Top Graphic Design Schools in Mississippi: Find Your Perfect Program

If you’re looking for the top graphic design schools in Mississippi, you’re in the right place. This article breaks down the best programs, highlighting the curriculum, hands-on learning opportunities, industry connections, and unique features of each school. Read on to find the perfect fit for your graphic design education.

  • Mississippi College offers a comprehensive range of degree programs in graphic design, including hands-on learning opportunities and access to high-tech tools, preparing students for successful careers in the industry.
  • Belhaven University’s graphic design program, nationally accredited by NASAD, emphasizes professional growth through critiques, internships, and state-of-the-art facilities, resulting in a high job placement rate for graduates.
  • Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College (MGCCC) and Northwest Mississippi Community College provide robust two-year programs focusing on practical skills and visual communication mastery, equipping students with the technical knowledge necessary for career success in graphic design.

Mississippi College: Diverse Art and Graphic Design Programs

Mississippi College offers a range of degree programs in graphic design, including B.A., B.F.A., and B.S.Ed. degrees, as well as a Master of Science degree that requires a minimum of 30 semester hours of graduate work. Their graphic design program covers a broad spectrum of courses, such as acrylic and oil painting, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, aesthetics, illustration, web design, communication, and portfolio building. This diverse curriculum ensures that students develop a robust set of skills in various art disciplines, preparing them for a successful career in graphic design.

In addition to undergraduate programs, Mississippi College offers a Master of Science in Graphic Design. This advanced degree includes:

  • 15 core hours
  • 12 hours of graphic design-related coursework
  • 3 hours of an approved graduate-level art elective
  • 6 hours of directed projects, covering topics like typography, the history of graphic design, and interactive design

This comprehensive approach ensures that students are well-prepared to tackle the challenges of the graphic design industry.

Hands-On Learning

At Mississippi College, students benefit from hands-on learning opportunities that are integral to the curriculum. These practical experiences include:

  • Painting
  • Printmaking
  • Sculpture
  • Ceramics
  • Aesthetics

Students cultivate essential skills and creative problem-solving abilities crucial for their future careers in graphic design through these creative activities.

The emphasis on hands-on learning ensures that students not only learn the theoretical aspects of art and design but also gain practical experience. This approach helps students build a strong foundation in various art forms, which is vital for their professional growth and success in the graphic design industry.

High-Tech Tools

Mississippi College’s graphic design program provides students with access to advanced high-tech tools, enhancing their learning experience. The program features two Mac Labs, each equipped with 20 new Mac computers. These labs are outfitted with the latest Adobe design suite, providing students access to industry-standard software that is essential for modern graphic design.

Utilizing these high-tech tools enables students to hone their skills in various design software, preparing them for the industry’s demands. The availability of such advanced technology at Mississippi College sets students up for success, allowing them to create professional-quality work and stay ahead in the competitive field of graphic design.

Belhaven University: Nationally Accredited Excellence

Belhaven University’s graphic design program is nationally accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), meeting high national standards. This prestigious accreditation, which Belhaven has held since 1984, underscores the university’s long-standing dedication to quality education in the arts. As one of only 39 universities in the U.S. accredited across all major arts disciplines, Belhaven stands out for its comprehensive excellence in the arts.

The graphic design major at Belhaven University focuses on design from a fine arts foundation, helping students see deeply and communicate effectively. Students receive critiques from industry professionals, guest artists, and professors each semester, which fosters professional growth and ensures they are well-prepared for the competitive world of graphic design.

The program’s effectiveness is reflected in the fact that 95% of graphic design majors at Belhaven are gainfully employed within six months of graduation.

State-of-the-Art Facilities

Belhaven University provides its graphic design students with advanced facilities and technology. The Mac labs at Belhaven are equipped with the latest Apple hardware, ensuring students have access to cutting-edge tools. These labs feature the full suite of Adobe Creative Suite software, which enhances students’ designing capabilities and prepares them for industry-standard practices.

Having access to state-of-the-art facilities allows students to experiment with different design techniques and tools, fostering creativity and innovation. This environment not only supports their academic growth but also ensures they are well-equipped to meet the demands of the graphic design industry upon graduation.

Industry Internships

Industry internships are a vital component of Belhaven University’s graphic design program, connecting students to the design community and providing practical experience with different design mediums. These internships often lead to employment opportunities before graduation, giving students a significant advantage in the job market.

Participating in internships allows students to gain valuable insights into the professional world of graphic design, build their portfolios, and establish future job opportunities’ connections. This hands-on learning experience is essential for their growth and success as graphic designers.

MGCCC: Career and Technical Focus

The Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College (MGCCC) offers a Graphic Design Technology program that focuses on preparing students for entry-level jobs and career advancement in fields like:

  • graphic design
  • commercial art
  • media art
  • web graphics

The program is designed to equip students with the technical skills and practical knowledge needed to succeed in the industry.

The Graphic Design Technology program at MGCCC is a two-year program, offering a comprehensive graphic design technology curriculum. Students learn:

  • Design and execution for printed publications
  • Packaging
  • Web graphics
  • Illustrations
  • Logo design

This career and technical focus ensures that graduates are ready to step into the professional world with confidence and competence.

Associate Degree Options

MGCCC offers an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Graphic Design Technology. This two-year program includes periodic portfolio reviews to determine placement and progression in the program. The degree prepares students for entry-level employment and advancement opportunities in the graphic design field.

Completing the Graphic Design Technology program at MGCCC equips students with the skills needed to succeed in various career options. The program’s structure ensures that graduates are well-prepared for the demands of the industry and can pursue a range of professional opportunities.

Comprehensive Curriculum

The comprehensive curriculum at MGCCC covers:

  • Design principles
  • Printing and binding techniques
  • Practical skills for various forms of visual communication
  • Ink and paper selection
  • Screen printing
  • Sign making
  • Industry specifications for creating printed publications and more

Students learn these skills to excel in the field of graphic design and visual communication.

This well-rounded approach ensures that students have a strong foundation in graphic design and are prepared for various career options. The curriculum emphasizes practical skills like creating web graphics and logo design, making MGCCC graduates highly competitive in the job market.

Northwest Mississippi Community College: Visual Communication Mastery

Northwest Mississippi Community College offers a Graphic Design Technology track that focuses on visual communication mastery, combining technology with aesthetics. The curriculum includes:

  • Typographic and publication design
  • Identity systems
  • Packaging
  • Posters
  • Web graphics
  • Signage
  • Online media advertising

The program is competitive, with recommended but not required laptop provisions. Mac computers are available for use during lab hours, and both PC and Mac platforms are acceptable. Students must earn a grade of ‘C’ or higher in lower division courses to advance in their studio emphasis.

Two-Year Program Structure

The Graphic Design Technology program at Northwest Mississippi Community College is structured as a two-year program leading to an Associate of Applied Science degree. Students are required to complete 64 credit hours to earn their degree, ensuring they receive a thorough education in graphic design.

Enrollment is only available for the fall semester, which allows for a structured and focused curriculum. This program structure ensures that students are well-prepared for the demands of the graphic design industry upon graduation.

Instructor Expertise

Northwest Mississippi Community College boasts qualified faculty who provide quality education in graphic design. The current instructor for the program, and associate professor, is Lori Philley, who can be contacted at the Berry Building. Faculty qualifications are carefully assessed to ensure they possess the knowledge and approach required to effectively teach design.

Periodic portfolio reviews are conducted to determine student placement and progression, ensuring that students receive the guidance and feedback necessary for their professional growth.

Career Opportunities for Graphic Design Graduates

Graphic design graduates in Mississippi can explore a variety of career options in industries such as marketing, advertising, and multimedia design. With a median salary of $46,710 in Mississippi, graduates can expect competitive compensation for their skills and expertise. Nationally, the salary range for graphic design graduates spans from $28,560 to $83,140.

These career opportunities are supported by the comprehensive education and practical experience provided by Mississippi’s top graphic design programs. Graduates are well-prepared to enter the professional world and succeed in various roles within the graphic design industry.

Job Placement Success

Graduates from Mississippi’s graphic design programs often find employment within six months of graduation, with many securing positions in local design firms and media companies. Belhaven University, for example, offers industry internships that frequently result in employment for students before they graduate.

The high job placement success rate reflects the quality of education and practical experience provided by these programs, ensuring the successful completion of their studies. Graduates are well-equipped to meet the demands of the industry and pursue successful careers in graphic design.

Roles and Industries

Graphic design graduates can pursue various roles such as art director, web designer, and graphic designer. These roles are available in industries like print media, digital marketing, and corporate branding. Graphic designers can also be involved in creating printed ads, posters, billboards, and brochures.

Many graphic designers work in the following industries:

  • Specialized design services
  • Publishing
  • Advertising
  • Public relations
  • Related services

These diverse career options ensure that graduates can find opportunities that align with their interests and skills.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Financial aid and scholarships are available for Mississippi graphic design students to help with tuition costs. Mississippi State University, for example, provides several unique scholarships, including the Andrew Le Annual Scholarship, the Del Rendon Memorial Endowed Scholarship, and the Mabus Agency Annual Scholarship in Graphic Design.

These financial aid options make it more accessible for students to pursue their education and achieve their career goals in graphic design. Taking advantage of these opportunities can alleviate students’ financial burden of tuition, allowing them to focus on their studies.

Institutional Scholarships

Mississippi State University offers various art-specific scholarships for students pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. These scholarships vary in amount and availability each year, providing support for students demonstrating potential for superior academic performance. Belhaven University also offers Art + Design Scholarships to students who present their portfolio during a campus visit or Arts Discover Day.

In addition to these scholarships, Mississippi College provides merit-based scholarships for graphic design students showcasing exceptional artistic and academic achievements. These institutional scholarships are crucial for helping students manage their educational expenses.

Application Tips

To maximize your chances of securing scholarships, it’s essential to follow specific application tips. For instance, Belhaven University’s scholarship applications require submitting your high school GPA, test scores, and FAFSA. Similarly, Mississippi State University has scholarship application deadlines on December 1 for incoming freshmen and March 1 for transfer and current students.

Additionally, students are encouraged to regularly check their scholarship accounts for new opportunities that may become available based on their test scores, GPA, leadership, and service records. Staying on top of these requirements and deadlines can enhance students’ chances of receiving financial support for their education.

How to Choose the Right Graphic Design School

Choosing the right graphic design school is a critical decision that can shape your future career. Here are some factors to consider:

  1. Review the curriculum in detail to ensure it aligns with your interests and career goals.
  2. Evaluate the elective courses, minors, and double majors available to see if they support your specific area of interest in graphic design.
  3. Consider the location of the school, as it can impact your growth and learning opportunities.

Additionally, check if the institution has a structured curriculum that aligns with current market needs. Thorough research and consideration of these factors can help you make an informed decision, setting you on the path to success in your graphic design career.

Campus Visits

Campus visits are an excellent way to get a feel for the school’s environment and resources. Interacting with faculty during these visits provides insight into their teaching style and expertise, which can help you determine if the school is the right fit for you. Additionally, campus visits allow you to verify the school’s resources and facilities firsthand, ensuring that they meet your expectations and needs.

Visiting campuses can help you make a more informed decision about where to pursue your graphic design education. These visits provide a valuable opportunity to see the school’s culture, meet potential peers, and assess the overall environment.

Alumni Networks

Strong alumni networks can provide invaluable support and networking opportunities for current students. These networks often offer mentorship, job opportunities, and industry connections that can be crucial for your professional growth. Researching the alumni base can give you information on their career paths and professional achievements, helping you gauge the potential success you can achieve by attending the school.

Choosing a school with a robust alumni network provides access to a community of professionals who can guide and support your career. This network can be an essential resource as you navigate the challenges and opportunities in the graphic design industry.