The following are the required courses for this major. Students who attend Orientation and meet with the Education Department can obtain personalized academic counseling to complete the program. Transfer credits, changes in curriculum, and other factors may affect the academic plan for individual students. The FIDM Education Department can provide additional information.


A prior Associates degree or 45-60 semester units (67-90 quarter units) of transferable academic coursework. Students entering the program with fewer than 60 semester units (90 quarter units) will have additional coursework to complete.

Bachelor of Arts (B.A)

Creative Industry Studies, Graphic Design Core
BUMT 3820
Business Law+
Students develop an understanding of corporate formation and procedures, limited liability companies and special business forms. This course examines social, ethical, and political implications of law and its application to business transactions as well as intellectual property law.
GNST 1080
Drawing Fundamentals
A course in which students learn to communicate quickly and effectively through the medium of the sketch, a graphic means for recording and transmitting a visual experience or mental image. In mastering the fundamentals of line, form, composition, and perspective, students acquire the techniques of a visual language which are useful in many endeavors.
GNST 1900
Professional Skills
This course facilitates a comprehensive understanding of the tools and techniques necessary to effectively navigate the complexities of the job market. Students explore critical components of employment in order to prepare for their job search; the ultimate result is placement in their desired career. Students learn how to build a meaningful resume, navigate career sites, including FIDM Career Network and LinkedIn, effectively research desired industry and organizations, and perfect interviewing techniques and skills. This is a Pass/Fail class necessary for FIDM graduation. In addition to nine (9) hours of class workcomprised of three consecutive classes, three (3) hours eachstudents should be prepared for an additional three (3) hours of homework for each of the three weeks.
GNST 2220
History of Design
An exploration of important developments from the Industrial Revolution to the digital age in the history of decorative arts, architecture and ornaments, interiors and furniture, textiles, products, and graphic design.
GNST 2420
Survey of Western Art II
A survey of art, architecture, and design from the Renaissance through the 20th century. Art movements such as Realism, Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Fauvism, Cubism, Abstraction, and Surrealism are studied. Particular emphasis is placed on the artist's role in society and the effect of society on art.
GNST 2530
Principles of Kinesiology+
The emphasis of this course is to scientifically examine the musculoskeletal and physiological systems of the body in motion and at rest. The principles of biochemical, pulmonary, and circulatory systems related to movement and exercise and the contemporary issues of neuromuscular health are investigated.
GNST 2530L
Principles of Kinesiology Lab+
This lab includes field excursions, observation journals, and interviews with practitioners in the field of kinesiology, including physical therapists, sports medicine physicians, and professional trainers.
GNST 3200
Consumer Social Behavior
Students examine the process of creating consumer demand through case studies and focus groups.
GNST 3400
Social Psychology+
A course that examines social psychology and how the behaviors, thoughts, and emotions of individuals are created and modified by the social and cultural conditions in which they live. Issues of social influence, cooperation and conflict, conformity, perception, change, and leadership are explored.
GNST 3500
Professional Presentation+
A course in effective organizational communication, with emphasis on advanced oral communication skills, including interviewing. Students examine the dynamics of individual and group communication as preparation for full-scaled, business-specific informative and persuasive speeches, in which they use computer technology, visual aids, and statistical data to enhance the impact and clarity of their presentations.
GNST 3700
Multicultural Perspectives Through the Short Story++
Through the literary vehicle of the short story, students examine issues of coexistence, integration, and assimilation in the international arena. In considering diversities such as race, ethnicity, class, family, gender, and language, they gain the tools for evaluating, with new awareness, their own identity and value system within a multicultural context.
GNST 3750
Mapping Your World: Introduction to Global Production
This geographical survey of the worlds major regions covers population distribution, natural resources, and relationships between different regions in reference to trade and environment, with a focus on current geo-political issues.
GNST 3800
Icons of Culture: The Context of Meaning
Students explore universal design concepts underlying the applied arts, the decorative arts, and architecture/architectural form. Using the language of aesthetic analysis, they relate formal elements of color and structure, pattern and motif, and icon and symbol to the origins, development, and diffusion of a wide range of designed objects from many cultures and historical periods. In the process, they gain insight into the durability, adaptability, and resonance of concepts and images that have achieved iconic status in the world of design.
GNST 3900
Issues in Contemporary Society+
A General Studies capstone course addressing current issues in social diversity, globalization, business ethics, and civic responsibility. Students combine critical analysis, scientific inquiry, and technological skill to research and prepare a clear written and oral presentation on a challenging, advanced question of their own choosing.
GRPH 1050
Digital Imaging
Students dive deep into the use of Adobe Photoshop to create high-quality image enhancements and photo composites. Students learn additional toolsets and explore more advanced features and improve their imaging skills. Prerequisite: TECH 1100
GRPH 1150
Type & Layout
This course introduces students to document layout using Adobe InDesign. Students learn the tools, menu bar, and palettes as they begin designing single and multi-page layouts. Through design exercises, students examine how the use of grids serve as a structure for combining type and image.
GRPH 1300
Computer Illustration
In this course students continue to build on their illustration skills with vector drawing techniques. From tracing artwork to creating entertaining infographics, more advanced uses of Adobe Illustrator are explored including the use of Libraries and custom palettes. Prerequisite: TECH 1100
GRPH 1420
2-D Design
This course introduces the formal elements of line, shape, color, texture, and composition as well as the graphic principles of balance, scale, emphasis, repetition, and unity. Students also explore all aspects of two-dimensional design and imagery, which is essential to achieve a solid design. Prerequisites: GNST 1230, GRPH 1150, GRPH 1300
GRPH 1500
Critical Concepts
Students are introduced to conceptual thinking and the role of a graphic designer as a visual problem solver. Students identify a design problem, develop a visual solution, and present ideas through thumbnail sketches for group critique. Brainstorming sessions and teamwork are integrated as part of class participation. Prerequisite: GNST 1080
GRPH 1720
This course explores the fundamental traditions of typography combined with computer technology. It provides the foundation from which the students can develop both an understanding of typography and a personal aesthetic.
GRPH 2050
Brand X
Students investigate the visual and physical personality of a current brand and develop an effective visual identity for it, utilizing all applicable marketing materials. Prerequisites: GRPH 1450, GRPH 1720
GRPH 2120
Publication Design
This course helps students craft a variety of image and text-based content into a harmonious and legible design in catalogue and magazine formats for both print and digital delivery. Prerequisites: GRPH 1150, GRPH 1720, GRPH 2780
GRPH 2230
UX Design
This course offers a practical introduction to UX (user experience) design emphasizing the importance of research in the design process. Inspired by this research, students develop solutions for a variety of applications centered around a specific set of users. Wire-framing is used to illustrate design concepts and students learn how to create a clickable prototype.
GRPH 2300
Prepress Production
A fundamental class in preparing art files for print reproduction, this course covers desktop publishing, printing techniques (conventional and digital), paper, color, inks, imposition folding, and finishing. Students prepare a design from concept to final reproduction. Prerequisites: GRPH 1450, GRPH 1720, GRPH 2780
GRPH 2380
Packaging Design
Students develop creative packaging solutions that attract attention while communicating visually through the use of three-dimensional form, packaging materials, typography, color, and graphics. Prerequisites: GRPH 2300, GRPH 2500
GRPH 2400
Graphics/Licensing (6 hours)*
This course introduces students to product licensing through the development of original characters and their related products. The students create their own intellectual property and present it as a Style Guide. Includes a three (3) hour lab. Prerequisites: GRPH 2050, GRPH 2120, GRPH 2300
GRPH 2500
Logo/Symbol Design
Students create a logo for a company or product using the elements of design and the psychology of color.  They demonstrate understanding through application and usage of identity to create a brand and public awareness.  Thumbnails, participation, class critiques.  Prerequisites: GRPH 1420, GRPH 1720
GRPH 2540
Applied Branding
This course takes students through the entire graphic design process of creating a professional retail brand. Students define a target audience, invent a fictitious store name, and write a mission statement. For their final presentation, they create a conceptual store brand delivered through a visual marketing plan. Prerequisites: GRPH 2050, GRPH 2120
GRPH 2630
Website Design
Students build on their experience with UX design as they develop web and mobile applications. Students begin using HTML and CSS to design their sites while continuing to emphasize research, design, and functionality. Prerequisite: GRPH 2230
GRPH 2680
Graphic Design Portfolio
This is an advanced class in portfolio development. Students design, produce, and gain experience presenting their work in a professional working environment. They also write a comprehensive resume and present their portfolios before the class. Prerequisites: GRPH 2250, GRPH 2400, GRPH 2500, GRPH 2540
GRPH 2780
Introduction to Digital Photography
This course enhances students appreciation of the skill and creativity of photography by challenging them to produce their own photographic art. Course discussions include terminology, innovations in digital photography, and various experimental processes.  The course illustrates the practice of buying commercial photography for fashion, graphic design, and general marketing purposes, including negotiating with art reps, buyout of stock photography, and coordinating photo shoots. Prerequisite: GRPH 1050
GRPH 2930
Advanced Website Design
This course focuses on responsive web design in order to create sites that work on a variety of devices. Students create a complete interactive site from concept to final development. Prerequisite: GRPH 2630
VCOM 2840
Entrepreneurship for Visual Presentation
Students understand the marketing and financial data essential to making informed business decisions. Basic financial statements and their interpretation, cost analysis, and relationship to the visual communications industry are included. Prerequisite: VCOM 2820
Total Units of Credit: 91

*Three (3)-hour lab included in 6 hours.

+ Available as an online (distance learning) course

++ Periodically offered as an online (distance learning) course