School and Ranking Information
There are just three schools within 50 miles of downtown Jacksonville that have some type of graphic design program, most of which are offered at the undergraduate level. These three schools have been ranked based on their program offerings, graduation rates, and national rankings.
- Winner: Flagler College - St Augustine is the top pick for schools in the area because it is ranked in the top 20 regional schools in the South, it has the highest graduation rate among area schools, and it offers multiple opportunities for students to gain experience. This school also boasts an expansive on-campus museum. Graphic design students at Flagler can complete a bachelor's degree program in the field.
- Runner-Up #1: University of North Florida (UNF) has the second highest graduation rate and offers a unique graphic design and digital media undergraduate program. It is also ranked among regional universities.
- Runner-Up #2: Jacksonville University is regionally ranked slightly lower than UNF. It offers a bachelor's degree program in graphic design.
School Comparison Chart
|Category||Flagler College - St Augustine||University of North Florida||Jacksonville University|
|Ranking (2013)||11th among regional colleges (South)**||41st among regional universities (South)**||53rd among regional universities (South)**|
|Location||St. Augustine, FL (41.1 miles from Jacksonville)||Jacksonville, FL||Jacksonville, FL|
|School Type||Four-year, private not-for-profit||Four-year, public||Four-year, private not-for-profit|
|Tuition & Fees (2012-2013)||$15,340 (undergraduate)*|| $6,235 (undergraduate, in-state);
$20,694 (undergraduate, out-of-state)*
|Graphic Design Program Levels Offered||Bachelor's degree||Bachelor's degree||Bachelor's degree|
|Graphic Design Degrees Awarded (All Levels) in (2011-2012)||34*||79 for fine arts (graphic design not specified)*||N/A|
|Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal program time) for 2005 Entering Class||60%*||50%*||40%*|
|Noteworthy||The school offers study abroad opportunities in Italy or Paris, as well as trips to New York galleries and studios||The College of Arts and Sciences is the largest college at UNF||The study abroad program offered through the Department of Visual Arts gives students the opportunity to participate in studio and language classes in different countries, such as France and Italy|
Sources: *NCES College Navigator, **U.S. News & World Report
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Winner: Flagler College - St Augustine
- The school boasts a campus museum, the Crisp-Ellert Art Museum, which houses various national and international exhibitions
- Graphic design students participate in internships and field experiences at various design agencies
- The Department of Art and Design has 25 faculty members
Flagler College's main building is the former Hotel Ponce de Leon, built in 1888 and designated as a National Historic Landmark. The Department of Art and Design offers six degree programs, and all students in the department must meet certain departmental standards before graduating. For instance, all students should be proficient in drawing, able to present their work through effective oral communication, and able to understand design fundamentals. Art and design students can participate in field trip opportunities and the travel abroad program. They can also earn credit through internships with design companies, advertising agencies, or galleries.
Graphic design is offered as a major and a minor, with coursework in design theory and principles, art history, drawing, photography, and visual communication. Students learn to express themselves in multiple media through lab work and studio projects. While print media is central to the program, students also gain familiarity with professional design software programs like Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign through hands-on work in the school's computer studio. Students graduate with a portfolio of work that's undergone analysis by working graphic design professionals.
Runner-Up #1: University of North Florida
- The program integrates didactic training with various hands-on experiences and opportunities for exhibition within the surrounding community
- The graphic design and digital media program boasts five faculty members
The College of Arts and Sciences employs about 300 faculty members and houses 15 departments, including the Department of Art and Design. Within the department is an undergraduate program in graphic design and digital media, which is designed to prepare students to work in the field or pursue an advanced degree. Students interested in the graphic design and digital media program must successfully pass a handful of prerequisites and the limited access review process before being admitted into the major.
Students work towards building a professional portfolio through intensive coursework and studio-based classes. Major-specific coursework examines illustration, motion graphics, web design, publication design, digital photography, and the business of graphic design. Additionally, students gain critical-thinking and problem-solving skills, and they become familiar with the various software applications used by industry professionals.
Runner-Up #2: Jacksonville University
- All graduates must participate in an internship and turn in a final professional portfolio
- The school boasts a new visual arts building with a handful of drawing, painting, ceramics, and sculpture studios, a wood and metal shop, and a top-notch glass facility
Established in 1934 as a junior college, Jacksonville University is a four-year, private institution that offers more than 70 undergraduate programs through its eight schools and colleges. The College of Fine Arts houses several departments, including the Department of Visual Arts, which offers a bachelor's degree in graphic design.
Jacksonville University's undergraduate graphic design program emphasizes teachings in print-based design through various courses, along with studio and internship requirements. Coursework provides students with a strong foundation in illustration, digital art, typography, advertising design, packaging, and web design. In addition to the required coursework, students must complete an art internship, which will provide them with real-world experience at a local design studio, advertising agency, printing firm, or museum.