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 35 miles or less from downtown Dallas. There is also a table of information, such as enrollment, tuition, graduation rates and acceptance rates, which 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 12 miles from Dallas in Irving. It offers two certificate programs and an associate's degree program in computer graphics.
- Tarrant County College District is a two-year, public institution with the Northeast Campus in Hurst situated about 25 miles from downtown. This location 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, 33 miles from Dallas in Fort Worth.
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 District||Texas Christian University|
|School Type||Two-year, public||Two-year, public||Four-year, private, not-for-profit|
|Total Enrollment (2017)||10,953 undergraduates*||52,957 undergraduates*||9,011 undergraduate and 1,478 graduate students*|
|Campus Setting||Midsize city||Large city (main campus)||Large city|
|Tuition & Fees (2017-2018)||$1,770 for in-district, $3,330 for in-state and $5,220 for out-of-state residents*||$1,593 for in-district, $2,862 for in-state and $6,885 for out-of-state residents*||$44,760*|
|% of Students Receiving Some Form of Financial Aid (2016-2017)||64% of first-year students enrolled full-time*||65% of first-year students enrolled full-time*||80% of first-year students enrolled full-time*|
|Acceptance Rate (2017)||N/A - Open admissions||N/A - Open admissions||41%*|
|Retention Rate (2016-2017)||63% for full-time and 46% for part-time students*||64% for full-time and 50% for part-time students*||91% for full-time and 100% for part-time students*|
|Graduation Rate||14% (students began Fall 2014)*||20% (students began Fall 2014)*||83% (students began Fall 2011)*|
Source: *NCES College Navigator
North Lake College
North Lake College offers an Associate of Applied Science as well as two certificate programs in the related field of digital art and design. 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.
Digital Art and Design Certificate
North Lake's digital art and design certificate program requires 36 credit hours and provides students with the training and background to gain entry-level employment in the digital art and design 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. Students take courses in visual design, drawing, advertising art and web design. Two areas of emphasis are available: animation and modeling or print/web.
Digital Art and Design Specialist Certificate
The digital art and design specialist certificate program has three curriculum options (animation/modeling, print/web or web) that will give students more in-depth training. Students are required to complete a minimum of 21 credit hours for this certificate. 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 digital art and design certificate, this program is designed to prepare students for an entry-level position or to further their education.
Associate of Applied Sciences in Digital Art and Design
North Lake's associate degree program emphasizes digital imaging and animation. Students are required to take 60 credit hours and can choose from two different tracks of study in either animation and modeling 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 basic graphic design, art appreciation, drawing and composition in addition to general education classes such as art history and speech communication.
Tarrant County College District
Tarrant County College's Northeast campus offers a computer graphics certificate and an associate degree 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 11 computer graphics courses totaling 33 credit hours and a three-credit capstone 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. Additionally, students must take the required 14 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 as well as a basic graphic design course. Students must also take one elective course.
Texas Christian University
Texas Christian University is affiliated with Disciples of Christ Church and offers several four-year graphic design degree programs. Students can either earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Graphic Design or a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Design Studies. Although similar, the BS program 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 nine studio art credits, 12 credits in art history and 57 credit hours within the graphic design curriculum. Graphic design-specific courses include typography, advertising design, illustration, corporate identity, computer graphics and publication design. Built into the graphic design required coursework are 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 Science in Design Studies
The BS in Design Studies 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 for the major, 12 credits in foundational courses, nine credits in electives and 21 credit hours within the graphic design division. Unlike the BFA, students are not required to partake in an internship or senior thesis.
Other School Options
Students can also earn an associate degree or certificates in digital art and design 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 12 miles from downtown Dallas in Lancaster, TX.