Graphic Design Degrees in South Dakota

Students searching for accredited graphic design degree programs in South Dakota will have no shortage of learning options available. Despite the fact that South Dakota is the nation’s fifth least populated state in the Black Hills and Great Plains, the state has an impressive number of top-notch educational opportunities for aspiring graphic designers at five different accredited colleges. In addition, South Dakota offers a thriving economy to provide graphic design graduates the chance to choose from job prospects in multiple industries. With its pristine natural beauty and low business costs, South Dakota was once crowned CNBC’s “Top State for Business” in 2013 with the seventh best quality of life score in America! If you’re ready to turn your creativity and artistic talent into a rewarding career, below are the graphic design degree programs available in the “Mount Rushmore State.”

Dakota Wesleyan University

College of Arts and Humanities

Initially established in 1885, Dakota Wesleyan University is a four-year senior private liberal arts institution affiliated with the United Methodist Church on a beautiful 50-acre rural campus in Mitchell along the James River. Enrolling a close-knit spiritual community of less than 800 students, DWU is currently ranked as the 54th best regional college in the Midwest with the nation’s 167th best online bachelor’s programs by the U.S. News and World Report. In the College of Arts and Humanities, students can select from 14 different undergraduate majors to become thoroughly prepared for a career in traditional or new media.

B.A. Digital Media and Design in Graphic Design

Within the B.A. Digital Media and Design, students who choose an emphasis in Graphic Design will learn about the diverse artistic elements that are integrated to convey a powerful and rich message. Building on a strong liberal arts foundation, the program seeks to foster a critical awareness of art with classes in art appreciation, studio art, color theory, typography, digital imaging, computer graphics, photography, digital imaging, desktop publishing, art history, and more. Thanks to the university’s fully equipped Mac computer lab, students also have access to the latest digital design software 24 hours a day. Upon graduation, students will have experience in cultural, technical, and business fields to build a career in multiple aesthetic approaches to graphic design.


  • Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association (NCA)


1200 West University Avenue
Mitchell, SD 57301
(605) 995-2131

South Dakota State University

Department of Visual Arts

Since its inception in 1881, South Dakota State University has been the state’s largest flagship public land-grant, sun-grant, and space-grant research institution with more than 12,500 students on its 260-acre rural campus just outside of Brookings. Highly regarded by the Guide to Online Schools as the 2nd overall top online college in America, SDSU is currently ranked as the 181st best university and 102nd best public school in the nation by the U.S. News and World Report. With over 240 declared majors, the Department of Visual Arts is dedicated to helping students fulfill their creative dreams as artists, art educators, art historians, illustrators, graphic designers, and web designers.

Graphic Design Major

Leading to a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree, the Graphic Design Major at SDSU is designed to blend theoretical learning in visual communities with real-world practice in digital, print, web, and interactive area for developing qualified graphic design professionals. In preparation for professional practice, the major requires students to build a graphic design portfolio that can be utilized for landing positions in business, industry, and non-profit organizations upon graduation. With a unique focus on practical learning experiences, the program includes internships as well as regularly scheduled field trips to corporate graphic design studios, advertising offices, art galleries, museums, and design conferences. All graphic design majors are required to have a Macintosh laptop computer with at least 4 gigabytes RAM.


  • Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association (NCA)


100 Administration Lane
Brookings, SD 57006
(605) 688-4103

University of Sioux Falls

Art Department

Featuring a close-knit community of under 1,500 students with small class sizes, the University of Sioux Falls is a comprehensive private four-year Christian liberal arts institution based on a 58-acre urban campus in the city of Sioux Falls within the prairie of the Great Plains. Boasting a 97% job placement rate within six months of graduation each year, USF is currently ranked as the 38th best regional college in the Midwest by the U.S. News and World Report survey. In the Art Department, students work with caring faculty to open a wealth of learning opportunities beyond lectures to attend gallery visits, complete service learning projects, and even take a trip to Europe for experiencing historical art firsthand.

B.A. in Art with Graphic Design Concentration

Within a distinctively Christian environment, the B.A. in Art program at USF is dedicated to delivering a personalized education to develop the creative and professional skills students will need to succeed in a wide range of careers involving visual expression. By blending the visual arts with the Christian faith and service, students are encouraged to explore several different methods of visual communications, including computer imaging, drawing, painting, photography, printmaking, and sculpture. In addition to the liberal arts and art core, students must select a 12-credit concentration in either Fine Arts or Graphic Design. Students who choose the Graphic Design Concentration will be trained with the latest techniques in layout design and computer imaging to produce high-quality graphic design pieces.


  • Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association (NCA)


1101 West 22nd Street
Sioux Falls, SD 57105
(605) 331-6600

The University of South Dakota

College of Fine Arts

Situated on a main 286-acre rural campus in the state’s southeastern corner in Vermillion within just 39 miles northwest of Sioux City in Iowa, the University of South Dakota is the state’s oldest comprehensive public doctoral-granting research institution built on a liberal arts foundation to educate more than 10,200 students. Named one of the nation’s best by the prestigious Princeton Review for 16 consecutive years, USD is currently ranked as the 168th best university, 93rd top public school, and 55th best college for military veterans in the United States in the U.S. News and World Report. Also recognized for the country’s 187th best graduate fine arts program, the College of Fine Arts prepares students for lifelong engagement in the art world by challenging them for excellence in creative scholarship.

BFA in Studio Art with Graphic Design/Multimedia Emphasis

Well-known for being the state’s only professional Bachelor of Fine Arts degree accredited by the NASAD for future artists, the BFA in Studio Art program seeks to blend aesthetic, scholarly, historical, and technical instruction to provide the creative growth undergraduate students need for starting a career in visual arts. After completing general studies, students complete intensive work in art to develop the knowledge, skills, attitudes, concepts, and sensitivities essential for professional artists and designers. Students who select the Graphic Design/Multimedia Emphasis will work with clients to develop a design portfolio that will translate into job offers in logo design, product design, advertising, printmaking, typography, interactive media, web design, motion graphics, and more. All studio art majors will be required to earn at least 128 credit hours and pass a proficiency examination for graduation.

MFA in Graphic Design

Offering the only Master of Fine Arts degree in South Dakota, the MFA in Graphic Design program at USD is designed for mature graduate students who have the design to advance their career as a professional artist or teach art at the university level. With an emphasis on individual artistic development, the program grants students extended studio time for reflection, contemplation, and critical input from expert faculty members. Graphic design majors are specifically taught to be conceptual designers by designing creative projects for logos, products, typography, interactive media, and motion graphics. In the 60-credit terminal degree, students will spend three years of intensive residential studies with advanced coursework, seminars, workshops from visiting artists, internships, and graduate teaching/research assistantships.


  • National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD)
  • Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association (NCA)


414 East Clark Street
Vermillion, SD 57069
(605) 677-5481

Even though a degree isn’t always required in graphic design, individuals who go the extra mile to earn a post-secondary education often find better job opportunities within the field. Graphic design degrees offer the valuable chance for students to build essential skills, learn about cutting-edge software, create attractive design portfolios, and connect with potential employers through internships. In order to have the highest chance of carving out long-term design success in the Midwest, check out these top-notch accredited graphic design degree programs in South Dakota with learning experiences in digital and print media.

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