Communication Design: User-Experience 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 on User-Experience Design.
How to become a Communication Design: UxD 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: User-Experience Candidacy Review. Note: In December 2022, only 75% of 32 applicants were selected for 24 slots. The number of applicants varies every year.
Stage 2: Entry Review
- In the first-year spring semester, selected students will take the Foundations for User-Centered Design course ADES 1543.
- At the end of the Foundations for User-Centered Design, ADES 1543 course, students will participate in the UxD entry review.
- The student is designated a Communication Design major in the UxD concentration if selected. Note: In May 2022, only 88% of applicants were selected for 20 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. These 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 spring semester classes.
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 human-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 to Submit to UNT Slideroom
Applicants must upload six to ten 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. 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 UNT SlideRoom.
A series of supplied, PDF-based worksheets guide applicants through the research and design process for a hypothetical client. Worksheets must be requested via email from Professor Keith Owens, Keith.Owens@unt.edu, UxD program coordinator, by the deadline.
These worksheets must be completed and uploaded with your complete Candidacy Review submission through UNT SlideRoom.
Part 1B: In-Person Review
Cycle Date: December
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 interview. Only those selected may participate. 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.
Candidates selected to advance to Part 1B for the in-person review in the fall will be assigned a window of time to appear in person for an interview. Important: Latecomers will not be admitted under any circumstances.
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 UxD Challenge
A verbal prompt from a faculty member will fuel the UxD challenge at the beginning of each review session. Participants will then spend the remainder of the 150-minute experience in two activities.
- Sketching/generating and then
- Presenting and explaining the original user-experience design ideas they complete.
Using the required writing utensils and drawing pad, each student will have 30 minutes to sketch or depict possible outcomes or scenarios in response to the prompt provided by the UX design faculty at the beginning of the challenge.
After 30 minutes, participants will be placed in small groups with UxD faculty members to present, explain and discuss whatever concepts and ideas they developed. This discussion will last approximately 90 minutes. All participants should be prepared to speak clearly about the design approaches they chose to operate and the contextual factors that guided their decision-making.
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.
Reapplication to the Candidacy Review
Students may reapply for entry into the Communication Design: UxD 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: UxD
All students accepted into the Communication Design: User-Experience Design program must take the Foundations for User-Centered Design course, ADES 1543, in the spring semester after being accepted as a candidate. This class is a prerequisite for the Communication Design Entry Review in May and the following fall semester's Communication Design courses: ADES 1513: Contextual Research Methods and ADES 2513: Digital Typographic Systems. Note: If you cannot take ADES 1543 in the spring, you should wait until the next entry-review cycle.
All User-Experience Design track faculty will review coursework completed during the spring course Foundations for User-Centered Design, ADES 1543, during the Communication Design UxD Entry Review. More information about ADES 1543: Foundations for User-Experience Design can be found online in the UNT Registrar’s Office spring schedule of classes and the UNT Undergraduate Course Catalog.
Stage 2: Communication Design Entry Review: User-Experience Design Major
In-Person Review: See Application Schedule
Please check with Professor Keith Owens, the UxD program coordinator, for room assignments.
- ADES 1513: Contextual Research, and
- ADES 2513: Typographic Systems
Coursework completed during the spring course Foundations for User-Centered Design, ADES 1543, will be reviewed by all User-Experience Design concentration faculty during the Communication Design UxD Entry Review. More information about ADES 1543: Foundations for User-Experience Design can be found online in the UNT Registrar’s Office spring schedule of classes and the UNT Undergraduate Course Catalog.
Faculty will consider key areas of projects submitted in ADES 1543, Foundations for User-Centered Design and rank all candidates for concept, creativity, technicality, and class performance. The top 20 applicants will be accepted into the program.
Notification of selection or non-selection
After completing the Communication Design Entry Review in May, the top applicants accepted into the program will have their major changed to Communication Design: User-Experience 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.
Additionally, students must have completed ADES 1500, ART 1600, 1700, 1800, and 1900 with a C or better.
Non-selection: Visit Academic Advising
Students not selected for the UxD 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.
Any student unsuccessful in the spring entry 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: User-Experience Design concentration." Re-review is allowed only once.
All students accepted will be required to have a laptop. Please reference our Technology Requirements specifications for hardware and software.