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The Academic Program

The Department offers degree programs in Graphic Design (BFA), Interior Design (BFA) and Design Studies (BFA). A minor in Architectural Lighting Design is also available. Students are challenged in an academic and artistically rigorous environment and mentored by faculty composed of design professionals.

Areas of Study

Class Sizes

The department is small and selective by design. Lower-division classes are limited to 15 students, and advanced classes are often smaller. This intimate setting allows instructors and students to develop a rapport that not only enhances academic communication, but also contributes to long-term professional relationships and friendships.

Design Foundations/Qualifying Examination

Our degree programs are rigorous and competitive, but for the right person, they are rich with learning opportunities and extremely rewarding.

All Interior, Graphic and Lighting Design students enter as Pre-Majors.

Students begin taking our Design Foundation, a sequence of six classes common to all degree programs. Three are taken the first year in the Fall, followed by three in the Spring.

Department of Design Foundation Courses:

Fall Courses

  • Introduction to Creative Practices
  • Two-Dimensional Design Principles
  • Drawing for Design

Spring Courses

  • Introduction to Computer Graphics
  • Color and Light Theory
  • Three-Dimensional Design Principles

After successful completion of all six of the foundation courses, a Qualifying Examination is required for students intending to declare the BFA in Graphic Design, the BFA in Interior Design, or the BS in Design Studies with either a Concentration in Graphic Design or Architectural Lighting Design. Successful completion of the examination will allow the student to declare the intended major.

Students are evaluated based on specified projects, sketchbooks, and professionalism from all six foundation classes. Through this procedure, aptitude for success is assessed holistically through the student’s body of work, independent of the grading processes.

Students who are not accepted into the program and who complete the Design Foundation with a C or above will receive a Certificate of Design. This is a valuable certification that will be included on a student’s transcript and can be listed on their resume.

The minor in Architectural Lighting Design does not require qualification.


The department has twelve full-time faculty members, many of whom bring a wealth of experience from their professional design practices. The program is supplemented by architectural, design, advertising and illustration professionals from the Dallas-Fort Worth community. This combination provides the stability and academic professionalism of having a full-time staff, while offering a rich variety of perspective and “real-world” learning experiences offered by the part-time faculty.

Faculty Directory