Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic & Interactive Design

Graphic & Interactive Design

Dermot Mac Cormack, Chair
Tyler School of Art Building, Rooms 210T and 240L

Kelly Holohan, Program Head
Tyler School of Art Building, Room 240M

The Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Graphic & Interactive Design (GAID) Program at the Tyler School of Art and Architecture does more than prepare students for careers in print and screen-based design—it teaches them how to create unforgettable experiences that make the world a better place.
Tyler GAID majors join a tight-knit network of students, teachers and alumni that embraces the power of design to open minds, move hearts, shape environments and heal communities. Tyler's faculty help students find their unique voice and wield it to solve complex social challenges that impact us all, from poster campaigns that spotlight the effects of climate change to apps that address the problem of physical exercise for individuals who are visually impaired. Students are pushed to experiment and create original, research-driven concepts across all platforms, including illustration, typography, packaging, websites, social media, virtual reality and real-life spaces.
Students at Tyler get the best of both worlds: an intimate community with small classes and personal mentorship; and access to the facilities, academic experts and resources of Temple, a leading public research university based in Philadelphia, with its dynamic arts and culture scene and opportunities for professional advancement.

Portfolio Review for Admission into the GAID Major

Because of the demand for a limited number of spaces in the Graphic and Interactive Design Major, all BFA students who are not yet declared majors in Graphic and Interactive Design will have to apply for the Sophomore Portfolio Review in GAID in order to get into the major, regardless of when that student started at Tyler or when they took Graphic Design (GAD 2001) and Computers for Design (GAD 2021).
The review process is required for any Tyler student seeking to enter the major. Because the GAID program follows a strict fall/spring sequence, students may only begin as GAID majors in the fall semester. Students must complete the program in sequence as the capstone courses are offered only in the spring. Admitted students must begin taking required courses in the major at the junior (3xxx) level in the academic year immediately following official admission to the major or their admission to the major will be forfeited.

It is strongly recommended that potential applicants for admission to the GAID major attend one of the official sophomore advising meetings with the GAID Program Head where the application process will be explained. The process will also be explained by the instructors in each section of GAD 2001.

Laptop Requirement for GAID Majors

The Graphic & Interactive Design Department at Tyler School of Art and Architecture is committed to excellence in design and the full integration of technologies within our discipline to best educate and prepare our students to become leaders in this field. A thorough understanding of the changing nature of design and the integral role that technology plays in it is essential for all our students to be active participants in this ever-changing environment.

For full device and software requirements and recommendations, please see the Graphic & Interactive Design Laptop Requirements.

Degree Requirements

The Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Graphic and Interactive Design may be conferred upon a student by recommendation of the faculty and upon the satisfactory completion of a minimum of 126 semester hours of credit with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.00. All Graphic and Interactive Design majors must complete the BFA curriculum and General Education requirements.

The required Junior/Senior courses must be completed with a C- or better to fulfill major requirements. 

Requirements for B.F.A. in Graphic & Interactive Design

Sophomore Requirements

GAD 2001Graphic Design3
GAD 2021Computers for Design3


  • A minimum final grade of C- in GAD 2001 and in GAD 2021 along with the approved portfolio review is required to be accepted to the major.
  • Graphic and Interactive Design majors who plan to study abroad should do so in the second semester of their sophomore year if they plan to graduate in four years. These students should see the Area Head for advising prior to leaving.

GAID Protocol for Portfolio Reviews

There will be two portfolio review cycles in Graphic & Interactive Design (GAID) each academic year: the end of the Fall semester (December) and the end of the Spring semester (May). The portfolio reviews will take place in the week after final studio course reviews. Specific dates for the reviews will be announced at the beginning of each semester in the GAD 2001 classes. They will also be posted on Canvas and in the GAID suite. All full-time GAID faculty will serve on the GAID Portfolio Review Admissions Committee.
Applicants must have completed all Tyler Foundations courses (or had approved transfer courses as noted by the Tyler Admissions Office) and the 2 prerequisites for the major: GAD 2001 and GAD 2021 with a C-minus or better.

Application and Notification

The complete policy and application process is detailed on the Graphic and Interactive Design web site:
Application forms will be available for eligible students on Canvas.
Students who have completed or who are currently enrolled in the two prerequisites for the GAID major (GAD 2001 and GAD 2021) and intend to submit an application for the Portfolio Review will be able to obtain an application form, portfolio template and detailed application instructions on Canvas by mid-semester.
Students who fail to submit all of the required materials for the Portfolio Review will be disqualified, but may re-apply at the next review cycle as a first-time submitter. Late submissions will not be reviewed.

Applicants to the GAID major will receive one of the following decisions from the committee after the review is completed: (i) accepted, (ii) not accepted, or (iii) revise and submit. Students who receive a "(iii) revise and submit" evaluation should re-apply in the next portfolio review cycle.

Students who pass the portfolio review for admission to the GAID major will be informed via TUmail. Within 2 weeks of receiving this e-mail, admitted students must reply to the acceptance e-mail to confirm that they definitively want to major in GAID. Students who do not confirm by that deadline will forfeit their admission to the major and will need to re-apply in the next GAID portfolio review cycle as a second-time submitter. Students are limited to no more than two applications to the major.

Junior Requirements

GAD 3001Advanced Graphic Design (fall only)3
GAD 3002Advanced Graphic Design (spring only)3
GAD 3011Typography3
GAD 3021Intermediate Computer Graphics3
Electives strongly recommended
GAD 3013Advanced Typography3
or GAD 3015 Advanced Typography
GAD 3023Interactive Design3
or GAD 3025 Interactive Design
GAD 3027Digital Narratives3
GAD 3031Illustration3
or GAD 3033 Illustration
GAD 3041Advertising Design3
GAD 3096The Business of Design (WI)3
GAD 3101Collaborative Design Workshop in Rome3


  • In the junior year, Advanced Graphic Design must be taken in sequence (GAD 3001 in Fall / GAD 3002 in Spring).
  • The prerequisites for Senior level design courses are the four required courses at the junior level: GAD 3001 (Fall), GAD 3002 (Spring), GAD 3011 (Fall or Spring), and GAD 3021 (Fall or Spring). GAD 3023 or GAD 3025 is strongly recommended for students taking GAD 3027. GAD 3023 or GAD 3025 is required for GAD 4007.
  • Students who plan to have an interactive portfolio only should take GAD 3023 or GAD 3025. GAD 3021 is the prerequisite for this course.
  • GAD 3096 (Fall or Spring) is Writing Intensive and must be passed with a C- or better to be recognized as Writing Intensive credit. It can replace a Writing Intensive requirement in Art History. In that case the Art History requirement can be fulfilled with an Art History course that is not Writing Intensive.

Senior Requirements

Select two specialized courses in Senior Graphic Design from the following:6
Advanced Typography
Advanced Typography
Digital Narratives
Advertising Design
Senior Design: Special Topics
Senior Design: Special Topics
Senior Graphic Design: Senior Design Workshop
Senior Graphic Design: Hybrid Design
Senior Graphic Design: Art Direction
Senior Graphic Design: Packaging
Senior Graphic Design: Publishing
Senior Graphic Design: Brand Identity
Senior Interactive Design
Senior Graphic Design: Projects in Authorship
Senior Graphic Design: Design for the Public Good
Senior Illustration
Senior Illustration
Select one specialized course from the Senior Graphic Design list or one of the following:3
Interactive Design
Interactive Design
The Business of Design (WI)
Collaborative Design Workshop in Rome
Specialized Course Requirement
GAD 4009Senior Graphic Design: Projects in Authorship (spring only)3
Capstone Requirement
GAD 4196Senior Portfolio (WI, Capstone, spring only)3


  • Additional 3xxx and 4xxx level GAD courses may be taken as studio electives.
  • The capstone GAD 4196 Senior Portfolio and GAD 4009 Senior Graphic Design: Projects in Authorship are offered in spring semesters only. These two courses must be taken in addition to the three required senior (or equivalent) GAD courses listed above.

Suggested Academic Plan

Please note that this is a suggested academic plan. Depending on your situation, your academic plan may look different. 

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic and Interactive Design

Requirements for New Students starting in the 2020-2021 Academic Year

Year 1
FallCredit Hours
FDPR 1511Foundation Drawing13
FDPR 15212D Foundation Principles3
FDPR 15313D Foundation Principles/W3
FDPR 1501Introduction to Art and Design1
ARTH 1155 or 1955Arts of the World I: Prehistoric to 13003
ENG 0802, 0812, or 0902Analytical Reading and Writing [GW]4
 Term Credit Hours17
FDPR 1512Foundation Drawing3
FDPR 15222D Foundation Principles3
FDPR 15323D Foundation Principles/C3
FDPR 1502Investigations of Art and Design1
ARTH 1156 or 1956Arts of the World II: 1300 to the 21st Century13
IH 0851 or 0951Intellectual Heritage I: The Good Life [GY]3
 Term Credit Hours16
Year 2
GAD 2001Graphic Design3
GAD 2021Computers for Design3
ART 2000-2999 Sophomore Studio Elective3
IH 0852 or 0952Intellectual Heritage II: The Common Good [GZ]3
GenEd Quantitative Literacy Course [GQ]4
 Term Credit Hours16
ART 2000-2999 Sophomore Studio Elective3
ART 2000-2999 Sophomore Studio Elective3
ART 2000-2999 Sophomore Studio Elective3
GenEd Breadth Course3
GenEd Breadth Course3
 Term Credit Hours15
Year 3
GAD 3001Advanced Graphic Design23
GAD 3011Typography3
GAD 3021Intermediate Computer Graphics3
Art History Elective34
GenEd Breadth Course3
 Term Credit Hours16
GAD 3002Advanced Graphic Design43
ART or GAD Studio Elective3
ART or GAD Studio Elective3
Art History Elective [WI]54
GenEd Breadth Course3
 Term Credit Hours16
Year 4
Senior Graphic Design Course 63
Senior Graphic Design Course63
GAD 3xxx/4xxx (Specialized or Advanced GAD course, as per senior requirements)3
Non-Studio Elective3
GenEd Breadth Course3
 Term Credit Hours15
GAD 4009Senior Graphic Design: Projects in Authorship43
GAD 4196Senior Portfolio [WI]4,63
ART or GAD Studio Elective3
GenEd Breadth Course3
Open Elective33
 Term Credit Hours15
 Total Credit Hours: 126

Please Note: An approved study abroad program waives the GenEd Global/World Society (GG) requirement; however, these credits must be made up with academic coursework taken outside of Tyler departments to be in compliance with BFA accreditation. Graphic and Interactive Design majors interested in studying abroad should plan to spend either spring semester of their second year, after completing the sophomore prerequisites for the major in the fall, or a summer semester to remain on track with required courses. Please see an academic advisor for more details.