What are the best online graphic design degree programs of 2019?
|Academy of Art University||San Francisco||California|
|Arizona State University||Tempe||Arizona|
|Full Sail University||Winter Park||Florida|
|The Los Angeles Film School||Los Angeles||California|
|Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design||Denver||Colorado|
|Savannah College of Art and Design||Savannah||Georgia|
|University of Maryland University College||Adelphi||Maryland|
|University of Massachusetts-Lowell||Lowell||Massachusetts|
|University of Montana||Missoula||Montana|
|University of Wisconsin – Stout||Menomonie||Wisconsin|
|Upper Iowa University||Fayette||Iowa|
Our list of the best schools with online graphic design degree programs. The list is in no particular order and is not intended to be a ranking.
The School of Graphic Design at Academy of Art University works with leading companies, government agencies, non-profit organizations, and other academic departments to provide student artists with unique opportunities to advance their careers. Per the school, in addition to hosting guest speakers and events at the Academy, the school offers the opportunity to collaborate with “artists, designers, and innovators outside of the classroom on engaging and contemporary graphic design projects.” Students have a variety of degree pathways to choose from as well including, AA, BFA, MA, MFA, and Certificate Programs in Graphic Design and Graphic Design & Digital Media. All degree pathways are available online and on campus.
Students in the online programs “work with the same expert instructors to gain the same hands-on training and real-world design industry expertise” as the on campus students. Online coursework includes original instructional videos, audio-enhanced slideshows, digital documentation, interviews with field experts, and more.
The AA in Graphic Design consists of 66 units covering the basics of design thinking, typography, layout, packaging, interactive, and branding. Course highlights include Design Technology: Digital Publishing Tools, Typography: Hierarchy and Form, Package Design: 3D Thinking/Making, Branding Principles, and Web Design I, II & III. The program prepares students for entry-level positions in the field or for entry into the BFA program.
In addition to many of the same courses and areas as the AA program, the 132-unit BFA in Graphic Design covers print, user experience, and motion graphics. Course highlights include he The Power of Signs: Semiotics & The Visual Arts, Advanced 3D Branding, Creatively Speaking: Presentation for Designers, Visual Systems, Human-Centered Design, Social Media Content Development, and Motion Graphics I & II. BFA students will also complete a portfolio and internship.
The MA in Graphic Design & Digital Media “emphasizes professional and career development with advanced study of the field and encourages students to extend their design skills into content creation, authorship, entrepreneurialism, and social innovation.” The program, which consists of 36 units of study, highlights courses such as Visual Literacy, Making Ideas Visible, Principles of UX, The Nature of Identity, Digital Design Studio, and Type Experiments.
The MA Portfolio Seminar culminates the Graphic Design MA program. Students in this three-unit course “will develop a comprehensive print and digital visual system that best represents their design skills. Emphasis will be placed on developing a cohesive portfolio and a robust social media presence that effectively promotes the strengths of each student.”
Students in the MFA program will extend their design skills into authorship, content creation, social innovation, and entrepreneurialism. The program emphasizes advanced study of the field and a focused thesis development process, which takes place through at least five courses. Students will complete a portfolio and a Graphic Design Internship as well.
Arizona State University (ASU) is the largest campus in the ASU system. The school serves around 52,000 of the ASU system’s 100,000+ students. Many of these students are enrolled in the school’s online division known as ASU Online, where more than 200 online degrees are available.
The Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering houses the School of Arts, Media and Engineering. In collaboration with the Herberger Institute for Design, the schools offer a BS in Graphic Information Technology - GIT (Web or Animation Concentration) and an MS in Graphic Information Technology (MSTech) that targets graphics professionals, supervisors, and managers in a graphics or technology-oriented area who need advanced expertise in administering and managing digital content.
The program MS consists of 10 classes (33 credit hours) and the GRE is required for admission. Online students do not have to complete a Thesis. Instead, they must complete the Applied Project Option, which the school says, “allows the student to thoroughly explore a graphics-related problem and demonstrate knowledge of the problem, solutions for the problem, and suggestions for further explanation of the problem.” Graduates of the MSTech program have moved into positions such as IT Project Managers, Art Directors, Public Information Officers, and many others.
The 120 credit hour BS "lives at the intersections of creativity, visual design and technology, preparing students to create visual content for multi-channel distribution – print, web, photo, video, animation."
GIT students will learn computer illustration and digital publishing, photography for online delivery, web development and interactive technologies, and other technologies "relevant to the cross-media nature of the graphic information industry." They will also have the opportunity to explore areas such as e-commerce, security, usability, and entrepreneurship.
Key Graphic Design courses include Graphic Communications, Creative Thinking and Design Visualization, Digital Illustration in Publishing, Web Authoring, Commercial Print, Commercial Photography, Digital Video Techniques, Digital Publishing, Multimedia Design, Planning and Storyboards, Digital Workflow in Graphic Industries, and Graphic Industry Business Practices.
The Web Concentration consists of course such as Web Content Design, New Media Internet Technologies, Multimedia Authoring, Scripting and Production, Advanced Web Markup and Scripting, and Information Design and Usability. Animation includes Introduction to Video Game Art, 3D Computer Graphics Modeling and Representation (CS), Image Editing and Manipulation, and Computer Animation.
Graduates of the program are prepared to seek positions in web design and development, user experience design, digital media, and advertising in government, corporate, non-profit, and cultural organizations. GIT graduates have been hired at Shutterfly, Boeing, Digitaria Digital Marketing Agency, Leo Burnett advertising, i4software, Blue Media, Fairytale Brownies, and the Phoenix Zoo.
Flashpoint Chicago is a campus of Columbia College Hollywood, located in Los Angeles, California. The Chicago campus offers a variety of programs that may be completed on campus or entirely online. Among the school’s online offerings is a BFA in Graphic Design + Interactive Media. Per the school, courses for this online program “offer the same high-quality education, hands-on learning, and expert instruction of Flashpoint’s on-ground programs—plus added flexibility to accommodate full-time work schedules and distance learning needs.”
The program, which consists of 192 credit hours of study, “combines design and aesthetics studies with real-world, practical experiences with the professional tools, technology, processes, creative skills, and collaborative workflow used in designing for both digital and print media.” Courses explore advertising, brand identity, collateral design, experiential design, motion graphics, responsive web design, user experience (UX), user interface (UI), and virtual reality—“all taught by a distinguished faculty of artists, designers, and creative professionals, many of whom continue to work in the design and digital marketing industries.”
Students may customize the program by choosing an emphasis that focuses on advanced studies in the areas that interest the most. Emphasis areas include Graphic Design, Digital Marketing, and Interactive Media.
Graphic Design, the most popular option for aspiring graphic designers, focuses on “graphic design and implementation using a wide variety of delivery methods and distribution channels, including print, package, and screen.” Students in this emphasis area will take immersive courses in branding, motion graphics, package design, and typography. Graduates of the program go on to become Art Directors, Brand and Logo Designers, Illustrators, Production Designers, UI/UX Coordinators, and Web Designers.
Full Sail University, an entertainment, media, art and technology school, offers a BS in Graphic Design that may be completed online in just 29 months. The objective of the program, says the school, “is to provide a comprehensive understanding of the field of design – from print publishing to interface design and more.” Students will develop skills and “sharpen” their “eye for aesthetics” through projects, critiques, and the study of popular culture, as well as in key courses such as Digital Publishing, Design and Art Theory, and Typography and Page Layout.
In Digital Publishing, develop their understanding of form, function, and structure through context and technique while embracing the creative process that curated discussions and relevant case studies.
In Design and Art Theory, students gain an understanding of composition, design, art, basic color, and graphics through a study of varied artistic styles and their sociological and psychological effects throughout history.
In Typography and Layout, Students learn how to use typography as a critical part of page layout while also understanding how the printed or viewed page looks as an integrated graphic element.
Other course highlights include Technology in the Entertainment and Media Industries, Psychology of Play, Digital Audio and Video, Concepts in Advertising, Creating Brand Experience, Interactive Editorial Design, Media Integration, Digital Studio, and Popular Culture in Media. A total of seven Project and Portfolio courses must be completed as well, including Project and Portfolio I & II: Design and Project and Portfolio III-VII: Graphic Design.
Full Sail’s unique Project and Portfolio courses combine “hands-on learning experiences with summative and formative portfolio assessments.” The courses are taken in addition to an internship, which can be pursued after the student has successfully completed 50% of the required credit hours for the BS program.
Graduates of the Graphic Design Programs at Full Sail University are prepared to seek job titles such as Graphic Designer, Creative Director, Product Developer, Multimedia Artist, User Experience (UX) Designer, User Interface (UI), Marketing Specialist, Production Artist, and many others.
Lesley University’s College of Art & Design offers several online options for aspiring graphic designers including Certificates in Graphic Design and User Experience, and a BS in Design for User Experience. Curriculums are interdisciplinary, and programs feature intensive studio mentoring, small class sizes, interactive elements such as chats and discussion forums, and 24/7 access to the latest online learning tools and educational resources.
The 18 credit hour Certificate in Graphic Design covers image-making, visual research, typography, and the history of modern design. Per the school, students will learn about studio habits, along with the “language, skills, processes, and methods that are the foundation for all design work.” The program spans both screen and print technologies and features courses that provide hands-on learning opportunities. Key courses include Language and Design, Visual Communication, and Typography.
Designed for working professionals and recent graduates, the Graphic Design Certificate prepares students to “go further in graphic design and related fields.” The program takes around one year to complete, part-time.
The User Experience Certificate is designed for working professionals and recent graduates who want to break into a career in user experience. Students in this 18 credit hour program will learn the fundamentals of user experience, the role of qualitative and quantitative research in design, and how to create solutions using a human-centered design approach. Students will also “dive into conducting research to understand a user’s pain points, generate possible solutions, and make functional prototypes” that they will test and refine.
Key courses such as UX Design Business Practices, User Experience, and Design Thinking are taught by industry practitioners using the latest tools and techniques of User Experience professionals. Students can expect to complete the program in one year, part-time.
The BS in Design for User Experience has “a strong foundation in graphic design principles” and teaches students to “understand the human experience at the center of the design process.” The curriculum features an “interdisciplinary, collaborative approach to problem-solving,” while teaching students how to “apply and implement all aspects of the UX design process, from wire-framing to user testing and concept delivery.” Students will learn “to research, conceptualize, design, and prototype user interfaces and experiences for digital interactions.”
Key courses for this 120 credit hour program include Typography I, II & III, Elements of Interface, Sketching for Interactive Design, Information Architecture, Digital Culture, Web Design, and Visual Communication. Graduates of the program will know how to build websites, mobile applications, product interfaces, and more. They will also leave the program with a polished portfolio of their work.
College of Art & Design graduates are Art Directors, Environment Designers, Graphic Designers, Product Managers, Technical Artists, and Web Developers, to name a few.
The Los Angeles Film School (LA Film) offers programs delivered 100% online through the school’s Learning Management System. This secure, web-based multimedia platform is accessible 24 hours a day. Both online and on campus students receive a professional-level DSLR camera bundle with multiple lenses, a bag and accessories, a MacBook laptop with Microsoft Office and Adobe Creative Cloud software including Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects and more, as well as a traditional drawing kit.
The school offers a 120 credit hour BS in Graphic Design that covers areas such as Digital Image Making, Photography, Experiential Design, Web Design, Brand Development, and Portfolio Development. Key courses for the program include Digital Image Making, Type and Layout, Logos and Symbols, Print and Digital Production, Package Design, Storytelling and Video, Professional Writing, Motion Design, Corporate Identity, Concepts in Advertising, Design Strategy, Experiential Design, Innovative and Immersive Art, Client Communications, and Professional Practices in Graphic Design.
Students will complete a portfolio of their work and they can expect to complete the program in just 36 months. LA Film graduates have landed positions at Marvel, Activision, ABC, DreamWorks, NBC, Disney, and many others.
The Graphic Design Program at Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design (RMCAD) consists of 123 credit hours including 15 credits in Art History, 30 in Liberal Arts, 18 in Foundations, 48 in Communications Design, and 12 in Studio Electives. Leading to a BFA, the school says that the program teaches students how to “evaluate research and understand design problems by creating processes for design solutions that can be used throughout their careers.”
Students will “learn branding, advertising, user-experience, and more—all while building a professional portfolio to prepare for life after” graduation. Other program highlights include interaction with outside design professionals through workshops, presentations, and advanced teaching engagements that “deliver hands-on experiences with real projects,” annual award shows used as class assignments, international instructors, and visiting faculty. The program is delivered 100% online, with optional campus visits.
Graphic Design BFA graduates are prepared to seek positions such as Communications Manager, Creative Director, Digital Project Manager, Multi-Media/Interactive Media Specialist, Production Art Manager, Web Designer, and many others.
Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) is home to an award-winning eLearning program that the school says is a “collaborative online environment that empowers students to connect to faculty and programs without disconnecting from their professional and personal lives.” Classes for the online programs are taught by the same “world-class” faculty as the SCAD’s on-campus courses, and students are provided with “the tools and technology they need to be successful academically and in their professional lives.”
Just a sampling of free tools and downloads available to fully enrolled eLearning students include Autodesk Maya, Autodesk 3ds Max, Autodesk Mudbox; Adobe Creative Cloud; Nuke Personal Learning Edition; Microsoft Windows 8, Microsoft Windows 7, Microsoft Visual Studio, Microsoft XNA Game Studio, Microsoft Kinect for Windows SDK, Microsoft Expression Studio; Lynda.com and Unity 3D.
Offered for more than 12 years, SCAD’s online degrees have achieved the rank of Excellence in Institution-Wide Online Teaching and Learning from the Online Learning Consortium, and the school is the first art and design university to receive the Instructional Technology Council’s award for Outstanding Distance Education Program.
Online program options for aspiring graphic designers include a BA in Visual Communication with a Concentration in Graphic Design, a BFA in Graphic Design, and MA and MFA degrees in Design and Visual Experience. The BA and BFA pathways require 180 credit hours of study, while the MFA and MA require 90, and 45 credit hours of study, respectively. The MFA is a terminal degree that requires a Thesis to graduate. The MA does not require a Thesis.
The MFA Thesis consists of three courses: Graphic Design and Visual Experience MFA. Thesis I: Research and Discovery, Graphic Design and Visual Experience MFA Thesis II: Synthesis and Insight, and Graphic Design and Visual Experience MFA Thesis III: Validation and Execution. A Graduate Internship is also part of the program.
All degree pathways highlight Product Packaging, Entrepreneurship, Mobile Technology, Interface Design and User Experience. Students in all undergraduate programs have the opportunity to declare a double major in the areas of Advertising, Branded Entertainment, Illustration, Motion Media Design, Sequential Art and more. They also have access to Minors such as Mobile and Interactive Design, Advertising Copywriting. Students may complement the undergraduate or graduate degrees with Certificates in Digital Publishing or Interactive Design as well.
Graduates of all programs are prepared for positions such as Graphic Designer, User Experience (UX) Designer, User Interface (UI), Creative Director, Product Developer, Multimedia Artist, Marketing Specialist, and Production Artist. Some graduates even go on to start their own studios and firms.
University of Maryland University College (UMUC) is home to the State University Global Campus, which has more than 90 programs and specializations delivered online or in hybrid format. Among the programs is a Graphic Communication’s Bachelor’s Degree that may be completed entirely online. The program covers graphic art and design, computer graphics, communication, business-oriented writing, and publication. Per the school, students will become “well-versed in the language of design and adept at using Adobe Creative Cloud software, including Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Premiere, After Effects, and Animate.”
The curriculum for the program is designed in collaboration with industry experts, employers and scholars, with classes taught by “world-class faculty members combine academic credentials with a wealth of experience in the field.” Sample courses for the program include Digital Media, Motion Graphics, and Advanced Graphic Communication: Professional Branding. Students will also complete Graphic Communication Portfolio worth three credits.
This professional portfolio will help students compete for positions in the graphic communication field in areas such as graphic design, communication design, freelance graphic design, and art direction.
University of Massachusetts-Lowell (UMass-Lowell) houses an “award-winning” online division known as UMass Online, which offers year-round, accelerated courses during the Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters. Degrees at UMass Online are awarded by the same academic departments, and undergo the same rigorous oversight as UMass Lowell’s on campus programs.
The School of Fine Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences (FAHSS), houses the Department of Art and Design, which offers a Certificate in Graphic Design and Digital Imaging. Per the school, the program offers “an innovative mix of traditional design courses along with several courses in multimedia, web development, desktop publishing, and more” to students interested in breaking into the field of graphic design and electronic publishing.
As part of the program, students will complete numerous design projects for their portfolios, and gain hands-on experience using software such as Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, and many others. Key courses for this 33 credit hour program include Photographic Imaging, Computer Graphics & Illustration, Prototyping for Apps and Web, Advanced Typography, and Design for Advertising.
Note that certain courses in the certificate program may also be applied towards the certificates in Multimedia Applications and Website Design & Development. Students may also use the graphic design courses as concentration electives in UMass Lowell's Online BS in Information Technology.
The Certificate in Graphic Design and Digital Imaging culminates in a Portfolio Production Seminar designed to help students to organize their work into a professional package and prepare it for presentation. The Seminar also includes mock interviews that will give students the opportunity to discuss their work, and an end-of-semester portfolio review.
Graduates of the program are prepared to pursue careers in corporate design, brand identity design, web design, user experience, interactive design, app design, book design and package design.
The University of Montana houses the School of Extended & Lifelong Learning—home of UMOnline. Programs here are a combination of online, blended, and web-enhanced learning opportunities ranging from single courses and certificates to minors and master’s degree programs. Program options for aspiring graphic designers include a BA in Media Arts. Awarded by the School of Media Arts, the program is the first fully online BA at the University of Montana.
Per the school, “this degree enables students to maximize their creative potential through the study and artistic application of emerging digital technologies. It provides learning opportunities in interactive media, web and internet technologies, gaming, and a variety of digital design applications including sound, still image, motion, and animation.” Sample courses include Digital Technology in the Arts, Photoshop, Creative Coding, Motion Design, Interactive Media, Art & Science of Interactive Games, Film Editing, and Web Technologies.
Thanks to the flexible nature of the program, the Media Arts BA can serve as an effective complement to those interested in a double major. A popular option is the BA in Art, which covers design, film, painting, web production, printmaking, photo, data visualization, and illustration. The culminating capstone project for this program can be an art exhibition, website video, book, collaborative multi-disciplinary event, multi-media presentation for an organization, illustration, or interactive visualization of information, to name a few. Like the Media Arts BA, the BA in Art is available 100% online, on campus, and in hybrid format.
The University of Wisconsin–Stout (UW–Stout or Stout) offers 13 online BS degrees and more than 20 graduate degrees through the schools online division known as UW-Stout Online. Nearly 2,000 students are enrolled in online programs at UW-Stout, including hundreds of students seeking an advanced degree. Among the schools advanced degree options is an MFA in Design. Awarded by the School of Art and Design, this cross-disciplinary graduate program includes coursework from Graphic, Game, Industrial, Entertainment, and Interior Design, as well as Studio Art, Interactive Media, and Art and Design History.
The program consists of 30 credits of required courses and 30 credits from a wide variety of “Selectives” and “Professional Selectives” to support the student’s professional goals. Other program highlights include a collaborative environment, a focus on leadership, sustainability, education, and design practice, polytechnic approach that combines creative work with innovative teaching and applied learning, international study abroad opportunities, and dedicated studio and lab space.
Also part of the program is the opportunity to complete a Graduate Assistantship. The Assistantship allows students to gain valuable professional experience while enjoying paid employment as a graduate student at UW-Stout. The MFA in Design is delivered in a hybrid format and students can expect to complete the program in three years.
In 1973, Upper Iowa University (UIU) became one of the first schools to offer a Self-Paced Degree Program—no campus attendance required. Today, UIU’s Online Program serves more than 3,000 students from around the world. Multiple majors are available and students can complete programs over five 8-week sessions, and an accelerated, 6-week summer session. Aspiring graphic designers can earn a BA in Graphic Design entirely online.
Per the school, the BA is a portfolio-driven program, meaning, “students formulate unique responses to design problems and create original work in every course.” Simply put, “the goal of all graphic design classes is to build an individualized portfolio of original work.” Required studio courses include Introduction to Graphic Design, Digital Photography, Advertising Design, Web Publishing and Social Media, Digital Imaging, Publication Design, Typography, Digital Illustration, and Senior Portfolio/Graphic Design.
Digital Animation, Business and Professional Communication, Digital Video, Personal Selling, Advertising & Integrated Marketing, Marketing Principles, and Consumer Behavior are just a few elective options, and students may complete an internship.
Throughout the program, students will also learn to master software, as well as develop conceptual abilities and critical thinking skills. “The professional goal of the graphic design program is to prepare students for challenges beyond their first jobs. Ideally, graphic design majors are trained to become Art Directors.” Other career options for graduates include Creative Director, Marketing Manager, Film and Video Editor, Photographer, Web Designer, Industrial/Product Designer, Multimedia Artist/Animator, and of course, Graphic Designer.
Other Graphic Design Degree Programs Worth Considering
Ashworth College offers online certificates, diplomas, and degree programs in areas from accounting to technology. Aspiring graphic designers have one option here—a Career Diploma in Graphic Design. Students in the program will learn how to conceptualize, draft, and manage the design process using the most popular graphic software including Adobe Creative Cloud—Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Muse, Edge Animate, and WordPress.
Designed by professionals with first-hand experience as graphic designers, the curriculum consists of courses such as Typography in Design, Animation Basics, Designing for the Web, Media and Technology for Communication Artists, Interactive Design, and Research and Visual Communication.
The Graphic Design Diploma Program takes just four months to complete. However, students are allowed up to one year to finish the program. In addition to lifelong access to the online tools at career services portal Ashworth EDGE, graduates will leave the program with the skills needed to create website content, print ads, brochures, and logos for design firms, ad agencies, marketing firms, and many other organizations.
The online division at Bellevue University offers more than 75 bachelor’s and graduate degree programs that students can complete at their own pace and location. Among the school’s degree options is a BA in Graphic Design that includes preparation and hands-on practice in Print and Web Design. Per the school, students in the program will “understand how color, images, layout, typography, and other principles influence design, branding, and messaging, build on those concepts and create design solutions for a wide range of audience, and use various media and technologies for print and web design with confidence.”
Other program highlights include small class sizes (no more than 24 students), online forums to connect with peers, a career-focuses, cohort format, faculty with real-world experience, interactive resources such as online tutoring and writing help, and 24/7 library services and Tech support. At successful completion of Bellevue University BA in Graphic Design, graduates will have a “professional portfolio that represents a body of creative design work on a wide range of print and digital projects.”
Berkeley College is home to Berkeley College Online, which offers more than a dozen degree programs for students seeking a flexible delivery format. Courses for the schools BFA in Graphic Design are taught at Berkeley’s Woodland Park, New Jersey campus and online. Per the school, the curriculum for this hybrid program “exposes students to the problem-solving process using a broad range of traditional, digital, and emerging media.” Students will learn about branding, web design, user interface and interactive design, motion graphics and animation, digital photography and imaging, illustration, filmmaking, game design, packaging, advertising, publication design, and typographic design.
Online students will have opportunities to interact with Interior Design and Design Management students, exhibit their work in the Gallery at Woodland Park, and contribute to the department website. Students participate in (optional) field trips, attend guest lectures and opening receptions, and network with members of the professional art, design, and film communities.
Prior to graduation, BFA students will complete a faculty-monitored internship, a number of job-related assignments, a capstone project, and a professional portfolio of their work.
California Baptist University’s online division is known as CBU Online and Professional Studies (OPS). The division offers more than 40 in-demand bachelors and master’s degrees designed for the working adult. Among the program options is a BA in Graphic Design and Digital Media that may be completed entirely online. Based around hands-on projects and portfolio building, the program consists of 48 units in the major, “covering a full gamut of key Design and Media topics,” says the school.
Students learn to build skills in strategy, innovative problem solving, and critical thinking relevant to today’s work environment and the rigorous curriculum prepares students to be competitive in the workforce.” The Online BA in Graphic Design and Digital Media also “connects aspiring professionals with successful professionals, mentors, and accomplished faculty.”
Course highlights include Intermediate and Advanced Design, Image and Typography, Fundamental, Intermediate, and Advanced Web, and History of Graphic Design. The program also includes use and instruction in Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and Dreamweaver.
Towards the end of the program, students will complete an internship, along with the Senior Capstone. The Capstone showcases the student's “accumulated body of work while in the program.” Students will present 10 portfolio pieces in the Graphic Design Senior Show. “This is an effort to keep the student on task and focused on the portfolio.”
Graduates of the CBU OPS BA in Graphic Design will leave the program as design professionals who are “well-versed in the key principles of design, typography, imaging, web design, scripting, and photography.” In addition, "students will leave the program with the capacity to self-reflect, think critically, lead and engage others, and make effective decisions.”
Students can expect to complete the programs required major units in just 16 months.
Hodges University houses the Nichols School of Professional Studies and Fisher School of Technology, which offer several online programs for aspiring graphic designers. Options include an AA in Digital Design and Graphics (DDG), a BS in Interdisciplinary Studies with a Focus in DDG, an MA in Visual Communication, and an MBA with a Specialization in Visual Communications.
In addition to completing the programs entirely online or on campus, students have the option to complete their program of choice in traditional 8-week terms/16-week semesters or take one class per month over a 4-week term. The one class per month option allows students to move through their courses faster while focusing on just one class at a time. Students complete each course in four weeks and move on to the next one.
As part of Hodges University, all programs are accredited by accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The Digital Design and Graphics programs have additional certification by the American Digital Design Association (ADDA).The program is also supported by organizations that include the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the International Code Council, the American Society of Testing Materials, the Association of Career and Technical Educators, and more. The MBA is accredited by the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE)
Graduates of the Hodges University Graphic Design Programs are prepared to seek positions such as Graphic Designer, Public Relations Specialist, Newspaper and Periodical Designer, Graphic Design Specialist, Mechanical Designer, and many others.
Independence University is an accredited online college that offers career-focused degree programs in everything from healthcare to graphic arts. Programs may be completed at the students own pace or in an accelerated format that takes less time to complete than the average two- to four-year program. Associate degree programs may be completed in as few as 19 months, bachelor’s degree programs may be completed in as little as 36 months, and master’s degrees may be completed in 15 to 16 months.
Two graphics programs are available: the BS in Graphic Arts and the BS in Graphic Arts with an Information Design Emphasis. Per the school, the 36-month, 183 credit hour BS in Graphic Arts covers type, animation, illustration, photography, and other various techniques to help students “master graphic design concepts.” Course highlights include Branding and Identity, Digital Animation, Vector Illustration, Typography, Print Production and Color Theory, Animation Scripting, and Digital Photography.
Students will also gain Adobe software skills including InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, and Animate. During their senior year, designers will complete a Design Capstone Project and a portfolio of their best work.
In addition to most of the same course requirements as the BS in Graphic Arts, the BS with an Information Design Emphasis requires eight Information Design courses. Technology in Communication, Universal Design, and Professional and Technical Communication are just a few key courses.
Students in both programs are assigned a Student Success Team consisting of professionals who remain with students throughout the program. SST support includes tutoring, student advising, and career services at no extra charge. Students also receive a new laptop and tablet to use in school and to keep after graduation.
Graduates of the BS in Graphic Arts are prepared to seek positions such as Graphic Designer, Web Designer, Production Artist, Multimedia Artist, Art Director, and Freelance Graphic Designer. Information design graduates are prepared to seek the same positions, specializing in effective communication techniques. Other options for Information Design graduates include Technical Designer, Web, Mobile, or Social Media Content Developer, and many others.
Liberty University serves more than 100,000 students enrolled in more than 550 programs of study from the certificate to doctoral level. Of these programs, more than 250 are available to students around the globe through the school’s online division. Online student’s access course content through Blackboard, and they connect with classmates through Liberty’s state-of the-art digital resources. Students also have access to 750,000 electronic books, journals, and peer-reviewed articles, as well as the Online Writing Center and online student communities.
The Online BFA in Graphic Design is a 120 credit hour program that takes around 3.5 years to complete. Courses are eight weeks and students may transfer up to 75% of the degree total to Liberty. Like all creative programs at Liberty, students in the BFA in Graphic Design benefit from a hands-on approach to learning and a strong understanding of art history. Per the school, this allows students to “better grasp the critical elements of design such as typography, design principles, page layout, and image manipulation.”
BFA students will experience “a challenging and rewarding curriculum through graphic design online courses and have access to Adobe Creative Cloud products like Photoshop and InDesign.” The curriculum covers 2D and 3D design, publication design, digital photography, and many other areas of graphic design.
Featured courses include History of Art, Introduction to Graphic Design, Digital Imaging, and Graphic Design I. Other program highlights include on-the-job training trough a required 180-hour internship, a 30-hour practicum, a portfolio project leading to a polished portfolio of the student’s work, and the opportunity to develop a broad network of design professionals.
Graduates of the program are prepared to seek positions in all areas of graphic design. Examples include Copy Editor, Art Director, Publication Editor, Web Developer, Multimedia Artist, and Animator.
Midway University offers career-focused majors in areas such as business, communications, education, healthcare, psychology, and sport management. Many of these majors are offered 100% online, in an accelerated format—8-week courses with five start times each year. Through the Moodle Rooms learning management system, online students “connect with their faculty members, join student discussions and have multiple ways to interact and truly be engaged in the learning process,” says the school.
Midway’s Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing Communications has a Graphic Design Emphasis that may be completed entirely online. Courses for the 120 credit hour program introduce students to animation, digital storytelling, brand management, social media management, and Photoshop. Course highlights include Global Brand Management, Digital and Social Media, Digital Animation, Digital Storytelling, Consumer/Audience Analysis, Internal Brand Communication, and Photoshop I & II. A Senior Capstone is also part of the program.
Graduates are prepared to enter a graduate school program or the professional workforce in a variety of environments including advertising agencies, design firms, in-house art departments, commercial printing firms, and marketing departments.
Rasmussen College has 23 campuses and an online division serving more than 15,000 students. The school offers both Bachelor’s and Associate’ degrees in Graphic Design with Specializations in Animation and Motion Graphics or Web and Interactive Design. Per the school, hands-on coursework for the programs “covers real-world scenarios using techniques from multimedia, traditional art, and a wide range of design tactics.” In addition to mastering Adobe software, students will become well versed in traditional print design, typography, color theory, photography, audio/video editing, interactive media, and user experience design.
A unique component of the program is preparation for the Adobe Certified Associate: Visual Communication certification exam in Adobe Photoshop. Students also have the opportunity to obtain two more certifications at no additional cost. In addition, “students will create a portfolio of relevant projects using the innovative techniques they’ve learned to showcase design talent and proficiency to prospective employers.” As students near completion of the program, at the Bachelor’s degree level, they will select one of two options to demonstrate their accumulated skills: an internship course (or a final design project course.
The Associate’s degree program may be completed in as few as 18 months, and the Bachelor’s degree may be completed in as little as 36 months. Graduates of the Associate’s degree program are prepared to enter the graphic design field and, later, advance toward a Bachelor’s degree. Graduates of the Bachelor’s degree program are prepared to enter the field and/or a Master’s degree program.
Sample job titles for graduates of Rasmussen’s Graphic Design programs include Graphic Designer, Motion Graphics Artist, Print Designer, 3D Animation Artist, Digital Designer, Art Director, Animation Designer, Multimedia Artist and Animator, Animation Artist, Visual Media Producer, Production Artist, Website Developer, User Interface Designer, and Web Operations Manager.
Sessions College for Professional Design is a fully accredited online college that provides degree and certificate programs in Graphic Design, Digital Media, Illustration, Advertising Design, Illustration, and Digital Photography. The Graphic Design Program, which leads to an Associate of Occupational Studies (AOS), focuses on career preparation through a variety of hands-on branding and print design projects, and portfolio development with the school’s faculty of professional designers.
The curriculum for the program includes key courses such as Branding and Identity, Logo Design, Package Design, Print Production, Layout Design, InDesign, Photoshop, and Illustrator. Digital Photography, Computer Technology, Bootstrap Using Dreamweaver, Creative Concept Development, and Business and Technical Writing are also on the menu.
The AOS Graphic Design Program wraps up with studies in design business, a live online portfolio review and a Capstone Project. Graduates of the program go on to become Graphic Designers, Animators, Creative Directors, Film and Video Editors, Multimedia Artists, Product Designers, Web Designers, and more.
The online division at Southeastern University (SEU) offers certificates and degrees at all levels in just about every area of study. This includes Digital Media & Design. SEU is the only private Christian university in Florida to offer this program in a convenient, fully online format.
Per the school, students in this Bachelor’s program will “explore and apply the principles and practices of effective graphic design and digital media and design to create compelling messaging in the digital realm.” The program consists of 120 credit hours, including 56 General Education credits, 37 in the Major, and 27 consisting of General Electives.
In the Major, students will complete 19 credit hours in the Digital Media Core, 15 in the Digital Design Core, and three Digital Media & Design Elective credits. Courses cover creative design and communication including digital media, research and writing skills, digital design theory and application, marketing analytics and web design. Key topics range from Advertising Design and Advanced Digital Imaging to Digital Layout and Design, and Magazine and Design Production.
Through electives, students can focus on Advanced Illustration (techniques and concepts, including vector graphics and infographics) or International Photojournalism (advanced photography and photojournalism techniques relevant to international reporting). They may also choose the Communication Internship, which provides the opportunity to gain experience in the publication, digital media, public relations, or related communication field with a professional organization. Students can expect to complete the Bachelor’s in Digital Media & Design in 48 months.
Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) serves more than 100,000 students enrolled in over 300 programs at the school’s 300-acre campus or entirely online. Online students will complete weekly online assignments, with communication through discussion boards and they have access to academic advisors and instructors, to tutoring services and the writing center, and technology assistance from the SNHU Help Desk.
Aspiring graphic designers have several undergraduate options: a BA in Graphic Design and Media Arts or a BA in Graphic Design and Media Arts with a Concentration in 3D Modeling & Animation or Web Design. Graduate options include an MS in Information Technology (IT) with a Concentration in Web Design.
The BA programs include general education and degree-specific courses. General education covers writing, communication, analysis, and problem solving. Degree-specific courses cover graphic design, digital imaging, typography, design and color theory, desktop publishing, and the latest design software. The BA programs require 120 credit hours to graduate and they prepare students for positions such as Advertising Designer, Art Director, Graphic Designer, Print and Packaging Designer, Web Designer, and many others.
Per the school, the MS in IT with a Concentration in Web Design allows students to gain expertise in audience analysis, branding, page layout and templates, content organization, and managing and marketing websites. Students will master HTML/XML, scripting, and embedding rich media and database connectivity. Throughout the 36 credit hour program, MS students will also become familiar with e-commerce techniques, including e-business models, online security, privacy and ethics.
Graduates of the MS program are prepared to seek positions in all areas of graphic design as well as IT and web design and development.
University of Connecticut (UConn) has more than 100 undergraduate majors to choose from through 14 colleges and schools. The Graduate School offers a Graduate Certificate in Digital Media and Design (DMD) that may be completed entirely online. The program is comprised of four courses (12 credits total) that may be applied to a full master’s degree program at UConn.
Per the school, the courses are “strategically chosen in a sequence” so students can build their knowledge in a meaningful, useful way.” Students will “gain a solid foundation in DMD concepts, tools, and analytics; learn how to develop compelling digital content; and understand how to produce effective motion graphics and basic websites.” They will also be introduced to “digital consumer behaviors; strategies for effective website, video, social media, and email campaigns; how to create a digital media marketing plan; and how to employ Google analytics to evaluate results.”
Courses include Creative Digital Fundamentals, Digital Media Analytics, Digital Media Strategies for Business, and Introduction to Web Design. Courses are structured around weekly modules, each with a separate topic. UConn’s online platform, Husky CT/Blackboard, allows students to complete coursework at their own pace and on their own time. The online platform “creates a highly interactive, collaborative experience. Faculty members post questions to a discussion board to which students add their responses—and can respond to each other, providing invaluable feedback and insights.”
Graduates will leave the program with a portfolio of finished work that demonstrates their understanding of DMD. With the DMD Graduate Certificate and portfolio, graduates can secure a new position in the field or seek advancement opportunities in their current careers.