Department of Design
Department Information: 
E-509 HFAC
Advisement Center: 
D-444 HFAC

Department of Design

The Department of Design prepares visual communicators for careers in a broad range of creative disciplines including animation, graphic design, illustration, photography and other related fields. Students learn to solve complex visual problems and communicate narratives across a wide array of mediums and technologies.

The degree programs within the Department of Design are limited enrollment programs requiring department admissions approval. Students interested in applying for a major should declare their pre-major intent, successfully complete prerequisite courses, and submit an online portfolio for review. Deadlines for pre-major applications are at the end of Fall and Winter semesters and Spring term. Students wishing to apply for a BFA professional program should complete foundational courses and then apply through a portfolio review held in June. Students may apply for their program of choice twice. Contact the department for application deadlines. For more detailed information, see Admissions Procedures below or contact the department office in E509 HFAC or refer to

Degree Programs

Professional BFA Degrees
Graduates from Department of Design professional BFA programs are fully prepared for careers in the following disciplines—

Animation: Animation majors work in various disciplines that include feature animation studios, visual and special effect studios, entertainment, gaming, and scientific data visualization.

Graphic Design: Graphic Design majors work in a wide array of design-related disciplines including branding, product design, publishing, interaction design, web design, mobile app development, experience design, service design, motion graphics, and data visualization. Designers often work in traditional design studios, interactive agencies, advertising agencies, and corporate design positions. They also work as design entrepreneurs, freelancers or in design management positions.

Illustration: Illustration majors work in diverse genres and publishing markets, including children's books, young adult fiction, genre fiction, graphic novels, ebooks, editorial, advertising, design, and corporate and institutional publications. Many illustrators work as concept designers, creating characters, environments, vehicles, and other digital artwork for entertainment productions. Other opportunities involve licensed products, toys and collectibles, art galleries, festivals, conventions, online exhibitions, and private commissions. Illustrators often work in-house for production companies, in design studios, or as a freelance on a project basis.

Photography: Photography majors work in many venues and genres, including portraiture, advertising, fashion, architectural photography, journalism, video and film, cinematography, editorial publishing, stock photography, conservation and photographic finishing. Other opportunities are available in fine art, educational, medical, travel, and marketing photography. Photographers typically work in-house, on a contract basis, as a freelancer, or as an entrepreneur in their own studio.

Bachelor of Arts in Design Degree
Design majors work in various design-related disciplines, including user experience, video game design, art direction, visual development and creative direction. Graduates from Department of Design’s Bachelor of Arts degree program receive foundational training in design processes, theory, methods of working, and design applications. The degree is limited to students with a clear and targeted plan of coursework involving multiple design disciplines in the department. The degree is not devised for general exploration of any BFA majors in the department. Students wishing to explore possible design careers are encouraged to pursue BFA degree program courses. 

The degree suits students who are interested in design theory or hybrid degrees. Hybrid degrees combine classes from Photography, Animation, Graphic Design, and Illustration to form a focused course of study. One such course of study is user experience and video game design, other courses of study require faculty approval. There are no courses in fashion design, interior design, or architecture.


Prospective BYU Students: Prospective students wishing to be admitted into the Design Department should apply to BYU through the regular admissions process at Admission to BYU does not guarantee admission into Department of Design degree programs. Prospective students are strongly encouraged to apply for department talent scholarships by the department deadline December 1st.

Department Admissions: All Design majors are limited enrollment programs which require students to apply for acceptance through a department admissions proces. Admitted BYU stduents should declare their pre-major intent before registering for prerequisite classes. When pre-major coursework is complete, permission to enroll in foundational courses is granted through a portfolio review process. Pre-major portfolio reviews are held online at the end of Fall and Winter semester and Spring term. Apply online at

Major Admissions: Upon completion of all prerequisite and foundational courses, students appy for admission to the major of their choice through a portfolio review. Reviews are held in June each year. Contact the department office in E509 HFAC for more information.

Transfer Students: Transfer students applying for admittance to the Department of Design are asked to submit an application and a portfolio on Transfer applications for the Department of Design are reviewed year round by program areas. At the discretion of the area faculty, students are accepted into the department and are placed at the appropriate level of study. Transfer applications are contingent upon acceptance into BYU, a separate application process. Admission to the department does not guarantee admission to Brigham Young University. For BYU deadlines refer to

Note: Students may apply for admission to department programs twice.

Talent Awards and Department Scholarships

All students are encouraged to apply for department Talent Awards and other scholarships by the December 1st deadline. Talent Award applications will open on November 1st. Apply online at

Design Education Licensure

Licensure as a K-12 art and design educator is available in conjunction with all Design majors through the Art Education licensure program in the Department of Art. The licensure program prepares students with a design background for teaching opportunities through a series of courses, including student teaching. To add licensure to a Design major, enroll and successfully pass ARTED 276 Introduction to K-12 Art and Design Education: Studio Methods, Media, and Explorations of Teaching. For more information go to 

Contact the Art Education Coordinator to discuss interest in the licensure option: Daniel Barney at or 801-422-1581.

Equipment Requirements

Incoming BYU design students are asked to purchase a computer for their own convenience and to maximize their academic experience. Pre-major courses can be completed with the use of university labs, however most students prefer having their own computer. In certain courses and programs, highly specialized technology is made available in department labs and classrooms. Since recommended configurations vary slightly by program area, contact the program area head for more information. The BYU Store carries a full line of discounted computers, accessories, and discounted software subscriptions.

Department Probationary Status

Students can be placed on probationary status for the following:

  1. Inadequate academic performance.
  2. Unprofessional attitude and lack of commitment.
  3. BYU Honor Code violations.

Graduation Requirements

To receive a BYU bachelor's degree a student must complete, in addition to all requirements for a specific major, the following university requirements:

  • The University Core, consisting of requirements in general and religious education. (For a complete listing of courses that meet university core requirements, see here.)
  • At least 30 credit hours must be earned in residence on the BYU campus in Provo as an admitted day student
  • A minimum of 120 credit hours
  • A cumulative GPA of at least 2.0
  • Be in good standing with the Honor Code Office

Students should see their college advisement center for help or information concerning the undergraduate programs.