Graphic Design, Bachelor of Fine Arts

132 Credits
St. John's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Queens Campus


Student Thesis exhibition at the Dorsky Gallery, 2011

Graphic artists help to shape the message of companies through media, color, illustration, photography, animation and various other techniques. Companies rely on the creative intuition and skills of designers to reach their target audience. This competitive field is expected to grow an estimated 13 percent, especially in the interactive media sector.

You can prepare for a career in this exciting profession by earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, in Graphic Design. The 132-degree program provides aspiring graphic artists with the techniques, tools and intellectual skills needed to develop their talents.   Students gain a full understanding of the theory and applications of graphic design principles. They learn to use color, photography, text and composition to discover the most powerful ways of communicating a message in print and through electronic media. Students also gain an understanding of layout, design and production principles.

The program offers students internships with high-profile, Fortune 1000 corporations ranging from advertising companies to computer design firms. The Department of Art and Design at St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has attained the prestigious National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) accreditation, held by selective art schools nationwide.

For more information on our program requirements and assistance with portfolios.

More Information:

Belenna M. Lauto

Chairperson, Department of Art and Design

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As part of the admission process, each candidate applying to any of the B.F.A. degrees must also submit their portfolio of original artwork to the Department of Art and Design via SlideRoom. (This online portfolio service will allow you to upload, label, arrange, and submit your portfolio electronically.) We request 12-15 images using JPG format, for the Macintosh platform. More information on the types of files accepted for upload and specific instructions for portfolio submissions and requirements is available on our portfolio requirements page.

After completing the SJU Undergraduate Application, you will be able to upload your images by linking to our SlideRoom portal:

We accept portfolios on a rolling admissions basis, but a student who wishes to be considered for one of the visual art scholarships, must submit the portfolio via SlideRoom on or before February 18.

If after reading the portfolio requirements page you have any questions regarding this process, please feel free to contact the department Chairperson directly at:

If you would like more information about admission to this and other acclaimed undergraduate programs at St. John’s University, please visit Undergraduate Admission online. Or contact us directly at the campus of your choice:

Admission Office - Queens Campus

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Career Outcomes

A new survey conducted by the Wall Street Journal survey includes St. John’s among its Top 100 colleges that are “most likely to help students land a job in key careers and professions — areas that are growing, pay well and offer high levels of satisfaction.” 

Design studios, advertising agencies, multimedia communications firms, and other businesses rely on designers’ creative problem solving and technical skills to reach their target audience. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statics expects this competitive field to grow an estimated 7 percent through 2022. The Department of Art and Design at St. John’s University is focused on boosting student achievement and on preparing graduates for entry-level jobs in the industry. All graphic design BFA majors either enroll in a semester-long internship class or they spend a semester working on a creative thesis that is exhibited at Dorksy Gallery Curatorial Programs in Long Island City, New York. During their senior year, students who have chosen the internship option are placed in positions at publishers, advertising agencies, graphic design studios and multimedia companies where strong creative and critical thinking skills enable our students to gain professional experience and launch their careers. Industry connections allows Department of Art and Design professors to help students find internships and employment opportunities both while they are in school and after graduation, and networking events help alumni make contacts in New York City’s vibrant design scene. Our students’ success is our proudest achievement and many graphic design interns are hired directly from their internship sites before they even graduate.

Top Careers

Graphic Designer, Art Director, Communication Designer, Creative Director, Web Designer, Interactive Designer, User Experience Designer, Marketing Communications Designer, Motion Designer, Advertising Designer, Brand Manager

Top Employers

MTV Networks, Martha Stewart Living, Omnimedia, BBDO Advertising, Vice Media, Nickelodeon, Imaginary Forces, Museum of the Moving Image, Mr. Wonderful, Equinox, Pulse Creative, Bartle Bogle Hegarty Inc., Spring Street Design, HunterGatherer, Nike, Johnson and Johnson Global Strategic Design

Recent Internship Sites

MTV Networks, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, BBDO Advertising, Vice Media, Nickelodeon, Imaginary Forces, Museum of the Moving Image, Mr. Wonderful, Pulse Creative, Bartle Bogle Hegarty Inc., Flight 001, Mother Advertising, Off Track Planet Inc., Conde Nast Publishing, NY Arts Magazine, Interspectacular, The Thomas Collective, Aruliden, Melangerie Inc., Arup RO, PUBLIC

Recent Student Success

  • Joe Boylan ’07 Graphic Design SJC. Internship site: Mr. Wonderful, New York. Current Position: Designer/Animator at Mr. Wonderful, New York.
  • Oska Ka ’08 Graphic Design SJC. Internship site: Interspectacular, New York. Current Position: Motion Designer at wearebigbadtv, New York.
  • Jeremy Jones ’09 Graphic Design SJC. Internship site: Nickelodeon, New York. Current Position: Lead User Experience and Brand Designer at Rhythm NewMedia, New York.
  • Calina Prudente’10 Graphic Design SJC. Internship site: Melangerie Inc., New York. Current Position: Digital Visual Designer at CorpU, Philadelphia.
  • Ina Dimitrova ’11 Graphic Design SJC. Internship site: Mother Advertising, New York. Current Position: Designer at Bartle Bogle Hegarty Inc., New York.
  • Elisabeth Engelhart ’11 Graphic Design SJC. Internship site: Flight 001, New York. Current Position: Associate Art Director at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc., New York.
  • Salvador Chavez Jr. ’11 Graphic Design SJC. Internship site: Pulse Creative, New York. Current Position: Senior Designer at Pulse Creative, New York.
  • Katerine Mias’12 Graphic Design SJC. Internship site: HunterGatherer, New York. Current Position: Graphic Designer at HunterGatherer, New York.
  • Dana Jefferson’13 Graphic Design SJC. Internship site: MTV Networks. Current Position: Designer/Animator at MTV Networks, New York.
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Global Approach to Education

In the area of Global Education the Department of Art and Design has been in the forefront of Global Studies since 1989. All of the courses abroad offered by the Department can be taken as art electives by our BFA candidates. Our courses and programs abroad are offered in Rome, Paris, Spain, and during the summers in destinations that span the world. Students are encouraged to view the world as a tangible place and use their cameras, and visual media as tools that aim to provide a broader understanding of humanity from both a global and personal perspective.

Below is a sampling of some of the courses we offer abroad: The Italian Sketchbook, The French Sketchbook, Painting in Italy, Drawing and Design in Rome, Culture of Southern Italy, a Visual Journey, Photography in Paris, Art in Vietnam, Survey of Art and Architecture in Italy, Art and Architecture in France, Italian Renaissance Art and Literature.

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Additional Information

Our BFA students at St. John's gain a solid foundation in art theory and its applications to various media. Students learn from an enormously gifted, internationally known faculty of artists whose work appears in galleries, exhibitions and publications in New York City, across the country and around the world.

The Department of Art and Design offers full and partial scholarships to freshmen with a record of exemplary skills in high school. Two full-time, four-year scholarships are awarded to students who demonstrate extraordinary proficiency in drawing, painting, printmaking, illustration, graphic design and/or photography.

St. John’s also bestows a $1,000 incentive scholarship to high school seniors who demonstrate excellence in the visual arts. Students are selected through the portfolio review process. For more information, contact Nerissa Palad-Palermo: 718-990-6250;

Our studios provide an ideal atmosphere for students to learn as they create under the guidance of master teachers. Facilities include the state-of-the-art classrooms, featuring cutting-edge equipment and software.

Each of our BFA programs avail the student the option of either a Thesis or Internship during their senior year as the culmination of their degree. Thesis students work closely with their chosen faculty advisor in order to embark upon and complete a body of work so as to present to galleries or use as part of their portfolio for future MFA program applications. Internships are individually arranged according to the student’s interests, strengths, and career objectives. Since we are located just 20 minutes from New York City, and have established a strong network of affiliates and alumni, who now hold impressive positions within the art world, the internship opportunities our students have to select from our quite extensive. Our programs benefit from 50 years of experience and educational excellence in the visual arts.

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Related Programs

Success Story

Director of St. John’s Dr. M. T. Geoffrey Yeh Art Gallery
As part of his commitment to the University’s mission, Professor Mohsin constantly makes an effort to reach out to the poor and disadvantaged.