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Graphic Design Exit Review

Graphic Design Continuance Review

Intended students in the graphic design program are expected to successfully complete the required art studio foundations coursework during the first year of study. In their second year, intended students will begin the required sequence of courses in the graphic design major. Prior to students' application for admission into the Graphic Design major, they must first successfully complete required foundational art studio and graphic design coursework with a minimum grade of C. Students must register for and pass GDES 370: Graphic Design Continuance Review in order to be admitted into the major. Enrollment in the upper division of the graphic design major is limited, and completion of the foundational art studio and graphic design courses does not guarantee acceptance. Due to the sequence of the required graphic design coursework, accepted students are admitted to the major only in the Fall semester.

Details concerning the portfolio submission and review process are available below. Students who are accepted into the graphic design major must purchase a Macintosh laptop computer and a subscription to the Adobe Creative Cloud software. Specifications for the laptop and software can be obtained from the full-time graphic design faculty or from the graphic design technology and resources page. Continuance in the graphic design major requires a grade of C or better in all prerequisite courses and requirements in the graphic design sequence. A final course grade of C- or lower requires the student to repeat the course in order to advance in the major.

Materials for Submission to the Continuance Review

  1. A Portfolio of 12 Representative Examples of Work
    • 3 works from GDES 280: Introduction to Graphic Design
    • 3 works from GDES 365: Basic Typography
    • 2 works from ARTS 202: 2D Design + Color
    • 2 works from ARTS 231: Drawing I
    • 2 works from ARTS 279: Digital Basics
    • Transfer students should provide an equivalent selection of projects representing the courses listed above. Pieces should be labeled to indicate the applicable course.
  2. A Test of Skills Assignment (Files must be created and submitted during a scheduled session the day the portfolio is due.)
  3. A 500 Word Essay
  4. Unofficial Academic Transcript (all undergraduate work)
  5. Continuance Review Registration Form

Frequently Asked Questions


How do I register for the review, and when is the submission deadline?

GDES 370: Graphic Design Continuance Review is only offered in the Spring. Students who wish to participate in the review must register for the course concurrently with GDES 365: Basic Typography. At the conclusion of the semester, students will submit their review materials and complete the test of imaging skills. Details concerning the review requirements will be discussed during the GDES 370 course.

Who should submit work? How should the work be submitted?

All students who have completed ARTS 202, ARTS 231, ARTS 279, and GDES 280, and are enrolled in GDES 365 and GDES 370 may submit portfolios for consideration. Follow instructions on the registration form distributed during the GDES 370: Graphic Design Continuance Review course.

Why is the review necessary?

Enrollment in the upper division of the graphic design major is limited, and completion of the foundational art studio and graphic design courses does not guarantee acceptance. Due to the sequence of the required graphic design courses, accepted students are admitted to the program only in the Fall semester.

Faculty use the review to gain knowledge of each student's creative potential, motivation, academic achievement, design skill sets, and communication abilities. The portfolio review ensures that students who are qualified and likely to succeed in both the upper level courses and the profession will be offered a place in the major.

How will my portfolio be evaluated?

The review uses multiple measures to assess each applicant, including:

  • The student's past academic performance as documented on the transcript
  • The student's ability to understand and articulate the underlying concepts and design decisions of successful design work, as demonstrated in the required essay
  • The quality and presentation of the work submitted in the portfolio
  • The student's digital imaging skills
  • Timely submission of the continuance review materials following the required specifications.

The first goal of the review is to provide students with the best possible understanding of their preparedness for upper-division coursework. No single measure above determines acceptance into the program. The faculty utilize all measures to best understand each student's potential for success in the upper-division of the Graphic Design program.

A form documenting the faculty's review will be placed in each student's portfolio. Neither the faculty of record for GDES 370 or the faculty reviewing the continuance portfolios will provide additional review of the submitted portfolio.

What is the Test of Skills?

This assignment will test your knowledge of Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign, three major applications used in the graphic design industry. You will be given specific materials to exactly reproduce in all three applications. The test will be administered on the day the continuance portfolios are due. The graphic design faculty will evaluate the production of the assignment to determine whether or not the student has the technical skills to proceed in the graphic design major.

Students are encouraged to utilize online resources provided by the university to expand their digital skill set. LinkedIn Learning is an online video library with thousands of courses taught by recognized experts, including all the Adobe Creative Cloud applications. Video tutorials on LinkedIn Learning are now available for free to students using their MIDAS ID. Click here for direct link.

When will faculty review the portfolios and notify students of the results?

After the portfolio submissions and test of skills have been evaluated by faculty, students will either receive a pass or fail grade for the GDES 370 course.

When may I retrieve my portfolio?

Portfolios may be picked up following the review or at the start of Fall semester. Since they will be secured in a room, the pick-up time during the summer will vary depending on faculty availability. Portfolios not picked up by Sept. 1st will be discarded.

How do I register for GDES 371 and GDES 372 if I pass the review?

Students that pass the review will be cleared to register for each section of GDES 371: Design Concepts and GDES 372: Advanced Typography. Upon notification of acceptance, students may register through the normal registration process. Placement in a specific section is determined by the standard enrollment process; faculty will make no determination on specific section assignments. All students passing the review are guaranteed enrollment in the Fall section of GDES 371 and 372.

What do I do if I fail the review?

There are a limited number of reserved seats in the upper-division graphic design courses. Completion of the studio art foundations and graphic design second year courses doesn't guarantee acceptance into the program.

Students who did not pass GDES 370 are not eligible to register for GDES 371 and GDES 372. Students have the option to retake the GDES 370 the following Spring semester, or they can pursue another major or degree either within or outside of the Art Department.

Neither the faculty of record for GDES 370 or the faculty reviewing the continuance portfolios will provide additional review of the submitted portfolio. Students may solicit opinions regarding specific works from program faculty by appointment during the Fall semester.


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