Profiles of 3D Graphics, Digital, Graphic, Interactive and Web Design, Simulation, and Virtual Modeling Programs & Schools

Our 2015 rankings of the top graphic design schools in the Midwest.

We define the Midwest as Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Idaho, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.

1. Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan (Top 1% of schools considered)

Cranbrook Academy of Art dates back to 1932 when it was called The Academy of Art. Home to around 150 students, the school consists of 10 departments led by an Artist or Designer-in-Residence. Programs for aspiring graphic designers include an MFA in Graphic Design. The program, which places strong emphasis on studio work time and group critique, is offered through the 2D/graduate graphic design department.

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Our 2015 list of the Top 25 Public Graphic Design School Programs in the US. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.

1. Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia (Top 1% of schools considered)

Established in 1838, Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) is home to more than 31,000 students enrolled in around 226 certificate and degree programs across 13 schools and one college. The School of the Arts is home to the Department of Graphic Design. The Department offers two programs for aspiring graphic designers. Students may choose between the BFA in Graphic Design or the MFA with a Concentration in Visual Communications (Graphic Design).

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Our inaugural list of the Top 10 Graphic Design School Programs on the West Coast. For an explanation of our ranking criteria, click here.

1. California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, California (Top 5% of schools considered)

Established in 1961, California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) is the nation's first postsecondary institution to offer graduate and undergraduate degrees in both the visual and performing arts. The school offers 70 programs at all degree levels, including several for aspiring graphic designers. Offerings include a BFA in Graphic Design, an MFA in Graphic Design, and an MFA in Graphic Design with a Specialization in Motion Graphics. The programs are offered through the through the School of Art. In addition to small class sizes (the school is home to 1,489 students), CalArts offers a variety of internship and study abroad opportunities as well as a variety of summer study programs.

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Our inaugural list of the Top 10 Graphic Design School Programs in the Southwest. For an explanation of our ranking criteria, click here.

1. University of North Texas, Denton, Texas (Top 5% of schools considered)

University of North Texas was founded in 1890 as Texas Normal College and Teachers’ Training Institute. It is home to more than 36,000 students enrolled in more than 200 degree programs across 11 colleges and schools. The College of Visual Arts & Design is home to the Design Department, which offers several programs for aspiring graphic designers. Options include a BFA in Communication Design (Graphic Design) and MA and MFA degrees in Design.

Housed in the Art Building, the Communication Design programs offer access to studio classrooms and design labs as well as resources such as 1,000-plus reference books and magazines and paper/print samples of photography, illustration, typography, graphic design and advertising.

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Our inaugural list of the Top 10 Graphic Design School Programs in the South. For an explanation of our ranking criteria, click here.

1. Ringling College of Art and Design, Sarasota, Florida (Top 1% of schools considered)

Established in 1931 by circus baron, real estate developer, and noted art collector John Ringling, Ringling College of Art and Design opened just 75 students enrolled in 111 courses. Today, the school sits on a 35-acre campus that houses nearly 1,300 students enrolled in BA and BFA degree programs in 11 majors. Programs for aspiring graphic designers include a BFA in Graphic Design, which has been in existence 1980.

In existence since 1980, the graphic design teaches students to “create design solutions in print, motion, and interactive media with projects of all varieties.” Students gain real-world experience through internships with major firms and through “The Collaboratory,” which pairs teams of Ringling students with local businesses. Students also have the opportunity to work at RCADs in-house design firm on projects with external clients and for Ringling College events.

RCAD design graduates have landed positions at Google, Leo Burnett, Microsoft, Trader Joe's, Wieden + Kennedy, LinkedIn, Yahoo, American Greetings, and more.

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Our inaugural list of the Top 10 Graphic Design School Programs on the East Coast. For an explanation of our ranking criteria, click here.

1. Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, Rhode Island (Top 1% of schools considered)

Founded in 1877, Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) is a private, not-for-profit, four-year art school. It is home to 2,014 undergraduate students and 435 graduate students from across the U.S. and 57 other countries. This co-educational art school offers 32 degree programs, including graphic design—one of the RISD’s top five most popular majors. Offerings include a BFA in Graphic Design and a two- or three-year MFA in Graphic Design.

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Arkansas graphic design schools: most expensive to least expensive

Arkansas is home to 51 Title IV Degree-Granting colleges and universities. To meet the requirements to become a Title IV school, the institution must meet five requirements. It must (1) offer a program of at least 300 clock hours in length, (2) have been in business for at least two years, (3) have accreditation recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, (4) grant an associate's degree or higher, and (5) have signed a participation agreement with the Department. Once a school has Title IV status, it becomes eligible for federal financial-aid programs. This makes them more accessible to students that may need help meeting tuition costs.

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District of Columbia graphic design schools: most expensive to least expensive

The District of Columbia may be small, but it is home to some of the nation’s top colleges and universities. Georgetown University, George Washington University, American University, and Howard University are just a few. Including the schools listed above, DC is home to 20 Title IV Degree-Granting institutions. A Title IV school is eligible for federal financial aid programs, making them more accessible to students with financial need.

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New Jersey

The 90-minute drive to New York is not the only reason some New Jersey residents live here. If you live in New Jersey long enough, you’ll discover that The Garden State actually has a lot to offer. For starters, New Jersey has more than 50 resort cities and towns including famous spots like Atlantic City, Cape May, and Asbury Park. Next, the state has an impressive track record when it comes to producing celebrities. Just a few include Jack Nicholson, Dana Elaine Owens—better known as Queen Latifah, Whitney Houston, Frank Sinatra, Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, and Shaquille O’Neal. Next, tourism is the second-largest industry in the state, and New Jersey is so magnetic that it has the highest population density in the U.S., with 90 percent of the state’s residents living in urban areas.

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Virginia

Despite a slowly recovering economy, the graphic design industry has held up pretty well. Employment growth has remained stable overall, meaning it has not really gone up or down, and according the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the work of graphic designers will continue to be important in the marketing of products throughout the economy. Further, says the BLS, employment of graphic designers in computer systems design and related services is projected to grow a staggering 21 percent for the 2014-2024 decade. With the increasing use of the Internet, companies are increasing their digital presence and graphic designers will be needed to help create visually appealing and effective layouts of websites.

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