devices and visual metaphor.
  3. Visual and Written Articulation: Communicate effectively through written and oral presentations that demonstrate proficiency in the aesthetic, practical, and technical aspects of ideation, production, and criticism of design solutions.
  4. Cultural Literacy and Sensitivity: Articulate, critique, and apply the historic, social, and theoretical contexts of visual communication by demonstrating knowledge and sensitivity towards diverse audiences and points of view.
  5. Faith Integration: Demonstrate a sense of responsibility and ethical awareness as they evaluate design and developments in the field of design in light of a Christian worldview.