Design, Bachelor of Arts College of Letters & Science

The Major Program

The Department of Design offers a creative, challenging, and flexible approach to the study of design with emphasis on socially responsible, human centered, and sustainable practice.

The Program

Foundation courses: Introduction to Design; Design Drawing or Drafting and Perspective, Form & Color, and Graphic Design & Computer Technology; and one class in Design History/Theory/Criticism from the DES 040 series; are required of all design majors. Additional coursework in the student's area of interest is required for the Preparatory Subject Matter. Depth Subject Matter courses provide: (1) further exploration of design principles and conceptual, formal and technical issues; (2) conceptual and critical development through a series of history and theory classes; (3) in-depth studio experience with projects that demonstrate a research-based, iterative design process. Optional capstone class. A more detailed explanation is available through the Design Advising office in 101 Art Building; 530-752-0890.


Portfolios are not required for admission to the major. However, it is highly recommended that design students maintain an updated portfolio of visual work for faculty and professional evaluation and consideration for enrollment in specialized courses, including independent study, group study and internship.

Internships, Careers, & Study Abroad

Design students are encouraged to supplement their coursework with internships in design firms, museums, and design-related businesses. Design graduates go directly from this program into further graduate study, or professional work including exhibition, fashion, information, interior architecture & product (lighting & furniture), textiles, visual communications (digital, environmental & print), and sustainable design. In addition, students have become entrepreneurs through freelance and commissioned work in many related areas. The Department of Design encourages students to experience design education abroad through a variety of sponsored programs.

Preparatory Subject Matter
DES 001Introduction to Design (Fall Only)4
DES 014Design Drawing4
or DES 021 Drafting & Perspective
DES 015Form & Color4
DES 016Graphic Design & Computer Technology4
University Writing Program
Choose one:4
Popular Science & Technology Writing
Writing & Visual Rhetoric (Preferred)
Style in the Essay
Writing Research Papers
Choose one:4
Energy, Materials, & Design Over Time
Ideologies of Design
Design for Aesthetics & Experience
Choose two:8
Drafting & Perspective (Can only be used for this requirement if not counted above.)
Energy, Materials, & Design Over Time (Can only be used for this requirement if not counted above.)
Ideologies of Design (Can only be used for this requirement if not counted above.)
Design for Aesthetics & Experience (Can only be used for this requirement if not counted above.)
Introduction to Three-Dimensional Design
Computer-Assisted Drawing for Designers
Introduction to Textile Design Structures
Introduction to Structural Design for Fashion
Beginning Video
Preparatory Subject Matter Subtotal32
Depth Subject Matter
List A:
Choose three; at least two must be Design (DES) courses from list A:12
Great Cities
20th-Century Architecture
Contemporary Architecture
The American Home
Architecture of the United States
Photography in History
Sustainable Design
Biodesign Theory & Practice: Biodesign Challenge Part I
Materials & Methods in Interior Design
World Textiles: Eastern Hemisphere
World Textiles: Western Hemisphere
History of Fashion
History of Interior Architecture
History of Visual Communication
Information Design: Principles & Practice
Theatre on Film
American Theatre & Drama
Representing Race in Performance
Introduction to Documentary Studies
Media Subcultures
Choose five from lists B & C; one may be a non-Design (DES) course:20
List B:
Advanced Structural Design for Fashion
Coding for Designers
UI/UX Design: Principles & Practices
Photography & Digital Imaging
Letterforms & Typography
Visual Communication: Graphic Design Studio
Interactive Media I
Design Ethnography
Studio Practice in Sustainable Design
Global Fashion & Product Design
Textile Design: Woven Structures
Loom-Constructed Textile Design
Introduction to Interior Design–Residential
Introduction to Interior Design–Commercial & Technical Spaces
Furniture Design & Detailing
Furniture Design & Prototyping
Lighting Technology & Design
Designing with Light–Industrial Design
Daylighting & Interior Design
Daylighting Design Studio
Computer-Assisted Presentations for Interior Architecture
Type in Motion
Pattern, Form & Surface
Graphitecture: Architecture in the Age of New Media
Textile Surface Design: Patterns & Resists
Textile Surface Design: Screen & Digital Printing
Studio Practices in Industrial Design
Human Centered Design
Prototyping: From Objects to Systems
Advanced Explorations in Textile Design
Experimental Fashion & Textile Design
Fashion Drawing: Technical & Illustration
Computer-Assisted Fashion Design
Advanced Interior Design: Institutional Spaces
Exhibition Design
Environmental Graphic Design
One from the following approved list may count:
Intermediate Photography: Black & White Analog
Intermediate Photography: Digital Imaging
Interdisciplinary Art
Intermediate Video: Animation
Experimental Digital Cinema I
Documentary Production
Advanced Sound: Performance & Improvisation
Fundamentals of Computer Graphics
Character Animation
Chicana/o Voice/Poster Silk Screen Workshop
Principles of Theatrical Design: Scenery
Principles of Theatrical Design: Scenery
Principles of Theatrical Design: Lighting
Principles of Theatrical Design: Costume
Costume Design for Film
Principles of Theatre Sound
Approaches to Theatrical Design: Practice & Theory
Media Theatre
Community Participation & Design
List C:
Capstone Course Option; these courses are the most advanced in the major and prerequisites are strictly enforced:
Visual Communication: Message Campaign Design
Interactive Media II
Design for Understanding
Fashion Design: Signature Collection
Advanced Interior Architecture
Narrative Environments
Choose two from list A, B, or C that have not been previously counted.8
Note: Substitutions for the listed courses may be allowed under certain circumstances with prior departmental approval.
Depth Subject Matter Subtotal40
Total Units72