Welcome to the Department of Graphic Design!
We recognize the importance of problem solving in mass communication as the definition of effective design. The best design is invisible. It does not call attention to itself, rather it tells the client’s story as effectively as possible.
This philosophy is at the heart of this program and all of the classes we offer. We credit it 100% with the longstanding success of our students and alumni.
A note from the Dean
The Department offers the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Graphic Design, the Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Design Studies and a Minor in Design Studies.
The BFA is a professional degree. The purpose is quite simply to prepare graduates to enter the workforce as designers and/or art directors upon graduation. Our long-term placement record is over 95%. For the past several years, it is 100%. This degree requires two-thirds of the credit hours completed at the university in the Graphic Design curriculum, and does not require a minor or a foreign language. It requires a creative internship for upper-division credit, in the summer following completion of the third-year sequence of classes.(Click here to view BFA degree plan)..
The BA is a liberal arts degree. It provides the student with a solid foundation in applied Graphic Design principles, which can be applied to another major or minor academic interest. Popular combinations include Business, Strategic Communication, Film Television & Digital Media, Interior Design, Computer Science and others. The BA requires a minor or second major, and six credit hours of a foreign language at the sophomore level of proficiency. (Click here to view BA degree plan).
The minor requires 21 credit hours in specific classes. (Click here to view a description).
There are not special requirements when applying to TCU. However, we strongly encourage applicants to take advantage of the optional portfolio upload as part of the TCU General Admission application application process. This can help us identify highly talented individuals ahead of time, and can positively influence the offer of admission.
All students enter the program as Graphic Design Premajors. There is not a portfolio required to declare premajor status. However, upon completion of ARGD 20323 Typography I, normally in the third semester, anyone wishing to continue in the sequence of courses is required to participate in a qualifying portfolio examination. The results will determine who may continue as a BFA, BA or Minor.
Some non-need based scholarships are available. These funds are awarded strictly on the basis of portfolio quality. For information, visit our Scholarships page.
All BFA candidates are required to complete a creative internship in the summer between the third and fourth years of the sequence. (Click here to view 4 Year Plan). These involve working as a hands-on designer, normally in design studios or advertising agencies in the Fort Worth-Dallas area. We assist students in finding appropriate internship situations, but ultimately it is the individual’s responsibility.
While most students remain in the area, it is possible to intern elsewhere. TCU students have spent summers in London, Taiwan, Peru, Panama, New York, Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles, Kansas City, Saint Louis, Austin, Houston and several other locales.
Graphic Design majors are encouraged to become active in Design Focus, a campus organization for students interested in design. In addition, students regularly participate in DSVC monthly meetings and annual National Student Conferences and Competitions such as: the Creative Summit Annual Student Design Conference in San Marcos, TX; the Dallas Society of Visual Communication (DSVC) Annual National Design Conference and Competition; the AAF Fort Worth Annual Student Design Competition; and other professionally-relevant events.
The permanent faculty includes five, highly-qualified full-time professors. Taking advantage of our location in a vibrant national design market, we also enjoy generous adjunct support from the Fort Worth-Dallas community. This provides a healthy mix of perspective on design for our students.
In order to maximize student/faculty contact, enrollment is limited to 15 students per section of each class. Upper-division classes are frequently smaller.
Graphic Design has a fully equipped Macintosh computer lab, featuring regularly-scheduled hardware and software upgrades. Color printers are available for student use, including large format printing for posters and banners. Onsite specialty equipment includes a 3-D printer, a laser engraver and a vinyl-cutting plotter.
Computers and Software
Students are not required to provide a computer. However, we recommend a Macintosh MacBook Pro. The primary software used in Graphic Design includes Adobe Creative Suite. Once enrolled, students can subscribe for a significant reduction in cost.
We are fortunate to be located in the heart of a major national design and advertising market. Our program has very close ties with the local advertising and design communities. In addition to the potential for adjunct faculty support, this allows student access to many extracurricular opportunities. These include association with the largest art directors club in the world, the Dallas Society of Visual Communication (DSVC); the American Advertising Federation (AAF); and the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA), among others.
For further information, or to make an appointment to visit (recommended), contact:
Chair, Department of Graphic Design
TCU Box 298000
Fort Worth, Texas 76129