From social media to real-world marketplaces, it has become a challenge to get noticed. A slick visual presence, from logos to ad campaigns, is necessary just to get into the game. More and more individuals and businesses are turning to graphic designers to get an edge over the competition. Are you interested in this in-demand degree? Should you be looking into graphic design schools in Texas?
What is Graphic Design?
Graphic design both an art and a technical skill. It seeks to share a message through visual and textual media. So what does that description actually mean?
Graphic designers create images that communicate a visual message. They may use photographs, hand-drawn illustration, animation, charts, text, and whatever else is needed. The point is to draw attention and craft a clear and persuasive message.
Top 5 Graphic Design Schools in Texas
|University of North Texas
|West Texas A&M University
|Texas Woman’s University
|Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi
|Corpus Christi, Texas
What Can You Do With a Graphic Design Degree?
As a graphic designer, your clients will turn to you to create appealing visual messages. During your career, you may:
- create a logo for a local coffee shop
- develop an ad campaign for a company’s mailing list
- help build a website for a new animal shelter
- make brochures advertising a vacation getaway service
- prepare infographics for training seminars
- design a billboard for a political campaign
- make a band’s next album cover
- and much more.
This is the kind of job that throws a different challenge at the graphic designer every day. That makes it a good fit for versatile and creative people who prefer variety in their working life.
What is the Graphic Design Job Market Like?
According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, Graphic Designers earn a median pay of $52,110 per year. The job market is expected to shrink somewhat in the next ten years, with a projected decline of -4%. It may be competitive to get positions in this field.
We’ve gathered this list of Texas universities that offer a Bachelor’s degree or better. These were ranked by tuition per semester and program length.
The 15 Best Graphic Design Schools in Texas
University of North Texas
UNT offers a B.F.A. in Communication Design with a possible concentration in Graphic Design or User Experience Design (UX). This award-winning program (named “Best School” 2020 by the National Student Show & Conference, awarded 22 gold and silver awards by Graphis New Talent 2020, multiple American Advertising Awards, and top Society of Publication Design awards) involves three and a half years of study which could include: application design, art direction, graphic design, image making, interaction/screen design, motion design, packaging design, prototyping/user testing, publication design, research methodologies, UX product design, and typography. The last semester is focused on building a final portfolio to be reviewed before the degree is issued.
The school also offers a M.A. in Design with a focus in Interaction Design at their Frisco, Texas campus.
West Texas A&M University
West Texas A&M University was established in Canyon, TX, in 1910. This was one of the institutions of choice for returning WWII veterans seeking an education. The school has expanded considerably, especially in the last two decades, to include a new sports park and fine arts complex. At this university, border county residents pay in-state tuition rates.
You can earn a B.F.A. in Graphic Design here. This award-winning program (9 awards in the 2019 ADDYs) creates a base of artistic studies and computer knowledge while allowing flexibility to pursue individual art styles.
Texas Woman’s University
Despite the name, Texas Woman’s University is actually a co-educational campus. It’s based in Denton, TX, with branches Houston and Dallas. Like some of the institutions on this list, TWU offers a reduced tuition rate for Oklahoma residents.
You can pursue a B.F.A. in Graphic Design, or take your studies farther with an M.A. in Art with a Graphic Design concentration. The Bachelor’s program starts with a wide view of the field as students explore world art history and global perspectives in art. They will then dive into advanced design topics. Internship opportunities are available.
Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi
Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi is a public research university in Corpus Christi on the Texas coastline. It was opened as a private university in 1947, but was devastated by Hurricane Celia in 1970. The school was sold to the state and rebuilt in its current form.
This university provides a B.A. in Graphic Design and an M.F.A. in Studio Arts with a concentration in Graphic Design. The four year Bachelor’s program offers study in various sub-disciplines of design including publications, packaging, UI/UX, brand design, motion design, social awareness and environmental design with an emphasis on professional practice and client environment. It integrates a capstone portfolio and professional practices course and internships in the junior and senior years.
Lamar University takes its name from Mirabeau Lamar, the second president of the Republic of Texas. It’s located in Beaumont, near the eastern border. Lamar University is a national Carnegie Doctoral Research university that offers about 150 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees.
Students can choose between B.F.A. and B.S. programs in Graphic Design. The B.F.A. is tailored for learners who want to jump immediately into a graphic design-related career. The B.S. was created for students who plan to combine general studies in graphic design with a minor in another field.
Sam Houston State University
Huntsville, TX is home to Sam Houston State University. This is the third oldest public college in the state. It offers about 150 degrees across various disciplines and levels, as well as a robust online Bachelor’s and graduate studies presence.
A B.F.A. in Graphic Design is available here. Students who attend here will develop a portfolio of their work, have that portfolio reviewed by professional designers, and participate in a Senior Exhibition. Note that this program requires a Mac laptop with the current version of Adobe’s Creative Suite.
University of Texas at Austin
UT Austin, or the University of Texas at Austin, is the flagship of the University of Texas system. It’s a highly active public research university with a long history of academic research. Thirteen Noble Prize winners have been educated here, among other prestigious awards.
The School of Design and Creative Technologies awards both a B.A. and a B.F.A. in Graphic Design. The B.F.A. is a pre-professional degree that focuses on studio work, preparing students for immediate employment. Meanwhile, the B.A. offers a more flexible program with a broader liberal arts course of study.
Texas State University
Texas State University in San Marcos, TX opened in 1903 to a class of just over 300 students. Since then, it has grown into one of the largest in the state. Almost 40,000 students attend here in the pursuit of over 200 degrees.
One of those degrees is a B.F.A. in Communication Design. Students can explore graphic design, digital media, illustration, and advertising art direction. Additionally, they will build a senior portfolio and network for future jobs. This school also offers an M.F.A. in Communication Design for students seeking a higher degree.
The University of Texas at El Paso
The University of Texas at El Paso educates the second largest population of Mexican American students in the states. It has a striking look, with Tibetan-inspired buildings, and a striking view of the Rio Grande river.
Students can study and get hands-on practice as they explore a B.F.A. in Studio Arts with a concentration in Graphic Design. This type of degree is a good fit for learners who aren’t 100% sure about their future career, as they can pivot fairly easily into other Studio Arts concentrations.
Texas A&M University-Commerce
Texas A&M University-Commerce is located in Commerce, TX in the heart of the Blackland Prairies. It was founded in 1889 in nearby Cooper, but was rebuilt in Commerce after a fire in 1894. The university has five colleges and awards over 100 degrees.
This institution offers a B.F.A. in Visual Communication. Studies here emphasize the many factors that go into effective Graphic Design, and many of the courses are easily transferable to other A&M universities. The college also offers an M.A. and M.F.A. in Visual Communication.
University of Houston
The University of Houston occupies 667 acres in southeastern Houston. It’s a research university with very high output, operating over 40 research centers on campus. These centers explore everything from artificial intelligence to biomedical sciences to space commercialization.
UH provides a B.F.A. in Fine Arts with a concentration in Graphic Design, typically studied as a Junior Block. You can also get an M.F.A. in Graphic Design here. The Bachelor’s may be just 120 hours if certain courses are taken that credit to both the university’s core and the major’s requirements.
Texas Tech University
Texas Tech University is one of the younger institutions on this list, established in 1923 in Lubbock, TX. Lubbock is a unique place to make art and is positioned within a growing artistic community offering a multitude of opportunities. Guest speakers, internships, freelance experiences, and strong alumni connections enhance program offerings and prepare students for careers in the professional field.
Students and alumni have received awards in prestigious competitions at both the national and international levels. Alumni hold important positions in design firms, advertising agencies, and In-house design studios throughout the country, with graduates working both past and present at Nike, The New York Times, Texas Monthly, Wired, Conde Nast Traveler, Refinery 29, Fossil, S.W. Airlines, M.A.C. Cosmetics, AT&T, Paul Mitchell, and I.B.M.
The curriculum stresses the importance of conceptual development, design history, theory, and the integration of form and information to communicate effectively. Students are exposed to a full range of topics and experiences, such as typography, branding, publication, interactive design, and emerging technologies.
Wayland Baptist University
Wayland Baptist University in Plainview, TX is a private Baptist institution. It has branches across six states and in Kenya and American Samoa. Despite this, WBU is a small and cozy institution. There are 5000 students enrolled across all campuses, with about 1300 in Plainview.
This institution awards a B.A. in Graphic Design at its Plainview location. It emphasizes small class sizes and the studios have state-of-the-art design and editing programs for student use. The course of study builds working experience through detailed teacher feedback, art exhibitions, and other opportunities.
Texas Christian University
Fort Worth, TX has a number of universities in the city including Texas Christian University. Sports fans may recognize this private Christian university’s mascot: the horned frog. After all, TCU competes in the Big 12 conference for most varsity sports.
The B.F.A. in Graphic Design available here can fast-track graduates into the workforce. Alongside a solid and varied curriculum, students have numerous opportunities to get working experience. These include internships for ad agencies and design studious in the city and through international partners. Note that this degree doesn’t require a minor or a foreign language.
Baylor University is a private Baptist university in Waco, TX. It’s unusual in this list as tuition costs are the same regardless of state residency. This is one of the first educational institutions west of the Mississippi River. It was chartered in 1845, operated originally in Independence, and moved to Waco in 1885.
You can pursue a BFA in Studio Art, with a concentration in Graphic Design through Baylor’s Department of Art and Art History. This traditional 4-year degree (8 semesters) program covers art, photography, design, marketing, and more. The degree may require fewer hours if you can get credited for liberal arts courses taken elsewhere.
Our Ranking Methodology
We gathered a list of colleges in Texas that offer Bachelor’s degrees in Graphic Design. This information was drawn from sources including .gov databases like the NCES and Google. We drew information about tuition and program length directly from the university websites.
The 15 schools on this list were ranked by two factors. Points were assigned based on tuition per semester (lowest is best) and the number of credit hours needed to complete the degree (fewest is best). In-state tuition rates were used when possible. These points were summed, and the schools ranked by final total.
Do you work at one of the schools in this ranking and you’ve noticed an error? Please contact us and we will update the information on this list.