What are the top Missouri graphic design colleges for 2022?

Top 5 Graphic Design School Programs in Missouri - 2022 College Rankings
1Washington University in St. LouisSt. Louis
2Kansas City Art InstituteKansas City
3University of MissouriSt. Louis
4Missouri State UniversitySpringfield
5University of MissouriColumbia

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

1. Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri
Washington University in St. Louis

The College of Art at Washington University in St. Louis (WashU) is home to the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, which houses the Communication Design Program. Degree options include the 120 credit hour BA and the 121 credit hour BFA in Studio Art & Design/Communication Design.

For both programs, students will begin by working with an academic advisor to customize initial coursework and create a schedule. Students will then move on to core studios in 2D and 3D Design, Drawing, and Digital, supplemented by seminars. As students enter the second semester of the junior year, they will customize their own major courses. Course examples include Global Topics in Visual Communications, Letterpress Printing, Applied Illustration, Semiotics Studio: Designing Signs and Symbols, Programming Design, Content to Cover: The Design of Books, Type as Image: Experiments on Press, UX Research Methods for Design, and Multimedia Design: Time/Sound/Space.

Courses for the WashU Communication Design Program are supplemented by seminars and readings. In Professional Practice seminars, students will develop skills such as portfolio development, CV creation, interviewing, searching for jobs and internships, and public speaking.  

In the senior year of the BFA Program, students will complete a final project (capstone), which may be a digital experience, illustrated book, screen-based presentation, graphic novel/mini-comic, or other work. The Senior Capstone will be presented in a public exhibition and reviewed by local design professionals.

Washington University in St. Louis has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) since 1913. Founded in 1853, the school serves nearly 16,250 students enrolled in more than 300 academic programs in seven schools. The Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts was founded in 2006 after the merging of the academic units of Architecture and Art, and the Washington University in St. Louis Museum.  

2. Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Art Institute (KCAI) has a Graphic Design Program with three pathways: the traditional BFA in Graphic Design, an Art History and Studio (Graphic Design) double major, and a Creative Writing and Studio (Graphic Design) double major. All Graphic Design students benefit from interactions with visiting artists, the internship program, and faculty-led travel experiences in places such as France, Vietnam, Argentina, Peru, and Thailand.

In all pathways, students will take courses such as Type Image 1 & 2, Media Inquiry, Information & Data, Social Inquiry, Branding & Identity, Graphic Design Histories, and Interaction Inquiry. For Art History and Studio double majors, courses may include Contemporary Art, Global/Comparative Art, Modern Art, Baroque Art, and Art History Seminar. Creative Writing and Studio double majors will complete 15 credit hours of literature courses and 12 credits in Creative Writing Workshop. Writing Seminar and Critical Studies I-II are also part of this program.

Graduates of the Kansas City Art Institute Graphic Design Programs have landed positions with a wide variety of companies and organizations. Examples include Nickelodeon, The Getty Museum, Pentagram, Airbnb, Radius, Fossil, Salesforce, Hallmark, Populous, Barkley, Design Army, VML, Hyperakt, and R/GA. 

Kansas City Art Institute is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA) and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Established in 1885 as a Sketch Club, KCAI serves more than 700 students enrolled in 13 majors in 15 program areas.

3. University of Missouri - St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri
University of Missouri - St. Louis

The College of Arts and Sciences at University of Missouri - St. Louis (UMSL) has an Art BFA Program with a Graphic Design Emphasis. Consisting of 81 credit hours, the program combines computer design, 2D and 3D design, painting, drawing, and graphic design. Through electives, student can explore 3D animation, motion, and image making. The final year of the program consists of two Senior Seminar in Graphic Design courses (Capstone).

Graduates of the UMSL Art BFA Program are Graphic Designers, Marketing Professionals, Creative Directors, Experience Designers, Web Designers, and Art Directors, among others.

University of Missouri-St. Louis is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Established in 1963, UMSL is one of the four universities in the University of Missouri System, which supports more than 70,000 students. University of Missouri-St. Louis serves more than 15,000 students enrolled in more than 100 programs in nine colleges and schools.

4. Missouri State University, Springfield, Missouri
Missouri State University

Missouri State University (MSU) houses the Judith Enyeart Reynolds College of Arts and Letters, home to the Art and Design Department, which has Graphic Design Track and Graphic Design and Illustration Track options within the Design BFA Program. The for both tracks, the major requires 79-94 credit hours, with 61 major core credits. The Graphic Design Track requires 18 credit hours in Graphic Design, and Graphic Design and Illustration requires 33.

Across both Tracks, students can expect to take courses such as Creative Coding, Computer Animation, Printmaking, History of Graphic and Applied Design, Graphic Design Systems, Intermediate Illustration, Computer Graphic Design, Graphic Narrative, Materials and Techniques for Illustration, Graphic Production, Advanced Typography, and Digital Arts.

Graduates of the program are prepared for careers in Advertising, Newspaper and Magazine Publishing, Web Development, Entertainment, Computer Graphic Design, Illustration, Journalism, and Education.

Missouri State University has been continuously accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) since 1915. Founded in 1905, MSU has four physical campuses including three in Missouri and one in Dalian, China. The school serves 26,000 students, making it the state's second largest university. Missouri State University offers more than 160 degree programs with over 270 options. Programs at MSU are housed in eight colleges.

5. University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri
University of Missouri

The College of Arts and Science at University of Missouri (Mizzou or MU) is home to the School of Visual Studies, which houses the Graphic Design Program. Course highlights for the program include Letterpress Printing, Packaging Design, Typography, Corporate Identity, Hand Lettering, and Design History. Leading to a BA or BFA, the Graphic Design Program provides access to state-of-the-art labs and studios, workshops, and seminars.

Students also have opportunities to get involved with the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) Student Chapter, as well as the Mizzou internship and study abroad programs. Internships can be completed on or off campus. MU students have interned at Rachel Ray Magazine in New York, Hallmark, University Hospital, the Kansas City Royals, Mizzou Athletics, the Kansas City Chiefs, Trulaske School of Business, Veterans United, Outdoor Brands and MU Career Center.

Graduates of the University of Missouri Graphic Design Program have been hired at MCA records (Los Angeles), Hallmark, Nestle Purina, and Cosmopolitan Magazine (NYC). Program alumni have also been featured on The Today Show and TheDieline, and they have won Addy, Emmy, and Grammy Awards. Some MU alumni have gone on to launch their own design studios or freelance business that serve clients across the U.S. and around the globe.

University of Missouri is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Established in 1839, the school is one of only 64 universities across the U.S. and Canada to be a member of the Association of American Universities. Mizzou serves just over 31,100 students enrolled in more than 300 degree programs in eight colleges and schools.