|1||Augustana University||Sioux Falls|
|2||South Dakota State University||Brookings|
|3||Dakota State University||Madison|
|4||University of South Dakota||Vermillion|
|5||Dakota Wesleyan University||Mitchell|
Our 2019 rankings of the top 5 graphic design school programs in South Dakota. For an explanation of the ranking criteria, click here.
1. Augustana University, Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Founded in 1860 as Augustana Seminary, Augustana University (Augie) serves more than 2,100 students from 29 states and 36 countries. The school offers more than 100 majors, minors and pre-professional specializations through dozens of departments. The Department of Art offers a BFA in Art with a Liberal Arts Track and a Graphic Design Concentration.
This unique program allows students to pursue a second major, which the school says “increases potential career choices.” Popular second majors include Business, English, Journalism, and Marketing. In addition, students pursuing a career in Graphic Design are encouraged to take the 53-60 credit hour, pre-professional track, which “provides more in-depth preparation for admission to graduate programs or professional career in art.”
Program highlights include access to the Art Department’s Mac lab with the latest Adobe software, studios for printmaking, sculpture, painting, ceramics, drawing and graphic design, participation in Art Club and Photography Club, and experiential learning opportunities “through discovery and experimentation, internships, student teaching, off-campus study and hands-on research.” Students have interned at places such as Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center, Derix Glasstudios in Taunusstein, Germany, Frogman’s Printing Workshop, Metropolitan Museum of Art, TSP Architects, and many others.
In addition to Germany, students have studied in India, Greece, Peru, Paris and more. Finally, Graphic Design “actively” help nonprofit organizations in the community and Augustana student organizations “produce outstanding communications and marketing materials.”
2. South Dakota State University, Brookings, South Dakota
Founded in 1881, South Dakota State University (SDSU) serves more than 12,000 students from every state and 83 countries. The state’s largest higher-education institution, SDSU offers more than 200 academic programs through nine colleges and around 40 departments. The College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences houses the School of Design.
Established in 2015 and serving 450 students, the School of Design “combines all of SDSU's design fields of study including architecture, interior design, studio art, graphic design and landscape architecture into an academic framework that shares curriculum and resources as the means for increasing collaboration and providing a comprehensive, robust design education for all students.”
The School’s 120 credit hour BFA in Graphic Design allows students declare a minor in an area such as Advertising, Film Studies, Entrepreneurial Studies or Studio Arts, or enroll in a certificate program such as Animation or Printmaking. The program, which comprises design studio lecture, and professional application, instructs students in “visual communication theory and process in digital, print, time-based (animation), on-line, and interactive media (web and app design). Areas of study include: design foundations, creative thinking, computer graphics, typography, photography, illustration, motion graphics, publication design, identity systems, interactive design, design research, animation, and a graphic design specific senior capstone course.”
The program’s “distinctive interest in professional experiences is realized through” professional practice courses, internships, and travel study to national and international design centers, corporate studios, public relations, and advertising offices. Past internship opportunities have includes Fresh Produce, IBM Design: design in motion, Lawrence & Schiller Advertising, SDSU Wellness Center and many others.
Students will also travel to design conferences and art galleries and museums. Annually, trips are made to Minneapolis, Omaha, and Sioux Falls. Previous professional travel-study include China, Germany, Los Angeles, Japan, Chicago, Copenhagen, Denver, Dallas, and New York.
Graduates of the Graphic Design Program have gone on to land positions as Advertising Designers, Art Directors, Creative Directors, Graphic Designers, Logo and Brand Identity Designers, and Web/Illustrative Interactive Designers at companies such as Blend Interactive Web Strategies, Daktronics, Lawrence & Schiller Advertising, Lemonly – Information Graphics Design Agency, and NBC Universal Sports.
3. Dakota State University, Madison, South Dakota
Founded in 1881 as a school for teacher education in the Dakota Territory, Dakota State University (DSU) specializes in computer management, computer information systems, and other related undergraduate and graduate programs. With more than 45 majors to choose from and a “robust” graduate program, DSU serves around 3,300 students. Programs for aspiring graphic designers include a BS in Digital Arts and Design: Computer Graphics.
Per the school, the program “lays a solid foundation in graphic design and 3D design with a technological focus,” says the school. Students will “work with current software on projects developed to mimic real-life experiences, develop print and web-ready graphics, as well as interactive graphic pages for the web.” Course highlights include Audio Production, Computer Graphic Effects, Design on Computers, Digital Editing, Digital Photography, Digital Storytelling, Drawing, Graphic Effects, 3D Design, and Written Communication.
Students will complete an internship during the Junior or Senior year, and at the end of the program, they will have completed a “strong” Capstone/undergraduate research project/portfolio. “In the end,” students “acquire the experience to work in a digital design studio or as an in-house designer—and everything in between.” Sample job titles include Art Director, Broadcast Design Artist, Content Developer, and Graphic Designer.
4. University of South Dakota, Vermillion, South Dakota
Founded in 1862 as University of Vermillion, University of South Dakota (USD) serves more than 10,000 students enrolled in 198 undergraduate programs and 79 graduate programs through eight colleges and schools and USD Online. In conjunction with the School of Education, the College of Fine Arts offers a BFA in Art Education with a Specialization in Graphic Design/Multimedia. The College also offers a BFA In Studio Art with a Specialization in Graphic Design/Multimedia, an MFA with a Specialization in Graphic Design, and a Graphic Design Certificate.
BFA students will take courses such as Brand Identity, Digital Design, Digital & Web Design, Information Design, Package Design, Publication Design, Typography, and Portfolio Design. MFA students will take many of the same courses as well as Design Methods, Graphic Design Concept and Theory, Graphic Design: Special Problems and Print Studio. MFA students will also complete Graphic Design Master’s Portfolio and Graphic Design Master’s Thesis. All MFA students will have access to graduate studios with office and workstations.
Program highlights for students in all programs include the opportunity to show their work in the Design Exhibition Space in Sioux Falls, access to nationally and internationally-recognized guest speakers who will come to campus to present their work, conduct workshops, critique student works and facilitate classes, and participation in Midwest Press. Students will may also become members of AIGA and participate in Spring Break in New York City (NYC Spring Break). Study Abroad opportunities are also part of the program. Past locations have included China, Italy, France, Scotland, Ireland, Korea, and many others.
5. Dakota Wesleyan University, Mitchell, South Dakota
Founded in 1885, Dakota Wesleyan University (DWU) serves nearly 1,000 students enrolled in more than 40 majors and minors, four pre-professional programs, and two graduate programs through four colleges including the Donna Starr Christen College of Healthcare, Fitness and Sciences, and the Colleges of Arts and Humanities, Public Service and Leadership, and Adult and Professional Studies.
The College of Arts and Humanities houses the Digital Media and Design (DMD) Program. Per the school, DWU is the “only school the region that focuses on teaching user interface design (UI), user experience (UX) and interactive classes in digital media and design.” The program, which leads to a BA in DMD with a Concentration in Computer Graphic Design or Web Design, teaches students how to combine their “creativity with the latest technology to create ads, brochures and other marketing materials.”
Course highlights include Advanced Digital Imaging; Color Theory Design; Communication, Media, & Society; Computer Graphics; Desktop Publishing; Introduction to Design; Typography, and Web Page Design. Students will complete a Digital Media/Design Portfolio and internship opportunities are available. Graduates of the program will be well prepared to apply their skills in careers such as Creative Design, Prepress Artistry, and Visual Merchandise Design.