The Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Design and Visual Communication offers students autonomy and agency in the face of an ever-changing cultural landscape. The study of graphic design, design methodologies, modes of production, and design histories, provides our students with the skillsets required to actively participate in visual culture, commerce, and communication.

Deeply rooted in community and focused on experimentation and collaboration, our dynamic DVC curriculum meets each student where they’re at to foster self-expression, empathy, visual literacy, strategy, and a critical approach to the creation and production of wide array of design artifacts and touch points. 

The DVC program places a high degree of value on diverse, equitable, and inclusive viewpoints and approaches. Our emphasis on personal growth and an entrepreneurial mindset prepares students to make meaningful contributions to the field, challenge the status quo, and carve their own path forward.

The aDream Lab, a digital fabrication and design laboratory, offers students access to develop their work with professional-grade 3D printers, vinyl cutter, laser cutter, vacuum former, heat press, wide-format color printer, die-cutting printer, DSLR cameras, photo sweep, lighting kit, fabrication tools, and rapid prototyping supplies. All design students are expected to have their own personal computer.

Additional studio and curricular resources with the Department of Art and Design support interdisciplinary projects. This includes facilities for digital fabrication and design, motion capture, VR and AR as well as the wide range of studio disciplines within the department. In addition, students draw on the extraordinary resources of UW-Milwaukee's courses, centers, films, lectures, and galleries, and especially the extensive research and special book collections of the Golda Meir Library and the American Geographical Society Library, one of the premier collections of its kind in North America, containing over 1.5 million items supporting instruction, research, and outreach at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and around the world.


University Core45
First Year Program15
Art & Design Core15
Degree Requirements48
Total Credits123

University Core

General Education Requirements 1
Compentencies 1
English Parts A & B 2
Math Parts A & B 2
Foreign Language 2
Distribution Requirements 1
ARTHIST 101Ancient and Medieval Art and Architecture (counts as Humanities GER)3
ARTHIST 102Renaissance to Modern Art and Architecture (counts as Humanities GER)3
Social Science6
Natural Science (1 course with lab)6
Cultural Diversity 2
General Electives outside PSOA12
Art & Design History
ART 124Design Survey3
Art in PSOA
ART 309Issues in Contemporary Art:3
Select 3 areas in PSOA outside Art & Design 39
Total Credits45

Learn more about the General Education Requirements.


Credit may be utilized in required curriculum areas.


In 3 different Art areas: Dance, Film, Music, Theatre.

First Year Program

2.5 cumulative GPA required:
ART 101Drawing I3
ART 106Art Survey: Creative Practice, Culture and Context3
ART 1082D Studio: Concept, Color and Composition3
ART 1093D Studio: Form, Idea and Technique3
ART 118Digital Arts: Culture, Theory, Practice3
Total Credits15

Art & Design Core

200-level Studio Requirements
ART 221Introduction to Design3
ART 223Introduction to Typography3
200-level Studio Electives
Choose 3 credits from the following:3
Moving Images and Sound in Art & Design
Introduction to Photography
Design for Digital Fabrication
Choose 3 credits not already taken from the following:3
Drawing II
Creative Technologies
Moving Images and Sound in Art & Design
Introduction to Painting
Introduction to Photography
Introduction to Sculpture
Introduction to Jewelry and Metalsmithing
Design for Digital Fabrication
Introduction to Industrial Craft
Introduction to Print and Narrative Forms
Critical Thinking
ART 509Art & Design Seminar: (OWC-B)3
Total Credits15

Design and Visual Communication Major Requirements

Required Core Sequence
ART 321Design and Visual Communication I3
ART 323Typography II3
ART 421Design and Visual Communication II3
ART 422Design Methodologies: Process, Communication & Theory (QL-B)3
Required Interaction Design Course
ART 324Web Design3
Interaction Design Electives
Chose 3 credits from the following:3
Web Design II
Topics in Web, Interaction and Screen Design:
Required Professional Practice
Choose 3 credits from the following:3
Nonprofit Information Technology
Professional Practice in Design:
Art and Design Internship
Design and Visual Communication Electives
Choose 12 credits not already taken:12
Web Design II
Package Design
Industrial Processes and Fabrication
Product Realization
Nonprofit Information Technology
Experimental Typography
Topics in Web, Interaction and Screen Design:
Motion Graphics
Advanced Design Workshop:
Digital Fabrication and Craft
Professional Practice in Design:
Research in Universal Design and Fabrication
Research in Digital Fabrication and Craft:
Art and Design Internship
Intermediate Print & Narrative Forms: (Book Arts & Letterpress or Screenprinting)
Intermediate Color Photography and Digital Imaging
Creative Coding
Digital Media Workshop:
Intermediate Studio Lighting
Photographic Materials and Processes
Capstone Course
ART 529Design & Visual Communication III: Capstone & Exhibition3
Art and Design Electives
Choose 12 credits. DVC students should consider taking any courses listed above not already taken, or courses in other studio media that augment their research interests, as part of the Art & Design Elective credits.12
Total Credits48

Design and Visual Communication Portfolio Review

All DVC-intended students are required to participate in the annual Portfolio Review after completing ART 124 Design Survey, ART 221 Introduction to Design and ART 223 Introduction to Typography. DVC-intended students must apply to the annual Portfolio Review, which is held at the end of every Spring semester. Students who pass the portfolio review are admitted to the Design and Visual Communication BFA program, and subsequently enroll in ART 321 Design and Visual Communication I for the following Fall semester. Students enrolled in ART 221 and ART 223 are provided the guidelines, timeline and rubric for the Portfolio Review.

Art & Design Undergraduate Admission Requirements

To be admitted in good standing, applicants (incoming freshmen and transfer students) must meet general University requirements. After being admitted to UWM and indicating Art as your chosen major, no further steps are required for acceptance into the Department of Art & Design.

Art & Design Undergraduate Incoming and Transfer Student Scholarship Portfolio Submissions

Applicants to the Art & Design program (including Art Education) are strongly encouraged to submit a portfolio of artworks and additional supporting materials, as described below, for review by the Art & Design Scholarship Committee:

  1. Art & Design Incoming Portfolio Scholarship Application Form. Complete the online form here.
  2. Portfolio of artworks. Provide 8 – 10 examples of artwork from the past two years. If including drawings, we recommend at least three from observation (not from photographs). Identify each image by media, size, and year of completion in a separate document. JPEG files at 2000 px max preferred. 
  3. As a part of the online application you will provide a personal statement that relates to your interest in Art & Design and how your work at Peck School of the Arts will help you achieve your career goals.

Art & Design awards Incoming Scholarships based on this incoming portfolio. Admitted students interested in applying for scholarship aid should do so by December 15 for priority consideration. Portfolios will be accepted after this date but may not be considered for scholarships.

General information:;

Advancement to Major

Students accepted into the Art & Design program receive priority registration over non-art majors. To advance to the Art & Design major, students must complete the requirements outlined below:

  1. Complete First Year Program courses (15 credits; see course list below)
  2. Oral and Written Communications Competency Part A (OWC-A)
  3. Quantitative Literacy Competency Part A (QL-A)
  4. A cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher
  5. Students pursuing the Design and Visual Communication BFA have additional requirements: complete ART 124ART 221, and ART 223 with a B- or better; and pass the Design and Visual Communication Portfolio review.
  6. Students should complete the above to advance to major within the first 45 credits.
ART 101Drawing I3
ART 106Art Survey: Creative Practice, Culture and Context3
ART 1082D Studio: Concept, Color and Composition3
ART 1093D Studio: Form, Idea and Technique3
ART 118Digital Arts: Culture, Theory, Practice3
Total Credits15

Appeal Process

An appeal process is established for students who do not meet the department's criteria for classification, GPA, and area of concentration enrollment management requirements. The appeal process will provide an opportunity for individual students to request advancement to the art major or enrollment into courses as exceptions to the department's enrollment policies based on defined, pre-determined conditions. All appeals are to be directed to the Undergraduate Advisor or PSOA advisor, who will forward the appeals to the department chair or appropriate appeals committee. The department chair or appeals committee will consult with the First Year Program Director, area head, faculty, advisors, and student if necessary before making a decision.


Location: Theatre 120
Reception Hours: 9AM-4PM Monday through Friday
(closed on university holidays)
Contact: (414) 229-4763

Academic advising is an important aspect of long-term academic success. At the Peck School of the Arts, we offer professional academic advising in the following undergraduate disciplines: art, dance, film, music, and theatre.

Advisors provide students with individualized advising to assist them in areas such as: degree requirements, major options, course selection, campus resources, college success strategies, graduation assessment, academic policies and procedures, etc. 

For more information on Peck School of the Arts advising, please visit

Honors in the Major

Honors in the Major is granted to students who have earned a GPA of 3.500 or greater in the major and the academic department's recommendation.

High Honors in the Major is granted to students who have earned a cumulative GPA of 3.500 or greater and the academic department's recommendation.

Departmental Honors are granted to students recommended by their academic department for Honors excellence in performance not reflected in the GPA.

Dean's Honors are granted to students with major achievements in one or more of the arts.

Honors in the Peck School of the Arts

Dean's Honor List

GPA of 3.750 or above, earned on a full-time student's GPA on 12 or more graded credits in a given semester.

Honors College Degree and Honors College Degree with Distinction

Granted to graduating seniors who complete Honors College requirements, as listed in the Honors College section of this site.

Commencement Honors

Students with a cumulative GPA of 3.500 or above, based on a minimum of 40 graded UWM credits earned prior to the final semester, will receive all-university commencement honors and be awarded the traditional gold cord at the December or May Honors Convocation. Please note that for honors calculation, the GPA is not rounded and is truncated at the third decimal (e.g., 3.499).

Final Honors

Earned on a minimum of 60 graded UWM credits: Cum Laude - 3.500 or above; Magna Cum Laude - 3.650 or above; Summa Cum Laude - 3.800 or above.