What are the top southwestern US graphic design schools for 2023?
|1||University of Texas at Austin||Texas||2%|
|2||University of North Texas||Texas||3%|
|3||Arizona State University||Arizona||5%|
|4||Brigham Young University||Utah||6%|
|5||Texas State University||Texas||8%|
|6||University of Houston||Texas||9%|
|7||University of Utah||Utah||15%|
|8||Oklahoma State University||Oklahoma||15%|
|9||Colorado State University||Colorado||15%|
|10||University of Colorado Denver||Colorado||15%|
|11||Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design||Colorado||20%|
|12||University of Arizona||Arizona||20%|
|13||Texas Tech University||Texas||20%|
|15||Texas Christian University||Texas||25%|
|16||Utah State University||Utah||25%|
|17||Sam Houston State University||Texas||30%|
|18||University of Texas at Arlington||Texas||30%|
|19||New Mexico State University||New Mexico||30%|
|20||Texas A&M University||Texas||30%|
|21||University of Central Oklahoma||Oklahoma||35%|
|22||Utah Valley University||Utah||35%|
|23||Abilene Christian University||Texas||35%|
|25||University of Tulsa||Oklahoma||40%|
Our 2023 ranking of the Top 25 Graphic Design School Programs in the Southwest. We considered over 70 colleges in the Southwest with graphic design programs for this year's rankings. For an explanation of our ranking criteria, click here. For ranking purposes we define the Southwest as Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Nevada, and Arizona.
1. University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas (Top 2% of colleges considered)
The College of Fine Arts at the University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) houses the School of Design and Creative Technologies. Within the School is the Design Department. Housed in the Doty Fine Arts Building (DFA) and the Art Building (ART), the Department has several pathways to study Graphic Design. At the undergraduate level, students have the option to enroll in the Design BA or BFA Program. Students seeking an advanced degree may enroll in the Design MFA Program.
For students who prefer a shorter program, The Center for Professional Education at UT Austin has a Graphic Design Certificate Program that may be completed 100% online. Over 13 sessions lasting three months, Certificate students will master industry software such as After Effects, Photoshop, In Design, and Illustrator. The program also explores design practices and the production of static and motion graphic designs.
At all degree levels, design students will explore graphic design, interaction design, and industrial design. All coursework is project-based and industry oriented, with the opportunity to create a specialization through courses across five areas: Graphic Design, Interaction Design, Industrial Design, Design History, and Design Research. Students in all UT Austin Design Programs also have plenty of opportunities to engage in experiential learning through the school’s internship and study abroad programs.
The Design BA at UT Austin combines liberal arts courses with courses in design techniques, aesthetics, theory, research methos, and history. While BA students will take fewer upper division design courses than BFA students will, the program offers the opportunity to explore other areas in additional departments across the university. Course examples for this 120 credit hour program include Sketching, History of Design, Introduction to 2D and 3D, Interaction Design, Typography, Design Research and Images in Communication. Internship and study abroad opportunities are also part of the program. Both are optional.
The Design BFA is a pre-professional degree consisting of 120 credit hours. Around two-thirds of the courses for this program are in Design and related coursework. Course examples include Identity Systems, Typography I-III, Design and Social Environment, and Industrial Design. Students in the Design BFA Program will complete one or more paid internships along with a capstone design project that will be presented in UT Austin’s Annual Public Exhibition. Students have interned at places such as Apple, Google, Samsung, Dell, IBM, and EA Games.
The University of Texas at Austin Design MFA is a 60 credit hour program designed for exceptional students with solid design skills. The program consists of seminars, studios, electives, and a thesis project. Design MFA students have 24/7 access to shared studio spaces and as well as the Design, Computer, Materials, and Digital Fabrication Labs, the Wood Shop, Visual Arts Center, and Fine Arts Library, and the Harry Ransom Center and The Foundry.
Graduates of the Design Programs at UT Austin are Graphic Designers, Brand Designers, UI/UX Designers, Book Designers, Interaction Designers, Art Directors, Product Designers, Project Managers, Design Strategists, Visual Designers, Industrial Designers, an Entrepreneurs, among others. UT Austin Design graduates work at Walt Disney Imagineering, Razorfish, Deloitte, Meta, The New York Times, H-E-B Digital, Publicis Sapient, Serenity Forge, Droga5, Double A Labs, Gensler, and frog design (part of Capgemini Invent).
Founded in 1883, University of Texas at Austin serves approximately 52,385 students, making it one of the largest universities in Texas. UT Austin provides more than 155 undergraduate degree programs with 170+ fields of study, 139 graduate degree programs, and nearly 100 doctoral programs across 18 colleges and schools. University of Texas at Austin is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
2. University of North Texas, Denton, Texas (Top 3% of colleges considered)
The College of Visual Arts and Design (CVAD) at the University of North Texas (UNT) is home to the only PhD in Art Education in the state of Texas. CVAD also houses the Design Department, which has several paths to study Graphic or Communication Design. At the undergraduate level, CVAD has a Communication Design BFA with two tracks: Graphic Design and User-Experience Design (UX Design).
Both tracks consist of studio coursework, with Graphic Design students taking additional requirements such as Foundations for Communication Design, Image-Making and Color Theory, and Typography I. UX Design students will take additional requirements such as Foundations of User-Centered Design, Contextual Research Methods, and Typographic Systems.
Other course examples across Tracks include Cause-Based Design, Image Making & Color Theory, Communication Design Studio, Interaction Design, Data Visualization & the Design of Information, Advanced Product Design in UX Design, Prototyping & User Testing, Planning and Developing Interactive Systems, Art History Survey I-III, and GD Advanced Campaigns.
Students in both Tracks may add a minor such as Printmaking, New Media Art, Photography, or Art History. All UNT Communication Design students will complete a portfolio of their best work to graduate. Program alumni are prepared to work in advertising, publishing, entertainment, manufacturing, and computer systems design. University of North Texas CVAD graduates also qualify for jobs in government agencies, colleges and universities, nonprofit organizations, and museums.
Established in 1890 and employing more than 4,600 faculty and staff members, University of North Texas is one of the largest employers in the City of Denton, Texas. The school serves approximately 44,530 students, making it one of the top 10 largest universities in Texas and one of the largest in the U.S. Students at UNT have access to more than 200 degree options across 14 colleges and schools. University of North Texas is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and it is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).
3. Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona (Top 5% of colleges considered)
Arizona State University (ASU) houses the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts—home to The Design School. Within the School is a Visual Communication (Graphic) Design Program accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Degree options include a Bachelor of Science in Design (BSD) in Graphic Design, a Master of Science in Design (MSD) with a Concentration in Visual Communication Design (VCD MSD), and a Master of Visual Communication Design (MVCD).
The Graphic Design BSD is available at ASU’s Tempe campus and through ASU Online. Course examples for the program include Visual Communication I-VI, Designing Life, Motion Graphics and Interaction Design, Principles for Graphic Design I-II, Advanced Media, Technology for Design I-II, Exhibit Design, and Letterform. The ASU Graphic Design BSD requires 120 credit hours to graduate, including 45 upper division hours.
The VCD MSD is available at the ASU Tempe campus. Consisting of 36 credit hours taken over four semesters (two years), the MSD Program requires courses such as Research Methods, Qualitative Research in Design, Methods in Visual Communication I-II, and VCD Seminar: Contemporary Issues. Visiting designers, an internship in teaching design, and a Thesis or the Applied Project Course are also part of the program.
The MVCD Program at the ASU Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts explores interaction design, user experience design, design for social innovation, service design, participatory design, and more. Students will also engage in visualization, prototyping, theoretical research, ideation, creative solutions testing, and visual research.
Consisting of 42-43 credit hours, the MVCD Program has two options: a two-year, studio-based degree for professionals with solid design experience or a degree in VCD, Graphic Design or other related area, and a three-year degree, also studio-based, for students without an undergraduate design degree or experience in VCD or Graphic Design.
Students in the two-year ASU MVCD Program are encouraged to complete an internship, while three-year students are required to complete an internship. Internships take place during the summer after the first year, and they may be completed anywhere in the U.S. and around the world. Both program options require successful completion of Advanced Visual Communication Design Studio IV (culminating experience), worth five credits.
Graduates of the Design Programs at Arizona State University are prepared to pursue positions such as Graphic Designer, Set and Exhibition Designer, Instructional Designer, Technologist, Design Educator, Commercial and Industrial Designer, Art Director, Media Collection Specialist, Desktop Publisher, Package Designer, Animator, and UI/UX Designer, among others.
ASU Design alumni have been hired at major companies and organizations such as Google, UNICEF, American Airlines, GoDaddy, and Banner Health.
Arizona State University serves approximately 140,760 students, making it one of the largest universities in the U.S. Founded in 1885 as the Arizona Territorial Normal School, ASU has four campuses that provide 800 fully accredited degree programs across 16 colleges and schools. Arizona State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
4. Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah (Top 6% of colleges considered)
The College of Fine Arts and Communications at Brigham Young University (BYU) houses the Department of Design—home to the Graphic Design BFA Program. This limited enrollment program of 40 students requires 120 credit hours to graduate, including 72.5-73.5 in the major. Course examples include History of Graphic Design, Branding, Ethnographic Research Design and Methods, Typography, Design Thinking, Letterpress Studio, Interaction Design, Studio Practices for Designers, and Interdisciplinary Motion.
A Professional Internship worth six credit hours is part of the Graphic Design BFA Program, as well as a Capstone Project completed over two courses (BFA Capstone Project: Research and BFA Capstone Project: Implementation) worth a total of five credit hours.
For students seeking a shorter program with a flexible schedule, Brigham Young University has a Graphic Design Fundamentals Certificate that can be completed entirely online. Available through BYU-Idaho and BYU-Pathway Worldwide, the Graphic Design Fundamentals Certificate explores visual design, typography, and conceptual design. Building into BU’s Professional Studies BAS degree, the Certificate Program consists of 15 credit hours.
Courses for this Certificate Program include Introduction to Graphic Design, Graphic Design, Creating Online Media, Typography, and User Experience Design. Potential careers for graduates of the BYU Graphic Design Fundamentals Certificate Program include Junior Graphic Designer, Marketing Production Artist, Design Assistant, and Junior Production Artist.
Graduates of the Graphic Design BFA Program at Brigham Young University Graphic work in design-related disciplines such as branding and product design, publishing and interaction design, motion graphics, web design and mobile app development, data visualization, and experience and service design. Program alumni can be found at major advertising agencies, traditional design studios, and interactive agencies. Graduates also work on internal teams at a variety of businesses, corporations, and organizations. Some BYU Graphic Design graduates go on to launch their own design studios or establish a freelance career.
Brigham Young University was founded as Brigham Young Academy (BYA) in 1875 by Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints President Brigham Young. With 34,390 students enrolled in more than 435 programs, BYU is the one of the largest private universities in the U.S. Brigham Young University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
5. Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas (Top 8% of colleges considered)
The College of Fine Arts & Communication at Texas State University (Texas State) is home to the School of Art and Design, which houses the Communication Design Program (ComDes). Degree options include the BFA and MFA in ComDes. The 120 credit hour ComDes BFA provides mentoring, meetups, and internship opportunities through the Texas State’s relationships with local and national businesses. Students have also interned at companies in Europe.
Courses for the program are taught in a studio environment with access to the Mitte Complex, which houses state-of-the-art production facilities and equipment. Coursework explores brand experience, sustainable packaging, typography, corporate identity, environmental graphics, human-centered design, interactive design, art direction, and design research. Specific course examples include Branding Systems, Expanded Media, Trademark Design, Interactive Media, Introduction to Printmaking: Intaglio and Lithography, and Typography. The ComDes BFA Program culminates with a Senior Portfolio Presentation and Self-Promotion Capstone.
Before graduating from the program, many ComDes students have already earned publishing credits in journals such as PRINT, Communication Arts, Graphis New Talent Annual, Step Inside Design, CMYK, and Logo Lounge. Students in the program have also received recognition competitions such as the Austin Addy Awards, the San Antonio Addy Awards, AIGA Flux, Creative Summit, the American Advertising Federation Awards, Art The National Show, Director's Club of Houston, and The One Show.
Graduates of the Texas State University ComDes BFA Program have been placed at companies such as DDB, Google, Microsoft, Disney, Verizon, IBM, Spotify, Indeed, Vrbo, H-E-B Digital, GSD&M, USAA, and Helms Workshop.
The Texas State University ComDes MFA is a terminal degree that can be completed online with just one campus residency each year. During the residency, students will participate in workshops, critiques, and visiting designer lectures. Graduate assistantships are also offered in the School of Art and Design, and allow students to gain teaching experience through the ComDes BFA Program. Graduate assistantships are paid positions that require 20 hours of work per week.
The Texas State MFA/CD consists of 60 credit hours including 18 credit hours of core curriculum, 30 credit hours of prescribed communication design studio electives, six credit hours of free electives, and six credit hours of thesis. Courses explore digital design, visual communication, typography, and design history. Course examples include The Experimental Book, Generative Design, Experience Design, Imaging, Alternative Printing Methods, Kinetic Typography, Design for Motion, Corporate Identity Systems, Professional Practice, Design Futures, Entrepreneurial Design, Exhibitions, Corporate Marketing Materials, and Research Through Making.
In the Professional Practice course, MFA students will work with regional and national advertising agencies, graphic design firms, and digital media studios to gain professional experience.
Potential careers for graduates of the Texas State University MFA/CD Program include Senior Graphic Designer, Design Manager, Visual Designer, Creative Director, Typographer, Senior Interaction Designer, UI/UX Designer, Art Director, and Professor.
Lyndon B. Johnson is the Texas State University’s most famous alumni, and the only president to graduate from a Texas college. Established in 1899 as a teacher’s college known as Southwest Texas Normal School, the school serves approximately 38,170 students enrolled in more than 200 bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs. Located on the banks of the San Marcos River, Texas State University has been a part of the Texas State University System since 1911 and it is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
6. University of Houston, Houston, Texas (Top 9% of schools considered)
Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts (KGMCA) at University of Houston (UH) houses the School of Art, which has two paths to study Graphic Design: a BFA in Graphic Design and Studio Art MFA with a Graphic Design Concentration. Program features for the Graphic Design BFA include the option to add the Graphic Communications Technology Minor; learning and networking opportunities through visiting artists and speaker events; participation in workshops, site-specific projects, lectures, and critiques; and access to internship opportunities.
Consisting of 18 semester hours, the Graphic Communications Technology Minor explores the technology used to produce print media. Course examples include Graphic Communication Output Lab, Graphics for Digital Media, Information Technology Applications for Digital Media, and Page Layout and Design. The UH Minor is part of the College of Technology’s Department of Information and Logistics Technology.
All BFA Program students will take courses such as Colors, Materials and Methods, Intermediate Graphic Design, Introduction to Typography, History of Graphic Design, Art History, and Fundamentals of Graphic Design. Examples of recommended courses include Graphic Design Software, Digital Tools, Rendering and Sketching, Digital Fabrication, Printmaking, Photography/Digital Media, and Video Art.
The Graphic Design BFA Program at University of Houston culminates with the Senior Exhibition, which allows students to showcase their best work.
The UH Studio Art MFA with a Graphic Design Concentration consists of 60 semester hours including 24 hours in related arts, 18 hours in the concentration, nine hours in art history, and nine hours in graduate seminars. Course examples include Graphic Design Studio, Interdisciplinary Practice and Emerging Forms Studio, Art Seminar, and Writing Seminar. Upon completion of all coursework and projects for the program, MFA students will present their work in a Thesis Exhibition at University of Houston’s Blaffer Art Museum.
In addition to Graphic Designer, graduates of the Graphic Design Programs at UH are prepared to pursue positions such as Creative Director, User experience (UX) Designer, User interface (UI) Designer, Brand Identify Developer, Production Artist, Brand Manager, Product Developer, Art Director, Marketing Specialist, and Multimedia Artist.
Founded in 1927 and serving 46,700 students, University of Houston is the largest public research university in Houston and the third largest university in Texas. The school offers 276 degree programs across 16 colleges and schools, and an interdisciplinary Honors College. University of Houston is Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on College (SACSCOC).
7. University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah (Top 15% of colleges considered)
University of Utah houses the College of Fine Arts at University of Utah (The U), home to the Department of Art & Art History, which houses the Graphic Design BFA Program. Formerly the BFA in Studio Art–Graphic Design Emphasis, this new and improved program consists of 122 credit hours, with a minimum of 79 in the major. Students may declare the Graphic Design major in their first year of study. To advance to the second year, students must successfully complete all first year coursework and submit a portfolio. A second year review is required to advance to the third year of the program.
The Graphic Design BFA at The U includes six Studio Foundations courses that explore areas such as mapping, action, and touch. Course examples for the program include Design Strategy, Visual Rhetoric, Communication Design 1-5, Digital Drawing, History of Graphic Design, Writing for New Media, Typography 1-2, and Digital Imaging for Visual Artists.
Examples of upper division courses include Design Theory And Practice, Visiting Designer Studio: Design Co-op, Professional Practices Seminar, Graphic Design Capstone 1: Research And Inquiry, and Graphic Design Capstone 2: Development And Presentation.
The Visiting Designer Studio course is a requirement for all BFA Graphic Design majors. The course consists of workshops led by guest lecturers and studio driven projects. In the Professional Practices Seminar, students will complete a portfolio and professional resume. The Capstone courses are required to complete the Final BFA Project. Graduates of the Graphic Design Program at University of Utah are prepared to pursue positions at advertising agencies, design studios, publishing companies, web design firms, marketing agencies, and in all industries that require graphic design skills.
Founded in 1850, University of Utah is the state’s public flagship institution. A top-tier research university, The U serves more than 34,900 students enrolled in over 200 programs across 17 colleges and schools. University of Utah is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
8. Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma (Top 15% of colleges considered)
The College of Arts and Sciences at Oklahoma State University (OSU) houses the Department of Art, Graphic Design, and Art History, which has two paths to study Graphic Design. At the undergraduate level, the Department has an Art BFA Program with a Graphic Design Option. At the graduate level, students can earn a Graphic Design MFA. Students in both programs have access to the Visual Resource Center (3D Printing Lab), and 24/7 access to design studios and computer labs in the Bartlett Center for the Visual Arts.
The OSU Art BFA/Graphic Design Program requires 120 credit hours with both upper- and lower-division sequences. Lower division course examples include Graphic Design, Studio Art Digital Survey, Printmaking, Typography, Photography, and Drawing. Upper division course examples include New Genres in Studio Art, Alternative Photography, Interaction Design Studio, Electronic Communication, Mass Media Style and Structure, Information Graphics, Graphic Design for Strategic Communication, Brand Marketing, Motion Design Studio, and Marketing Design Essentials. A Professional Internship and Portfolio Capstone are also part of the program.
Graduates of the Oklahoma State University BFA Program go on to enroll in top graduate programs or they have established careers at advertising agencies, design studios, marketing firms, creative agencies, and in-house design departments. Examples of potential job titles include Graphic Designer, Advertising Artist, Creative Director, Package Designer, UI/UX Designer, Publications Designers, Brand Manager, Typographical Artist, Magazine Designer, Environmental Designer, Interactive Designer, Exhibit Designer, Layout Artist, Art Director, Motion Graphics Designer, and Web Designer.
Recent OSU BFA graduates have been hired at places such as the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition, Masterwork Artistry, the Museum of East Texas, and Matchfire.
The Graphic Design MFA Program at Oklahoma State University is a three-year, sixty credit hour terminal degree that emphasizes writing, research, and presentation skills. Three focus areas are available including Visual Communication, Interaction Design, and Motion Design. Students in all areas will complete 27-30 credit hours of graduate level studio courses, 9-12 credit hours of electives (within and outside the department), an off-campus Internship, a Teaching Practicum, and a Thesis.
Course examples for the MFA include Graphic Design Graduate Studio, History/Theory/Critical Analysis, Interaction Design Graduate Studio, Special Topics in Graphic Design, Motion Design Graduate Studio, and Graphic Design History.
Recent Oklahoma State University graduates have been hired at Amazon, Dallas Morning News/Belo Corporation, Walmart, JPMorgan Chase, Merck, Halliburton Industries, IBM, Lockheed Martin, ConocoPhillips, Tyco, FDIC, and Dell.
Oklahoma State University was established on Christmas Day in 1890 as Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical College. Today, this five-campus system houses seven academic colleges, a veterinary school, an osteopathic medical school, and several centers and institutes. Serving approximately 26,650 students, OSU offers 200 undergraduate majors and options, more than 75 master’s programs, and 45 doctoral programs. Oklahoma State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
9. Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado (Top 15% of colleges considered)
The College of Liberal Arts at Colorado State University (CSU) houses the Department of Art and Art History—one of the largest academic departments at CSU. The Department has programs leading to a Studio BFA or MFA. The undergraduate Studio Program has a Graphic Design Concentration that begins with the CSU Foundations Program, which consists of projects and coursework that allow students to develop ideas, and gain skills and techniques in different mediums. Students will also explore experimentation, research, and emerging practices in art and design.
The Studio BFA/Graphic Design Program explores design systems, typography, electronic art, printmaking, and illustration. Course examples include Global Art History I-III, Typography and Design Systems, Advanced Illustration, Photo Image Making, Electronic Art, Materials and Space, and Graphic Design.
Consisting of 120 credit hours, the CSU BFA Program provides access to labs and state-of-the-art facilities in the Visual Arts Building (VAB). This includes 4,000 square feet of studio space, a dedicated computer lab, the Digital Fabrication Lab, and Mac workstations equipped with Adobe Creative Suite & other interactive media software. Near the VAB is the Nancy Richardson Design Center. CSU’s only interdisciplinary space focused on Design Thinking, the Center is open to students from all disciplines.
Other CSU BFA Program benefits include internship opportunities, study abroad experiences, and the biennial Colorado International Invitational Poster Exhibition (CIIPE), where students will help organize and participate in the event.
Graduates of the Colorado State University Studio BFA/Graphic Design Program will enter the job market with a portfolio of their best work. Program alumni are prepared to pursue positions such as Graphic Designer, Creative Director, Brand Designer, Production Artist, Creative Director, Storyboard Artist, UX/UI Designer, Publication Designer, Marketing Designer, and Environmental Designer.
The MFA/Graphic Design Program at Colorado State University has a Graphic Design Specialization. Consisting of 60 credit hours, this terminal degree program highlights research and experimentation in studio media. Throughout the program, students have opportunities to exhibit work and give presentations at venues in the southwest region and across the U.S.
Students in this program also benefit from a wide variety of elective options, group critiques, open-studio tours, faculty mentorship, and the Masters of Visual Arts Association (MoVAA), which provides access to workshops and artist talks.
During the final year of the CSU MFA Program, students will complete a Thesis for inclusion in the Spring Graduate Exhibition at the Gregory Allicar Museum of Art.
Graduates of the CSU MFA (Graphic Design) Program are designers at arts organizations and they contribute to publications and conferences, curate exhibitions, teach at colleges and universities, and exhibit their work at venues in Colorado, across the U.S. and around the world.
Founded in 1870 as the Colorado Agricultural College, Colorado State University is a land-grant university consisting of three campuses including CSU Fort Collins (the system’s flagship campus), CSU Pueblo, and CSU Global. The CSU System serves approximately 38,120 students enrolled in more than 300 academic programs, including more than 70 majors with 140 concentrations and 80 minors. Colorado State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
10. University of Colorado-Denver, Denver, Colorado (Top 15% of schools considered)
The College of Arts & Media (CAM) at University of Colorado Denver (CU Denver) houses the Digital Media Program. Within the program are two paths to study Graphic Design: the Digital Design BFA and the Minor. The BFA has an Accelerated Option that allows students to combine their junior and senior years into one. This means, Accelerated BFA students can complete the program a year earlier.
Both Digital Design pathways are hands-on and interdisciplinary. Students can expect to explore areas such as branding design, interactive media, motion graphics, user experience design, and graphic design. The Digital Design Minor consists of 21 total credit hours. Course examples include 3D Motion Design, Interactive Media, Typography Studio, and History of Modern Design: Industrial Revolution-Present.
The Digital Media BFA is a screen-based Graphic Design Program the provides hands-on learning in branding design, interactive media, user experience design, and user experience design. This interdisciplinary program consists of courses such as Fostering Creativity, Typography, 3D Motion Design, Interactive Media, Art History, and 3D Design. The CU Denver Digital Design BFA culminates with the Design Thesis Project.
Graduates of the University of Colorado Denver Digital Design Programs work as Graphic Designers, Creative Directors, UI/UX Designers, Video Editors, Motion Graphic Artists, and Game Designers. Program alumni have been hired at Unity, Crispin Porter + Bogusky, Mozilla, Craftsy, JILA, Hewlett Packard, IBM, Fruition, Mercedes-Benz, Dire Wolf, and JILA.
University of Colorado Denver opened in 1912 as an extension of University of Colorado Boulder. The school became CU Denver in 1973, making it an independent campus. Organized into eight colleges and schools, University of Colorado Denver serves 15,000 students enrolled in more than 110 degree programs. University of Colorado Denver is accredited by Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
11. Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design, Denver, Colorado (Top 20% of colleges considered)
The Graphic Design Program at Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design (RMCAD) has two delivery options: on campus and online. Leading to a BFA, the program requires 123 credit hours including 48 credits in Graphic Design, 45 in Liberal Arts, 18 in Foundations, and 12 in Studio Electives. Course examples include Experimental Typography, Vector Illustration, Sign + Symbol, 3D Packaging, Raster Image Processing, Layout Design, Visual Sequencing, User Prototyping, Interaction Design, Web Design I-II, and Information Visualization.
In the Junior year of the RMCAD Graphic Design Program, students will participate in the Graphic Design Junior Portfolio Review. In the final year of the program, students will complete Senior Graphic Design Seminar, Graphic Design Senior Portfolio Review, and the Graphic Design Graduation Portfolio.
Other program features include workshops conducted by design professionals, presentations, teaching engagements, international instructors, visiting faculty, and annual award shows used as class assignments. Design students also have the opportunity to gain work experience through the RMCAD Graphic Design Internship Program.
Graduates of the Graphic Design Program at RMCAD are prepared to pursue positions such as Brand Designer, Communications Manager, Motion Graphics Artist, Interactive Media Designer, Package Designer, User Experience/User Interface (UX/UI) Designer, Creative Director, Digital Project Manager, Production Art Manager, and Web Designer.
Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design began in 1963 as Rocky Mountain School of Art. Serving more than 1,000 students, RMCAD offers 16 degree and certificate programs offered in campus/hybrid and online formats. Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and it is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).
12. University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona (Top 20% of schools considered)
The College of Fine Arts at University of Arizona (UA) houses the School of Art, which has a Design Arts and Practices (DAP) Program that prepares students for careers in areas such as Graphic Design, Desktop Publishing, Exhibition Design, User Experience (UX) Design, Product Design, and User Interface (UI) Design. Leading to a BA, the program explores design history, theory, and practice. DAP students develop skills in visual communication, computational thinking, design thinking, project management, problem solving, data analysis, and teamwork/collaboration.
Course examples for the UA Design Arts and Practices BA Program include Gaze Digital Photography, Amalgam Mixed-Media, Typography, Experience, Sound, Video, and Performance, Design for Web and Devices, Propaganda Design, Dealing with Data, Information Graphics, Design Studio, and Design Thinking. The program includes a culminating Capstone Project.
The College of Fine Arts at University of Arizona also has a Studio Art Program with BFA and MFA options in Studio Art. Students in both programs may select from the following Emphasis Areas: Illustration and Design (I+D), 3D & Extended Media, 3D Studies, and Photography. I&D undergraduates may choose an Illustration or Design Track. Other program features include team projects with local clients, field trips, participation in the Annual Spring Portfolio Review, internship opportunities, and study abroad experiences.
The UA Studio Art BFA requires 125 units, including 42 in upper division coursework, and 24 in the emphasis area. Mapping, Photography, Printmaking, Typography, Design, Illustration, and Contemporary Art are just a few course examples. The MFA consists of 60 units, with 30 units in studio art courses. Graduate students participate in interdisciplinary coursework, seminars, and independent studies. Teaching opportunities are also part of the program.
All School of Art students have access to external resources such as the Center for Creative Photography, University Museum of Art and the Poetry Center, and a state-of-the-art library. Internal resources include studio spaces, computer labs with Wacom Cintiq Touch screens and animation stations, a digital imaging lab with large format printing, mounting services, letterpress equipment, and darkrooms.
Graduates of the Design Arts and Practices Program at University of Arizona are prepared to pursue positions such as Graphic Designer, Creative Director, Visual Designer, Illustrator, UI/UX Designer, Brand Manager, Packaging Designer, Advertising Artist, Motion Designer, and Multimedia Designer.
Established in 1885, University of Arizona opened in 1891 with 32 students and six faculty members. Today, UA serves approximately 51,135 students, making it one of top five largest post-secondary institutions in Arizona. Students at UA have access to more than 300 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in more than 150 areas of study. Programs are offered across 20 colleges and nearly two dozen specialized schools. University of Arizona is accredited by the by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
13. Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas (Top 20% of colleges considered)
Texas Tech University (TTU) is home to J.T. & Margaret Talkington College of Visual & Performing Arts (TCVPA), which houses the School of Art. Within the school is an Art BFA Program with a Graphic Design Specialization. Program features include collaborative projects, workshops, guest speakers, and internship opportunities. Students also have access to state-of-the-art labs, studios, and equipment, and a study abroad program that provides opportunities to work and learn in more than 70 countries.
The Graphic Design BFA at TTU is a limited access program that explores branding, emerging technologies, interactive design, publication design, and identity design. Consisting of 123 credit hours, the program includes the TTU Core Curriculum, 42-45 credit hours of Graphic Design courses, and 21-24 credit hours of studio art and art history electives. Major course examples include 2D and 3D Design, Publication, Visual Systems, Graphic Design Process, Symbols, Computer Design Methods, Typography, Design in the Community, and Web Media.
During the final semester of the TTU BFA Program, students will complete the Portfolio Development and Professional Practice courses, which prepare students for entry into the job market through mock interviews, self-promotion strategies, and more.
Graduates of the Graphic Design Program at Texas Tech University are Brand Managers, Visual Communication Designers, UX/UI Designers, Packaging Designers, Freelance Designers, Exhibit Designers, Creative Directors, and Web Designers. They for advertising agencies, web and interactive design studios, social media and marketing firms, magazines, publishing companies, museums, non-profit organizations, and on teams within design departments at companies across all industries.
TTU alumni have worked with The New York Times, Southwest Airlines, IBM, Fidelity, Paul Mitchell, Conde Nast Traveler, Dwell Magazine, H-E-B, Nike, Wired, AT&T, JC Penny, Fossil, M.A.C. Cosmetics, Southwest Airlines, Refinery 29, and Texas Monthly.
Texas Tech University opened in 1925 as Texas Technological College (TTC) with six buildings and 914 students. Today, TTU serves approximately 40, 655 students, making it the largest comprehensive higher education institution in the western two-thirds of the State of Texas. Texas Tech University offers more than 150 academic programs in 13 colleges and through the eLearning Division. Texas Tech University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
14. Baylor University, Waco, Texas (Top 25% of colleges considered)
The College of Arts & Sciences at Baylor University (Baylor) houses 25 academic departments and eight academic centers and institutes, making it the school’s largest academic division. Established in 1919, the College is also one of the school’s oldest units. Housed in the Lewis Art Building, Art and Art History is one of the Departments of the College of Arts & Sciences. Housed in the Lewis Art Building, the Department houses smart classrooms, computer labs for graphic design and photography, darkrooms, and state-of-the-art studios drawing, painting, printmaking, and more. Students in the Baylor Studio Art BFA and BA Programs here have access to all Department facilities.
The Studio Art BFA and BA allow students to focus in Graphic Design. Course examples for the program include Typography, Package Design, Conceptual Development, Identity Design, Digital Media for Graphic Design, Publication Design, Illustration, Studio Topics in Graphic Design, and Web Design.
Studio Art students will also complete the Internship in Studio Art, and a Portfolio Preparation course where they will develop a Graphic Design Portfolio of their best work. Portfolio Preparation also covers interviewing, presentation skills, and job search strategies.
Graduates work for advertising agencies, publishing firms, creative agencies, design studios, publishers, newspapers and magazines, public relations firms, marketing companies, web design firms, and museums. Some graduates have launched their own design studios and advertising agencies.
Chartered in 1845, Baylor University is the oldest continually operating university in Texas. Serving approximately to 19,850 students, Baylor offers more than 250 degree programs across 12 academic divisions. Baylor University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
15. Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, Texas (Top 25% of colleges considered)
The College of Fine Arts at Texas Christian University (TCU or Texas Christian) houses the Department of Design, home to the Graphic Design Program. A major component of this BFA program is the TCU internship requirement during the third year of study. The Design Internship provides the opportunity for students to work at ad agencies or design studios in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area, anywhere in the U.S., and overseas. TCU Design students have completed internships in places such as New York, Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles Kansas City, Austin, St. Louis, Houston, Peru, England, Panama, and Taiwan. Many Design students receive offers to remain with the studio or agency part-time during their senior year, while others have been recruited for full-time positions.
Consisting of 124 credit hours (120 beginning Fall 2024), the Graphic Design BFA Program at Texas Christian University explores advertising, packaging, branding, corporate identity, web and interactive media, typography, and publications. Students in the program will complete 51 credit hours in Graphic Design. Course examples include Advanced Design, Typography, Package Design, Corporate Identity, Advertising Design, Computer Applications to Graphic Design, 2D Design, Creative Practice, and Publication Design. Portfolio and Marketing, Senior Thesis in Visual Communication, and The Digital Portfolio courses are also part of the program.
Graduates of the Graphic Design Program at Texas Christian University have enjoyed a 100% employment rate over the past four years. Program alumni are Graphic Designers, Creative Designers, and Art Directors at design studios, advertising agencies, and more in just about every major city in Texas, across the U.S., and abroad. They work in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle, London, Peru, Germany, Guatemala, Panama, and Nicaragua with companies such as Warren Douglas Advertising, Twilio, Pentagram, Loyalkaspar (LK), Deep Focus, and Pace Communications.
Established in 1873 as one of the Southwest’s earliest coed universities, Texas Christian University serves approximately 12,275 students enrolled in more than 200 degree programs across 10 colleges and schools. With more than 60 faith traditions represented, TCU students come from 50 states and 76 nations. Texas Christian University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
16. Utah State University, Logan, Utah (Top 25% of schools considered)
Caine College of the Arts (CCA) at Utah State University (USU) houses the Department of Art and Design, which has two paths to study Graphic Design. At the undergraduate level, the Department has a Graphic Design BFA. At the graduate level, students can earn an Art MFA with a Specialization in Graphic Design.
Across programs, students benefit from internship and co-op opportunities, annual study trips to places such as Switzerland, Germany, Korea, and Scotland, and participation in the weekly Hashimoto Communication Arts Seminar, which features local and regional professional designers.
The Graphic Design BFA at USU prepares students for jobs with Design Studios, Advertising Agencies, and more through intensive training in the creative process, industry standard technology, theory, collaboration, sustainability, and professional practice. Consisting of 120 credit hours, the program requires courses such as Two-Dimensional Design, History of Graphic Design Studio, Type, Image, and Visual Continuity, Brand Identity Design, and Graphic Design Interface Design.
The Graphic Design BFA Program at Utah State University ends with the Senior Capstone course which builds students professional portfolios through critiques, lectures, and studio work. The course culminates with the Annual Senior BFA Exhibition. Graduates are prepared for immediate employment in the field or a graduate program, such as the USU Art MFA with a Specialization in Graphic Design.
This three-year, 60 credit hour program consists of advanced coursework in typography, print and publication design, symbols, trademarks, interactive media, layout, digital imaging, motion graphics, and illustration. The Art Department provides graduate students with ample studio space, as well as opportunities to develop skills in other areas such as Human-Computer Interface (HCI) Design. The Department also has a partnership, known as “Design Thinking,” with the Huntsman School of Business.
The Art MFA Program at Utah State University culminates with the Thesis Exhibition and Professional Portfolio. Graduates are prepared to pursue advanced-level and leadership positions in areas such as Advertising, Publishing, Design Studios, Museums, In-house Design Departments, Corporate Branding, Packaging, HCI Design, Web Design, Public Relations, User Interface (UI) Design, User Experience (UX) Design, and Entertainment.
Founded March 8, 1888 as the Agricultural College of Utah, Utah State University is the state’s only land- grant institution. The school has eight statewide campuses that serve approximately 27,945 students enrolled in more than 400 undergraduate, graduate, and minor programs. The academic offerings at USU are housed across eight colleges. Utah State University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
17. Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas (Top 30% of schools considered)
The College of Arts and Media at Sam Houston State University (SHSU) houses the Department of Art. Within the Department is a BFA Program with a Major in Graphic Design. Consisting of 120 credit hours, the program allows students to add a Minor to enhance the degree. Examples include Arts and Popular Culture, Photography, Three-Dimensional Studio Art, Film Studies, Technical and Professional Writing, Two-Dimensional Art, and Sports Media. The Department of Art also provides an 18 credit hour Graphic Design Minor for students in other Majors and Departments. Course examples for the Minor include Principles of Graphic Design, Corporate Identity Design, Graphic Design in Context, Advanced Typographic Design, and Graphic Design Production.
The Graphic Design BFA Program at Sam Houston State University helps students develop the following skills: digital technology, oral, written, and visual communications, creative thinking, problem-solving, teamwork and collaborative, and global and intercultural fluency. Areas explored include visual organization, ideation, production tools, typography, and technology.
In addition to 45 credit hours of Graphic Design requirements, the Department of Art requires completion of the Foundation Courses and Core. Upon completion of Foundations, students will participate in a Portfolio Review, which is required to advance into the Major.
Throughout the Graphic Design BFA Program, students will participate in portfolio critiques led by professional designers. The SHSU Graphic Design Program culminates with the Graphic Design Senior Show, which takes place at the University Art Gallery.
Graduates of the Graphic Design Program at Sam Houston State University are prepared to pursue positions in all industries that require Graphic Design skills. Examples include Advertising, Marketing, Public Relations, Entertainment, and Publishing.
Founded in 1879 as the Sam Houston Normal Institute, Sam Houston State University serves 21,480 students enrolled in graduate, professional, and baccalaureate degrees in more than 170 fields of study, including the nation’s first PhD in Forensic Science. Programs at SHSU are housed across eight colleges and schools, three campuses, and the Online Division. Sam Houston State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
18. University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, Texas (Top 30% of schools considered)
The University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) houses the College of Liberal Arts (CoLA), home to the Art and Art History Department. Within the Department is a Visual Communication Design (VCD) Concentration, which serves more than 300 students, making it the largest program in the Art and Art History Department. The Art Programs at University of Texas at Arlington are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art & Design (NASAD).
The VCD Concentration is available at the BA, BFA, and MFA levels. Consisting of 120 credit hours, the BA includes an 18 credit hour Minor in Film/Video-Animation/Gaming), 55 credit hours in Art, and advanced studio classes. The BFA Program requires 124 credit hours of study, with 79 in Art. Course examples across programs include Digital Media, 3D Studio, Advanced Drawing, 2D and 3D Design, Web Typography, Art History Foundation, Sign and Symbol, Printmaking, Water Media, Advanced Typography, Digital Imaging, and History of Graphic Design. The VCD BA and BFA Programs culminate with a Portfolio and Presentation.
The MFA Program at University of Texas at Arlington consists of 60 credit hours, with 39 in Visual Communication Design. Course examples include Research in Visual Communication, Topics in the History of Art & Design, and Creative Strategies. The VCD MFA culminates with the Thesis Exhibition.
Students in all CoLA Art and Art History Programs have access to advanced digital studios and printing labs, the Corrugated Prototype Design and CAD Production Lab, over 40 Mac Computers, and the Studio Createc Gaming Studio. All VCD studios are equipped with Adobe Suite and other industry programs.
UTA VCD students and graduates routinely receive local, state and national awards. Since 2001, VCD students have won over 130 state, regional, and national awards. Our students are employed by top design agencies/studios in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex and throughout the nation.
Graduates of the Visual Communication Design programs at UTA have career opportunities such as Graphic Designer, Printmaker, Book Designer, App Designer, Art Director, Exhibition Designer, Brand Manager, Packaging Designer, Animator, Exhibit Designer, Illustrator, and Web Designer, among others.
Founded in 1895 as a private liberal arts college, University of Texas at Arlington is a Carnegie Research 1 institution that serves approximately 45,950 students. The largest university in North Texas and the second largest in the University of Texas System, UTA provides more than 180 degree programs across nine colleges. University of Texas at Arlington is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
19. New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico (Top 30% of colleges considered)
With 24 academic departments, home to every freshman, and more than 6,000 majors, the College of Arts and Sciences at New Mexico State University (NMSU) is school’s the largest college. Within the College of Arts and Sciences is the Department of Art, which has several programs for students interested in graphic design. At the undergraduate level, the Department houses a Studio Art Program with BA and BFA pathways.
Both options require 120 credit hours of study, with opportunities to study Graphic Design through electives, special and introductory topics, and interdisciplinary requirements. Graduates of both programs will enter the job market with a professional portfolio of their best work.
At the graduate level, a Studio Art MFA is available that allows students to study Graphic Design, Media Arts, Printmaking, and more. Students in this program have the opportunity to choose any area of focus for their Thesis Project. Other program benefits include interdisciplinary graduate seminars, studio visits, visiting artists, and University Art Gallery programming.
The Studio Art MFA Program at New Mexico State University culminates with the Thesis Exhibition held at the University Art Museum.
Graduates of the Graphic Design Degree Programs at New Mexico State University are prepared to seek positions in Advertising, Marketing, Branding, Packaging Design, Publication Design, Exhibit Design, and Public Relations, Book Design, Publishing, App Design, and Web Design.
For students interested in a shorter program, NMSU (Alamogordo) has an AAS and Certificate of Completion in Graphic Design. Courses for this 61 credit hour program provide a foundation in Communication, Digital Design, Business, and Marketing. Course examples include Entrepreneurship, Desktop Publishing, Introduction to Communication, Digital Design Studio, Introduction to Business, Advanced Computer Illustration, and Principles of Marketing. Graduates of this program will enter the job market or a four-year degree program with a professional portfolio of their best work.
The Certificate of Completion in Graphic Design is an 18 credit hour program that prepares students for entry-level positions in Graphic Design and a broad range of other industries. Courses include Design I, Desktop Publishing, Web Design I, Introduction to Illustrator, Digital Video Production I, and Introduction to Digital Image Editing – Photoshop.
Founded in 1888 as Las Cruces College, New Mexico State University is a NASA Space Grant College that serves 21,210 students across five campuses including the main campus in Las Cruces, Alamogordo, Carlsbad, Dona Ana, and Grants, New Mexico. NMSU students have access to more than 180 degree programs with hundreds of majors and focus areas across all campuses. New Mexico State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
20. Texas A&M University, College Station, College Station, Texas (Top 30% of schools considered)
The School of Performance, Visualization and Fine Arts (PVFA) at Texas A&M University, College Station (TAMU) houses the Visualization Program, which has multiple paths to study Graphic Design. Options include BS, MS, and MFA degrees in Visualization (Viz), and a Graphic Design Minor. Consisting of 16 credit hours, the Graphic Design Minor has three required courses including Introduction to Graphic Design and Graphic Design I and II. Students may select three elective courses, totaling nine credit hours. Elective examples include Multimedia Design and Development, Graphic Design III, and Color Theory.
The BS-Viz Program at Texas A&M University combines the study of Fine Arts, 3D Design, Digital Technology, Programming, and the Production Pipeline with project-based studios. All students in this 120 credit hour program will spend a semester away from TAMU during their Junior year. Options include a semester abroad in places, such as Italy, Australia, England, or Singapore; study at another university anywhere in the U.S.; or an approved internship in an industry related to the students major and interests.
Across the final two years of the BS-Viz Program, Design students will create a specialization from directed electives, and complete the Capstone Proposal Development course and Capstone Studio.
The MS-Viz at Texas A&M University provides a variety of Emphasis Areas leading to a Research Thesis of a Capstone Project. Emphasis examples include Computer Graphics, User Experience Design, Interactive Design, and Data Visualization. Students enhance the Emphasis area with electives and other courses. Students have access to courses such as Design Communication I-III, Time-Based Media, Physical Computing for Art and Design, Color Photography, Form, Installation, and Environment, Multimedia Web Design, and Digital Image.
Other program benefits include the Summer Industry Workshop, Thesis and Non-Thesis Options, and interactions with Board Members from Graphic Design Companies, Architecture Firms, and Animation Studios.
The MFA-Viz or MFA-V is a terminal degree that is one of the few programs of its kind in the United States and the only program of its kind in Texas. Combining Visual Arts and Technology, the TAMU MFA-Viz allows students to select an Emphasis in a variety of areas and enhance the degree through electives. Emphasis examples include Interactive Art, Data Visualizations, User Experience Design, Visual Storytelling and Computer Animation.
Students in the MFA-Viz Program at Texas A&M University will complete 20 credit hours in Professional Study as well as courses such as Design Communication I-III, Generative Art, Digital Image, Time-Based Media, Image Synthesis, Physical Computing for Art & Design, and Multimedia Web Design.
The MFA-Viz Program culminates with the completion, exhibition, and defense of the student’s body of work.
Graduates of the Art, Design, Visualization, and Communication Programs at Texas A&M University have been hired in a wide range of roles at a variety of companies, firms, and organizations. Examples include Amazon, Premier Advertising, IBM, Audience Media Group, GCG Marketing, Culver Public Relations, Something More Media, Dell, HEB, Groupon, Techtronic Industries, ESPN, Oracle, Laser Scientific, AT&T, Nift, Multiview Inc., LAM Partners, TTI, Customer Marketing Group, Career Safe, LAM Partners, the U.S. Army, Grange Marketing, Multiview Inc., Customer Marketing Group, Brew House Productions, and Awaken Real Estate.
Texas A&M University, College Station opened its doors in 1876 as the state’s first public Institution of higher learning. Today, the school is the primary location for Texas A&M, with branch campuses in Galveston, Texas and Doha, Qatar. The school serves approximately 74,830 students enrolled in 140+ undergraduate programs and 270+ graduate degree programs across 17 colleges and schools. Texas A&M University, College Station is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
21. University of Central Oklahoma, Edmond, Oklahoma (Top 35% of schools considered)
University of Central Oklahoma (UCO) is the first university in the region to house its Design Programs (Graphic Design and Interior Design) in its own School of Design. Established in 2001 and Part of the College of Fine Arts and Design (CFAD), the School of Design/Department of Design is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).
Specific program options for Graphic Designers include a Graphic Design BFA, a Design Minor – Graphic Design, and a Design MFA with heavy Graphic Design coursework. The MFA is a 60 credit hour program that features courses and studios such as History of Graphic Design I-III, Computer Graphics Studio, Design Studio I-III, Typography Studio, Clocktower Studio, and Illustration Studio. The Design MFA culminates with the Portfolio Development Course and the Design Thesis.
The Graphic Design BFA Program at University of Central Oklahoma requires 124 credit hours, with 80 credits in the Major. The program explores advertising, package design, web design, and other media. Students in the program will work and learn in a simulated studio environment, while building their professional portfolios. All students will complete an internship and courses such as Design Foundations I-IV, History of Graphic Design I-III, Computer Graphics I-IV, Illustration I-III, Character Design, Environmental Illustration, Advertising Design, Sequential Illustration, Packaging Design, Ink Tank, and Advanced Letterpress.
To enhance the degree, students may take electives such as Bookmaking and Prototyping, Advanced Bookmaking, Design Entrepreneurship, and the Design Apprenticeship and/or Study Tour in Design. Note that students may complete more than one work experience. During the last year of the program, UCO BFA students will complete the Advanced Portfolio Development course.
The Design – Graphic Design Minor requires 24 credit hours. Students in this program will take Design Foundations I-IV, Typography, Graphic Design I, Computer Graphics OR Print Media and Marketing for Fine Arts & Design, and History of Graphic Design III OR Design in Global Cultures. The Minor can be taken with any Art, Design, or related program with approval.
Graduates of the University of Central Oklahoma Graphic Design Program are prepared for careers such as Package Designer, Print Designer, Advertising Designer, Creative Director, Web Designer, Commercial Designer, and Art Director.
Founded in 1890, University of Central Oklahoma serves more than 10,000 students across seven colleges, institutes, and UCO Connected. Students at UCO have access to more than 170 academic programs leading to degrees at all levels. University of Central Oklahoma is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
22. Utah Valley University, Orem, Utah (Top 35% of schools considered)
The School of the Arts at Utah Valley University (UVU) houses the Department of Art and Design, which has both AAS and BFA degree options with a Graphic Design Emphasis. Situated in the heart of the Silicon Slopes, UVU’s Graphic Design Program prepares students for careers as creative leaders in the field of design or for graduate study.
The AAS Program with a Graphic Design Emphasis requires 63 credit hours of study with 15 credits in Discipline Cores, and 23 credits in the Emphasis. Course examples include Graphic Computer Applications, 3D Computer Modeling, Production Design, Typography, Motion Graphics, Branding, and Digital Imaging. Students in this program have the opportunity to enhance the degree through nine credits of Art and Design electives.
The BFA Program with a Graphic Design Emphasis at Utah Valley University is a 120 credit hour program that features training in the latest software, internship experiences, and job-placement opportunities. Students will in this program will explore both print and interactive design. Course examples for the program include 2D and 3D Design, Observational Drawing, Graphic Design, 3D Computer Modeling, UI/UX Design, Branding I-II, Motion Graphics Studio, Typography I-II, and History of Design and Visual Arts.
The culminating experience for the BFA Program includes the following Capstone requirements: Design Studio and the Art and Design Internship. The Design Studio is worth three credits and explores issues, technology, and topics related to Graphic Design. The Design Internship is worth 1-6 credit hours and combines classroom theory with related, practical job experience. Students will work as employees of an agency, business, or institution while enrolled in classes related to their career major.
Graduates of the Graphic Design Program at Utah Valley University are prepared to pursue employment at advertising agencies, design studios, printing firms, and publishing companies, as well as for in-house design departments. Some graduates go on to launch their own design studios or freelance businesses. The types of job responsibilities could include Advertising Design, Branding/Identity Design, Digital and Traditional Publishing, Logo Design, Layout Design, Exhibit Design, Information Design and Data Visualization, Packaging Design, and Web and Interactive Design.
Utah Valley University (UVU) was established in 1941 as Central Utah Vocational School (CUVS).The school’s primary function was to provide war production training. Today, the UVU serves approximately 43,100 students from all backgrounds, making it the largest public university in the state. UVU students have access to more than 200 degree and certificate programs housed across eight colleges and schools. Utah Valley University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
23. Abilene Christian University, Abilene, Texas (Top 35% of schools considered)
The College of Arts and Sciences at Abilene Christian University (ACU) is home to the Department of Art and Design, which houses four Majors, four Minors, and an AA in Architecture. Among the Department’s programs are a Graphic Design and Advertising BS that requires 128 credit hours, with 72 credit hours in the Major.
The curriculum for the ACU BS is hands-on, with an emphasis on experiential learning opportunities. Examples include projects with the student-run ad agency Morris + Mitchell and the student-run design agency 99 West; study abroad in a variety of countries; internships with local design firms; and participation in the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA).
In addition to engaging in experiential learning activities, BS students will take courses such as Identity and Brand Design, Typography, Interactive Design, Persuasive Graphics, Media Maker, Advertising Creativity and Copywriting, Web Publishing, Ad/PR Campaigns, Information Graphics, and Plein Air Painting.
The Graphic Design and Advertising BS culminates with the Graphic Design Portfolio (Capstone) course, which includes a mini-exhibition or presentation.
Graduates of the Graphic Design and Advertising BS at Abilene Christian University are prepared to pursue positions such as Brand Manager, Production Designer, Illustrator, Advertising Art Director, Printmaker, Digital Marketing Manager, Animator, Creative Director, Multimedia Artist, and Industrial Designer.
Founded in 1906, Abilene Christian University serves approximately 5,730 students, making it one of the largest private institutions in the Southwest. Students at ACU have access to 87 undergraduate majors with 171 areas of study, 71 areas of study at the master’s and specialist degree levels, and four doctorate programs. Programs at ACU are housed across 10 colleges and schools. Abilene Christian University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
24. Lamar University, Lamar, Texas (Top 40% of schools considered)
The College of Fine Arts and Communications at Lamar University (LU) houses the Department of Art and Design, home to the Graphic Design BFA Program. Consisting of 120 credit hours, with 78 in the Major, the Graphic Design Program includes courses such as History of Graphic Design, Motion Design, Brand Identity, Advanced Graphic Design, Digital Imaging, Typography, Design I-III, Illustration, Printmaking, Web Design, and Photography.
Electives allow students to enhance the degree by focusing in any area of art and design. All BFA candidates are required to enroll in the Senior Thesis course and prepare an exhibition.
The LU College of Fine Arts and Communications has an additional degree option for students seeking a program that combines the Sciences and Graphic Design. In addition to most of the same courses that BFA students must complete, the Graphic Design BS requires courses in Life and Physical Sciences, Government/Political Science, Social and Behavioral Sciences, and Language, Philosophy and Culture. Course examples include Anatomy and Physiology, University Physics, Masterworks of Asian Literature, Engineering Economics, and Business Environment and Public Policy.
LU Graphic Design BS students can add a Minor area of study as well as upper-level electives to enhance the degree.
Graduates of the Graphic Design Programs at Lamar University are prepared for to pursue careers such as Brand Identity Developer, Art Director, Copywriter, Editor, Layout Artist, Illustrator, User Experience (UX) Designer, Visual Communication Designer, Production Artist, Logo Designer, Content Strategist, Advertising Designer, Packaging Designer, Interactive Designer, User Interface (UI) Designer, and Book Editorial Designer.
Lamar University is one of the 29 public universities recognizes as a Carnegie Doctoral Research University by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Founded in 1923 as South Park Junior College, LU enrolled 125 students in its first fall semester. Today, the school serves more than 17,000 students enrolled in more than 100 degree programs. A member of the Texas State University System, Lamar University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
25. University of Tulsa, Tulsa Oklahoma(Top 40% of schools considered)
Kendall College of Arts and Sciences at University of Tulsa (TU) is home to the School of Art, Design and Art History, which houses a BFA Program that provides the opportunity to declare an Emphasis in Graphic Design, Printmaking, Digital Media/Motion Graphics, Painting/Drawing, Photography, or Ceramics. Students in all areas will complete the Tulsa Curriculum, which consists of 51-53 credit hours, with 26-28 in the First Year Experience. Emphasis areas are 54 credit hours.
Course examples for the TU BFA Program include Design I-II, Graphics Communication I-III, Printmaking Studio, Digital Drawing and Illustration, Digital Art: Survey and Practice, Typography and Graphic Production, Drawing: Advanced Studio, Package Design, Interactive Multimedia, Digital Video and Animation, and Website Design.
An Internship, the Independent Study course, and Senior Seminar are also part of the program as well as the Portfolio: Graphic Design course. In this culminating experience, TU Graphic Design BFA students will create a job-seeking portfolio through lectures, demonstrations, and studio work. Student projects are refined and completed along with sessions that address résumés, job interviewing skills, and personal projects.
Graduates of the Graphic Design BFA Program at University of Tulsa work in Advertising, Marketing, Multimedia Design, User Experience (UX)/User Interface (UI) Design, Exhibit Design, Publishing, Entertainment, and many other areas. Some graduates work in in-house design departments, while others have launched their own studios or freelance businesses. Graduates have also gone on to enroll in graduate school.
University of Tulsa was founded in 1882 as the Presbyterian School for Indian Girls, and became Henry Kendall College in 1984. Today, TU is a private, doctoral degree-granting institution that serves approximately 3,770 students enrolled in 71 bachelor’s, 30 master’s, and 16 doctoral degrees. Programs are housed in the Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business, Engineering and Natural Sciences; and Health Sciences; and the Graduate School and School of Law. University of Tulsa has maintained accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) since 1929.