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The Graphic Design Program at SUNY New Paltz 

SUNY New Paltz’s Graphic Design BFA degree program is a comprehensive pre-professional BFA program.  Seventy-five percent of the coursework you’ll take is in design, foundation studios, and art/design history. Our curriculum provides comprehensive hands-on experiences in print, web, interaction design, and motion as well as supportive coursework in design history, research and theory. Please note: we do not offer coursework or curricular tracks focused on illustration, animation or game design, so if this is the career path you’re most interested in pursuing, our program is likely to not be a good fit for you.  


Undergraduate students pursuing the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Graphic Design must present a portfolio for admittance to the program. Portfolio reviews are competitive and take place every Spring, prior to registration for the following Fall semester. Acceptance and placement within the program is determined by transcripts, written statements, and the level of accomplishment as evident in the portfolio. Our portfolio review for Fall 2023 begins in early March. This includes Freshmen, internal and external transfer students. 

Students are accepted into the program as:  

  • external applicants–freshmen and transfer students–who apply to the College and submit a portfolio for consideration  
  • internal applicants–students already enrolled at the College–who submit a portfolio directly to the Graphic Design program. Applicants—who may be undeclared or from another majors—apply through a blog portal run by the Design program. Every Spring, in mid-February, the Design program announces and runs information sessions for internal applicants interested in finding out more about the program and how to apply. All of our courses are managed on a program blog, and the applications to the program are uploaded to the blog as well. If a student is taking or has taken a design studio course they have access to the blog. If this isn’t the case, we provide access so that the student can apply to the program.

Application Instructions:

To learn more about admission to SUNY New Paltz, please visit the Admissions Web site.

For more information about the undergraduate program in Graphic Design, refer to https://www.newpaltz.edu/fpa/art/graphic-design/

Other options 

Students interested in design may also consider the BS in Visual Arts, a hybrid liberal arts/studio degree that includes a minor outside the Art Department. In this degree, students select their studio courses (which may include design courses), and a minor outside the Art Department, and create an independent capstone project. For information go to https://www.newpaltz.edu/ugc/fpa/art/bs.html 

BFA in Graphic Design curriculum 

These are the courses required for the BFA in Graphic Design degree and the recommended sequence: https://www.newpaltz.edu/ugc/fpa/art/eight_semester_plan.php?major_code=279 

Graphic Design BFA Program Structure and Expectations 

Students accepted into the BFA Graphic Design program and into a specific cohort. This means you are expected to start Thesis I in a specific, designated Fall semester and Thesis II the following Spring. For transfer students in particular, and depending on unmet course requirements upon entry, this may mean graduating a semester or two beyond your expectations.  

Completion of the BFA also requires meeting these expectations, determined at the discretion of the Graphic Design faculty. Student progress is evaluated by the program director annually. Baseline requirements include:    

  • a B- or better in all design classes; 
  • the B- is a minimum. We expect students to aim high
  • active participation in Graphic Design events and lectures  
  • amicable and productive relations with faculty, peers and staff  
  • a minimum overallGPA of 3.0 

Students who don’t meet these requirements and who, following consultation with the program director, do not show improvement in their work, community relationships, and/or grades may not be permitted to continue in the major.   

Thank you for your interest in our program! We hope you apply and look forward to working with you. Feel free to be in touch with Anne Galperin, the program director, at graphicdesign@newpaltz.edu 

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