Application Deadline: March 1*

*Internal Transfer application portal for Fall 2021 will open in early in the spring.

Looking for information about this program before applying?
Learn more about the undergraduate Design program.

On this page:

Things to Know Before Applying

  • Before beginning the application process to internally transfer or add a simultaneous major, students should schedule an appointment to speak with the department’s Undergraduate Academic Advisor. Include your EID in all email or phone messages.
  • Admission to the Design program is competitive and selective. When applying to this department, you are strongly advised to develop a backup plan for pursuing other majors. Use resources such as the Vick Center for Strategic Advising & Career Counseling and Wayfinder to determine what majors might be right for you.
  • The maximum number of times a student may apply to the Department of Design is two.
  • All incoming students to the Department of Design must have a laptop computer. Read more about the department’s laptop requirements.

Eligibility Requirements

Meeting minimum academic standards, GPA requirements, and submitting all application materials by the deadline does not guarantee eligibility or acceptance to the department.

You are eligible to apply to internally transfer from another UT Austin college or add a simultaneous major in the Department of Design if you meet all of the following criteria:

  • You are currently an enrolled or readmitted undergraduate student at UT Austin during the spring semester (applications are not accepted during the fall semester).
  • You will have no more than 60 hours of coursework completed in-residence at UT Austin by the fall semester for which you’re applying for admission (see note below regarding UT’s 60-hour rule).
  • You have not already applied twice to internally transfer or add a simultaneous major in this department.
  • The Admissions Committee gives preference to applicants who have at least a 3.0 GPA by the end of the semester in which the student applies.
  • Only required for Simultaneous Major applicants: You have completed 30 credit hours in-residence at UT Austin. These 30 hours cannot include AP, IB, credit-by-exam, dual or transfer credits. You may apply to the department for a simultaneous major while in progress to meet the 30-hour requirement, but you must complete these hours prior to the fall semester for which you would potentially be admitted.

UT’s 60-Hour Rule

From the university’s general information catalog:

Students may not transfer to another college or school after they have completed sixty (60) semester hours of coursework in residence. Students who wish to seek an exception to this rule should petition the dean’s office of the college into which they would like to transfer. Approval of the petition will take into account a student’s ability to graduate within four years of entering the university.

Note: If you have completed more than 60 hours and would still like to apply for a change-of-major to the Department of Design, submit application materials as instructed below, but do not submit an appeal form to the College of Fine Arts dean’s office until you are notified to do so. If your application receives a strong review, and if you will have completed more than 60 hours when admission notifications are sent by mid-July, the department’s undergraduate academic advisor will send you the appeal form and detailed instructions. Exceptions to the university’s policies on internal transfer are only made in very rare circumstances when the student can provide evidence that they are on track for a timely graduation. Students with more than 60 hours can only attempt to be admitted via this appeal process one time.

Application Instructions

Are you currently a major in the Department of Design?

Current majors in the Department of Design who wish to change between the B.F.A. in Design and B.A. in Design should visit the undergraduate academic advisor to learn about the application process and deadlines.

For students outside of the Department of Design currently at UT Austin

  1. Meet with your current Academic Advisor to discuss your interest in internally transferring to design.
  2. Attend a Design Internal Transfer Info Session before the application deadline. Details of upcoming session dates will be announced later this fall.
  3. Prepare the following materials for your application:
    • Response to the Creative Design Prompt
    • Up to 5 recent work samples of design work
    • Resume
    • Statement of Interest in adding/changing your major to design (no more than 300 words)
  4. Submit your application materials by March 1
    • Please note: The application portal for internal transfers will open in the early spring.

Creative Design Prompt + Work Sample Submission

In addition to your required UT Austin application materials, all applicants to the Design major for Fall 2021 must submit a response to the prompt below.

In our design program, we value:  

  • Playfulness 
  • Observation
  • Craftsmanship
  • Inventiveness
  • Perseverance 
  • Iteration
  • Adaptability 
  • Problem-solving

...among other qualities. Choose TWO of the qualities above and make a new creative work that demonstrates how you value or embody both as a budding designer. We want to see both a final work and a glimpse into how and why you made it. In other words: show us behind the scenes. 

You may use any format to respond to this prompt: written, visual, audio or otherwise. Think carefully about what you want us to know, and be sure to show that off. Be creative! But be sure to be clear and concise with the information you provide about your creative work. You will be able to upload two files: one with your final work and the other showcasing your behind the scenes process. If submitting video or audio files, they should be no longer than 90 seconds. Files should be less than 5GB (smaller files encouraged for easier upload) in size and are accepted in the following formats: 

  • Video: .avi, .flv, .m1v, .m2v, .m4v, .mkv, .mov, .mpeg, .mpg, .mp4, .webm, .wmv 
  • Audio: .aac, .aif, .aiff, .iff, .fla, .m4a, .mpa, .mp3, .ra, .wav, .wma 
  • Slide:  .bmp, .gif, .jpg, .jpeg, .png, .tif, .tiff 
  • Document: .doc, .docx, .odg, .odp, .odt, .pdf, .ppt, .pptx, .rtf, .wpd
  • Link: If your materials are located on YouTube, Vimeo or another online service, you may include the URL link (be sure to set privacy settings to public). Google Drive links will not be accepted.

Additional Work Samples: In addition to the design prompt, transfer applicants must submit up to 5 recent examples of your design work from any medium. Reference the approved file format list above when uploading your work. If you have an online portfolio or other website with your work, you can choose to provide a URL in your transfer resume (no Google Drive links please). However, an online portfolio should not be submitted as one of your work samples. Any audio or video files should be no longer than 90 seconds.

The application portal for internal transfers will open in the early spring.

Design Prompt FAQs 

Can I submit an additional portfolio showcasing my work? 

Freshman: We are only requiring freshman applicants to submit the design prompt response in your application. Please do not submit a formal portfolio.  

Transfers: In addition to the design prompt, transfer applicants must submit up to 5 recent examples of your design work from any medium. Reference the approved file format list above when uploading your work. If you have an online portfolio or other website with your work, you can choose to provide a URL in your transfer resume (no Google Drive links please). However, an online portfolio should not be submitted as one of your work samples. Any audio or video files should be no longer than 90 seconds.

All students are encouraged to highlight their other design-related experiences, involvements, and coursework within their UT application materials and essays. Since all of these materials will be taken into consideration during review, be sure to put as much thought and time as possible into each of these requirements.

What do you mean by “show us behind the scenes?” 

In the design program, you’ll learn the design process is as equally important as the final finished product. When creating your work for the design prompt, you must include documentation of the steps you took along the way.  

This could be outlining various stages of your project, early sketches, inspiration/research, video overview of your process, reflections, etc. Be creative! But be sure to be clear and concise with the information you want us to know about your creative work.

You have 2 file uploads to use to submit your response. Your first file will be used to submit your final work and the second file used to showcase your process. If submitting video or audio files, they should be no longer than 90 seconds. Within your submission, be sure to clearly label which TWO attributes from the list your work embodies.  

Can I see an example of a response to the design prompt? 

We want to see each student’s unique perspective and talent as an aspiring designer. Therefore, we cannot provide an example.  

However, we will be offering opportunities this Fall to connect with faculty/ current students to learn more about the program and ask questions about the admissions process. Also, check out other examples of current student projects on our Showcase page!

For work samples required for transfer applicants, what type of work can I submit?

For Transfers only: Include whatever you believe to be your strongest work in any or many media. This could include 2-D or 3-D art or design work, performance art, graphic design projects such as logo-design or yearbook layouts, application development, website design, robotics, coding or other digital concepts you’ve explored. If you have only been able to study a limited number of media, put together a range of work from those for submission. We just want to see what you think represents the work you love to make. Please note that you do not need to have formally studied or practiced design to have a strong application for this program. We are looking for evidence that you like to make things, are a creative thinker, and can solve problems.

Review our design program description and remember that we’re interested in a wide range of ideas and skills. We want to see how you think! Give your works descriptive titles (“poster design,” “prototype for chair,” “wireframe for a productivity app,” etc.) and tell us what materials, techniques, and/or software you used to create it. Feel free to include sketches and process documents as well.

When documenting your work, make sure you are taking photos or scans that have good resolution/clarity to show detail, are well-lit, and are cropped appropriately.

I’m having trouble uploading my work. Who should I contact? 

Reach out to our SDCT admissions coordinator! 

David Rezaei 

sdctadmissions@austin.utexas.edu
512-471-0913 
View Profile 

Who can I go to with questions about the admissions process or to learn more about the design program?

Reach out to our SDCT admissions coordinator! 

David Rezaei

sdctadmissions@austin.utexas.edu
512-471-0913
View Profile

Notification

Students will be emailed notifications via a Secure Academic Note (SAN) that reports their application results, whether they are admitted or declined. Typically, notification is sent mid-July. Please do not contact the department about the status of your application; you will be notified when decisions have been made.

For students admitted to the department, the SAN will include specific information about the process for changing or adding a major, mandatory academic advising and registration procedures.

If you are not admitted but still want to connect with our department, we welcome you to join one of our student organizations, register for our non-major or CID courses, or attend one of our events.

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