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South Carolina School of the Arts Launching New B.F.A. in Graphic Design

February 10, 2020
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Pending final accreditation, Anderson University is launching a BFA in Graphic Design in the fall of 2020.

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The South Carolina School of the Arts at Anderson University anticipates launching a new Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Graphic Design in fall of 2020. The degree is currently moving through the accreditation process, and the curriculum is undergoing internal and external approval processes. 

Anderson University currently offers a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Art with a concentration in Graphic Design, but the new Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) in Graphic Design will build on the program’s strong foundation by offering significantly more studio work and more extensive professional experience. The B.F.A is a professional degree in the studio arts. While the B.A. program is an 120 credit hour program, the B.F.A program is expected to be more than 130 credit hours of coursework. 

“The B.F.A in Graphic Design is the professional degree in the area of study, with an intensive focus on specialty courses in the field,” said Michael Marks, chair of the Department of Art and Design and associate professor of art. “This new degree will build on the existing strengths of our program and provide students with a competitive edge as they enter the profession.”

Marks and Dr. Jo Carol Mitchell-Rogers, associate dean of the South Carolina School of the Arts, are overseeing the development of the new curriculum. They are on a planning team for the new degree with graphic design professors Jane DornNathan Spainhour and Tim Speaker.

“We have such a strong, competitive program, and we wanted to make sure we were looking forward and staying ahead of industry trends to ensure our students are getting the kind of holistic preparation they need to be really competitive in this field,” said Dr. Mitchell-Rogers. “We are creating a curriculum that is pliable enough to change as the industry changes.”

The degree will not only help students develop artistic skill but will also teach them creative problem solving and idea generation. 

“Increasingly, the B.F.A in Art and Design is the degree of choice in graphic design,” said Dr. David Larson, dean of the South Carolina School of the Arts. “While our graphic design program is the dominant program in the region, the new B.F.A will broaden our reach nationally and provide the opportunity to enhance this anchor program in the South Carolina School of the Arts. The B.F.A will add an additional layer level of professional preparation to the degree. We have great faculty to teach in this program. We are awaiting approval from our accrediting agency and excited about the next chapter of development in graphic design.”

The South Carolina School of the Arts plans that current graphic design students can choose to stay in the B.A. program or switch to the B.F.A. Incoming graphic design students will be placed in the B.F.A program, and the B.F.A in Graphic Design will eventually dissolve the B.A. program after all current design students have graduated. 

The new B.F.A program will continue offering exciting opportunities for design students. The department recently added an esteemed piece of equipment: a letterpress, which will be utilized in the classroom. 

“In the new BFA program, there will be additional special topics in design,” Professor Marks said. “Those will range from everything from the history and making of movie posters to motion graphics to letterpress, which uses a newly-acquired letterpress.”

The Bachelor of Arts degree in Art with concentrations in Painting and Drawing, Ceramics and Art Education will remain. The Art and Design program also plans to introduce a new art concentration in photography in fall of 2020. 

The new fine arts degree in graphic design is another step in leading the South Carolina School of the Arts forward and preparing its students to excel in their fields. 

For more information about the South Carolina School of the Arts’ Department of Art and Design, visit

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