PARSONS > Communication Design (BFA)

Communication Design (BFA)


Beginning in fall 2013, the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree will be awarded upon completion of 120 credits, as designated by the program. (The 2012–13 curriculum continues to apply for students who entered Parsons in spring 2013 or earlier.)

First Year F S
PUFY 1000 Integrative Studio 1 and PUFY 1010 Integrated Seminar 1

This course pairing brings together writing, reading, and making through projects that draw on creative and critical skills in a liberal arts and studio context. In Integrative Studio, students create projects that involve collaboration, cross-disciplinary activity, research, and prototyping. In Integrative Seminar, they develop essential reading and writing skills that help them connect text and visual elements, a practice central to art and design. Students will be able to select from course options that allow them to explore different topics.

6 -
PUFY 1100 Sustainable Systems*

In this liberal arts course, students explore energy, climate change, and our dependence on nonrenewable materials. Lectures, seminars, fieldwork, and hands-on experiments introduce students to the physics, chemistry, and biology of energy and the way these systems relate to design and everyday experience.

3 -
First-Year Studio: PUFY 1020 Space/Materiality**

In this six-hour studio, students become familiar with the methods and tools used to investigate and manipulate space and materials. In Parsons' modeling facilities, studio classrooms, and shops, they explore form, connections between making and thinking, and properties of space and materials such as weight, texture, color, durability, life cycle, and ecological impact. Students will be able to select from course options that allow them to explore different topics.

3 -
First-Year Studio: PUFY 1030 Drawing/Imaging**

In this six-hour studio, students explore human interaction with the visual world and create two-dimensional works using digital tools such as Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, drawing, photography, and mixed media. They investigate perception, representation, and culture as they record and then translate observations into visual form, organizing content, analyzing relationships, and communicating ideas. Students will be able to select from course options that allow them to explore different topics.

3 -
First-Year Studio: PUFY 1040 Time**

In this six-hour studio, students focus on evolving concepts of time in art and design and the way those concepts shape human experience and our understanding of the world. They develop and structure narratives and shape user experiences in projects ranging from bookmaking to performance art to audiovisual pieces. Media including Adobe InDesign and video editing software are used. Students will be able to select from course options that allow them to explore different topics.

- 3
First-Year Elective
- 3
PLHT 1000 Objects as History: Prehistory to Industrialization*

This lecture-and-discussion seminar traces world history through the social, cultural, technological, and religious functions of objects found in collections throughout New York City. Readings, lectures, and field trips to museums introduce students to objects representing a span of time from prehistory up to the Industrial Revolution. Students conduct research on objects used by a society and report their findings in written form and presentations.

- 3
PUFY 1001 Integrative Studio 2 and PUFY 1011 Integrated Seminar 2

Building on methods introduced in the first semester, this course pairs a reading and writing seminar with a studio exploring the impact of research on art and design practice. Students learn to use design tools employed by professionals in the field and undertake individual and collaborative projects that investigate how cultural values can be transmitted through art and design. Coursework emphasizes research, formal writing, systems thinking, and information navigation skills and introduces distributed learning techniques. Students will be able to select from course options that allow them to explore different topics.

- 6
15 15
Sophomore Year F S
PUCD 2025 Core Studio: Type

A project-driven studio to introduce the vocabularies, concepts, practices, and contexts of typography and visual design as an essential component of the discipline. As a practice, typography provides a space to play and experiment with scale, form, composition, proportion, and communication. Students begin to evolve their understanding of design process and presentation. They develop their own work iteratively across several design projects, and collaboratively on research projects. Through lectures, drawing, and research, this class will immerse students in the language of symbols and lead them towards effective mastery of the persuasive power of visual communication.

4 -
PUCD 2026 Core Lab: Type

A hands-on laboratory to introduce the technologies, concepts, practices, and workflows of typographic layout and decision-making as an essential component of the discipline. Structured to complement and assist the projects of the Core Studio, students evolve their understanding of production and troubleshooting and develop their own skills within contemporary professional standards. The lab focuses on building technical and practical skills towards a fluency in setting and manipulating type within a contemporary digital environment. Students work iteratively, with emphasis placed on analysis of outcomes.

2 -
PUDT 1203 Creative Computing

Introduces students to the building blocks of creative computing within the visual and media environment. Students will learn to program, creating dynamic images, type and interfaces that can translate into print, screen, and space. Through weekly problems, students learn programming fundamentals that translate in virtually all programming platforms as well as contemporary methods for creative output. Primary software platform: Processing.

3 -
PLVS 2025 History of Graphic Design

The goal of this course is to learn about twentieth century graphic design movements and design pioneers and to gain an understanding of how graphic design, perhaps more than any other design discipline, is a visualization of the social, economic, and political conditions of a particular time, place and culture. In addition to looking at and analyzing the formal elements of an individual designer's work, the class studies how posters, books, magazines, packaging, corporate communications, information design, and motion graphics function as instruments of persuasion or as marketing tools, identifiers, style setters, and/or organizers of information.

3 -
Studio Electives
3 3
PUDT 2100 Core Studio: Interaction

A project-driven studio to introduce the basic vocabularies, concepts, practices and contexts of interaction design as an essential component of the discipline. Students continue to evolve their understanding of design process and presentation as well as develop their own work across a variety of projects. Students will produce projects with increasing complexity, focusing on historic precedents, information architecture, media integration and future developments. Emphasis is on a critical awareness of new technologies, an articulated design process, creative engagement with the medium and principles of user experience. Students will be working both collaboratively and iteratively along a variety of assigned projects, culminating in a more research-driven final.

- 4
PUDT 2101 Core Lab: Interaction

A hands-on support lab to introduce the basic technologies concepts, practices and workflows of interaction design as an essential component of the discipline. Structured to complement and assist the projects of the Core Studio, students evolve their understanding of production and troubleshooting and develop their own skills within contemporary and professional standards. Students will learn processes and techniques for website and interactive design, media integration and problem solving. Students will be working both collaboratively and iteratively along a variety of assigned projects.

- 2
ULEC University Lecture Elective
- 3
Liberal Arts Elective
- 3
15 15
Junior Year F S
PUCD 3095 Topics Studio

Advanced studio for students particularly interested in developing more complex projects with a specific domain of media design. Emphasis is on critical thinking, iterative design methodologies and synthesis of research, design production and presentation. Students will complement historic and theoretical readings with their own research, and will develop a larger independent project of their own areas of interest.

6 -
ULEC University Lecture Elective
3 -
Liberal Arts Elective
3 -
Studio Electives
3 9
PSAM 3100 Collaborative Studio

Project-driven studio that emphasizes collaboration between team members working on an external problem. Ideation, prototyping, collaboration, and iteration are practiced within a variety of contexts that are chosen each year, some generated from within and some in partnership with an external company, institution, or nonprofit.

- 3
PLDS 2500 Intro to Design Studies

This class examines different aspects of design and visuality by looking at larger questions of production, consumption, and use and how these issues become part of a larger discourse about design and visual culture. The design process is intricately tied to visuality, or how things appear and look; thus, the course uses images to provide students with a better understanding of their chosen field of study at Parsons. In this class, students will assess the relationship between design and the visual by investigating questions about gender, spatial control, ethics, race, status, and class; and will look at a variety of theoretical, historical, social, and political writings to explore this complicated topic.

- 3
15 15
Senior Year F S
PUCD 4205 Thesis 1

This two-course sequence is a year-long self-driven investigation into the research, prototyping and design of an identified problem, providing an opportunity for design innovation following an appropriate methodology, and building the project in different ways and on various trajectories. The goal of the first semester is to research, develop and articulate the thesis problem and goals towards the deliverables of an initial prototype, including designed presentations of research and process from the entire semester. Thesis requires a finished project or proposal along with a written component to communicate the public presentation of the work.

6 -
ADHT Pre‐Capstone

Students will choose from of a range of courses designed to prepare them for their capstone experience. These will stress a reciprocal relationship between independent work and class time, practice and theory, which will enable them to reflect critically on art, design and visual practices as they relate to issues of sustainability, politics, and social justice. This is an upper-level methodology, research, and writing class that continues to refine the skills and thought processes students have acquired as they progress through Parsons: presentation skills, writing skills, self and peer reflection and assessment skills, executive skills, research skills and systems thinking.

3 -
Studio Electives
3 6
Liberal Arts Electives
3 3
PUCD 4210 Thesis 2

This two-course sequence is a year-long self-driven investigation into the research, prototyping and design of an identified problem, providing an opportunity for design innovation following an appropriate methodology, and building the project in different ways and on various trajectories. The goal of the first semester is to research, develop and articulate the thesis problem and goals towards the deliverables of an initial prototype, including designed presentations of research and process from the entire semester. Thesis requires a finished project or proposal along with a written component to communicate the public presentation of the work.

- 6
15 15
TOTAL CREDITS 120

* Objects as History and Sustainable Systems may be taken in any sequence, one in the fall semester and one in the spring.

** First-Year Studio courses—Space/Materiality, Drawing/Imaging, and Time—may be taken in any sequence, two in the fall semester and one in the spring.



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