Academic Calendar

Design Studies - Suspended


Please Note: This three-year diploma program is no longer accepting applications for intake. A Bachelor of Design program was introduced in Fall 2019.

Faculty of Fine Arts and Communications

Design Studies students are prepared for a career in the exciting, ever-changing and multi-disciplinary field of design. Graduates are experts in crafting solutions that communicate with impact on the printed page, the screen, and in physical environments in areas of discipline such as graphic design, branding, advertising, publication design, illustration, photography, website and app design, user experience design, motion graphics and editing, packaging design and information design. Graduates will be able to embark on careers in which employers expect a thorough understanding of design theory, technical proficiency, a core set of skills within a subset of the discipline, and a broad understanding of the discipline in general.

The three-year Design Studies diploma offers great flexibility in course selection and an opportunity for students to determine the skills they wish to develop. Students will also develop enhanced levels of critical thinking, writing and research. The curriculum is designed to be responsive to changes occurring in the field, increasing employer demands and the changing nature of the design industry.

Over three years of study, students complete required courses that develop general design skills. By selecting specific options, students form a pathway. Students do not declare pathways – they are simply program recommendations for how students could select their option courses. Students can customize each pathway to suit their own needs. The following are two potential pathways students could adopt:

Visual Communication Design

In this pathway, students get a well-rounded graphic design training by taking courses in photography, advertising design, publication design, information design, user experience design, video and environmental design.

User Experience Design

In this pathway, students focus on the skills, methods and theories that are required to design websites, applications (apps), wearables, game interfaces and other digital products. They learn to make digital products that are useful, usable and desirable.

Regardless of the pathway, every student begins their study in year one by learning fundamental design skills that are common across all disciplines within the field. Students explore design theory, practices, principles and process, the meaning and significance of visual imagery, develop drawing and rendering skills, apply basic typography and learn the basics of industry standard software. In year two, students learn the historical and contemporary cultural context of design and continue to develop creative, conceptual and visual design skills through required courses and select options to start their pathway. In year three, students learn about the business of design, continue to develop skills in their chosen pathway, broaden their exposure to other areas of design and finalize a portfolio of work to gain employment.

Career Potential

Upon graduation, students find work in large agencies, small studios, print shops, and communications departments in medium-sized businesses up to large corporations. Depending on their pathway, a graduate’s responsibilities might include graphic design, branding, advertising, publication design, information design, illustration, photography, website and app design, user experience design, user interface design, motion graphics, packaging design or environmental graphic design. Many graduates from Design Studies also succeed at starting their own freelance design or photography studios.

Technology Integration for Creative Learning (TICL)

All students entering year one are required to purchase a Digital SLR camera. All students entering year two are required to purchase a Macintosh laptop computer and software specific to their program of study. Specifications will be emailed to students and posted on the web. Students may be required to attend a technology orientation session prior to the start of Fall term classes.

Contact Information

Dianne Nicholls, Instructional Assistant
T: 780-497-4312

Program Requirements

Required Courses
DESN 1023
DESN 103
DESN 110Design Studio I: Visual Organization, Composition and Visual Language3
DESN 120Design Software I3
DESN 150Image Structure and Meaning3
DESN 2106
DESN 2303
DESN 240Introduction to Digital Experience Design3
DESN 270The History of Design and Material Culture Through the 18th Century3
DESN 271History of Design3
DESN 310Design Studio III: Concept and Communication3
DESN 311Corporate Identity Design and Branding3
DESN 3303
DESN 380Design Research3
DESN 3813
DESN 3903
Choose two ENGL courses from the list below:6
Analysis and Argument
Approaches to Literature: Trends and Traditions
Business Communication
Program Options - Choose seven courses from the list below:21
Drawing for Illustration
DESN 241
Introduction to Photography
DESN 251
DESN 252
Introduction to Video
Motion Graphics I
Illustration Techniques
Information Design I
Environmental Graphic Design
Visual Narrative and Storytelling
Branded Environments
Publication Design
Advertising Design I
Web Design & Development I
DESN 341
Digital Experience Design Theory, Methods, and Issues
DESN 343
Motion Graphics II
DESN 391
Liberal Arts Requirements6
Program Options or Liberal Arts Option6
Total Credits87

Liberal Arts Requirements

Liberal Arts requirements in Design Studies encompass courses in humanities or social sciences. Students are required to complete six credits of liberal arts options of which three credits must be at the senior level (200-399). In place of selected program options in the final year of study, a student can take up to six additional credits of liberal arts options.

Any liberal arts requirements must be baccalaureate level coursework. Selections are made from the approved list of liberal arts options for Design Studies. Subject to written approval of the chair, students may earn credit for courses not listed in the approved list of liberal arts courses. Students are strongly encouraged to consult with their program advisor before confirming liberal arts options.

The minimum passing grade for a course at MacEwan University is a D unless otherwise noted next to the appropriate course in the program of study.

Pathway Detail

Pathways are recommendations on what courses students could choose for their required 21 credits of option courses.

Visual Communication Design (VCD)

DESN 250Introduction to Photography3
DESN 313Information Design I3
DESN 315Visual Narrative and Storytelling3
DESN 316Branded Environments3
DESN 317Publication Design3
DESN 318Advertising Design I3
DESN 342Digital Experience Design Theory, Methods, and Issues3
Total Credits21

User Experience Design (UXD)

DESN 2413
DESN 261Motion Graphics I3
DESN 313Information Design I3
DESN 340Web Design & Development I3
DESN 3413
DESN 342Digital Experience Design Theory, Methods, and Issues3
DESN 3433
Total Credits21

Course Substitutions

Credit Earned in: May Be Substituted for Credit in Program Course:
DESN 100 DESN 103
DESN 101 DESN 102