I was thinking of a minor to go with my Graphic Design Major. Good idea?
It can be. Your advisor will discuss individually the strengths and weaknesses of different minors. To be up to this discussion, look up the minor in your catalog. Look at ALL the courses required. It is not necessary to MINOR. Often it is recommend to those unsure to take a smattering of other courses in marketing, public relations, technical writing, television production, philosophy, world cultures, etc. There are so many areas to explore and all will teach you critical reasoning, the language of a field, and how to work with others and clients.


I have already had this course in High School. Do I have to take it in college?

Yes, you do. High school provides a broad general understanding of a topic. In college, you are developing a critical mindset that will take the information from each course and build on that information. In your major, this connection is especially important.

                  Students come from diverse background with varied experience in the making of Art. Some of you will understand basic terminology. Other will not. What the foundation year does is establish a common base line for performance in the Art Department at Mercyhurst University. At Mercyhurst there will be requirements and expectations that are based on you carrying knowledge from 2-D design into Graphic Design, from Graphic Design into Photography, from Art History into Painting, etc. These connections and concepts are what you are learning to adapt and embrace. When you graduate and work in the field of art these skills are what employers expect you to know and understand. When you cut corners, revert to old habits, make assumptions that you already know how to do something, you set yourself up for difficulties within the discipline of Art and Design. That is not to say forget what you have learned before. It is to say, “Be flexible.” The more you are open to new ideas, as well as the traditions of the field, the better you will be as an artist. Art is in a state of constant growth and experimentation. If you know it all now, you will have a relatively stagnant 70 years left of life and art.

                  Exceptions always exist. You may have taken a college course before starting at Mercyhurst. These are evaluated by the Registrar and assigned credit where appropriate. IB courses and advance placement courses often require testing. Again the Registrar’s office is the place these exceptions are cared for.

                  BTW, I took figure drawing twice in grad school. Not because I use it daily but because I wanted to improve. If you want to improve at any skill learn something about it daily.


Will I graduate in 4 years?

If you follow the requirements in the catalog and student handbook, pass all your courses, and have a GPA Above 2.5, it is absolutely possible to graduate in 4 years.


What other opportunities for experience are there on campus for artists/designers?

There are many projects, clubs, and work-study positions that would employ your artistic skills.

For publication experience, there is The Merciad, Lumen, and the Yearbook. At the end of sophomore year you are prepared to apply to work on the staff of any of those publications.

For work-study experiences that use design, there is Sport Information, the PAC, the Marketing and Public Relations Office, and the Graphics Lab. See, Mrs. Hopper with questions about these.

For clubs, there is AdPro, the Student Advertising Club; the Art Club; and Student Activities Committee. AdPro leans more toward applied design/advertising. The Art Club sets it own agenda every year. The SAC usually has a group in charge of PR. Whatever your interest there is usually opportunity to join a club and help with the design.

Trips also provide outside experiences. Usually twice a year we travel to major art shows in the area. Take advantage of these really inexpensive ventures and sign-up when they are announced.


What if I am ever unsure about a course, major or minor?

That is what advisement is all about. You have two advisors available to you, an general academic advisor and your “major” academic advisor. Your advisors want to help you answer academic questions, explore the opportunities, and help you make the connections you need. They are interested in you making choices that are right for you. You will meet with them in the fall, and every term from then on, to discuss how you are progressing toward your goals.


Where did my schedule come from? Is it right for me?

Your advisor reviewed your file that includes your SAT/ACT scores, High School transcripts, Sports considerations, and any other notes specific to you. That information along with the college’s requirements molded the choices that were made. As a first term freshman you are required to take: Drawing, 2-D Design, College Writing I, and at least one other course. Some advisors schedule 5 courses. Our philosophy is that your college education starts out better the highest GPA you can achieve. “College is a marathon not a sprint.” You need to build a solid foundation with your early classes. Make friends and get involved. Thusly you have been set up for success with a 4-class load.



Here’s a formula to get you started. For every hour in class, plan on 2 hours outside of class for homework. Example: a 2.5 hour art class = 5 hours of homework. Try planning your week on a chart in half hour increments.  Remember that most of your new friends will be around in the evening making it harder to do reading and “quiet” homework. Time between classes is great for getting small tasks done and late afternoon is great for homework.



When to buy?

If you have a working computer already, use that until you are sure of your major! You will have the use of the Graphic Lab and programs for your homework.  Often students wait until Sophomore review to invest in their MAC & Adobe software. Then you can buy the kind of computer and programs you need.


What kind of Computer do I need—MAC or PC?

The IT people on campus will recommend to general students a DELL. You are NOT a general student. Graphic Design Students work primarily on APPLE MACINTOSH. You can visit their site at apple.com. There is a student link that will review the platform options with you. I recommend high-end laptops for their flexibility and longevity. You need a minimum of 1 gig front side cache to run Adobe Creative Suite the rest is up to you.


What if I HAVE to have a PC?

You can work the design applications on PC. You will have some issues that will be yours to solve:

FONTS: You will have “trouble” with Fonts. They are not cross platform.

COMMANDS: keyboard commands will be different. You will be instructed on the MAC. You will need to be able to translate the keyboard command to PC. Hint: Control=Command and Option= Alt. This will take care of some of the issues.

VIRUSES: you will be downloading items like crazy! You will need to keep up religiously on you virus software. MAC does NOT have nearly as much trouble in this area.

TROUBLESHOOTING: Mrs. Hopper is a MAC person; Mr. Stadtmueller, a PC person. We can help you trouble shoot a problem with an application, file or platform. Take notes!

JOB FIELD: MACs are entrenched in Graphic Design and K-12 Education. If you don’t learn the MAC now, when? You will eventually need to be familiar. Consider it part of your training.


Where do I get Software?

As a student the best place to buy applications is Campustech.com. All titles are significantly reduced­—including Microsoft Office and Adobe Graphics Programs. The applications can be purchased for MAC or PC. Software titles upgrade almost yearly. There is also a new program from adobe called the Creative Cloud that allows you to lease the programs from Adobe for $19.99 a month with a year commitment. This allows you to receive all upgrades as they come out.


Thoughts on peripherals

DIGITAL CAMERAS: Anything above 7.0 Megapixels will be fine. When you take Photo, you will need a camera. When working on MACs you can plug just about any digital camera into a platform and access the pictures in I-Photo—convenient when working in class. For research in the periodicals in the library you may need to take a picture for class, design, or a presentation. Either your camera or Cell phone will work.

SCANNERS: we have one in the classroom. You have access to it.

THUMBDRIVES: An absolute necessity. These are also referred to a Flash Drives and Jump Drives. This little gizmo will save a lot of headaches. Make sure you buy one with enough memory—1gig is a bare minimum. I have no preference to brand and all are USB.

HARD DRIVES: Excellent to have once you are a sophomore to back up all your work.

Suggested Schedule:

   Fall  J-Term  Spring


Computer Design Basics

Studio Art Class

2-D Design

Intro To Graphic Design


Digital Imagery

3-D Design

Studio Art Class

Intro To Website Design

Computer Illustration Techniques


 Type & Publication

Intermediate Web Design

Magazine Design

Corporate Identity and Branding

History of Graphic Design

Senior Portfolio Development
Digital Video Editing Advanced Website Design


Cummings Gallery
Art Faculty Show

Dates: Aug 21-Sep 28, 2014

Location: Cummings Gallery

William Close and The Earth Harp Collective
William Close and The Earth Harp Collective

Dates: Sep 5

Location: Mary D'Angelo Performing Arts Center

Anais Mitchell
Anaïs Mitchell

Dates: Sep 30

Location: Erie Art Museum

MU Course Catalog