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Visual Communication Design BDes Degree Requirements

The Visual Communication Design program offers a Bachelor of Design (BDes) degree.

To graduate with an undergraduate degree from the University of Washington, students must successfully complete at least 180 course credits: a combination of major requirements (listed below), UW general education requirements, and electives.

Admission to the major is based on completion of prerequisite courses, GPA, and/or successful completion of the application process.

Visual Communication Design Major Requirements

View chart.

Year One

  • DES 166 Design Foundations (5 cr)

Year Two

  • DES 206 Design Methods (5 cr)
  • DES 207 Design Drawing (5 cr)
  • DES 208 Design History (5 cr)
  • DES 209 Introduction to Typography (5 cr)
  • DES 210 Color + Composition (5 cr)
  • DES 214 Marks + Symbols (5 cr)


  • DES 368 Corporate Identity (5 cr)
  • DES 369 Visual Systems (5 cr)
  • DES 370 Introduction to Motion Design (5 cr)
  • DES 371 Interface Design I 5 cr)
  • DES 372 Interface Design II (5 cr)
  • DES 376 Advanced Typography (5 cr)


  • DES 466 Publication Design (5 cr)
  • DES 467 Exhibition Design (5 cr)
  • DES 478 Information Design (5 cr)
  • DES 485 Design Capstone (5 cr)
  • DES 486 Design Exhibition (1–3 cr)

+ Art History Courses (10 cr)

General Education Requirements

  • English Composition (5 Credits)
  • Additional Writing (‘w’ courses) (10 Credits)
  • Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning (5 Credits)
  • Foreign Language (0-15 Credits)
  • Areas of Knowledge (75 Credits): Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts; Individuals and Societies; Natural World

More details about general education requirements are outlined in the UW overview of undergraduate degree requirements.


In addition to the above listed general education requirements and major coursework, students take elective courses across the curriculum to supplement their education. The number of elective credits varies from student to student depending on variations in course of study. Students must take at least as many electives as complete the difference between general education requirements, major requirements, and the 180 credit minimum to graduate from the UW.

Satisfactory progress requirement for students accepted to the Bachelor of Design

Certain levels of academic and studio performance are required to continue in good standing in the Design majors.

  • Classes in the design curriculum are sequenced. Students must complete all design classes offered each quarter since those classes are the prerequisites for classes offered in subsequent quarters.
  • The minimum acceptable grade for all Design courses is 2.0.
  • Student progress is reviewed at the end of each quarter. Students failing to meet the grade criteria meet with faculty to discuss any issues. In the absence of compelling extenuating circumstances, a student will be placed on probation for failing to make Design Satisfactory Progress.
  • Students who fail to meet the criteria for two consecutive quarters or who accumulate three separate quarters of probationary status will be dismissed from the program.

Please note: All Design courses are reserved for majors only during the regular school year. Non-majors and non-matriculated students are welcome to register for Design classes during summer quarter.