Communication Design: Graphic Design
The Communication Design Program at the University of North Texas offers two concentrations: Graphic Design and User-Experience Design. This web page describes the application process for students interested in the B.F.A. in Communication Design with a concentration in Graphic Design.
How to become a Communication Design: Graphic Design Major
To become a major in Communication Design, students must follow a two-stage process in their first year.
Stage 1: Candidacy Review
- At the end of the first-year fall semester, students must participate in the Communication Design: Graphic Design Candidacy Review. Note: In December 2022, only 55% of 109 applicants were selected for 60 slots. The number of applicants varies from year to year.
Stage 2: Entry-Portfolio Review
- In the first-year spring semester, selected students will take the Foundations for Communication Design course ADES 1540.
- Students will participate in the graphic design entry-portfolio review at the end of the Foundations for Communication Design, ADES 1540 course.
- If selected, the student is designated a Communication Design major in the Graphic Design concentration. Note: In our last entry review, only 66% of applicants were selected for 40 slots.
Stage 1: Candidacy Review
By the end of the Fall semester, applicants must have completed, with a grade of ‘C’ or better, or be enrolled in at least two courses comprising the CVAD Foundations program. Foundations courses are ART 1600, ART 1700, ART 1800 and ART 1900, or their accepted equivalents from other higher education institutions.
If you have not completed this entire array of courses and passed them with a final course grade of ‘C’ or better before the spring semester, you must do so by the end of the spring semester.
Part 1A: Digital Portfolio Review
Deadline: See the Application Schedule on this page.
Candidacy Review Required Application Materials
Six to 10 examples of your best work
Sketchbook slide presentation
Completed graphic-centered design worksheets
Allowed Media Types
- Images — up to 5MB each
- Video — up to 250MB each
- PDFs — up to 70MB each
- Links to personal websites and external media via YouTube and Vimeo.
Examples of Work
Applicants must upload six work examples that best represent their skill set and potential as a potential communication design major. The work can be produced in any medium — traditional or digital. Physical projects should be photographed or scanned. Please provide active links to online projects, such as websites, videos, etc.
All projects must be submitted through UNT SlideRoom — see the Application Schedule on this page for the link. The application cost is $10. Students are encouraged to present work that shows a broad range of interests and abilities. Work should exhibit your ability to draw, create, and conceptualize compelling designs or images that use design principles and color theory. Work may come from your art foundation core classes, high school coursework, or work outside the classroom.
Consider how your work might stand out. Be aware that reviewers will not know the criteria or parameters you were attempting to satisfy in particular examples of the work you submit. Evaluate the likelihood of these examples being effectively understood by the reviewers and make decisions to include or not include specific examples accordingly.
A personal sketchbook of your process works and daily reflections is required for the in-person review. The sketchbook should or may include process work for drawing and design courses, personal sketches and process work for projects outside of courses.
You will need to photograph or scan the front cover of the sketchbook and a minimum of 20 spreads to a maximum of 30. Arrange these spreads using Adobe Acrobat PDF, MS PowerPoint or Word, or some other program in a slide presentation. Save the final version as a PDF to upload with your submission packet.
The sketchbook should capture your process and convey your commitment to design discipline through deep exploration and refinement of ideas. Your sketches need not be well-polished, but they should effectively depict your thinking processes and ability to explore a broad range of ideas. This must be completed and uploaded by the application deadline through SlideRoom.
A series of supplied, pdf-based worksheets guide applicants through the research and design process for a hypothetical client. Worksheets can be requested via email from Lecturer Whitney Holden, Whitney.Holden@unt.edu, graphic design program coordinator.
These worksheets must be completed and uploaded with your complete Candidacy Review submission through UNT SlideRoom.
Final Notification Delivery
Applicants will be notified through their UNT-official EagleConnect email account by the date in the Application Schedule on this page about their opportunity to participate in the in-person, faculty-facilitated review. Only those selected may participate.
Non-selection: Visit Academic Advising
Students who receive a non-selection email must meet with their CVAD academic advisor to develop an alternative degree plan and a schedule for the next semester. Do this immediately after you receive an email of non-selection.
Part 1B: In-Person Review
Cycle date: December
Candidates selected to advance to Part 1B will be assigned a window of time to appear in person for an interview. Important: Latecomers will not be admitted under any circumstances.
Required Materials: Drawing utensils: pencils and a regular black Sharpie are strongly suggested
Important Note: No online sessions, Zoom chats, or MS Teams meetings will be conducted.
Your email notification will include the date, time and location of your review.
The prerequisite to advancing to Part 1B is successful advancement after Part 1A and completion of the required CVAD Foundations courses.
The Graphic Design Challenge
A verbal prompt from a faculty member will fuel the Graphic Design challenge at the beginning of each review session. Participants will then spend the remainder of the 150-minute experience in two activities.
- Sketching/generating ideas and then
- Presenting and explaining the final design solution to the prompt.
Final Notification Delivery
All notifications will be emailed to your UNT-official EagleConnect email account. If you are a transfer student, the notification will be delivered to the email you use when creating your UNT SlideRoom account. If you are a current UNT student, you must use your official UNT email account in UNT Slideroom.
Non-selection: Visit Academic Advising
Students not selected for the Graphic Design concentration must meet with their CVAD academic advisor to develop an alternative degree plan and a schedule for the next semester. Do this immediately after you receive an email of non-selection.
Reapplication to the Candidacy Review
Students may reapply for entry into the Communication Design: Graphic Design concentration program the following year, but they are advised to develop a secondary degree plan to pursue. It is important to note that the Communication Design program cannot be expedited, so reapplying will delay graduation by a year. Reapplying for the Candidacy Review is allowed once.
Foundations for Communication Design: Graphic Design
All students accepted into the Communication Design Graphic Design concentration must take ADES 1540: Foundations for Communication Design in the spring semester after being accepted as a candidate. This class is a prerequisite for the following fall Communication Graphic Design coursework — ADES 1510: Typography 1 and ADES 2510 Image Making and Color Theory. Note: If you cannot take ADES 1540 in the spring, you are advised to wait until the next entry review cycle.
Stage 2: Communication Design Entry Review: Graphic Design Track — Spring
Entry Review Process
Important: All students accepted into the Communication Design: Graphic Design program must take the Foundations for Communication Design course, ADES 1540, in the spring semester after acceptance. This class is a prerequisite for the Communication Design Entry Portfolio Review in May and the following fall semester's Communication Design courses which are the two that follow here.
- ADES 1510: Typography 1, and
- ADES 2515: Image Making and Color Theory
Coursework completed during the spring course Foundations for Communication Design, ADES 1540, will be reviewed by all graphics design track faculty during the Communication Design Entry Portfolio Review.
Students will drop off process binders and printed portfolios at 8 a.m. and pick them up by 5 p.m. Faculty will consider these key areas and rank all candidates: concept, creativity, technicality, and class performance. The top 40 applicants will be accepted into the program.
Notification of selection or non-selection
The top 40 applicants accepted into the program after successfully completing the Communication Design Entry Portfolio Review in May will have their major changed to Communication Design: Graphic Design concentration. Students must have a minimum 2.75 GPA on required art courses and a 2.25 UNT GPA to move into the major status.
Additionally, students must have completed ADES 1500, ART 1600, 1700, 1800, and 1900 with a C or better.
Any student unsuccessful in the spring entry-portfolio review may opt to have their work re-reviewed in the following spring semester. If accepted after a re-review, a student’s major status will be changed to "Communication Design: Graphic Design concentration." Students must have a minimum 2.75 GPA on required art courses and a 2.25 UNT GPA to move into major status.
All students accepted will be required to have a laptop. Please reference our Technology Requirements specifications for hardware and software.