James MadisonGraphic Design

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design

The graphic design program at JMU provides a professional education with an multidisciplinary approach. While at JMU, design students have an opportunity to engage with design leaders in the field through our student-run chapter of AIGA: the professional organization for design. Admission to the graphic design program is selective and requires a portfolio review after completion of the introductory coursework. The reward for admission and completion of the program is significant as JMU graphic design graduates are considered valuable additions to creative teams across the country.

Program Objectives

The graphic design program at JMU provides a professional education with an interdisciplinary approach. Program objectives for the graphic design student are:

  1. Be able to articulate ideas and understand the fundamental elements and principles of graphic design while using correct terminology pertinent to the field.
  2. Demonstrate a working knowledge of artistic methods, craft and formal structure as vehicles to enhance a solutions communicative value.
  3. Be proficient in both traditional and digital ways of making.
  4. Develop diverse problem-solving methodologies that combine theory, research, analytical skills and conceptualization to create effective graphic design solutions.
  5. Develop a professional graphic design portfolio reflective of one’s knowledge and abilities that encompasses the contemporary design market.


Dawn McCusker

Graphic Design Coordinator, Professor of Graphic Design

Trudy Cole

Associate Director, Professor of Graphic Design

David Hardy

Assistant Professor of Graphic Design

Carissa Henriques

Assistant Professor of Graphic Design

Richard Hilliard

Associate Professor of Graphic Design


The Rob Miller Graphic Design Award was created in honor of former JMU graphic design alum Rob Miller, class of 1997. Rob passed away in 2002. His parents, Dr. & Mrs. Martin Miller and his close JMU friend, Daniel Hoeck, committed to giving this award. This award is given annually to graphic design majors who are rising seniors and have shown outstanding accomplishments in their artwork as undergraduates at James Madison University.


Amsterdam Study Abroad

This three-week study-abroad program focuses on exploring Dutch design and culture. From street art & posters to wayfinding systems and signage, The Netherlands embraces design as a part of everyday life. This course will explore Dutch art and design, using Amsterdam as an urban laboratory in examining form and aesthetic in context with philosophical ideologies, social and intellectual values, and achievements in the arts.