College of Design
Cdes Current Students

Graphic Design: New Students

Information for New Pre-Graphic Design Students



Academic Information

The graphic design major is planned as a four-year major because of the need to sequence studio and non-studio major required courses. Major courses are sequenced over eight consecutive semesters (four years).


If you are transferring into the program having completed many or all of your liberal education requirements, you may be able to enroll at a reduced credit load in your third and/or fourth year of the program. (Note: If you have completed major-related courses at Minneapolis Community and Technical College or Alexandria Technical and Community College, please consult your advisor.)


You must enroll in major courses in the order in which they appear on your four-year plan. Note that many of the courses required for the major are offered only once a year, either in fall semester or spring semester.


Be sure to use your four-year plan in conjunction with your APAS report to ensure timely graduation. If you have any questions, your academic advisor is your best information source. Click here to access a tutorial on how to read your APAS report.






Required Registration: Students transferring within the U of M system

Below are the five foundation courses that you must complete prior to participating in portfolio review. You will receive permission numbers for 2-3 foundation courses. In addition, you should register for 1-2 remaining liberal education requirements during your regular queue time for the upcoming semester.


·  DES 1101W: Introduction to Design Thinking

·  DES 2101: Design and Visual Presentation

·  GDES 1311: Foundations: Drawing and Design in Two and Three Dimensions*

·  GDES 1312 Foundations: Color and Design in Two and Three Dimensions*

·  GDES 1315: Foundations: The Graphic Studio

* Students are not to take these two courses concurrently.


Permission numbers will be available beginning April 10, 2017. If you are notified of admission after this date, your academic advisor will email your permission numbers to you. Please allow at least five business days for processing.


U of M - Twin Cities Campus Students: You must pick up your permission numbers at the front desk of CDes Student Services in 12 McNeal Hall. You will need a photo ID to pick up your permission numbers. Our office is open 8:30 am - 4:00 pm.


Students transferring from a U of M coordinate campus (Duluth, Crookston, etc.): If you are unable to pick up your permission numbers in person, please e-mail your academic advisor to receive your permission numbers.


Note: New freshmen and students transferring from outside the U of M system (including from CCE) will receive course permission numbers at their orientation session, during which students register for classes.




4-Year Plan for Graphic Design






Academic Advising

Allow approximately two weeks after you have received your admission email to be assigned to your academic advisor. Your advisor's name will appear on your APAS report. After you have been assigned to your academic advisor you can schedule an advising appointment.


Note: Advisors do not make their own appointments. To schedule an advising appointment, please call 612-624-1717 or stop by 12 McNeal Hall.


You are required to have an advising appointment with your CDes academic advisor within your first year in the major.







The College of Design provides hardware and software information for graphic design students.






Portfolio Review

Portfolio review is a way to evaluate a student's design ability and knowledge of design concepts based on work from the foundation-level courses. Portfolio review assures that students have acquired an understanding of essential design knowledge and are prepared to move on to more advanced coursework.


Students typically go through portfolio review in their 3rd semester of the Pre-Graphic Design program. Click here to learn more about the current portfolio review session.






Study Abroad

We highly encourage students to consider spending a semester abroad in their sophomore or junior year or joining a shorter excursion during any summer, winter or spring break. Exposure to other cultures is a critical component of every designer’s education.


Students interested in a study abroad experience should work closely with their CDes academic adviser and the U of M Learning Abroad Center to learn about their options and outline their course of study. Careful program and course planning will help you stay on track for timely graduation.






Student Groups and Professional Organizations

Consider joining a CDes or U of M student organization. Popular options for graphic design students include:






Graphic design is a demanding major. It requires a serious time commitment for success. Although we recognize that many students need to work to finance their undergraduate education, the graphic design faculty strongly recommend that you work no more than 10 hours per week. Maintaining a high GPA is critical for acceptance to finding a job or landing an internship.



Contact Information

College of Design

Saint Paul Offices

32 McNeal Hall, 1985 Buford Ave, St. Paul, MN 55108

P: 612-626-9068 | F: 612-625-1922

[directions and maps]

Minneapolis Offices

101 Rapson Hall, 89 Church St SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455

P: 612-626-9068 | F: 612-625-7525

[directions and maps]

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