Skip to Side Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Accessibility Settings

The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Communication Design

Total Course Requirements for the Bachelor's Degree: 120 units

See Bachelor's Degree Requirements in the University Catalog for complete details on general degree requirements. A minimum of 39 units, including those required for the major, must be upper division.

A suggested Major Academic Plan (MAP) has been prepared to help students meet all graduation requirements within four years. You can view MAPs on the Degree MAPs page in the University Catalog or you can request a plan from your major advisor.

General Education Pathway Requirements: 48 units

See General Education in the University Catalog and the Class Schedule for the most current information on General Education Pathway Requirements and course offerings.

Diversity Course Requirements: 6 units

See Diversity Requirements in the University Catalog. Most courses taken to satisfy these requirements may also apply to General Education .

Upper-Division Writing Requirement:

Writing Across the Curriculum (Executive Memorandum 17-009) is a graduation requirement and may be demonstrated through satisfactory completion of four Writing (W) courses, two of which are designated by the major department. See Mathematics/Quantitative Reasoning and Writing Requirements in the University Catalog for more details on the four courses.  The first of the major designated Writing (W) courses is listed below.

SUBJ NUM Title Sustainable Units Semester Offered Course Flags
Prerequisite: MADT 434.
The course focuses on business aspects of graphic design and developing a portfolio for presentations. 2 hours discussion, 2 hours activity. This is an approved Writing Course. This course requires the use of a laptop computer and appropriate software. (001797)

The second major-designated Writing course is the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GW) (Executive Order 665). Students must earn a C- or higher to receive GW credit. The GE Written Communication (A2) requirement must be completed before a student is permitted to register for a GW course.

Grading Requirement:

All courses taken to fulfill major course requirements must be taken for a letter grade except those courses specified by the department as Credit/No Credit grading only.

Course Requirements for the Major: 84 units

Completion of the following courses, or their approved transfer equivalents, is required of all candidates for this degree. Additional required courses, depending upon the selected option are outlined following the major core program requirements.

Laptop Requirement

To complete this program, the student must have the use of a laptop computer. Please consult with the department for current hardware and software requirements. Students qualify to receive special education discounts on computers and software sold through the Associated Students Bookstore (an Apple authorized campus store). For some programs, in an effort to lower student expenses, bundles consisting of a specially priced Apple laptop computer with the program's required software will be made available at the beginning of each academic year through the Associated Students Bookstore. This laptop computer package is expected to serve the student for the entire length of the program.

Pre-Portfolio Courses: 34 units

12 courses required:

SUBJ NUM Title Sustainable Units Semester Offered Course Flags
Survey of the major visual arts of Europe and the U.S. from 1800 to the Present. 3 hours lecture. This is an approved General Education course. This is an approved US Diversity course. (021084)
A survey of visual arts, including Pre-Columbian, Post-Columbian, Native American, Islamic, and African. These arts will be placed in their historical, social, and religious contexts. 3 hours lecture. This is an approved General Education course. This is an approved Global Cultures course. (000709)
Foundation studies in the elements and principles of art and design as applied to 2D media. Includes critical thinking and conceptual development, materials and methods, and additive and subtractive color theories and applications. 6 hours activity. (000720)
Foundation studies in the elements and principles of art and design as applied to 3D media. Includes critical thinking and conceptual development leading to design and construction, materials and methods, and use of color. 6 hours activity. (000721)
Beginning drawing techniques based on studio disciplines. A variety of approaches and materials will be used. 6 hours activity. (000710)
An introduction to design thinking, a human-centered approach to innovation. Using methodologies or user-centered design, observational research, rapid prototyping, collaboration and system, this course explores creative problem solving. 3 hours lecture. This is an approved General Education course. (001637)
This course is an introduction to the fundamental vocabulary and techniques of commercial digital photography. Emphasis is placed on developing visual competence in the creation and consumption of lens-based imagery. Course content includes the basics of camera and digital production techniques for color and black and white photographs that are produced as exhibition-quality prints and on-screen imagery for commercial use. Includes a broad-based survey of photo history, contemporary theory, and current issues related to the practice of photography. Open to non-majors. 2 hours lecture, 3 hours laboratory. (001654)
Introduction to hypertext markup language (HTML), Web standards, and the Web publication process. Includes practical exercises in the creation and publication of Web pages and the construction of coherent Web sites. 2 hours discussion, 2 hours activity. (001660)
An introduction to 2D design, digital color, vector and raster images, typography, digital production and pre-press techniques. Students learn to prepare documents for printing, using Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and In Design on the Macintosh computer platform. 1 hour lecture, 4 hours activity. This course requires the use of a laptop computer and appropriate software. (021059)
Prerequisites: MADT 206, MADT 283.
For Graphic Design majors only. Introduction to the language, processes, principles and theories of contemporary graphic design, including computational, critical, systems and visual thinking. Students learn to create meaningful visual form in various contexts, using Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and web languages (HTML, CSS, SVG) on the Macintosh computer platform. 2 hours discussion, 2 hours laboratory. This course requires the use of a laptop computer and appropriate software. (001644)
Prerequisites: ARTS 122, ARTS 123, ARTS 125, MADT 222, MADT 284 or faculty permission.
Orientation to the visual portfolio process and review. Successful completion of the course with a grade of CR is necessary for entry into MADT 327 and MADT 334. Review of individual work by faculty committee. 2 hours activity. This course requires the use of a laptop computer and appropriate software. Credit/no credit grading. Formerly MADT 230. (001646)
Prerequisite: GE Mathematics/Quantitative Reasoning Ready.
Summary of numerical data, elementary probability, distributions, and introduction to statistical inference. 1.5 hours lecture, 1.5 hours discussion. This is an approved General Education course. (005501)

Portfolio Requirement

The successful completion of a Portfolio Review is necessary for entry into upper-division Graphic Design course work. The portfolio is comprised of work from ARTS 122, ARTS 123, ARTS 125, MADT 206, MADT 222, MADT 283, MADT 284, and MADT 285 and is reviewed by Communication Design faculty.

Post-Portfolio Courses: 41 units

14 courses required:

SUBJ NUM Title Sustainable Units Semester Offered Course Flags
Prerequisite: Completion of GE Written Communication (A2) requirement.
Study of various approaches to the critical examination of communication. Application of principles to selected texts. This course is required for all majors in the Department of Media Arts, Design, and Technology. 3 hours lecture. This is an approved Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement course; a grade of C- or better certifies writing proficiency for majors. This is an approved Writing Course. (001668)
Students acquire a qualitative understanding of how various information and communication technologies work, the social needs that drive technology developments, and the future impact of new information technologies on work and society. This course is required for all majors in the Department of Communication Design. 3 hours lecture. This is an approved General Education course. (001659)
Prerequisite: MADT 285 and MATH 105.
Introduction to typographic and diagramatic information design with an emphasis on improving the accessibility and usability of complex data for print and interactive media. Topics include principles of visual and typographic composition, visual perception and cognition, visual symbols, visual representations of hierarchical structures and quantitative information, interaction and navigation in visual interface design. 2 hours discussion, 2 hours activity. This course requires the use of a laptop computer and appropriate software. (001750)
The course is designed to expose visual communication students to significant graphic forms, personalities, and movements. Students will relate symbolic, typographic, photographic, and illustrative imagery to informative and persuasive media. 3 hours discussion. (001670)
Prerequisite: MADT 285.
Introduction to typographic syntax, with an emphasis on the organization and visual structure of typographic information. Topics include principle of composition, form-counterform relationships, modular grids, proportion, and visual hierarchy. 2 hours discussion, 2 hours activity. This course requires the use of a laptop computer and appropriate software. (001672)
Prerequisite: MADT 334.
This course focuses on the planning and organizing of the material and immaterial components of a service in order to improve the quality of interaction between service provider and customers. Students will combine strategic thinking with visualization skills to make ideas tangible. 2 hours discussion, 2 hours activity. This course requires the use of a laptop computer and appropriate software. (021951)
Prerequisite: MADT 334.
Creation of documents to affect audiences, including book, magazine, annual report, newsletter, and experimental formats. Includes publication formula, analysis, and relation to electronic platforms. 2 hours discussion, 2 hours activity. This course requires the use of a laptop computer and appropriate software. (001753)
Prerequisite: MADT 335.
Sustainable Design is an introduction to the design of messages, artifacts, experiences, and services that integrate sustainable practices with graphic design. Students become familiar with the major sustainability principles/theories frameworks and tools and apply them to hands-on projects. 2 hours discussion, 2 hours activity. This course requires the use of a laptop computer and appropriate software. (001755)
Prerequisites: MADT 334.
Exploration of the physical, cognitive, cultural, and social factors that shape audience contexts and the design of human computer interfaces. Students learn to identify design problems, research solutions, build prototypes, and evaluate their effectiveness through user testing. 2 hours discussion, 2 hours activity. This course requires the use of a laptop computer and appropriate software. Formerly MADT 333. (001671)
Prerequisite: MADT 334.
Introduction to typographic semantics, with an emphasis on the expression of meaning, experimentation, and discovery. Topics include contemporary typographic theory, font design, mixing messages, non-linear composition and sequence. 2 hours discussion, 2 hours activity. This course requires the use of a laptop computer and appropriate software. (001673)
Prerequisite: MADT 434.
An advanced study of contemporary design issues, concerning the application of design process and theory to complex problem-solving across multiple contexts. 2 hours discussion, 2 hours activity. This course requires the use of a laptop computer and appropriate software. (021023)
Prerequisite: MADT 433.
This course is a comprehensive design course allowing students to apply systems and methodologies gained from earlier courses and projects to solve real-world, pragmatic design problems. Students begin with analysis of their design strengths and weaknesses, personal interests, and career goals. From that base we develop a growth plan for each individual's design work. The main task in the course is to identify an area of research, discuss its relationship to graphic design, plan and execute a multifaceted of visual communication. Student address social, environmental, political, linguistic, philosophical, and cultural issues through an independent, self-authored graphic design project that requires experimentation, adaptability, and specialization. Upon graduation students are expected to have development a refined, intelligent, and professional body of work. 3 hours discussion. This course requires the use of a laptop computer and appropriate software. (021988)
Prerequisite: MADT 434.
The course focuses on business aspects of graphic design and developing a portfolio for presentations. 2 hours discussion, 2 hours activity. This is an approved Writing Course. This course requires the use of a laptop computer and appropriate software. (001797)
Prerequisite: MADT 285 or faculty permission.
This course is an internship offered for 1.0-12.0 units. You must register directly with a supervising faculty member. The internship is a program designed to provide the student with occupational experience within the industrial environment in the information and communication profession prior to graduation. The internship is designed as a transition to professional practice wherein the student will work full-time within an industrial firm for a length of time to be established between the cooperating firm, the intern, and California State University, Chico. The student will experience a wide range of industrial situations, conditions, and practice. Students will serve their internship under the direct supervision of a practicing member of the profession. You may take this course more than once for a maximum of 15.0 units. (001788)

Note: MADT 489 must be taken for 2 units.

Design Elective Courses: 6 units

2 courses selected from:

SUBJ NUM Title Sustainable Units Semester Offered Course Flags
Introduction of letter press printing, with an emphasis on using both traditional hand set type and computer-generated imaging technologies to expand approaches to creative thinking. Topics include paper specifications, fundamentals of ink and color mixing, operating and maintaining platen and cylinder hand presses, basic binding, and finishing operations. 2 hours discussion, 2 hours activity. This course requires the use of a laptop computer and appropriate software. (001669)
Prerequisites: MADT 285.
To prepare the student to develop communication methodology for solving experimental packaging problems; to develop two-dimensional and three-dimensional package simulation techniques; to understand the marketing aspects of packaging, technical reproduction methods of packaging, and interface them with the visual media. 2 hours discussion, 2 hours activity. (001682)
Prerequisite: MADT 285.
Analysis, creation, and presentation of identity, branding, and licensing for corporate, government, education, medical, and non-profit organizations. 2 hours discussion, 2 hours activity. This course requires the use of a laptop computer and appropriate software. (001754)
Prerequisite: MADT 334.
Introduction to time-based information design and kinetic typography, exploring relationships between music and typographic composition for new media. Topics include historical relationships between music and typography, form and space, hierarchy and structure, texture and depth, time and movement. 2 hours discussion, 2 hours activity. This course requires the use of a laptop computer and appropriate software. (001681)

Design Support Elective Courses: 6 units

2 courses selected from:

SUBJ NUM Title Sustainable Units Semester Offered Course Flags
Prerequisite: MADT 222.
A study in the design and development of multimedia. Emphasis on conceptualizing multimedia products for use in education and training, information delivery, and performance support. Hands-on skill development in creating digital elements for use in multimedia, such as graphics, audio, and video and combining these elements into interactive programs. 2 hours lecture, 2 hours activity. (001773)
Prerequisite: MADT 222.
Modern Web technologies for the production and publication of Web pages and sites. Production of client-side and server-side dynamic Web pages to accept user input and retrieve information from databases. Style sheets for controlling Web page appearance. 2 hours lecture, 2 hours activity. (001742)
Prerequisite: MADT 206 (with a grade of C or higher).
This course addresses photographic perception, creative process, and a more thorough investigation of narrative editing practices and techniques related to commercial digital photography. Technical concepts include advanced systems of exposure and digital imaging processing for high-quality commercial digital output. Open to non-majors. 2 hours discussion, 3 hours laboratory. (001737)

Advising Requirement:

Advising is mandatory for all majors in this degree program. Consult your undergraduate advisor for specific information.

Catalog Cycle:19