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What are the top Florida graphic design schools for 2023?
|1||Ringling College of Art and Design||Sarasota|
|2||Full Sail University||Winter Park|
|3||University of Florida||Gainesville|
|4||University of Central Florida||Orlando|
|5||University of Miami||Coral Gables|
|6||University of South Florida||Tampa|
|7||University of North Florida||Jacksonville|
|8||Florida State University||Tallahassee|
|9||Florida Atlantic University||Boca Raton|
|10||Florida International University||Miami|
Our 2023 ranking of the top 10 graphic design school programs in Florida. For an explanation of the ranking criteria, click here.
1. Ringling College of Art and Design, Sarasota, Florida
The Graphic Design Program at Ringling College of Art and Design (RCAD) has been around since 1980. Students can enroll in the program’s 120 credit hour BFA or the 15 credit hour Minor. Program features include an immersive, studio-based curriculum, visiting artists from major studios such as DreamWorks, internships opportunities, and the opportunity to work on real-world projects with local businesses and at The Design Center—RCAD’s in-house design firm.
Course examples across programs include Graphic Design I-VI, Design & Typography, Development of Art & Ideas, Design & Typography, 3D Problem Solving, New Media UI/UX, Drawing & 2D Design, Visual Persuasion Designing with Type, and Literature and Media Studies. Electives for the program allow students to explore a variety of interests. Elective examples include Intro to Letterpress, Wearable Messages, New Music: Music Branding, Design for Business, and Word, Image and Book.
Graduates of the Ringling College of Art and Design Graphic Design Program are prepared for a variety of different careers in many industries. RCAD alumni are Graphic Designers, Creative Directors, Visual Designers, Product Designers, Art Directors, and Interactive Designers, among others. They have worked with major companies, firms, and studios such as Apple, Saatchi & Saatchi X, Microsoft, Walt Disney Imagineering, Google, Nickelodeon, Netflix, Hallmark, Wieden+Kennedy, Meta, Leo Burnett, Ogilvy, BBC Studios, Walt Disney Imagineering, GM, Arc Worldwide, Instagram, Cartoon Network, LinkedIn, Spotify, Target, Hasbro, and Squarespace. Some RCAD alumni have gone on to launch their own design firms or freelance businesses.
Ringling College of Art and Design is a private, not-for-profit college that serves more than 1,600 students enrolled in eleven majors leading to a BFA degree, two majors leading to a BA, and minor options in 10 areas. Founded more than 130 years ago by circus magnate John Ringling, RCAD is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
2. Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Full Sail University (Full Sail) provides several paths to study Graphic Design. For undergraduates, the school has a Graphic Design BS Program that may be completed in 20 months on-campus or 29 months online. Students in this program will develop skills in print publishing and interface design, as well as advertising, branding, and integration. Other program benefits include a project-based curriculum, hands-on experience with entertainment and media companies, Professional Development Seminars, and seven Graphic Design Project and Portfolio courses.
Course examples for the program include Graphic Design Principles I-II, Digital Publishing, Psychology of Play, Typography and Page Layout, Creating Brand Experience, Media Integration, Popular Culture in Media, Logos and Symbols, Interactive Editorial Design, Technology in the Entertainment and Media Industries, and Graphic Web Design.
Graduates of the Graphic Design BS Program at Full Sail University are prepared to pursue positions at advertising agencies, design studios, marketing firms, magazines, book publishers, public relations firms, web design companies, and design studios. Some graduates go on to pursue an advanced degree such as Full Sail University’s Media Design MFA.
Offered 100% online, the Full Sail Media Design MFA Program explores client communications, motivational theories, team dynamics, and research. Course examples include Brand Development, Design Strategies and Motivation, Effective Copywriting, Multi-Platform Delivery, Design Integration, Mastery: Personal Development and Leadership, and Measuring Design Effectiveness. To graduate, Media Design MFA students will complete Professional Practice and Thesis: Presentation of Design Solution.
The Full Sail Media Design MFA Program takes just 12 months to complete, full-time. Graduates are prepared for upper level positions at major companies, studios, and organizations; teaching positions at top universities; and to launch their own studios, businesses, or freelance careers.
For students seeking a shorter program, Full Sail University has a Visual Design Certificate that can be completed in 28 weeks, on campus. Consisting of 23 credit hours, the program features courses such as Graphic Design Principles I-II, Design Art and Theory, Technology in the Entertainment and Media Industries, and Color Theory. Certificate students will complete Project I: Visual Design and Portfolio I: Visual Design to graduate. Program alumni are prepared for entry-level positions or higher in a variety of industries.
Full Sail University offers graduate certificates and programs at all degree levels in the Arts, Entertainment, Media, and Technology. The school, which opened in 1979 in Dayton, Ohio, is located just 35 minutes from downtown Orlando and Universal Studios. Serving approximately 21,000 students, Full Sail is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
3. University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida
The College of the Arts at University of Florida (UF) encompasses the fully accredited schools of Art + Art History, Theatre + Dance, and Music, the Center for Arts in Medicine, and the Digital Worlds Institute. Within the School of Art + Art History are three paths to study Graphic Design including the Graphic Design BFA, the Design & Visual Communications (MxD) MFA, and the Graphic Design Certificate.
The 120 credit hour Graphic Design BFA explores 2D, 3D, and 4D, design, art history, and drawing. Course examples for the program include Workshop for Art Research and Practice: WARP, Visual Methods and Processes, Space Studio, Digital Imaging, Graphic Design: Visual Systems in Design, Technologies and Processes, Design: Visualization and Creativity, Image, Form and Meaning, and Design and Professional Practice Studio.
Students in the UF Graphic Design BFA Program will take Design Workshop and studios such as Design and Professional Practice, and Senior Design Studio. All students will have the opportunity to work with clients on real-world projects. Design students will graduate with a professional portfolio of their best work.
The University of Florida MxD MFA is a terminal degree consisting of 60 credit hours of coursework. In existence for more than 20 years, this design-centered, interdisciplinary program has two-year and three-year options consisting of studios, seminars, workshops, practicums, and internship opportunities. The MFA also provides opportunities to develop entrepreneurial skills and teaching skills through electives. Examples include Seminar in Arts Advocacy and Public Policy, Social Entrepreneurship, Creativity in Entrepreneurship, Teaching Art in Higher Education, and Methods of Research in Art Education. Students have the option to complete a Thesis or MFA Creative Project.
The 15 credit hour Graphic Design Certificate Program at University of Florida is open to students majoring in Art or Art History. Courses include Perceptual Drawing, Visual Methods and Processes, Typography 1: Letterform, Design Thinking, and Graphic Design Practice. The UF Graphic Design Certificate Program takes four semesters to complete.
Graduates of the Graphic Design and Visual Communications Programs at University of Florida are Designers, Creative Directors, Educators, and Entrepreneurs. Program alumni have been hired at a variety of companies, studios, and organizations such as Walt Disney Imagineering, Apple, Meta, Verizon, Microsoft, IBM, Twitter, JetBlue, West Elm, IDEO, Fossil, Viacom, JetBlue, Kate Spade, and the Miami Heat.
MxD alumni have also landed positions at Google, L’Oréal, Ball State University, Auburn University, University at Buffalo, Illinois State University, University of Alabama at Birmingham, University of Colorado–Boulder, Northern Alabama University, and University of Florida.
University of Florida was founded in 1858 as Gainesville Academy. When it opened, the Academy has just a few students. Today, UF serves approximately 61,110 students enrolled in more than 300 undergraduate and graduate programs across 16 colleges and schools. The University of Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
4. University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida
The College of Arts and Humanities at University of Central Florida (UCF) houses the School of Visual Arts & Design (SVAD), home to the Emerging Media BFA Program with a Graphic Design Track. At the graduate level, SVAD has an interdisciplinary Emerging Media MFA with a Studio Art and Design Track.
The Emerging Media BFA at UCF explores branding, UI/UX design, identity systems, publication design, typography, film interactive and web design, film and broadcast graphics, packaging design, and poster creation. Consisting of 120 credit hours, including 63 credit hours in the major, the program provides opportunities to complete a co-op experience; work in multidisciplinary teams on projects and real world problems; and select a minor to enhance the degree.
Course examples for the program include Art in the Last 25 Years, Intermediate Computer Graphic Design, Type & Design, Special Problems in Graphic Design, and Motion Design. Emerging Media BFA students will also work on building a professional portfolio during the entire four years of the program.
The Emerging Media MFA at University of Central Florida is a rigorous, 60 credit hour program that consists of experimentation with emerging and traditional media, mentoring, and individual and group critiques. The program follows a three-year cohort style format consisting of six full-time semesters excluding summers.
With a focus on enhancing students’ artistic talents using 21st Century electronic media, the Emerging Media MFA requires 24 credit hours of required courses, 18 credits of electives, and 18 in Thesis courses. Course examples include Advanced Seminar in Art, Design Theory and Methods, Time Arts, Art, Design and Human Interactions, Serial Content, and The Professional Practice of Art. The UCF Emerging Media MFA Program culminates with a Thesis Exhibition.
Graduates of the art and design programs at University of Central Florida are prepared for careers in advertising, publishing, animation and film, multimedia, marketing, public relations, and many other areas. University of Central Florida alumni are routinely hired at major companies and studios such as The Walt Disney Company, Amazon, Microsoft, Universal Orlando Resort, Google, Lockheed Martin, Facebook, Orlando Health, TEKsystems, Walt Disney World, AdventHealth, and Salesforce.
University of Central Florida opened in 1968 as Florida Technological University. On the first day of classes, the school had less than 2,000 students. Today, UCF serves around 70,400 students, making it the largest university by enrollment in the state of Florida, and one of the nation’s largest universities. The school provides 240 bachelor’s degrees, 214 master’s degrees, and 81 doctorate degrees across 13 colleges. University of Central Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
5. University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida
The College of Arts and Sciences at University of Miami (UM) houses the Department of Art and Art History, home to the Art BFA Program. Within the Program is a multidisciplinary Graphic Design and Multimedia Concentration that provides access to studios, computer labs, drawing classrooms, and exhibition spaces. Also part of the Electronic Media Area, the Program features two ways to gain real world experience: Seminar in Professional Practices, which requires placement in a professional design or multimedia setting, and the UM Internship (UMI) Program, which allows students to obtain work experience at a design studio or creative agency in the Miami/Broward area.
Course examples for the Art BFA/Graphic Design and Multimedia Program include Introduction to Electronic Media, Typography, Experimental Illustration for Print and Interactive Media, 2D and 3D Design, Graphic Design I-III, Modern Art, Color Digital Photography, Multimedia I-III, Drawing, and History of Graphic Design.
The Art BFA/Graphic Design and Multimedia Program at the University of Miami culminates with a professional portfolio and exhibition. Graduates are prepared to pursue position such as Graphic Designer, Brand Manager, Packaging Designer, 3D Artist, Computer Graphic Designer, Web Designer, Media Specialist, Exhibit Designer, Digital Artist, Layout Designer, Creative Director, Multimedia Producer, Illustrator, User Experience (UX) Designer, Concept Artist, and Digital Media Designer.
Founded in 1925, University of Miami opened its doors with 646 full-time students enrolled in programs across the College of Liberal Arts, the School of Music, and the Evening Division. Today, this private research university serves more than 19,000 students enrolled in nearly 350 majors and programs across 12 colleges and schools. University of Miami is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
6. University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida
The School of Art & Art History at University of South Florida (USF) is part of the College of the Arts. Within the School is a limited access Graphic Arts BFA Program with two Concentrations: Illustration and Graphic Design. The Graphic Design Concentration combines production courses with internships and portfolio development coursework. The curriculum focuses on print, image development, and screen-based graphics. Students will begin the program with foundation courses such as History of Visual Arts, Intermediate Drawing for Graphic Arts, and Beginning Printmaking. Students may choose between the Beginning Painting and Silkscreen courses to complete the foundation requirements.
Over the next three years, students will complete 18 credit hours in the concentration. Course examples include Graphic Interface, Motion Graphics, Book Design, Packaging Design, Business Graphic Design, Advanced Typography, Design Signs and Symbols, Advanced Illustration, Social Design, and Advanced Illustration.
In the final year of the USF Graphic Arts Program, student designers will complete Graphic Design: Senior Studio, Senior Project: Research, and Senior Project: Portfolio. In addition, students will design, organize, and promote an exhibition of their Final Senior Project.
Graduates of the Graphic Arts Program at University of South Florida are prepared for positions such as Graphic Designer, Creative Director, Brand Designer, UI/UX Designer, Technical Designer, Packaging Designer, Layout Artist, Industrial Designer, Production Artist, Design Consultant, Logo Designer, Motion Designer, Illustrator, and Senior Graphic Designer.
University of South Florida was founded in 1956. The school serves approximately 49,766 students across campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Sarasota-Manatee. Students choose from 180 undergraduate majors and degree programs at the graduate, specialist, and doctoral levels. Programs at USF are housed across 14 colleges. University of South Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
7. University of North Florida, Jacksonville, Florida
University of North Florida (UNF) houses the College of Arts & Sciences (COAS)—home to the Department of Art, Art History, and Design. Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), the Department has a selective, limited-access Graphic Design and Digital Media Program that leads to a BFA. Program features include hands-on design projects for local businesses, internship opportunities at area creative agencies, and the chance to study abroad in places such as Florence, Naples, and Rome, Italy; Brazil; England; and Ireland.
BFA students also have opportunities to interact with visiting artists, attend seminars and workshops, and participate in two Senior Showcases in UNF Gallery Spaces.
The Graphic Design and Digital Media BFA at University of North Florida is a 120 credit hour program that explores packaging, motion graphics, advertising design, poster design, visual identities, and more. With 24 credits in the major and free electives, BFA students have opportunities to explore other areas of art and design. Course examples include User Interface and Interaction Design, Graphic Symbols and Semiotics, Time-Based Media, Visual Systems, Graphic Design: Creativity and Critique, Communication, Graphic Design History, Visual Identity, and Professional Practices.
In the last year of the UNF Graphic Design and Digital Media BFA Program, COAS students will finalize their professional Graphic Design Portfolio. Graduates are prepared to pursue positions at creative studios and design firms, advertising agencies, multimedia firms, production studios, web design companies, advertising agencies, marketing and public relations firms, and in in-house design or marketing departments in just about every industry.
Chartered in 1965, University of North Florida is one of 12 public universities in the State University System of Florida (SUSF). The school serves approximately 16,515 students across six colleges and Hicks Honors College. University of North Florida offers 60 bachelor's degrees with 75 areas of concentration, 36 master's degrees with 72 areas of concentration, five doctoral degrees with three areas of concentration, and one specialist degree. University of North Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
8. Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida
The College of Fine Arts at Florida State University (FSU) houses the Department of Art. Within the Department a Studio Art Program are BA, BFA, and MFA degree options. Each program allows students to concentrate or focus in up to two areas to develop skills in Graphic Design. Examples include Digital Media, Book Arts, Electronic Art, Printmaking, Moving Image, Photography, and Drawing. Students in the BA Program may also double major, take several minors, and participate in numerous experiential learning experiences. BFA students will work in assigned personal studios.
Other Studio Art Program features include the Visiting Artist Lecture Series, 24/7 access to studio spaces in the Carnaghi Arts Building (CAB), workshops and seminars, opportunities for individualized and advanced research, and access to labs and other facilities in The Facility For Arts Research (FAR).
Part of FSU’s College of Fine Arts, FAR houses REBOOT Laboratory, collab, Small Craft Advisory Press, and comma. Additional facilities include the Digital Media Lab, Photo Labs, Printmaking Labs, and FabLab Digital Fabrication Lab.
Additional project and installation spaces are available for MFA students in the 400-square-feet MFA Gallery. MFA students also have access to individual 235-square-feet studios, a graduate seminar room, common spaces, FSU’s Innovation Hub, Lightbox, and FAR&AWAY—the visiting artist program. All Studio Art students may complete an internship, study abroad, and participate in gallery exhibitions at the FSU Phyllis Straus Gallery.
The BFA Program culminates with a Thesis Project, which will be displayed at FSU’s Museum of Fine Arts. The Studio Art MFA culminates with an Exhibition event in Florida State University’s Museum of Fine Art (MoFA).
Founded in 1851, Florida State University serves approximately 45,495 students enrolled in more than 275 degree programs at all levels. One of the largest and the oldest continuous site of higher education in Florida, FSU houses 16 colleges and schools at campuses across the state. Florida State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
9. Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Florida
Florida Atlantic University (FAU) is home to the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, which houses the Department of Visual Arts and Art History. Within the Department are two options for students seeking a degree Graphic Design degree. At the undergraduate level, the Department has a Graphic Design BFA Program that requires students to pass a portfolio review for admission. At the graduate level, the Department has a Visual Art MFA with a Graphic Design Concentration. For admission, this program requires a portfolio consisting of the 20 examples of the students best Graphic Design or Electronic Media work.
The Graphic Design BFA at Florida Atlantic University consists of 24 credits (six courses) in Graphic Design including Interactive Design Lab (one course), Typographic Design Lab (two courses), and Visual Design Lab (three courses). Elective options provide the opportunity to develop additional skills in areas such as Poster Design or specific Design Software such as InDesign, Illustrator, or Photoshop.
Out-of-Concentration Studio Art Electives allow students to further enhance the degree. Course examples include Alternative Media, Applied Digital Photography, Handmade Books, Narrative Drawing, and Printmaking. During the senior year of the FAU Graphic Design BFA Program students will complete the BFA Senior Seminar and finalize their portfolios.
The Visual Art MFA with a Concentration in Graphic Design consists of 60 credit hours that combine art history, Graphic Design, and electives with graduate design studios and seminars. MFA students will complete a number of independent study projects, the Graduate Thesis Exhibition, and Thesis Document. Some Graduate Thesis Exhibitions may be selected for the Department of Visual Arts and Art History’s permanent collection.
All FAU Art and Design students have access to internship opportunities at creative agencies, companies, and museums such as Norton Museum of Art. Graduate students have the option to complete a Graduate Teaching Assistantship (GTA). Students at all levels may enroll in the Summer Study Abroad Program. Past locations include France, Italy, and Spain. FAU students also benefit from partnerships with MOCA | Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami, the City of Las Vegas Arts Commission, and the Boca Raton Museum of Art, among others.
Graduates of the Graphic Design and Visual Art Programs at Florida Atlantic University are prepared to pursue careers in areas such as Advertising, Marketing, Publishing, Packaging Design, Multimedia, Entertainment, Web Design, and Exhibit Design. FAU alumni have been hired at companies such as Enterprise, American Traveler, Northwestern Mutual, Aldi, NCCI Holdings, Inc. and Holman Automotive, among others.
Established in 1961, Florida Atlantic University opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in the state. Today, FAU serves more than 30,000 students enrolled in 170+ programs across six campuses and 10 colleges. Florida Atlantic University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
10. Florida International University, Miami, Florida
The College of Communication, Architecture + The Arts (CARTA) at Florida International University (FIU) is an interdisciplinary college that emphasizes research, study abroad experiences, and career resources. Within CARTA are four schools, two departments, and CARTA Innovation Labs + Incubators. The CARTA Department of Art + Art History houses the Digital Arts Program, which has a Graphic Design Track. Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), the Digital Arts Program consists of 120 credit hours, with 60 credit hours in Upper Division requirements. Course examples include Graphic Design I-II, Typography, Art History Survey I-II, Design for Mobility, Creative Practice, Illustration, Digital Imaging, Java Programming, History of Graphic Design, and Digital Art Presentation.
Students in this professional BFA Program will also complete an internship, Thesis I-II, and a polished Portfolio of their best work. Graduates are prepared to pursue careers in areas such as Advertising and Marketing, Publishing, Exhibit Design, UI/UX Design, Multimedia Design, Brand Management, Packaging Design, Web Design, and Entertainment.
Founded in 1972, Florida International University (FIU) opened with 5,667 students. At the time, this was the largest opening enrollment in U.S. collegiate history. Today, FIU serves more than 56,000 students, making it one of the top 10 largest universities in the nation. Students at Florida International University have access to more than 190 degree options across 11 colleges and schools. FIU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).