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Graphic Design Colleges in Dallas with Degree and Course Info

The Dallas area has more than ten colleges that offer graphic design programs. Learn about the degree programs, admission info and program requirements for three of these schools, all within 40 miles of downtown, and make an informed education decision.

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Dallas-Area Colleges with Graphic Design Programs

Students interested in graphic design, computer graphics or graphic communication programs in the Dallas area have several school options from which to choose. This article examines the programs at three schools that are 45 minutes or less from downtown Dallas. There is also a table of information, such as enrollment, tuition, graduation rates and acceptance rates, that could be useful to a prospective student. Information about one other Dallas-area school with a relevant program is included at the end of this article.

  • North Lake College, part of the Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD), is located approximately 13 miles from Dallas in Irving. It offers two certificate programs and an associate's degree program in computer graphics.
  • Tarrant County College is a two-year, public institution about 26 miles from downtown. It offers an associate degree option in graphic communication as well as a certificate in computer graphics.
  • Many graphic design companies require applicants to hold a bachelor's degree in the field. One school that offers a bachelor's program is Texas Christian University, roughly 35 miles from Dallas in Fort Worth.

North Lake College

North Lake College offers an Associate of Applied Sciences in Computer Graphics, a certificate in computer graphics and a computer graphics specialist certificate program. Students interested in enrolling in either program should note that North Lake requires students to complete a minimum of 25% of the program requirements at the school from which they are obtaining a degree or certificate.

Computer Graphics Certificate

North Lake's computer graphics certificate program requires a minimum of 33-34 credit hours and provides students with the training and background to gain entry-level employment in the computer graphics industry. All courses are applicable to the associate degree in computer graphics if students wish to enroll in that program upon completion of the certificate.

Computer Graphics Specialist Certificate

The computer graphics specialist certificate program has three curriculum options (print, web or animation graphics) that will give students more in-depth training. Students are required to complete a minimum of 18-22 credit hours for this certification. Students will have specific technical and conceptual skills within their area of choice in the computer graphics field upon completion of the program. Like the computer graphics certificate, this program is designed to prepare students for an entry-level position or to further their education.

Associate of Applied Sciences in Computer Graphics

North Lake's associate degree program emphasizes motion graphics within the design field and integrates hands-on learning with conceptual art knowledge. Students are required to take between 60-66 credit hours and can choose from two different tracks of study in either animation or print/web. Ceramics, 3-D animation, visual design, marketing and digital imaging are examples of courses offered within each of these specific tracks of study. All students enrolled in the degree program are required to take courses in 2-D design, art appreciation, drawing, web design and composition in addition to general education classes such as art history and speech communication.

Tarrant County College

Tarrant County College's Northeast campus offers an associate degree and certificate option in graphic communication within its visual arts department. Through hands-on training and the latest technology and software, students will learn how to create layouts and illustrations, manipulate photographs and perform web design techniques necessary for advancement in the field.

Computer Graphics Certificate

Students are required to take seven computer graphics courses totaling 25 credit hours, a three-credit capstone, one composition course and three classes within the visual arts department in order to complete the certificate program. The capstone course must be taken in the student's final semester and requires students to create and present a portfolio containing completed graphic design projects.

Associate of Applied Sciences in Graphic Communication

Students enrolled in this program must take one course in each of the following general education fields of study: composition, communication, mathematics and behavioral science, as well as four visual arts courses. Additionally, students must take the required 10 courses within the graphic communication field plus a capstone course that will be taken during the final semester. Required courses include web design, photography, computer illustration, digital publishing, digital imaging and basic animation. Students must also take one elective course, chosen from a pool of 16 options.

Texas Christian University

Texas Christian University offers the only four-year graphic design degree program within 50 miles of Dallas. Students can either earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Graphic Design or a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Graphic Design. Although similar, the BA in Graphic Design differs from the BFA in that it allows students to have a more flexible curriculum and combine graphic design or coursework with another major or minor of their choice.

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design

Students enrolled in the BFA in Graphic Design program at TCU are required to take 39 core curriculum credits, 27 credits within the School of Art and 57 credit hours within the graphic design curriculum. Graphic design-specific courses include typography, advertising design, illustration, corporate identity, photo illustration and publication design. Built into the graphic design required coursework is a senior thesis, portfolio and marketing course, as well as a creative internship that must be taken the summer prior to a student's senior year.

Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design

The BA in Graphic Design at TCU will give students a broader general education than the BFA through a chosen major or minor as well as an extensive background in graphic design from upper division courses. Requirements for completion of this degree option include 42 credits of upper-level courses, 39 credits of core curriculum, 18 credits within a chosen area of study for a minor and 36 credit hours within the graphic design division. Students are also required to show competency in a foreign language either through standardized test scores or foreign language coursework. Unlike the BFA, students are not required to partake in an internship or senior thesis.

Comparison of Schools

This table contains information that prospective students will need to make a sound decision about their education. It contains important facts in a format that makes it easy to compare these schools.

North Lake College Tarrant County College Texas Christian University
School Type Two-year, public Two-year, public Four-year, private, not-for-profit
Total Enrollment (2011) 11,865 undergraduates* 50,062 undergraduates* 8,229 undergraduate and 1,289 graduate students*
Campus Setting Midsize city Large city Large city
Tuition & Fees (2011-2012) $1,350 for in-district, $2,490 for in-state and $3,960 for out-of-state residents* $1,224 for in-district, $1,776 for in-state and $3,984 for out-of-state residents* $32,490*
% of Students Receiving Some Form of Financial Aid (2011) 51% of first-year students enrolled full-time* 66% of first-year students enrolled full-time* 79% of first-year students enrolled full-time*
Acceptance Rate (2011) N/A - Open admissions N/A - Open admissions 38%*
Retention Rate (2011) 57% for full-time and 44% for part-time students* 55% for full-time and 44% for part-time students* 87% for full-time and 100% for part-time students*
Graduation Rate (for students who began in 2008) 9% of first-year students enrolled full-time graduated within 150% of 'normal time'* 9% for first-year students enrolled full-time* 74% of students who began in 2005 graduated within 150% of 'normal time'*

Source: *National Center of Education Statistics, College Navigator

Other School Options

Students can also earn an associate degree or certificate in computer graphics at Cedar Valley College. Also part of the Dallas County Community College District, Cedar Valley offers the same options as North Lake College and is located roughly 15 miles from downtown Dallas in Lancaster, TX.

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  • School locations:
    • Pennsylvania campus Philadelphia
    Areas of study you may find at University of Pennsylvania include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Design and Applied Arts
        • Graphic Design
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
      • Photography, Film, and Video
  • School locations:
    • Florida campus Gainesville
    Areas of study you may find at University of Florida include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Dance
      • Design and Applied Arts
        • Graphic Design
        • Interior Design and Decorating
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
  • School locations:
    • Massachusetts campus Boston
    Areas of study you may find at Boston University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Design and Applied Arts
        • Graphic Design
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
      • Photography, Film, and Video

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