What are the top Kansas graphic design schools for 2022?

Top 5 Graphic Design School Programs in Kansas - 2022 College Rankings
1University of KansasLawrence
2Kansas State UniversityManhattan
3Pittsburg State UniversityPittsburg
4Wichita State UniversityWichita
5Fort Hays State UniversityHays

Our 2022 ranking of the top graphic design school programs in Kansas. For an explanation of the ranking criteria, click here.

1. University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas
University of Kansas

The School of Architecture and Design at the University of Kansas (KU) houses the Department of Design. Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), the Department features access to state-of-the-art facilities, collaborations, lectures, and workshops led by industry professionals, study abroad programs, and local and international internships. 

Program options for designers include a BFA in Visual Communication Design and a Certificate in Book Arts. The Certificate Program has undergraduate and graduate pathways. The undergraduate certificate consists of 12-13 credit hours. The graduate program requires 12 credit hours. Course examples across programs include Letterpress and bookmaking, Digital Letterpress, Printmaking: Intaglio, Lithography and Serigraphy, The Photobook, Publication and Editorial, and Medieval Manuscripts and Early Printed Books. Both programs offer the opportunity to complete Study Abroad: Typography & Printmaking in Italy.

The University of Kansas Visual Communication Design Program consists of 120 credit hours. Courses for this professional BFA are hands-on, studio-based, and research intensive. Course examples include Think and Make, Fundamentals in UX Design, Elements of Type, Designing Social Interactions, Branding, Typographic Systems, and Designing Understanding. In the Junior year of the program, students will begin working on their final portfolio. In the final year of the program, students will complete the Professional Studies requirement (two courses), Senior Problems, and the Capstone Project.

KU Visual Communication Design and Book Arts graduates work in areas such as advertising, publishing/magazine and book design marketing, public relations, branding and package design, industrial design, exhibition design, environmental design, UI/UX design, web design, print media, multimedia, and motion graphic design. Possible job titles include, but are not limited to, Graphic Designer, Art Director, Advertising Art Director, Marketing Manager, Visual Designer, Communications Manager, Advertising Commercial/Industrial Designer, Multimedia Artist, Public Relations Manager, and Exhibition Designer.

University of Kansas is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Founded in 1865, KU opened on September 12, 1866 with one building and 55 students. Today, University of Kansas serves 28,500 students across five campuses the in Lawrence, Overland Park, Kansas City, Wichita, and Salina, Kansas. KU offers more than 400 degrees and certificate programs in 13 academic schools.

2. Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas
Kansas State University

Kansas State University (K-State) houses the College of Arts and Sciences, which consists of more than 20 departments, 7,000+ students and more than 115 degree programs, study abroad options, and pre-professional pathways. Housed in the K-State College of Arts and Sciences is the Department of Art. students. Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), the Department has Art BFA and MFA Programs with a Graphic Design Concentration. An 18 credit hour Graphic Design Minor is also available.

The K-State Graphic Design BFA requires 120 credit hours, with 45 credits above the 300 level. Students must take 13 credit hours in foundations courses such as 2D Design, Digital Techniques in Visual Art, and Drawing. Fifteen hours in Art History is required as well as 18 in Graphic Design and 30 in electives. Course examples for the program include Twentieth Century Art History III: Abstract Expressionism to Pop Art, Baroque Art History, Design for Digital Media I-II, Visual Communication Design: Storytelling in Design, and Graphic Design Techniques.

Graphic Design BFA students will complete a Design Capstone and BFA Exhibition or Portfolio Presentation. 

The K-State Graphic Design MFA consists of 60 credit hours, with 35-40 in the major concentration. Students in this program work in assigned studio spaces in K-State’s collaborative design space—Willard Hall. The program also hosts a visiting artist series and an active AIGA student group that features field trips, workshops, and other activities. Graphic Design MFA students have access to all Department of Art facilities. During the final semester of the program, MFA students will participate in the Graduate Exhibition.

Kansas State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Founded in 1863, K-State serves close to 21,800 students enrolled in more than 250 undergraduate majors and options and 165+ graduate degrees and certificates. Programs are offered in nine colleges and the graduate school.

3. Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, Kansas
Pittsburg State University

The College of Technology at Pittsburg State University (Pitt State or PSU) houses the Department of Graphics and Imaging Technologies (GIT), which offers a Bachelor of Science in Technology (BST) Program with six emphasis areas. Options include Graphic Design, Digital Media, Packaging Graphics, Web/Interactive Media, Graphics Management, and Print Media. GIT BST Emphasis areas share a common core curriculum in Graphic Communications.

Course examples include Page Layout Software, Graphics Technologies, Product Photography, Graphic Design, Raster Graphics Software, Web User Experience, Letterpress Printing, Specialty Graphics, Interactive Media Design, Publication Graphics, Paperboard Packaging, 3D Animation and Rendering, Digital media Design, and Rigid Packaging. Students in all areas may complete the Graphics Work Experience course, which consists of on-the-job work experience/career exploration in a Graphics setting. This experience may include job shadowing.

In the final year of the BST Program, students will take the Laboratory Practicum, Portfolio Management, Special Topics, and Senior Project courses. The 120 credit hour BST Program may be completed in four years, full-time.

At the graduate level, the GIT Department offers an MS with a Major in Technology (MST). Provided in partnership with Workforce Learning, the MS Program is a flexible option for graduate students who would like to customize their learning experience. Available Emphasis areas for Graphic Designers include Graphics Design, Graphics Management, and Innovation Technology. With the exception of Innovation Technology, all Emphasis areas are available online.

MS students will complete 33 credit hours of study and choose between two Tracks: Internship and Enrichment Electives.

Graduates of the MS and BST in Graphic Communications Programs work in leadership and other positions Printing, Sales, Advertising, Design, Production, Customer Relations, Marketing, and many other areas.

Pittsburg State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Founded in 1903, the school serves nearly 6,500 students enrolled in more than 200 academic programs and emphasis areas in four main colleges including Arts and Sciences, Business, Education, and Technology, and the Graduate School and Honors College.

4. Wichita State University, Wichita, Kansas
Wichita State University

The College of Fine Arts at Wichita State University (WSU) houses the School of Art, Design and Creative Industries (ADCI), which has a Graphic Design Program leading to a BFA. Areas explored include Motion Graphics, Typography, User Experience Design, Illustration, and Letterpress. All WSU students have access to internships and co-ops and more than 450 employers. Students have the opportunity to work with a company in their area of interest, where they can earn academic credit, build a resume, and even a paycheck.

Throughout the program, Graphic Design BFA students will build a professional portfolio of their best work to shop around to potential employers. Graduates of the Graphic Design Program at WSU are prepared for positions at Advertising Agencies, In-House Design Departments in a variety of industries, Art Studios, Publishers, Web Design Firms, Museums, Magazines and Newspapers, and Entertainment, among others.

Wichita State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Founded in 1895, WSU is one of six state universities governed by the Kansas Board of Regents. Wichita State University (with its affiliate WSU Tech) serves around 19,000 students enrolled in more than 200 areas of study in six academic colleges.

5. Fort Hays State University, Hays, Kansas
Fort Hays State University

Fort Hays State University (FHSU) houses the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, home to the Department of Art and Design, which has a Graphic Design Program with BFA and MFA options. The largest program in the Department of Art and Design, Graphic Design requires 65 credit hours in Art & Design, and 55 credits in General Education.

Course examples for the program include Graphic Design I-IV, Book Making, Digital Media, Creative Design, Computer Assisted Graphic Design, 3D Design/Crafts, and Professional Development in Graphic Design. In the final year of the program, BFA students will complete a Portfolio course and the Graphic Design Exhibition.

The 60 credit hour MFA has a Studio Concentration in Graphic Design. Students may choose between the Online and Low Residency options. The FHSU MFA Program culminates with the Thesis (course 899) and Thesis Exhibition.

Graduates of the Graphic Design Programs at Fort Hays State University are Designers, Professors, Creative Directors, Associate Designers, Executive Vice Presidents, Founders, and Business Owners. They work at places such as Leo Burnett, Yahoo!, CMT (Nashville), and Joe Duffy and Partners (Minneapolis) or teach at Zayed University (Dubai), University of Wyoming (UW), University of Nebraska, and Wichita State University (WSU).

Fort Hays State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The school opened in an abandoned former army post (Fort Hays) in 1902. Today, FHSU sits on a 200-acre campus and 3,825-acre University Farm that serve nearly 16,000 students. More than 200 degree programs are available across five colleges including Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences; Business and Entrepreneurship; Education; Health and Behavioral Sciences; and Science, Technology, and Mathematics.