Kutztown University

Kutztown University Communication Design

Kutztown University curriculum

Our Curriculum

Kutztown University’s Communication Design is a BFA program, the preferred degree as stipulated by the American Institute of Graphic Arts and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. Communication Design is both Middle States and NASAD accredited.

The Communication Design Department has the largest number of majors within the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Kutztown University. The Department attracts students from all over the eastern United States as well as from places as far away as India, Japan and Germany. The four-year BFA curriculum in Communication Design is structured toward laying a foundation of design knowledge in the freshman and sophomore years and then allows building specialized knowledge through upper-level concentrations in Graphic Design, in Advertising Design, in Illustration and in Interactive Design.

As graduates, they carry these skills with them into the business and academic world. The highly creative and thought provoking work of graduates from the Communication Design Department informs and persuades on behalf of clients in a wide range of organizations and professions.

Curriculum Structure

To download a .pdf of course requirements and curriculum structure, please click here.

Foundation Level


Freshmen Communication Design majors take foundation classes in Drawing, Two-Dimensional and Three-Dimensional Design with other students in the visual arts disciplines. CD Students are introduced to the technology used in communication design in Intro to Digital Design I. They also select general education courses outside of their major each semester to provide the well-rounded education necessary for a professional designer. Each student in the program is assigned a faculty advisor to help them choose courses and insure that they fulfill the necessary requirements for graduation.

First Semester
  • Drawing I
  • 2D Design
  • Art History A or B
  • 2 Academic Electives
Second Semester


Sophomores take a block of core courses in design and illustration including Intro to Digital Design II, Visual Thinking, Illustration Techniques, Visual Translation, Typography and the History of Graphic Design. It is recommended, though not always possible, that sophomore CD students take Intro to Life Drawing or Intro to Photography to round out their preparation for selecting a concentration area in the Junior year. This common core provides students with creative problem-solving techniques, computer knowledge and the skills to put together client presentations using state-of-the-art technology and professional materials.

First Semester
Second Semester

Junior / Concentrations

The CD Department offers four concentration tracks: Graphic Design, Advertising Design, Illustration, and Interactive Design.

First semester of the Junior year, students may take two or more introductory courses in these concentrations, to see which areas they would like to pursue in upper-level coursework. Or, if they already know where their interests lie, they may substitute a Fine Arts studio elective for one of these choices. In addition to the courses in their concentration, all Juniors also take a half semester courses in Print Media Production and Advanced Typography.

Graphic Design

Graphic Design I focuses on symbology and basic graphic applications. Students then explore editorial design, researching images and text for the design of newspapers, magazines and brochures in Graphic Design II.

Advertising Design

Advertising Design I focuses on concepts and design for printed ads. This class prepares students to consider the demographics of the audience as well as the marketing strategy of the client. Television, radio, outdoor advertising and direct mail are studied in Advertising Design II.


Students concentrating in Illustration begin with a course that surveys a variety of traditional media, from colored pencil, charcoal, pen and ink to watercolor and acrylic paints. The next course focuses on the ideas and concepts in the student’s work. Courses progress through assignments that allow students to refine technique and create an identifiable illustration style.

Interactive Design

Interactive Design I introduces students to the concepts and tools necessary to create effective computer-based design with a focus on the World Wide Web. Interactive Design II focuses on multimedia design and applications.

Fifth Semester

* or Illustration 1 or an Art Elective studio

Sixth Semester


Graphic Design

Seniors take two half-semester seminars in advanced graphic design as well as workshops in specialized areas of design.

Advertising Design

Seniors take two half-semester seminars in advanced advertising design as well as workshops in specialized areas of advertising design.


Seniors take two half-semester seminars on the Visual Essay and Self-Promotion for Illustrators and Designers.

Interactive Design

Seniors take two half-semester seminars on advanced web design and advanced multimedia design.

Seventh Semester
Eighth Semester

Additional Courses

During the senior year a series of half-semester workshops are available to either supplement the student’s concentration or expand his/her interest into areas not previously covered. Workshop topics include: Digital Animation, Emerging Media Campaigns, Event Graphics, Package Design, Restaurant Graphics, Poster Design, Design for the Greeting Card and Gift Industry, The Art of Humor, Typeface Design, Motion Graphics and 3D Animation.

The BFA in Communication Design requires a portfolio workshop in which the student's portfolio is refined and assembled, preparing them for the job interview process. All students also participate in a juried exhibition during their final semester.


Students with a departmental GPA of 3.0 and a concentration in either Graphic Design, Advertising Design or Interactive Design have the option of taking an internship to gain experience beyond the classroom during their senior year. Internships are considered an honor for qualifying students and an asset for students’ resumes. Internships are conducted at design, advertising or media firms approved by the Department. Some 35 organizations and communication design firms are now active participants in this program. Students are required to be at their internship forty hours a week for seven and a half weeks during either the first or second half of the semester. This training provides a practical arena for students to test their skills and to pick up additional knowledge.