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Design Courses in Austin, TX with Degree Program Overviews

The Austin, TX, area has about five schools that offer design programs. Get some information about the degree programs, and see some quick facts for two of these schools to make an informed education decision.

Austin, TX, Schools with Degree Programs in Design

Individuals with a high level of creativity and an eye for art or color may consider pursuing a formal education in design to further develop their skills and prepare for careers within the field. Design programs at schools within 50 miles of Austin, TX, can be found in areas like visual communications, graphic design or digital media, as well as broad design studies. Both bachelor's and master's-level degree programs are available.

Two universities providing these types of studies are highlighted below. Get details about specific degrees earned, and find helpful facts about each school in the table below.

  • The University of Texas at Austin is located in the downtown area of Austin. Its undergraduate and graduate degree programs in design explore both broad and specific topics in this subject.
  • Texas State University - San Marcos offers fine arts degrees in communication design at the bachelor's and master's levels. The university is located approximately 30 miles south of downtown Austin.

Comparison of Schools

When considering a graduate or an undergraduate degree in design, it is recommended to familiarize yourself with all aspects of a school before choosing your studies. Below you will find statistics and figures regarding each school's population, acceptance rates, tuition, graduate rate and more.

The University of Texas at Austin Texas State University - San Marcos
School Type 4-year, public 4-year, public
Total Enrollment (2017) 51,525* 38,666*
Campus Setting Large city Small suburb
Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2017-2018) $10,398 (in-state)*
$36,744 (out-of-state)*
$9,985 (in-state)*
$21,605 (out-of-state)*
% of First-Year Students Receiving Some Form of Financial Aid (2016-2017) 64%* 81%*
Acceptance Rate (2017) 36%* 73%*
Retention Rate (2017) 95%* 78%*
Undergraduate Graduation Rate (for those who began their studies in 2011) 83%* 54%*

Source: *NCES College Navigator.

The University of Texas at Austin

The University of Texas at Austin is the University of Texas System's largest institution. It is a major research university, serving more than 50,000 students throughout its 18 schools and colleges and employing 3,100 faculty members. The College of Fine Arts hosts undergraduate programs in design. In addition to the programs detailed below, the school also offers degrees in interior design, theatrical design and apparel design.

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Design

This 120-hour BFA curriculum includes 42 hours of general education, with major area courses in fine arts, art history, studio art and design. The program does not focus on or offer specific curriculum in a specific area of design; instead, students investigate these areas within the broader context of design history, theory and methods. Graduates are qualified to practice as designers in consulting firms, private or public institutions; students may also pursue graduate study in design or related areas.

Master of Science in Sustainable Design

Admission to this graduate degree program requires a 1,000-5,000-word essay and three letters of recommendation; a portfolio of your work is optional. Course coursework for the degree includes topics like ecology in an urban environment, techniques in research design, architectural design that's sustainable, and solar geometry.

Texas State University - San Marcos

Texas State University - San Marcos offers bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees to more than 38,000 students each year. With nine colleges, in addition to numerous schools and departments, students have ample opportunity to study a wide variety of subjects. The School of Art and Design offers programs and courses in design at both the graduate and undergraduate level.

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Communication Design

Students in this BFA program receive broad instruction in design previous to pursuing specific interests within one of three areas of emphasis: art direction, graphic design or interactive media. The degree requires core courses in art, art history, general studies and art electives. Additionally, students take courses in web design, typography, advertising art direction, corporate identity and corporate marketing materials. Electives include environmental graphics, packaging and illustration.

Master of Fine Arts in Communication Design

Texas State University's approach to the MFA program is to put the needs of students who are working designers on equal footing with those of full-time students, using various methods of instruction such as classroom-based design courses, online courses, weekend seminars and directed independent study. Coursework focuses on graphic design, corporate advertising, art direction and digital media design. The 60-unit program includes a master's thesis.


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