First Year Guide: Apparel, Graphic, and Interior Design

Apparel, graphic, and interior design are planned as four-year majors because of the need to sequence the studio courses. Each course serves as a building block for the next. While there is some flexibility in scheduling, most studio courses must be taken in sequence and during the semester specified on your four-year plan in order for you to complete your degree in four years.

Because these are four-year programs, completion of the liberal education requirements will not allow you to graduate sooner. However, you may choose to request a reduced credit load (if you meet the eligibility requirements) or to complete coursework that will complement your major, such as a minor. Your academic advisor can help you decide on the best course of action.

Portfolio Review

Design professions are competitive and demanding. Future professionals need to gain experience in presenting their work to others and in having their work reviewed. Portfolio review is a way to evaluate your 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. Passing portfolio review is required to change your status from pre-major to full major and, thus, continue in the program. You will have only two opportunities to participate in portfolio review. Portfolio review is held at different times depending on your major:

  • Apparel Design: end of your first year in the program, usually during finals week of spring semester
  • Graphic Design: during your third term in the program, usually in October or February
  • Interior Design: end of your first year in the program, usually during finals week of spring semester

Faculty Advising

As of your fourth or fifth term in the program (depending on your major), you will be assigned a faculty advisor in addition to your professional academic advisor. The faculty member will serve as your internship advisor and be a sounding board for your ideas about how to continue on in your field of choice. For interior design, the faculty advisor will also review your study abroad plans as they relate to your major.


You will complete a required internship that will provide you with an opportunity for hands-on experience in your discipline. Your faculty advisor and Career & Internship Services will help as you formulate your learning goals and find an internship site.        

Summer Courses

Most of the major-specific courses are offered only during the academic year, so we recommend that you not depend on using summers to move ahead in your major program. You may, however, take your liberal education and communication requirements, as well as many electives, in the summer.

Review of Transfer Work

Students who wish to submit transfer studio work for review in lieu of requirements must do so after admission to the program. Please note that approved work from studio courses taken at other universities rarely shortens the four-year length of the program.