|1||University of Texas at Austin||Austin|
|2||University of North Texas||Denton|
|3||University of Houston||Houston|
|4||Texas A&M University||Commerce|
|5||University of Houston||Clear Lake|
|6||University of Texas at Arlington||Arlington|
|7||Sam Houston State University||Huntsville|
|8||Texas A&M University||Corpus Christi|
|9||University of the Incarnate Word||San Antonio|
Our 2019 rankings of the top 10 graphic design school programs in Texas. For an explanation of the ranking criteria, click here.
1. University of Texas, Austin, Texas
The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) was founded in 1881. The school opened its doors in 1883 with one building, eight professors, one proctor, and 221 students. Today, UT Austin is home to nearly 52,000 students enrolled in over 500 degree programs and fields of study across 18 colleges and schools. The College of Fine Arts, Department of Art and Art History has several programs for aspiring graphic designers. Options include BA, BFA and MFA degrees in Design, and a BFA in Visual Studies.
Students in all programs have the opportunity to complete an internship, which may include working at major companies with offices in the Austin area. Just a few include Google, Dell, IBM, Apple, Samsung, Frog, Pentagram, and EA Games.
2. University of North Texas, Denton, Texas
University of North Texas (UNT) was founded in 1890 as Texas Normal College and Teachers’ Training Institute. With 38,000 students enrolled, UNT is the fourth-largest university in Texas. The school offers 105 bachelor's, 88 master's and 37 doctoral degree programs across 11 colleges and schools. The College of Visual Arts & Design is home to the Design Department, which houses the Communication Design Program. Program options for aspiring graphic designers include BFA, MA, and MFA degrees in Communication Design.
The BFA program covers the basic principles of design, image making, color theory and typography. It is also designed to “help students learn to be effective conceptual thinkers and, most importantly, creative problem solvers in the disciplines of Advertising and of Graphic Design.” The 36 credit hour MA in Communication Design and the 60 credit hour MFA in Communication Design are both taught as concentrations in Design Research.
Students in all Graphic Design programs have the opportunity to complete an internship, study abroad, and access “valuable resources” consisting of over 1,000 reference books, magazines and paper/print samples of photography, illustration, typography, graphic design and advertising.
3. University of Houston, Houston, Texas
Founded in 1927, the University of Houston (UH) is home to more than 46,300 students enrolled in 300+ academic programs across 12 colleges and the UH Law Center. The Kathrine G. McGovern College of Arts houses the School of Art, which offers several programs for aspiring graphic designers. Options include a BFA in Graphic Design, an MFA in Studio Arts with a Concentration in Graphic Design, and a Minor in Studio Arts.
All design students have access to the school’s large internship program, which highlights jobs with both national and international companies. Students may also study abroad in dozens of countries around the world.
4. Texas A&M University – Commerce, Commerce, Texas
Established in 1889 as East Texas Normal College in Cooper, Texas A&M University – Commerce (TAMU-Commerce) is the fifth oldest state university. The school, which has additional locations in downtown Dallas, Corsicana, Mesquite, McKinney, Midlothian and Rockwall, is the second largest university in the prestigious Texas A&M University System. Serving approximately 10,000 students, TAMU-Commerce offers 144 total areas of study at the undergraduate, master’s and doctoral levels, through four colleges.
The College of Humanities, Social Sciences & Arts houses the Department of Art offers a BFA in Visual Communication with an Emphasis in Design and an MFA in Art with an Emphasis in Visual Communication. The BFA in Visual Communication Design prepares students for careers in print. Per the school, the curriculum “encompasses logos and corporate identities, annual reports, packaging and billboards.” Course highlights include Design Communications, User Experience in Multimedia, Digital Imaging and Motion for Visual Communication, Typography, Motion Graphics, Letter Press, Advertising Art Concepts/Copywriting I, and Screenprinting for VisCom.
The MFA with an Emphasis in Visual Communication “explores creative process innovation; design development; inter-disciplinary design community initiatives; design-professional practice leadership, strategy, process and product; and design-teaching methodologies grounded in a social perspective.” The program consists of a capstone project that “addresses an issue of social, educational, environmental or business significance utilizing research methods that yield new knowledge in the chosen field of study. The Visual Communication Design research culminates in a final research paper and exhibition.”
Students in all programs will have the opportunity to complete an internship and study abroad opportunities are also available. Per the school, graduates of the Visual Communication Programs at TAMU Commerce “have risen to leading positions in the industry, both on a regional and national level, and in so doing have been instrumental in directing recent trends in graphic design.”
5. University of Houston - Clear Lake, Houston, Texas
University of Houston – Clear Lake (UHCL) opened in 1974 with freshman- and sophomore-level classes. Today, the school is a four-year university that serves more than 9,000 students enrolled in more than 80 undergraduate and graduate degree programs and three doctoral programs through four colleges. The College of Human Sciences and Humanities offers an Art and Design BFA with a Graphic Design Concentration.
Per the school, the program prepares students “for a professional career as a graphic artist, while supported by a solid liberal arts foundation.” Not only will students learn “cutting-edge techniques,” they will also “understand the aesthetic roots” of the discipline.
Course highlights for the 120 credit hour program include Digital Photography, Design Foundations, Learning Frameworks, Ideas in Transition, Design Foundations, and History of Graphic Design. All Graphic Design students must take 15 hours of Studio requirements, 12 hours of Electives at the 3300/4300 level, and 21 hours of Graphics Concentration courses consisting of seven courses at the 3300/4300 level.
Graduates of the program will “play an integral part” of their “company’s success by creating its advertisements, brochures, magazines, flyers and reports.”
6. University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, Texas
The University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) was established in 1895 as Arlington College. The school serves nearly 42,000 students from every state and 100 countries, and it offers more than 180 degree programs through 10 colleges and schools. Programs for aspiring graphic designers are offered in the College of Liberal Arts, Art & Art History Department. Options include a BFA in Visual Communication Design (Graphic Design, Web and App Design, Illustration, Packaging, Gaming) and an MFA in Visual Communications.
With more than 300 students enrolled, the Visual Communication Program is the largest in the Art & Art History Department. Program highlights include access to advanced digital studios and printing labs + Studio Create Gaming Studio, over MAC computers in the Visual Communications Area, and the Corrugated Prototype Design and CAD Production Lab Donated by The International Corrugated Packaging Foundation.
Course highlights include Sign and Symbol, Sustainable Design, Visual Identity Systems, Interactive Design/Information Visualization, Publication Design, Advanced Typography, Mobile App Design, Packaging & 3D CAD, Emerging Technology: Studio, Gaming Exploration, and Design Texas.
Per the school, “students in Visual Communication Design have won over 132 state, regional, and national awards since 2001.” Graduates of the program “are employed by top design agencies/studios in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex and throughout the nation.”
7. Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas
Sam Houston State University (SHSU) was established in 1879 as Sam Houston Normal Institute. The school serves 21,115 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students, making it The twelfth largest university in Texas. SHSU offers more than 80 bachelor’s degree programs, more than 50 master’s degree programs, and six doctoral programs through seven colleges. The College of Fine Arts & Mass Communication houses the Department of Art, which offers a BFA and a Minor in Graphic Design.
The program consists of the University Core Curriculum, Art Department Foundation Courses, Art Department Core, and 45 credit hours of Graphic Design requirements. Through a carefully curated curriculum, “students gain an understanding of ideation, visual organization, typography, and production tools and technology, including their application in the creation, reproduction, and distribution of visual information,” says the school.
All BFA students must “participate in the Art Department BFA Portfolio Review after completing the Foundation courses and Graphic Design majors must take the Graphic Design Portfolio Review after completing 6 hours of Graphic Design courses.” All students will also participate in a Graphic Design Senior Exhibition.
8. Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, Corpus Christi, Texas
Founded in 1947, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (TAMUCC) opened its doors with 969 students as an upper-level institution offering courses at the junior, senior and graduate levels. Today, the school serves more than 12,000 students enrolled in more than 80 degree programs through five academic colleges. The College of Liberal Arts offers a BA in Graphic Design and an MFA with an Emphasis in Graphic Design.
Per the school, students in the program “not only learn the fundamentals of design, but a breadth of knowledge in typography, emerging technologies, packaging, branding and more.” The BA program, which consists of a total 120 credit hours, includes 54 major hours in Graphic Design and 18 electives. Sample courses for the program include Design and Color, Emerging Technologies, Design Studio, Publication and Editorial Design, Corporate Identity, Design for Good, and Design in Advertising.
Other program highlights include internship opportunities with local publications, non-profit organizations, city offices, advertising agencies, video production companies, tourist attractions, small businesses and large corporations, expert faculty, state of the art facilities, real world client projects and community engagement, and access to travel related to the design field. Students will also have the opportunity to attend national conferences, with international speakers and guests in attendance.
The MFA is a 60 credit hour program, with a minimum of 30 semester hours (ten courses) in Graphic Design. Students may also choose up to nine hours of elective credits that can serve as a minor area of concentration. A major component of the MFA in Graphic Design is Periodic Critique. The major studio work of each student will be critiqued by members of the student’s degree committee after the completion of nine semester hours, with subsequent faculty reviews of major studio work occurring each semester.
9. University of the Incarnate Word, San Antonio, Texas
University of the Incarnate Word (UIW) was founded in 1881 as Incarnate Word College—a school for young women. Today, the school serves a coed population of nearly 11,000 students enrolled in seven baccalaureate degrees with majors in a variety of disciplines, seven graduate level degrees with majors or concentrations in disciplines that prepare students for their chosen professional career, one doctoral level degree, the Ph.D., with concentrations in four areas and two professional-level programs, Pharmacy and Optometry.
Programs at UIW are offered through 11 Colleges and Schools, including the School of Media Design (SMD). Here, students can earn a BFA in Graphic Design. Per the school, the SMD Graphic Design Program “provides students with the necessary design and technical training in preparation for a career in graphic design, interactive design, or various fields related to design and visual communication.”
Program highlights include the use of “state-of-the-art equipment to ensure students receive the appropriate hardware and software training” and “a primary focus on design and design principles - the skills that truly allow students to gain and keep employment as the industry continues to evolve and change.”
Course highlights include Aesthetics: Art & Beauty, Graphic Design Software, Visual Language, Interactive Design, Business of Design, and Typography. Students will also take Advanced Projects courses, Special Topics, and complete a Senior Portfolio.
Graduates typically land positions in Print Design (i.e. corporate branding, art director, creative director, information designer, advertising production, and packaging) or Interactive Design (i.e. front-end developer, user interface designer, webmaster, motion designer, and usability designer) in San Antonio, throughout Texas, and all across the country.
10. Baylor University, Waco, Texas
Baylor University was chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas. It has a total enrollment of 17,217 students enrolled in 142 undergraduate degree programs, 75 master's programs, and 42 doctoral programs across 12 colleges and schools. Students come from 50 states, the District of Columbia, and 89 countries.
The College of Arts & Sciences, Department of Art offers a Graphic Design Emphasis within the Studio Art Major. Per the Department, the program, which leads to a BFA in Studio Art – Graphic Design, “offers students the opportunity to develop their hand and aesthetic skills, and conceptual development.” Students in the program will take liberal arts courses, visual arts courses, and marketing courses, and an optional internship is available.
Graduates of the program have gone on to “work in design studios and major advertising agencies.” Others have “started design studios and advertising agencies of their own.”