Design Major Admissions Facilities Faculty + Staff BFA 2024 BFA 2025 Illustration Certificate Study Abroad Alumni Give

Frequently asked questions

Is there another portfolio review after I'm admitted as a pre-major?

The first portfolio review determines pre-major status and placement in all of the 200-level classes. After completing fall and most of winter quarter, students who wish to advance to BFA major status submit a second portfolio of coursework. Students admitted to the major will have access to 300-level and above upper division classes.

How selective are the portfolio reviews?

The first review fluctuates depending on the number of applicants on a given year. The department’s target is to admit 54 pre-majors each year. The second portfolio review would select 36 from the 54 pre-majors to continue in the major.

What happens if I don’t pass the second portfolio review?

You would not be able to take the upper division classes. However, providing you successfully complete all the 200-level coursework, you would earn a minor in Design to complement another major.

How long would it take to finish the major?

The major is structured in a sequential manner, and the shortest possible amount of time needed is 3 years. To ensure consistent progress and skills build up, the classes need to be taken in a specific order, so we recommend prioritizing the design classes when planning your course schedule. The department commits to providing seats in the classes for all admitted majors, to ensure the course work can be completed in a reasonable timeframe. Please keep in mind if you skip a class on a certain quarter, you will be left out of the sequence and will have to wait a year to take the class and get back into the sequence by communicating with the department.

How many design classes would I be required to take each quarter?

The number of requirements varies from 2 to 3 courses per quarter.

What about the professional development aspects of the program?

A summer internship at the end of the third year in the program is strongly recommended, and the number of credits is flexible—3 to 10 credits. Students are responsible for arranging their own internships with the guidance of faculty if seeking credit. Internships can also be taken throughout the junior or senior academic years. There are other alternatives for professional development elective credits, such as DSGN 390: Topics in Design: Strategic Marketing for Designers, DSGN 368: Professional Practices for Illustrators, DSGN 375: Summer Design Abroad (when offered), and DSGN 490: Visual Lab (when offered). In addition to these electives, the major requires Professional Practices and Portfolio courses to assist in professional development.

If I am not accepted to the major, can I try again next year?

Although students technically can re-apply the following year, it is not encouraged. Since the program is selective and there are no guarantees of success when reapplying, it is important to consider how this would affect your time to degree horizon. We strongly encourage all prospective majors to develop a plan B with an alternative major or direction before they apply to the Design program.

I read through the website but still have questions. Who should I talk to?

Sheila Pennell is our Program Coordinator. She is available to answer your questions Monday thru Friday, 9am—3pm. You can either send her an email at design@wwu.edu or call 360-650-7731.

In addition, the department offers drop-in advising sessions on Fridays from 12:30pm—2pm during the school year. This is a chance for prospective majors to talk one-on-one to a Design faculty and have specific questions about the Design field and the program answered. Please email design@wwu.edu to find out which faculty will be on call on the Friday you are planning to come.

Visit Program page →

Visit Admissions page →