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Best 11 Graphic Design Schools In Texas (2023 List)

Looking to study in the Lone Star State? You won’t be alone, Texas is host to three of the United States’ most populated cities, emerging industry hubs and known for a range of attractions from farmlands to festivals. This huge state offers cityspaces and frontiers filled with inspiration, ripe for budding designers. We’ve compiled a list of the best graphic design schools in Texas, exploring the different pathways to a fruitful graphic design career. Whether you’re seeking a traditional campus, low-cost options or accelerated courses—there’s sure to be an ideal program for you, as we outline the top graphic design colleges deep in the heart of Texas. 

Read through to the end for an interesting alternative—Shillington! Shillington’s graphic design course can be taken from anywhere—whether you’re living down South or fancy taking a trip, you can join us from the comfort of whichever option works best for you.

1. Shillington 

Location: Online, New York City, London, Manchester, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane
Duration: 3 months Full-Time to 9 months Part-Time

Graduates of the course rave about our passionate teachers and remarkable portfolios created in a short amount of time. Shillington prepares designers with practical, conceptual skills and an industry-ready portfolio to begin working in the field. Shillington’s mission and results make it one of best graphic design schools, requiring no prior graphic design experience, just a readiness to learn in an inspiring environment with working designers as your teachers. In just 3 months full-time or 9 months part-time on campus or online—you could become a designer!

2. University of Texas at Arlington 

Location: Arlington, TX
Duration: 4 years

The Art & Art History department houses the Visual Communication Design program at The University of Texas at Arlington, where their curriculum focuses on the understanding of problem solving relative to global visual communication. Students work collaboratively and individually across projects, manage realistic deadlines and merge industry-relevant knowledge with creative technologies to develop as individual designers. Graduates of this program go onto employment at top design firms across the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex and the nation. As the largest area of study in the department with more than 300 students, it’s considered one of the best graphic design schools in Texas for its commitment to opening avenues of communication and fostering graphic design careers.

3.  University of Houston 

Location: Houston, TX
Duration: 4 years

The University of Houston offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts in graphic design with integral focuses on research and concept development as their students aim to investigate contemporary culture and emergent forms of communicative media. The program prepares students with the technical, critical and analytical skills necessary for professional practice. The campus is centrally located, just miles away from the renowned Museum district which hosts the Museum of Printing History, Menil Collection, the Center for Contemporary Craft and the Museum of Fine Arts to which all students are encouraged to frequent for self-enrichment. U of H is one of the top graphic design schools in part due to their stellar partnership with The Graphic Alumni Partnership (UHGAP) who work to connect the university with the greater design community through the promotion of the School of Art, alumni accomplishments and advocacy for scholarships.

4. St. Edwards 

Location: Austin, TX
Duration: 4 years

Austin, Texas has crafted a bubbly reputation as one of the leading creative economies and cities within the southern United States. St. Edward’s University is one of the premier graphic design colleges in Texas offering ample opportunities to discover various studio environments and creative directions—where everyone wears multiple hats. Their graduates range from art directors and software engineers to production designers and user-interface/experience designers. Their approach does not present a one-size-fits-all but encourages students to map multiple directions and embark on their own tailored way forward. Starting with your second year, you’re encouraged to plan towards the potential of study abroad or an internship with a local organization of interest. World experience is a requirement for successful completion of the program with options to study in Denmark, Australia or a global perspectives course.

5. Southern Methodist University 

Location: Dallas, TX
Duration: 4 years

Southern Methodist University is a private research school quietly tucked in downtown Dallas. 

The Temerlin Advertising Institute for Education and Research, an endowment by the Dallas advertising community, trains students in providing unique solutions and employment preparation for corporate marketing to smaller design studios. Focused on training the next generation of strategic creatives, this program is one of the best graphic design colleges due to the specializations students can choose from. Across the Bachelor of Arts in Advertising, students have the option to focus on Creative, Digital Media Strategy, and Strategic Brand Management. The graphic design minor aims to provide students with a basic development of skills needed for message design across identity, digital and media publications. The minor is a total of 21 credit hours, with an array of classes covering production, illustration, trademarking, and type.

6. Texas A&M 

Location: Commerce, TX
Duration: 4 years 

The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Communication is an intensive degree aimed at preparing students for professional opportunities in fields of advertising and design, with an option to specialize further in Art Direction, Design, or New Media. Courses following the sophomore level are taught at the university center located in Dallas, with a complimentary shuttle service between campuses allowing students to reside in Commerce while attending classes in Dallas. Entry to upper level courses is by portfolio review and assessment to correct deficiencies, encourage consistent growth and increase student’s likelihood of employment. Their emphasis on career development makes this one of the top graphic design schools in Texas, as they require students to enter competitions to gain a critical perspective of their work and grow professionally. Critique is an integral part of the program, requiring students to pass an exit review in order to graduate. Courses focus on client driven projects ranging from packaging and paper systems to client visual branding.

7. University of North Texas 

Location: Denton, TX
Duration: 4 years

Communication Design at the University of North Texas is ranked in the top ten of programs nationally among public colleges, across the Southwest and Texas and making it one of the best graphic design schools out there. The program’s mission is to empower future designers with the conceptual, aesthetic, analytical and technical skills necessary to impact their respective professions. Their program is directed towards the production of effective, problem solving, conceptual thinkers who can choose to study either graphic or user-experience design. Students exercise the ability to generate original, creative messages as demonstrated in the development of a professional portfolio. In order to do this, the curriculum is focused on typographic, research and image based foundational courses. Students are considered pre-majors for the major until completion of an introduction course and four courses spanning the perceptive, spatial, narrative, and transformational aspects of communication design.

8. University of Texas at Austin  

Location: Austin, TX
Duration: 4 years

The University of Texas at Austin’s School of Design is housed within their College of Fine Arts and Creative Technologies, which serves the greater university as a hub for all design-related courses, as well as connecting students to studio and industry partnerships. Design education empowers students to create new processes, propose unique solutions and gain extensive experience, resulting in confidence. Their studio-based approach is integral to top graphic design colleges with an added emphasis on individualized instruction, passionate faculty, and cohorts of local professionals. Students can choose to pursue the pre-professional route that includes substantial project work and an annual public exhibition or the equally rigorous explorative route with more flexibility of a liberal arts degree. Austin, the capital of Texas, has a rich interwoven history and appreciation for the university, relying on students to “Keep Austin Weird”— a slogan by locals that welcomes the uniqueness of all who reside there. Some notable alumni include Neil deGrasse Tyson, Wes Anderson, Matthew McConaughy, Janis Joplin and Farah Fawcett. 

9. Baylor University  

Location: Waco, TX
Duration: 4 years

Baylor University is the oldest continuously operating university in Texas, conveniently positioned between the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex and Austin. Their studio art major presents students the opportunity to develop their hand, aesthetic and conceptual skills with an emphasis in graphic design. Graduates consider this one of the best graphic design colleges because of the marketing curriculum and internship requirements for degree completion; graduates say they gained perspective from this nudge. Texas is known for its passionate football fandom and sprawling landscapes, Baylor University is home to a Division I football team, encouraging students to enjoy athletic and artistic extracurriculars courtesy of the university experience. Alumni of the program have been inspired towards careers in imagineering, commercial arts and the humanities with the advice of the career center. Perspectives to the university can decide between a general Bachelor’s approach or studio intensive Fine Arts degree, a range of minors and specializations ranging from sculpture to photography are available to get the most from your study experience.

10. University of the Incarnate Word  

Location: San Antonio, TX
Duration: 4 years

Founded in 1881 as a school for young women, now the largest catholic university in Texas, the University of Incarnate Word serves a coed, mid-sized student population in the pursuit of seven baccalaureate degrees. The Bachelor of Fine Arts in graphic design is housed within their School of Media Design, preparing students for a career in interactive, visual and graphic communication. Beyond their state of the art equipment, this is one of the top graphic design schools due to the topics of their stimulating courses like aesthetics, the business of design, interaction and coveted portfolio. Graduates land across a range of industries including print or interaction—the program aims to equip students with skills to match an ever-evolving industry. Described as rigorous and intimate, classrooms have a maximum ratio of sixteen students to each professor, with professors working in the local design community to prepare students for life after graduation. The university is home to a student chapter of the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) as a way to connect students with industry on a national scale.

11. Sam Houston State University 

Location: Huntsville, TX
Duration: 4 years

In addition to the university’s core curriculum, students in pursuit of a degree or minor in graphic design engage with the core art department and inner-major credits to gain an understanding of ideation, organization, production and technology for the creation of visual information. This expansive yet intricate description of the program’s mission focuses on the skills needed to effectively design, following the core studies students are given open access to the entirety of art department courses to further define design for themselves. One of the best graphic design colleges in Texas, this approach allows students to specialize in imaging, production or the conceptual background of graphic design if they so choose. Located in Huntsville, TX, Sam Houston State has fostered a thriving college community on the outskirts of Houston for those who may want some distance between school and the big city. The school’s motto ‘the measure of a life is its service’ is woven throughout the stories of successful alumni who go on to work in corporate, freelance and teach after their time at Sam Houston.

12. Texas Christian University

Location: Fort Worth, Texas
Duration:  4 years

With close ties to Dallas’ flourishing arts scene, Texas Christian University empowers and challenges its students to be intensely creative and open to pushing their comfort zone for significant growth. This is reflected in their summer internship requirement—a portfolio-marketing senior capstone project, where students prepare a portfolio and job-hunting strategy. Statistics of this program boast an extremely high job placement rate, with graduates working all over the world. Dallas-Fort Worth is home to the largest art directors club in the world, the Dallas Society of Visual Communication, the American Advertising Federation and many others. Their pre-professional degree program focuses on preparing students with a strong foundation in basic, technical, theoretical, graphic design skills and history. Texas Christian University is host to a Division I football team, the Horned Frogs who boast lively games and a dedicated fanbase. Their program works to prepare you for employment and provides actionable athletic events to enjoy a full range of experiences. 

Graphic design can take you into a number of exciting directions, this list offers a range of programs meant to inspire your decision taking into account— ideal campus atmosphere, extracurriculars and results. Shillington offers three intakes a year and the application deadline is one month before the start of classes to prepare for the time commitment and career transition. Attend one of our upcoming info sessions or speak with a Campus Experience Manager to find the right course or time zone for you!

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