Department of Design


Chair: Brent Barson

Department Information: 

1100 WCCB



Advisement Center: 

1190 WCCB




Department of Design

The Department of Design prepares visual communicators for careers in a broad range of creative disciplines including animation, graphic design, illustration, photo- & lens- based design, product & user experience design, 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 the 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 at 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 film animation, television animation, visual and special effect studios, entertainment, gaming, and data visualization. Students are given opportunities to develop portfolios as they work on personal and group projects, and major films that will help prepare for a successful career as an artist in animation.

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, and as entrepreneurs, freelancers, or design management positions.

Illustration: Illustration majors work as illustrators and artists in the evolving creative industry and find various opportunities in publishing, editorial media, advertising, entertainment, and fine art. Illustrators utilize a variety of media to create artwork for children's books, young adult fiction, genre fiction, graphic novels, motion illustrations, gallery art, product design, textiles, interactive design, and corporate or institutional publications. Illustrators often work in-house for production companies, in design studios, or as freelance artists and creative entrepreneurs.

Product & User Experience Design: Product and User Experience Design majors will create products that enable human flourishing, foster charitable interactions, and promote societal and ecological well-being. Students will learn to create products that give users valuable, relevant, engaging experiences. Product designers identify user needs and situations, understand business/economic requirements, and pursue consumer engagement to offer these compelling products. The product designer develops, plans, prototypes, and tests product elements that impact the user experience using a human-centered, iterative method. Product designers frequently collaborate with peers from other disciplines, including business, software development, manufacturing, and product engineering

Photo- & Lens-Based Design: Photo- & Lens-Based Design majors focus on creative and expressive forms of contemporary photography, cinematography, and motion design as a means of preparing for a broad spectrum of careers, including commercial/advertising (freelance, in-house), editorial, fashion, documentary, fine art, and multimedia production. Graduate school preparation is also prioritized for those students interested in continuing their education. Through their studies, students mature in technical, aesthetic, and conceptual aspects of image-making in a variety of technologies—ranging from analog to digital. Assignments, critiques, and experiences are designed to aid individuals in further developing their creative practice, personal vision, fluency in the language and craft of photo and lens-based media, and how their work functions in a wider cultural context.

Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Design Degree
Interdisciplinary Design majors work in various design-related disciplines, including user experience, art direction, visual development, and creative direction. This degree gives students leeway to think and work across fields, becoming design generalists with foundational training in design processes, theory, methods of working, and design applications. 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 is limited to students with a clear and targeted plan of coursework involving multiple design disciplines in the department. 

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 the Department of Design degree programs. Prospective students are strongly encouraged to apply for department scholarships. Apply online at Go to for application deadline information.

Department Admissions: All Design majors are limited enrollment programs that require students to apply for acceptance through a department admissions process. Admitted BYU students 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 the Fall and Winter semester and Spring term. Apply online at

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

Department Scholarships

Design majors are encouraged to apply for Department scholarships. Go to for funding information and application deadlines.

Design Education Licensure

Design majors can add an Art Education teaching license to their degree. This program prepares students with a design background to teach art and design in K-12 classrooms. The program includes 36 credits of coursework, including a semester of student teaching as the capstone project. To join the program, students must enroll in 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: Mark Graham at

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.

  • 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.