What are the top New York graphic design schools for 2022?

Top 10 Graphic Design School Programs in New York - 2022 College Rankings
1School of Visual ArtsNew York
2The New School's Parsons School of DesignNew YorkNew York
3Pratt InstituteBrooklyn
4The Cooper Union New York
5Syracuse UniversitySyracuse
6Rochester Institute of TechnologyRochester
7Fashion Institute of TechnologyNew York
8Queens CollegeQueens
9Purchase CollegePurchase
10State University of New York at New PaltzNew Paltz

Our 2022 ranking of the top graphic design school programs in New York. For an explanation of the ranking criteria, click here.

1. School of Visual Arts, New York, New York

The School of Visual Arts (SVA) has an interdisciplinary Design Program that offers concentrations in Graphic Design, 3D Design, Interaction Design, and Motion Graphics. Programs lead to a BFA or MFA. Students at both levels will participate in guest lectures, workshops, exhibitions, and competitions covered by CNN, NBC, and others. The program also provides complimentary membership to The One Club for Creativity, which includes The Art Directors Club and Type Directors Club.

All SVA Design students have access to the Digital Imaging Center and internship opportunities at local and national companies, as well as campus-based Visual Arts Press. Graduate students also have 24-hour access to individual, private studios.

The Design Program at School of Visual Arts allows BFA students to customize an additional area of focus within the concentration. Examples include branding, experiential design, editorial design, environmental design, package design, book jacket design, and information graphics. Course examples for BFA students include Foundations of Visual Computing, Computers in Studio I-II, Information Graphics, Toys and Games, and Design for Social Change. During the final year of the program, students will complete a Senior Project course and Portfolio. Sample projects include Designing a Business, Creative Computing for Interaction Experiences, and Differentiate or Die: How to Get a Job When You Graduate.

At the end of every academic year the Design Department hosts an Industry Review Day for graduating seniors. Designers, creative directors, and editors are invited to meet and network with students. the event is held in-person and virtually.

The MFA Design/Design as Entrepreneur covers branding, user experience, motion graphics, video, interaction, digital publishing, new media directing, and art book publishing. Because the program emphasizes leadership and entrepreneurship, other areas explored include business, marketing, networking, research, advertising, intellectual property, and ethnography. Course examples include Type for Masters, Writing and Designing the Visual Book, Designing and Branding, Intellectual Property and the Law, and Design Conception: Developing Your Venture. During the final year of the MFA program, students will complete a several seminars and the Thesis, which consists of six courses.

SVA Design alumni work for advertising agencies, marketing firms, publishing companies, design studios, nonprofit organizations, museums, and more. Some SVA alumni have even founded their own start-ups, studios, and design firms, while others have become partners in businesses and individual projects. To date, School of Visual Arts alumni have started more than 50 design studios around the world.

The School of Visual Arts (SVA) is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), and/or the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA). The school opened as the Cartoonists and Illustrators School in 1947 with 35 students and three teachers. Today, the School of Visual Arts serves more than 4,000 students enrolled in more than 30 BFA, MA, MFA, and MPS programs.

2. The New School's Parsons School of Design, New York, New York
The New School Parsons School of Design

The New School's Parsons School of Design houses the School of Art, Media, and Technology (AMT) which has a Communication Design Program with several degree pathways. The AAS in Communication Design is a campus-based 60 credit hour program with full-time and part-time schedules. Course examples for the program include Design History & Practice, Typography & Interaction, and Professional Practices & Portfolio. The Communication Design AAS program can be completed in just two years, full-time. 

The Parsons School of Design (Parsons) BFA in Communication Design is the oldest undergraduate program of its kind in the U.S. Consisting of 120 credits and STEM-designated, the program is offered on-campus, full-time. Studio course examples include Drawing/Imaging, Space/Materiality, and Time. Other courses include Design Studies, Interaction Lab, Objects as History, and Typography Lab. The Parsons BFA in Communication Design takes four years to complete.

Parsons has one option for graphic designers seeking an advanced degree. The Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Communication Design, with a Concentration in Digital Product Design is a specialized program that emphasizes teamwork strategies and collaboration. This full-time, STEM-designated program consists of 30 credits taken over one year.

Students in all Parsons School of Design programs benefit from interdisciplinary collaboration, visiting artists, lectures, and AMT events, and access to Our Making Center, which consists of 600 workstations and facilities for animation, 3D prototyping, printmaking, and motion capture.

Graduates of the Parsons School of Design AAS and BFA programs work in brand and editorial design, type design, data visualization, digital product design, exhibition design, motion graphics, UX/UI design, and environmental and spatial graphics at creative agencies, tech companies, publishing companies, cultural institutions such as MoMA and the New York Times, digital design firms, and start-ups.

Graduates of the MPS program have gone on to pursue advanced degrees in areas such as Human-Computer-Interaction (HCI). Others are Interaction Designers, Product Managers, Digital Product Designers, and Entrepreneurs.

The New School is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), with Parsons included within the scope of MSCHE accreditation. The New School was founded in 1896 as The Chase School by American Impressionist William Merritt Chase. In 1904, Arts Educator Frank Alvah Parsons joined the school, later becoming its sole director. Between 1904 and 1910, Parsons launched three programs: Advertising, Costume Design, and Interior Decoration.

Today, as one institution known as The New School Parsons, this art and design college serves more than 5,000 students enrolled in 130 degree and diploma programs. Around 275 additional students attend Parsons Paris, which offers undergraduate, graduate, minor, and summer programs.

3. Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York
Pratt Institute

The School of Design at Pratt Institute (Pratt) launched in 2014. The school houses the Communications Design Program, which offers BFA and MFA degrees in Communications Design. Also offered in the School of Design are the Associate of Occupational Studies (AOS) in Graphic Design, an AAS in Graphic Design/Illustration, and an MS in Packaging, Identities and Systems Design.

In addition to degree programs, Pratt Institute offers certificate programs in the School of Continuing Studies. Options for designers include Graphic Design, Digital Design, Branding & Digital Marketing, Digital Product Design, UX/UI Mobile Design, Human-Centered Design, and Motion Graphics.

The Communications Design BFA at Pratt Institute has three emphasis areas: Advertising Art Direction, Graphic Design, and Illustration. Course examples across programs include Image as Communication, Sketchbook Warehouse, Process and Production, Advertising, Emerging Practices, Typography, Illustration, Package Design, Special Topics: Publications, Freelancing & Business Illustration and Graphic Design, Typeface Design, and Sequential Art and Graphic Novel. Students in all emphasis areas may complete an internship at a field related professional site. Successful completion of the Senior Project is required to graduate.

The Graphic Design AOS and Graphic Design/Illustration AAS Programs are 66 credit hours each. The AOS is an intensive, career-track program with an all art and design curriculum. Designed for high school graduates and adults with or without a degree, the AOS includes capstone courses and internship opportunities. Course examples include Graphic Design I-II, Digital Design, Packaging Design I-II, Digital Media, Typography I-III, UI/UX Interactive Media I-II, and Advertising Design I-II. In just two years, AAS students will graduate with a professional portfolio of their best work, along with the skills needed to pursue immediate employment in graphic design, interactive media, advertising, package design, web design, illustration, game design, and publishing.

The AAS in Graphic Design/Illustration at Pratt Institute prepares students for transfer into the Fine Arts Department at Pratt Institute, the Communications Design BFA, or other school or related program of their choice. The program combines advanced art and design coursework with liberal studies. Course examples for the program include Light, Color and Design I-II, Material and 3 Dimensional Form, Illustration I-II, Themes in Art and Culture, Pre-Press and Print Production, History of Art and Design, Communication Design I-II, and UI/UX Interactive Media I.

The Communications Design MFA at Pratt Institute consists of 60 credit hours that may be completed in two years. Courses are taught by renowned professionals in the field. Students in the program will complete several studio courses, attend seminars, and complete a thesis and exhibition. Graduates of the program are prepared for academic careers, as well as leadership positions in identity systems and branding, user experience design, typography, information design, and environmental design, design strategy, print and digital media, social media and interaction design, and data visualization.

First offered in 1966, the MS in Packaging, Identities and Systems Design at Pratt consists of 48 credit hours, completed within two years. Course examples include Structural Packaging, Visual Perception, Cross-Platform Design, Packaging and the Retail Space, Sustainability and Design, Prototyping and Production, Packaging Design I-II, and Design Management. The Capstone Project is an end-of-degree course that results in a professional body of work.

Students in all programs and schools at Pratt Institute have the opportunity to enroll in one of more than 20 study abroad programs and international exchange programs in over a dozen locations such London, Milan,  Florence, Tokyo, and Copenhagen.

Pratt Institute is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). Founded in 1887, Pratt serves 4,875 students across campuses in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Utica, New York. More than 50 undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs are offered in six schools including Architecture, Art, Design, Information, Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Continuing and Professional Studies.

4. The Cooper Union, New York, New York
The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art

The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art (Cooper Union) houses the School of Art, which offers a BFA in Art. This flexible, 130 credit hour program allows students to choose courses from seven disciplines upon completion of the first year Foundation Program. Options include Graphic Design, Printmaking, Drawing, Photography, Audiovisual, Painting, and Sculpture. In the Junior year of the Art BFA Program, students may take electives from the Schools of Architecture and Engineering to enhance the degree.

The Senior year consists of advanced coursework, seminar and studio courses, and development of the Senior Presentation for public viewing. Course examples include Four-Dimensional Design, Independent Study in Calligraphy, Animation Workshop, Advanced Drawing, Graphic Design I-II, Art of the Book, Information Design, Experimental Typography, Publication Design, Interactive Design Concepts, Motion Graphics, and Advanced Interactive Design Concepts: Computational Media.

All Cooper Union students have the opportunity to complete an internship and/or study abroad experience. Art BFA graduates are prepared to pursue careers in Advertising and Public Relations, Marketing, Design, Publishing, Package Design, Motion Graphics, Web Design, Entertainment, and many others. 

The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art has been accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) since 1946. Founded in 1859 by industrialist, inventor, and philanthropist Peter Cooper, Cooper Union is one of the nation’s oldest institutions of higher education.

Serving close to 900 students, this all-honor private college awards all admitted undergraduate students a half-tuition scholarship currently valued at $22,275 per academic year. Programs at Cooper Union are offered in the Irwin S. Chann School of Architecture, School of Art, Albert Nerken School of Engineering, and the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences.

5. Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York
Syracuse University

Syracuse University (SU) houses the College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA), home to the School of Design and the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. A BFA in Communications Design is offered in the VPA School of Design, and a Bachelor’s in Graphic Design is available in the Newhouse School-Visual Communications Department.

Students in the BFA in Communications Design Program benefit from individual and group collaborations, projects covering everything from advertising to web and social media, internship opportunities with local and national companies, and the opportunity to study abroad in London through Syracuse Study Abroad. Course examples for this 120 credit hour program include Digital Tools for Designers, Communication Design Problems, Design Skills & Processes, Design Project management, Studio 1: Practices of Academic Writing, and Studio 2: Critical Research Writing.

During the final year of the VPA Communications Design Program, students will complete the Portfolio & Practice course. Final portfolios will be displayed at the annual two-day Senior Portfolio Show in New York City. Graduates of the program work at top firms across the country as Designer, Creative Directors, and more.

The Newhouse School Bachelor’s in Graphic Design explores design as it relates to digital, web, print, and video. Course examples include Typographic Graphic Design, User Interface and User Experience (UI/UX) Design, and Introduction to Graphic Design. A major component of the program is the Fall Workshop. Established in 1999, the Workshop hosts industry professionals from around the world that serve as mentors for student projects. The Newhouse School Graphic Design Bachelor’s Degree Program prepares students for creative careers advertising, branding, publishing, augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR), UI/UX, and web design, among others.

Graduates of the Syracuse University Newhouse Graphic Design Program have been recruited by Google, The Washington Post, Amazon, and many others. Some program alumni have gone on to launch their own creative agencies and studios.

Syracuse University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). Founded in 1870, the school serves around 21,330 students from all 50 states and 120 countries. More than 200 majors and minors, and 200 advanced degree programs, are offered across SU’s 13 colleges and schools. In addition to campuses in Syracuse, and Manhattan, New York, Washington DC, and Los Angeles, Syracuse University operates overseas centers in France, Italy, London, Poland, Chile, and Spain.

6. Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, New York
Rochester Institute of Technology

Rochester Institute of Technology’s (RIT) College of Art and Design houses the School of Design, which has undergraduate and graduate programs for graphic designers. The BFA in Graphic Design is a 120 credit hour program that provides opportunities to gain industry experience through cooperative education and internships with top companies in New York and across the country. Coursework for the program also provides learning experiences through collaborative class projects with RIT partners such as Starbucks, Kraft, and Unilever.

BFA students will study everything from branding and identity systems to UI/UX. Senior electives allow students to choose advanced coursework in an area that interests them. Examples include Editorial Design, Interactive Design III, Packaging Systems Collaborative, Packing Systems Projects, Typography III, and Advertising Design. All students will take four Graphic Design Studio courses, Design Systems I-II, Experiential Graphic Design, Interactive Design I-II, Motion Design I-II, and Professional Practices.  The RIT Graphic Design BFA culminates with a Graphic Design Capstone and final public exhibition.

Graduates of the Rochester Institute of Technology Graphic Design Program are prepared to pursue positions such as Product Designer, Associate Art Director, Junior Graphic Designer, Illustrator, Digital Product Designer, Motion Designer, UI/UX Designer, Promotions Marketing Coordinator, Presentation Designer, Social Media Director, Identity/Packaging Designer, and UI/UX Designer, among others.

At the graduate level, RIT offers a 60 credit hour, STEM-designated MFA in Visual Communication Design that explores graphic, motion, and interactive design, UI/UX design, 3D digital design, and design studies. The program is cross-disciplinary, allowing students customize the curriculum with coursework from other programs and departments. Like the BFA Program, the MFA program offers access to cooperative education and internship opportunities, as well as workshops, state-of-the art production facilities and studio spaces, and networking through RIT’s Creative Industry Day.

Course and elective examples for the program include 3D Modeling and Motion, Design Studies Seminar, Character Design and Rigging, 3D Particles and Dynamics, Design Praxis I-II, Real Time Design, Branding and Identity Design, Programming for Designers, UX Design Strategies, Information Design, Digital Media Integration, and Project Design and Implementation.

With a 100% outcome rate, graduates of the Rochester Institute of Technology VCD MFA Program go on to secure employment in positions such as Senior Visual Designer, Graphic and UI/UX Designer, Product Designer, Motion Graphic Designer, User Experience Researcher, Game Producer, and Cinematographer and Editor, among others.

Rochester Institute of Technology is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). Dating back to 1829, the school serves more than 19,000 students, making it one of the largest private universities in the U.S. With additional campuses in China, Croatia, Dubai, and Kosovo, RIT offers more than 200 academic programs across 11 colleges and institutes.

7. Fashion Institute of Technology, New York, New York
Fashion Institute of Technology

The School of Art and Design at Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) has two program options for Graphic Designers—an AAS in Communication Design and a BFA in Graphic Design. Both programs provide hands-on learning, collaborative and experimental design projects, courses taught by experienced design professionals, and access to 36 minors. Examples that complement the AAS and BFA Programs include 3D Design, Color Studies, Design Thinking, Communication Studies, Creative Entrepreneurship, International Trade and Marketing, Ethics and Sustainability, and Creative Technology.

Part of the Communication Design Pathways Department, the FIT Communication Design AAS is an introductory program that explores topics such as color theory, design process, typography, digital design, and visual communication tools. Graduates of the program AAS graduates are prepared for Entry-level positions in Graphic Design or entry into an FIT BFA Program such as Graphic Design, Packaging Design, Advertising and Digital Design, or Spatial Experience Design.

The Graphic Design BFA at FIT consists of a curriculum that prepares students for immediate employment, participation industry-sponsored competitions, and a mandatory internship. By exploring topics from editorial and web design to corporate identity systems and kinetic typography, students will develop skills in branding and identity systems, experiential design, advanced and kinetic typography, UI/UX and motion graphics, and editorial design.

Graduates of the Fashion Institute of Technology Graphic Design BFA Program work for nonprofit organizations and cultural institutions, advertising agencies and design studios, branding and interactive agencies, and music producers. FIT alumni have been hired at Atlantic Records, The Jewish Museum, BBDO, MoMA, Nike, Sony Music, R/GA, New York Public Library, Hyperkat, Landor Brand Consulting and Design, and ThinkBrands, among others.

Fashion Institute of Technology is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), and the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA). Part of the State University of New York (SUNY) System, FIT opened in 1944 inside the High School of Needles Trades. On the first day of class, the school had 100 students. Today, FIT spans an entire city block and serves 8,150 students, according to the most recent available figures. Programs are offered at the undergraduate and graduate levels in five academic divisions.

8. Queens College, Queens, New York
Queens College

The School of Arts & Humanities at Queens College (QC or Queens) is home to the Art Department, which has a Design BFA Program with four concentrations: Communication Design, Interaction Design, Illustration and Animation. Minors in Graphic Design, Interaction Design, Animation & Illustration, and Digital Moviemaking & Imagemaking are also available. Each Minor requires 21 credit hours.

In the concentration, students may choose five courses from elective options and eight design elective courses. Students will also have the opportunity to complete an internship. Course examples include Advertising Design, Information Design, Adobe Flash, VT: Pixel-based Imagery, Video Graphics and Compositing, Storyboarding and Storytelling, Digital Imagemaking, Game Design, Physical Computing, and VT: 3D Animation.

Design BFA graduates will leave the program with a portfolio of their best work. Potential careers include Graphic Designer, Product Designer, Packaging Designer, Book Designer, Web Designer, Illustrator, Exhibit Designer, Brand Manager, and Book Designer, among others.

Queens College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). Founded in 1937, QC is part of the City University of New York (CUNY) system. QC serves more than 19,000 students enrolled in over 170 areas of study leading to a bachelor’s or master’s degree. Programs at Queens College are housed in the Schools of Arts & Humanities, Education, Math & Natural Sciences, and Social Sciences.

9. Purchase College, Purchase, New York
Purchase College

The School of Art + Design at Purchase College has a Graphic Design BFA Program that consists of general education coursework and 84-86 credits in visual arts and graphic design. Learning takes place in a studio environment with access to labs and studios to  work on projects and portfolios. Course examples for the program include Extended Media, Social Design, 3D Processes, Digital Media for Designers I-II, History of Graphic Design Survey, Advanced Typography, Design and Culture, Word and Image I-IV, and Community Design.

BFA students also have access to coursework from the Printmaking Program. This allows students to explore courses in book design and experimental publishing. During the Junior or Senior years of the BFA Program, students have the opportunity to complete an internship worth four credits. All students will complete the Junior Seminar, and Senior Project I-II. The program culminates with the Online Exhibition of student projects from the BFA and BS in Visual Arts Programs.

Graduates of the Purchase College Graphic Design Program have established successful careers such as Director of Advertising, Brand Identity Developer, Magazine Designer, Corporate Designer, Production Artist, Book Designer, Web Designer, Layout Artist, Television Graphic Designer, Art Director, and Multimedia Designer.

Purchase College has been continuously accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) since 1976. Purchase is also an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). A member of the State University of New York System (SUNY), Purchase College was established by Governor Nelson Rockefeller in 1967. The school serves around 3,615 students enrolled in BA, BS, BFA, and MusB degrees in more than 40 areas in the Schools of the Arts, Art + Design, Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Continuing Education.

10. State University of New York at New Paltz, New Paltz, New York
State University of New York at New Paltz

The School of Fine & Performing Arts (F&PA) at State University of New York at New Paltz (SUNY New Paltz) houses the Department of Art—home to the Graphic Design Program. Leading to a BFA, this professional, cross-disciplinary program features small class sizes, visiting artists, participation in the Design Society and Student Art Alliance, and New Paltz Design Week, which consists of workshops, networking events, and public lectures. Courses for the program are taught in a hybrid studio/seminar format where critiques, lectures, demonstrations, and discussions alternate with time spent working on projects. Student projects are often collaborations with peers from other SUNY New Paltz programs.

The SUNY New Paltz Department of Art also hosts field trips to design studios and museums, lectures in Albany and New York City, and study abroad experiences in countries such as France, Australia, England, Italy, and Scotland. All BFA students will have the opportunity to complete an internship as well. Examples of companies that have hired F&PA student interns include Cosmopolitan Magazine, Slack, Grey Advertising, Marquee Brands, Consumer Report, Smithsonian Folk Life Festival, and Moonfarmer, among others.

The Graphic Design BFA Program culminates with a Graphic Design Thesis and participation in the Graphic Design Senior Thesis Show. Students will leave the program with a professional portfolio of their best work.

Graduates of the SUNY New Paltz Graphic Design BFA Program go on to establish careers in areas such as Interactive Design, Print Publishing, Web Design, and more. Some graduates have launched their own design studios or freelance careers. Recent Graphic Design BFA alumni are employed at Simon & Schuster, Google, Coach, HarperCollins, United by Blue, CNN, the U.S. Tennis Association, NYS Assembly, NBC Universal, Time Inc., and General Electric.

State University of New York at New Paltz accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). Founded in 1828 as the New Paltz Classical School, SUNY New Paltz serves around 7,760 students enrolled in nearly 100 undergraduate and over 50 graduate degree programs in six academic schools.