What are the top graphic design BFA programs for 2023?

Top 25 Graphic Design BFA Programs in the U.S. – 2023 College Rankings
1Rhode Island School of DesignRhode Island
2School of Visual ArtsNew York
3Savannah College of Art and DesignGeorgia
4Pratt InstituteNew York
5ArtCenter College of DesignCalifornia
6California Institute of the ArtsCalifornia
7The New School's Parsons School of DesignNew York
8Ringling College of Art and DesignFlorida
9Maryland Institute College of ArtMaryland
10University of Texas at AustinTexas
11California College of the ArtsCalifornia
12Virginia Commonwealth UniversityVirginia
13School of the Art Institute of ChicagoIllinois
14University of North TexasTexas
15Minneapolis College of Art and DesignMinnesota
16Otis College of Art and DesignCalifornia
17The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art New York
18Washington University in St. LouisMissouri
19Brigham Young UniversityUtah
20University of Southern CaliforniaCalifornia
21Auburn UniversityAlabama
22University of FloridaFlorida
23University of KansasKansas
24Fashion Institute of TechnologyNew York
25University of Illinois at Urbana – ChampaignIllinois

Below are the Top 25 Graphic Design schools and colleges in the US offering Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree programs for 2023. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.

1. Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, Rhode Island
Rhode Island School of Design

Serving approximately 165 undergraduates and dozens of graduate students, the Graphic Design Department at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) is one of the school’s largest units. Leading to a BFA, the four-year undergraduate Graphic Design Program provides the opportunity to collaborate, work, and learn in dedicated studios housed in the RISD Design Center. The program is project-based, allowing students to explore UX design, packaging, book cover book design, film graphics, and more. Course examples include Design Studio 1-4, Typography 1-2, Color + Surface, and History of Graphic Design.

Other BFA Program benefits include electives and workshops that allow students to work in various areas of graphic design; visiting artists, critics, and designers from around the world; and the opportunity to pursue professional internships during the junior and senior years of the program.

The Graphic Design BFA Program at Rhode Island School of Design ends with an independent degree project to be reviewed by visiting critics.

Rhode Island School of Design graduates enjoy a high employment rate. Around 96% of RISD alumni are employed one year after graduation, with 70% employed in positions directly related to their major. RISD Graphic Design alumni are Senior Graphic Designers, UX Designers, Art Directors, Brand Identity Designers, Product Designers, Industrial Designers, Textile Designers, and Creative Designers, among others.

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

The Design Program at School of Visual Arts (SVA) has several concentration options for undergraduate students who would like to study graphic design. Options include 3D Design, Motion Graphics, Interaction Design, and Graphic Design. Leading to a BFA, all options provide opportunities to engage with guest lecturers, participate in workshops and exhibitions, and enter competitions covered by CNN, NBC, and others. In addition, the SVA Design Program  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 the 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 their chosen concentration. Examples include package design, editorial design, branding, environmental design, book jacket design, experiential design, or 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.

Graduates of the Design Programs at School of Visual Arts hold positions at advertising agencies, marketing firms, publishing companies, design studios, nonprofit organizations, museums, and more. Some SVA alumni have even launched 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 launched more than 50 design studios around the world.

3. Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, Georgia
Savannah College of Art and Design

The Graphic Design Program at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) provides degree options at all levels. For students seeking a BFA, the SCAD Graphic Design Program can be completed at the Savannah or Atlanta campuses, and online. Students in the program benefit from courses taught by industry professionals from companies such as Google, Hasbro, and Airbnb; individual critiques and mentoring by top professionals in the design industry; and access to events such as SCADstyle, which attracts the biggest names in modern design, fashion, and global art.

All SCAD Graphic Design students have the opportunity to add a minor to enhance the degree. Examples include Advertising, Mobile and Interactive Design, Advertising Copywriting, Mobile and Interactive Design, Advertising and Branding, and User Experience Design. Students may also add the Digital Publishing Certificate. Undergraduates may choose up to 20 hours of electives, which provides additional opportunities to develop skills in multiple areas of art and design. At every degree level, SCAD students have the opportunity to complete an internship at a local, regional, national, or global company.

Graduates of the Graphic Design Program at Savannah College of Art and Design go on to establish careers in Graphic Design, Branding, Package Design, UX Design, Mobile App Design, and Interactive Design. Program alumni have been hired at Disney, Apple, Google, Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, Reddit, Hulu, Riot Games, Stripe, Groupon, Yelp, Verizon, IBM, Facebook, Live Nation, Airbnb, Under Armour, and Ralph Lauren. Some program alumni have gone on to launch their own design studios, while others have established successful freelance careers.

4. Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York
Pratt Institute

Pratt Institute (Pratt) houses the School of Design. Established in 2014, the School is home to the Communications Design BFA Program. Three emphasis areas are available including Graphic Design, Advertising Art Direction, and Illustration. Course examples across areas 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 and participate in one of more than 20 study abroad and international exchange programs in over a dozen locations. Examples include Tokyo, Florence, Copenhagen, London, and Milan.

Pratt graduates have been hired at a variety of major companies and organizations such as Apple, Penguin Random House, DreamWorks Animation, Hasbro, IBM, Warner Music Group, Peacock, Carhartt, Dior, HBO, Gensler, Perkins Eastman, Memorial Sloan Kettering, NYC Department of Transportation, and HOK Group.

5. ArtCenter College of Design, Pasadena, California
ArtCenter College of Design

ArtCenter College of Design (ArtCenter) has a Graphic Design (Gx) BFA Program that consists of 132 units. The program explores both traditional and emerging media such as coding, apps, packaging, 3D motion graphics, film, books, and press kits. Students in the program will complete 87 studio units and the remainder in Humanities & Sciences.

The BFA curriculum is hands-on and courses are taught by professors with expertise in packaging, transmedia design, motion, visual interaction, and print. Course examples include Visual Interaction Design, Transmedia, Communication Design: Information and Context, Identity Systems, Graphic Design History, Narrative Sketching, and Business. During the final term of the Gx BFA at ArtCenter College of Design, students will complete the Portfolio and Career Preparation course.   

Throughout the program, ArtCenter Gx BFA students will have opportunities to complete projects in state-of-the-art facilities at ArtCenter such as Archetype Press and Hoffmitz Milken Center for Typography. Students will work on real-world digital campaigns, collaborate with subject experts, and create and distribute materials for ArtCenter partners such as Adobe, Nike, Cedars-Sinai Research Centers, and Homeboy Industries. Students will also have the opportunity to develop their own entrepreneurial branding.

Students in all ArtCenter College of Design programs have the opportunity to intern, network, and interview with Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Warner Bros., Meta, Apple, Ford, Mattel, Nike, Netflix, BMW, DreamWorks, Blizzard Entertainment, Walt Disney Imagineering, Riot Games, and Honda.

ArtCenter Graphic Design alumni go on to establish careers in areas such as branding and corporate identity, printing and poster design, package design, motion graphics, film title design, publication design, environmental graphic design, transmedia design, exhibition design, web design and development, visual interaction design, art direction, production management, information architecture, app design, and broadcast graphics.

Many ArtCenter graduates have been hired at Google, Meta, IDEO, and Local Projects—an exhibition and media design firm for museums and public spaces.

6. California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, California
California Institute of the Arts

California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) houses the School of Art, home to the Graphic Design BFA Program, which provides small critique-based classes taught by industry professionals with years of experience. The program also provides 24 hour access to communal studios, access to state-of-the-art facilities and labs, and the opportunity to work with faculty mentors throughout the program. Mentoring is a major component of all programs at CalArts.

Course examples for the Graphic Design BFA Program include Digital Skills for Artists, Design Issues, VR Workshop, Digital Design Lab, Graphic Design I-IV, Skills for Visualization, Image Making, Motion, Web Design, Typography I-III, Sand Professional Practice for Graphic Design. Students will also complete several workshops during this four-year program. To enhance the degree, BFA students may add the Digital Arts Minor, which consists of 18 units of study. Students in the Minor can explore sound production and programming, filmmaking, animation, and games creation for the web.

All CalArts students have the opportunity to enroll in the internship program, study abroad, and complete a portfolio of their best work.

CalArts Graphic Design alumni work in a variety of positions at major companies, studios and academic institutions such as Google, Walt Disney Imagineering, Meta, Whitney Museum of Art, Evernote, M+ Works, North Carolina State University College of Design, Art Center College of Design, and Otis College of Design.

7. 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 (Parsons) is home to the School of Art, Media, and Technology (AMT), which has a Communication Design BFA Program that is the oldest undergraduate program of its kind in the U.S.

STEM-designated and consisting of 120 credits, the Parsons BFA Program is offered on-campus, full-time and it takes four years to complete. Studio course examples include Drawing/Imaging, Space/Materiality, and Time. Other courses include Design Studies, Interaction Lab, Objects as History, and Typography Lab. All Parsons School of Design students benefit from interdisciplinary collaboration, visiting artists and lecturers, 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 Communication Design BFA Program at Parsons School of Design 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 houses, digital design firms, start-ups, and cultural institutions such as MoMA and the New York Times.

8. Ringling College of Art and Design, Sarasota, Florida
Ringling College of Art and Design

The Graphic Design Program at Ringling College of Art and Design (RCAD) has been around since 1980. Leading to  BFA, the program features an immersive, studio-based curriculum, visiting artists from major studios such as DreamWorks, internships opportunities, and the opportunity to work on real-world projects with local businesses and at The Design Center—RCAD’s in-house design firm.

Course examples include Graphic Design I-VI, Design & Typography, Development of Art & Ideas, Design & Typography, 3D Problem Solving, New Media UI/UX, Drawing & 2D Design, Visual Persuasion Designing with Type, and Literature and Media Studies. Electives for the program allow students to explore a variety of interests. Elective examples include Intro to Letterpress, Wearable Messages, New Music: Music Branding, Design for Business, and Word, Image and Book.

Graduates of the Ringling College of Art and Design Graphic Design Program are prepared for a variety of different careers in many industries. RCAD alumni are Graphic Designers, Creative Directors, Visual Designers, Product Designers, Art Directors, and Interactive Designers, among others. They have worked with major companies, firms, and studios such as Apple, Saatchi & Saatchi X, Microsoft, Walt Disney Imagineering, Google, Nickelodeon, Netflix, Hallmark, Wieden+Kennedy, Meta, Leo Burnett, Ogilvy, BBC Studios, Walt Disney Imagineering, GM, Arc Worldwide, Instagram, Cartoon Network, LinkedIn, Spotify, Target, Hasbro, and Squarespace. Some RCAD alumni have gone on to launch their own design firms or freelance businesses.

9. Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, Maryland
Maryland Institute College of Art

Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) requires all undergraduate students to complete the First Year Experience (FYE), which allows them to explore various programs and build foundation-level art and design skills. The FYE is also designed to prepare students for upper-level study within MICA’s Undergraduate Studies (UGS) programs.

For students interested in an undergraduate degree in Graphic Design, MICA has a Graphic Design BFA Program with three Concentrations including Graphic Design Studio, Graphic Design + Humanistic Studies, and Book Arts Studio. The program consists of 120 credit hours and a three-year sequence of core design courses. Course examples include Graphic Design I-IV, Photoimaging, Typography I-III, Flexible Design Studio, Drawing: Tradition and Innovation, Designing Information, and Advanced Design.

BFA students may also choose a Minor to enhance the degree or focus in an additional area. More than 20 Minor options are available. Examples include Illustration, Animation, Sequential Art, Printmaking, Interactive Arts, Creative Entrepreneurship, Photography, Film & Video, Game Design, and Sustainability & Social Practice.

Graduates of the MICA Graphic Design BFA Program are prepared to pursue positions in advertising, marketing, public relations, entertainment, retail, architecture, multimedia, app design, social media, user experience design, and more.

10. University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas
University of Texas at Austin

The College of Fine Arts at the University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) houses the School of Design and Creative Technologies. Within the School is the Design Department. Housed in the Doty Fine Arts Building (DFA) and the Art Building (ART), the Department has a Design BFA Program that explores graphic design, interaction design, and industrial design. All coursework for the program is project-based and industry oriented, with the opportunity to create a specialization through courses across five areas: Graphic Design, Interaction Design, Industrial Design, Design History, and Design Research.

The Design BFA is a pre-professional degree consisting of 120 credit hours. Around two-thirds of the courses for this program are in Design and related coursework. Course examples include Identity Systems, Typography I-III, Design and Social Environment, and Industrial Design. Students in the Design BFA Program will complete one or more paid internships along with a capstone design project that will be presented in UT Austin’s Annual Public Exhibition. Students have interned at places such as Apple, Google, Samsung, Dell, IBM, and EA Games.

Students in all UT Austin Design Programs also have plenty of opportunities to engage in experiential learning through the school’s internship and study abroad programs.

Graduates of the Design Program at UT Austin are Graphic Designers, Brand Designers, UI/UX Designers, Book Designers, Interaction Designers, Art Directors, Product Designers, Project Managers, Design Strategists, Visual Designers, Industrial Designers, an Entrepreneurs, among others. UT Austin Design graduates work at Walt Disney Imagineering, Razorfish, Deloitte, Meta, The New York Times, H-E-B Digital, Publicis Sapient, Serenity Forge, Droga5, Double A Labs, Gensler, and frog design (part of Capgemini Invent).

11. California College of the Arts, San Francisco, California
California College of the Arts

The Graphic Design Program at California College of the Arts (CCA) provides access to a dedicated studio space, a Prototyping Studio, and the Hybrid Lab, where students can explore virtual reality and other emerging technologies. Students also have access to the Book Arts and Letterpress studio, which houses bookbinding equipment and lithography presses. Leading to a BFA, the Graphic Design Program begins with the First Year Experience, where students have the opportunity to explore a range of techniques, tools, and materials, and participate in studio projects and critiques.

Course examples for this 120 credit hour program include Graphic Design 1-3, Advanced Interactive, 2D, 3D, and 4D, Professional Practice Workshop, Typography 1-3, Graphic Design Tools, and Writing 1-2. To graduate, Graphic Design BFA students will complete an internship and a Thesis Project.

Upon completion of the program, students are prepared for careers such as Graphic Designer, UX Designer, Product Designer, Book Designer, Motion Graphics Designer, Type Designer, Interaction Designer, Visual Designer, Web Designer, Identity Designer, Editorial Designer, and Service Designer.

Graduates of the Graphic Design BFA Program at California College of the Arts are successful freelancers, entrepreneurs, and salaried professionals. They work for companies and studios such as Google, IDEO, MacFadden & Thorpe, frog design, California Academy of Sciences, Snap Inc. Wolff Olins, Bonfire Labs, and Atlassian.

12. Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia
Virginia Commonwealth University

Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) is home to the School of the Arts (VCUarts), which houses the Department of Graphic Design. At the undergraduate level, the Department has a Graphic Design BFA that provides access to resources such as the student-run Golab, which provides print and production services, and middle Of broad (mOb)—an experimental design lab that provides opportunities to work on real-world state projects. Past projects have included projects signage for the James River Park System, a reimagined Monument Avenue in Richmond and the development of bridge concepts for Interstate 95.

Consisting of 122 credit hours, the VCUarts Graphic Design BFA includes the mandatory Art Foundation Program (AFO), which provides a first year, studio-based experience that explores current issues in art and design. Upon completion of the AFO, students move on to studio and seminar courses in graphic design that will help them develop skills in interaction design, publication and print design, and sequential and motion design. Course examples include Typeface Design, Book Arts, Design Activism, Research as Practice, and Web Design.

Graduates of the VCUarts Graphic Design Program are Environmental Graphic Designers, Broadcast/Film Designers, Creative Directors, Interaction/Interface Designers, and Exhibition Designers.

13. School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
School of the Art Institute of Chicago

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) houses the Visual Communication Design (VCD) Department, which has two pathways to study Graphic Design. At the undergraduate level, students can earn a Studio BFA with a VCD Focus that explores physical media (environments, objects and print) and virtual media (interactive and time-based media). Course examples for the program include Symbol Design, Interaction design/Interface Design, Publication Design, Font/Typography Design, Website Design/Cross-Platform Design, Letterpress Printing and Book Binding, Exhibition Design, Environmental Graphics, Poster Design, and Motion Graphics Design.

Students in all SAIC Design Programs have access to the VCD AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Arts) Chapter, which hosts local visiting designers, tours of Chicago studios, the annual Town Hall AIGA event, and a biannual portfolio preparation seminar. The VCD Department also offers the opportunity for students to participate in Exploratory Languages—the visiting designer lecture series; juror-led student workshops; and jurors’ lectures through the Chicago International Poster Biennial (CIPB).

VCD BFA students are encouraged to complete a Career and Professional Experience (CAPX) internship, and participate in the Fall or Spring Exhibition, and the year-end Visual Communication Design Show. Graduates of the SAIC VCD Program will enter the workforce with a professional portfolio of their best work.

Graduates of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago are employed at museums, advertising agencies, marketing firms, non-profit organizations, and major companies and studios across the U.S.

14. University of North Texas, Denton, Texas
University of North Texas

The College of Visual Arts and Design (CVAD) at the University of North Texas (UNT) houses the Design Department, which a Communication Design BFA with two tracks: Graphic Design and User-Experience Design (UX Design). Both tracks consist of studio coursework, with Graphic Design students taking additional requirements such as Foundations for Communication Design, Image-Making and Color Theory, and Typography I. UX Design students will take additional requirements such as Foundations of User-Centered Design, Contextual Research Methods, and Typographic Systems.

Other course examples across Tracks include Cause-Based Design, Image Making & Color Theory, Communication Design Studio, Interaction Design, Data Visualization & the Design of Information, Advanced Product Design in UX Design, Prototyping & User Testing, Planning and Developing Interactive Systems, Art History Survey I-III, and GD Advanced Campaigns.

Students in both Tracks may add a minor such as Printmaking, New Media Art, Photography, or Art History. All UNT Communication Design students will complete a portfolio of their best work to graduate.

Program alumni are prepared to work in advertising, publishing, entertainment, manufacturing, and computer systems design. University of North Texas CVAD graduates also qualify for jobs in government agencies, colleges and universities, nonprofit organizations, and museums.

15. Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Minneapolis College of Art and Design

The Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) houses a Graphic Design Program that consists of hands-on training opportunities through internships and other experiential learning activities; critiques and collaborative projects; and study abroad experiences in places such England, Italy, Japan, Germany, Ireland, or anywhere in the U.S.

Leading to a BFA, the 120 credit hour Graphic Design Program combines core courses, foundation studies, and studio electives with humanities and sciences coursework. Course examples include Print Culture, Art, and Communication in the Age of Mass Reproduction, Coding Concepts, Graphic Design 1-2, Digital Production, Applied Art and Design Objects, Publication Design, Type Plus, Web and Screen, Advanced Graphic Design Seminar, Art and Globalization in the Atlantic World, and Liberal Arts Advanced Seminar. MCAD BFA students will also complete the Senior Project: Graphic Design course, worth six credit hours.

Graduates of the Design Programs at Minneapolis College of Art and Design go on to land positions such as Graphic Designer, Brand and Logo Designer, Production Artist, Editorial Illustrator, User-Experience (UX) Designer, Art Director, Front-End Developer, Creative Director and Web Designer, among others. MCAD alumni work for design firms, start-ups, publishing houses, large corporations, museums, government agencies, small businesses, and production studios. Some graduates have launched their own design studios or other creative firms.

16. Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles, California
Otis College of Art and Design

Otis College of Art and Design (OTIS) has a Graphic Design BFA Program emphasizes collaboration, cross-disciplinary studies, craft, and presentation skills. Formats covered include branding and logo development, interactive design, books, package design, apps, websites, and posters. Students will learn about UX/UI design, storyboarding, typography and type design, printmaking and traditional letterpress, and motion sequences design.

Course examples for the OTIS Graphic Design BFA Program include Creative Action Studio, Advertising Design Type and Alternative Media, Systems and Identity Design, Illustration, Advanced Image Making Projects, Creative Practices, and History of Graphic Design. To enhance the degree and develop skills in advertising or book arts, students may select electives from course clusters in these areas. Examples include Advertising Workshop, Copywriting, Bookmaking Projects, Ideation Bootcamp, On Screen Production & Concepts, Introduction to Letterpress, Bookstructures, and Advertising Design Studio.

During the final year of the Graphic Design BFA Program, students will complete the Senior Thesis/Research Paper course, Senior Project/Seminar, and a Capstone Project.

Program alumni have been hired at places such as Amazon, Google, Apple, Ogilvy Worldwide, Conde Nast Publications, Young & Rubicam, Disney Consumer Products, Capitol Records, L.A., Hallmark, GUESS, Anthropologie, WB Network, Deutsch Inc., Los Angeles County Interscope Records, Metro, Gehry Partners, Museum of Art (LACMA), and the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SciArc).

17. The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art (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) is home to the School of Art, which houses the Art BFA Program. Students in this program have the opportunity to select courses from seven disciplines upon completion of the First Year Foundation Program. Disciplines 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 develop skills in other areas.

In the senior year of this flexible, 130 credit hour program, students will complete advanced coursework, a number of seminar and studio courses, and work on the Senior Presentation for public viewing. Course examples for the Graphic Design area include Graphic Design I-II, Typography, Computational Studio, Motion Graphics, Advanced Design, and Independent Study in Graphic Design.

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 areas such as Advertising and Public Relations, Package Design, Motion Graphics, Publishing, Web Design, Marketing, and Entertainment.

18. Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri
Washington University in St. Louis

Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis (WashU) has a Design BFA Program with a Communication Concentration that consists if 121 credit hours. Students will begin this immersive studio program by collaborating with academic advisor to customize initial coursework and create a schedule. Students will then move on to core studios in 2D and 3D Design, Drawing, and Digital Studio. All studio courses at WashU have low student-to-faculty ratios, so students will have plenty of opportunities to work one on one with instructors. 

As students enter the second semester of the junior year, they will customize their own major courses. Course examples include Semiotics Studio: Designing Signs and Symbols, Letterpress Printing, Design for Social Impact, Animated Worlds, Printing Propaganda: The Letterpress Poster, Global Topics in Visual Communications, Programming Design, Content to Cover: The Design of Books, Type as Image: Experiments on Press, The Illustrators Sketchbook, Image and Meaning, UX Research Methods for Design, and Multimedia Design: Time/Sound/Space.

Courses for the Design BFA Program at Washington University in St. Louis are supplemented by seminars and readings. In Professional Practice Seminars, students will develop skills such as portfolio development, CV creation, interviewing, searching for jobs and internships, and public speaking.  

In the senior year, Design BFA students will complete a capstone, which may be a digital experience, screen-based presentation, graphic novel/mini-comic, illustrated book, or other work. The Senior Capstone will be presented in a public exhibition and reviewed by local design professionals.

19. Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah
Brigham Young University

The College of Fine Arts and Communications at Brigham Young University (BYU) houses the Department of Design—home to the Graphic Design BFA Program. This limited enrollment program of 40 students requires 120 credit hours to graduate, including 72.5-73.5 in the major. Course examples include History of Graphic Design, Branding, Ethnographic Research Design and Methods, Typography, Design Thinking, Letterpress Studio, Interaction Design, Studio Practices for Designers, and Interdisciplinary Motion.

A Professional Internship worth six credit hours is part of the Graphic Design BFA Program, as well as a Capstone Project completed over two courses (BFA Capstone Project: Research and BFA Capstone Project: Implementation) worth a total of five credit hours.

Graduates of the Graphic Design BFA Program at Brigham Young University Graphic work in design-related disciplines such as branding and product design, publishing and interaction design, motion graphics, web design and mobile app development, data visualization, and experience and service design. Program alumni can be found at major advertising agencies, traditional design studios, and interactive agencies. Graduates also work on internal teams at a variety of businesses, corporations, and organizations. Some BYU Graphic Design graduates go on to launch their own design studios or establish a freelance career.

20. University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California
University of Southern California

The Gayle Garner Roski School of Art and Design at University of Southern California (USC) was first organized in 1883, and founded in 1895. One of Southern California’s oldest art and design schools, USC Roski provides several paths to study Graphic Design. For students seeking an undergraduate or dual degree, options include a BFA and a BFA/MFA in Design.

As part of USC Roski School of Art and Design, all students benefit from an experimental and collaborative approach to learning, cross-disciplinary curriculums, hands-on studio courses, internship opportunities at DreamWorks, MTV, Lego, and National Geographic, and study abroad experiences in places such as South Africa, London, Australia, and Italy.

The USC Roski Design BFA is a 128-unit, intensive, four-year pre-professional degree that requires a complementary Minor such as Advertising, Digital Experiences, Communication, Designing Products, Marketing, Multimedia Experiences, Business, or Entrepreneurship. Students may also choose 26 units of electives to customize a specialization in practically any area of design or other discipline. Selections may be from Roski or non-Roski courses from across USC.

Course examples for the Design BFA Program include Publication Design, Art and Design Studio I-II, Advanced Design Projects, 3D Design: Materials and Tools, Web Design, and Professional Practice in Design. Professional Internship in the Arts is a required component of the program, as well as the Senior Thesis completed over two courses.

Graduates of USC Roski School of Art and Design have been hired at hundreds of major companies, studios, and other organizations. Examples include Vogue, Conde Nast, Harper’s Bazaar Magazine, Walt Disney Company, Marvel Studios, Cisco, Pinterest, American Apparel, PETA, NBCUniversal, DreamWorks Animation, J. Crew, Disney Interactive, MTV Networks, BCBGMAXAZRIA, DirectTV, 20th Century Fox, Fandango, Macy’s, E! Entertainment, Oliver Peoples, American Express, Beats, Skechers, Mattel, L’Oreal, and Paramount Pictures.

21. Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama
Auburn University

The College of Architecture, Design, and Construction houses the School of Industrial and Graphic Design—home to Alabama’s only Graphic Design Program to receive accreditation by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Leading to a BFA, the Graphic Design (GDES) Program consists of 123 credit hours that focus on branding, packaging, wayfinding design, UI/UX, illustration, app design, typography, motion design, and publishing. Course examples include Graphic Design I-II, Interactive Media, Typographics, Graphic Processes, Photo Design, and Graphic Design History.

Besides a variety of in-demand courses, BFA students benefit from the programs professional studio environment, hands-on design instruction, cross-disciplinary collaborations, guest lecturers, exhibitions, and design symposiums. Students also have access to internship opportunities and access to Auburn University’s Study Abroad Program, with work and learn experiences in places such as Scotland, England, Hong Kong, Ireland, and Taiwan.

During the final year of the Auburn GDES BFA Program, students will complete a professional portfolio of their best work.

Auburn GDES graduates go on to secure positions with advertising agencies, publishers, design studios, magazines, marketing firms, web design companies, and more. They work in areas such as branding and packaging, illustration, environmental graphics, web design and development, interactive media, and exhibition design, among others.

22. University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida
University of Florida

The College of the Arts at University of Florida (UF) encompasses the fully accredited schools of Art + Art History, Theatre + Dance, and Music, the Center for Arts in Medicine, and the Digital Worlds Institute. Within the School of Art + Art History is a Graphic Design BFA that explores 2D, 3D, and 4D, design, art history, and drawing.

Course examples for this 120 credit hour program include Workshop for Art Research and Practice: WARP, Visual Methods and Processes, Space Studio, Digital Imaging, Graphic Design: Visual Systems in Design, Technologies and Processes, Design: Visualization and Creativity, Image, Form and Meaning, and Design and Professional Practice Studio.

Students in the UF Graphic Design BFA Program will take Design Workshop and studios such as Design and Professional Practice, and Senior Design Studio. All students will have the opportunity to work with clients on real-world projects. Design students will graduate with a professional portfolio of their best work.

Graduates of the Graphic Design Program at University of Florida are Designers, Creative Directors, Educators, and Entrepreneurs. Program alumni have been hired at a variety of companies, studios, and organizations such as Walt Disney Imagineering, Apple, Meta, Verizon, Microsoft, IBM, Twitter, JetBlue, West Elm, IDEO, Fossil, Viacom, JetBlue, Kate Spade, and the Miami Heat.

23. University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas
University of Kansas

The School of Architecture and Design at the University of Kansas (KU) houses the Department of Design. Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), the Department features access to state-of-the-art facilities; collaborations, lectures, and workshops led by industry professionals; study abroad programs; and local and international internships. 

For students seeking an undergraduate degree, the Design Department has a Visual Communication (Graphic Design) BFA that requires 120 credit hours to graduate. Courses for this professional BFA Program are hands-on, studio-based, and research intensive. Course examples include Principles in Visual Communication. Branding, Designing Understanding, Typographic Systems, Think and Make, Design Thinking and Research, Fundamentals in UX Design, Designing Social Interactions, and Elements of Type. In the Junior year of the program, students will begin working on their final portfolio. In the final year of the program, students will complete the Professional Studies requirement (two courses), Senior Problems, and the Final Capstone Project.

Graduates of the Visual Communication Design Program at KU work in advertising, branding and package design, UI/UX design, publishing, book design marketing, public relations, industrial design, exhibition design, motion graphic design, environmental design, web design, and multimedia. Possible careers include Graphic Designer, Communications Manager, Advertising Commercial/Industrial Designer, Advertising Art Director, Visual Designer, Multimedia Artist, Public Relations Manager, Exhibition Designer, Art Director, and Marketing Manager.

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

The School of Art at Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) has a Graphic Design BFA Program that consists of 32 credit hours in the major. Program features include hands-on learning, collaborative and experimental design projects, courses taught by experienced design professionals, and access to more than 30 minors. Examples include Design Thinking, Film and Media Studies, Creative Technology, English, 3D Design, Color Studies, International Trade and Marketing, Ethics and Sustainability, and Creative Entrepreneurship.

The FIT Graphic Design BFA explores topics such as branding, motion graphics, editorial design, advanced typography, interactive web design, experiential design (exhibitions and wayfinding) and emerging design practices and approaches. Course examples include Core Studio I: Design and Methodology, Typeface Design, Print and Digital Production, Core Studio II: Design and Culture, Design for Web-based User Interface, Typography and Language, Core Studio III: Design and Innovation, Print and Digital Production, and Motion Graphics for Designers. All BFA students will complete the Professional Preparation course, the Senior Thesis Project, and an Internship.   

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

25. University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign, Champaign, Urbana
University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign

The College of Fine & Applied Arts at University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign (UIUC) houses the School of Art & Design, home to Graphic Design BFA Program. Students in this 122 credit hour program have the option to explore other areas through an interdisciplinary selection of electives such as Advanced Interaction Design, Traditional Printmaking, and Video. Course examples for the program include Design Methods, Graphic Design Toolbox, Interaction Design, Typographic Systems, Graphic Design Inquiry, and Ethics of a Designer in a Global Economy.

Other BFA Program features include dedicated studio spaces, 24/7 access to computer labs, participation in the Annual BFA Exhibition held at UIUC’s Krannert Art Museum, the lecture series, and the Senior Portfolio Review held in Chicago. Graphic Design BFA students also have the opportunity to join the AIGA Student Chapter, which provides networking opportunities, workshops, and trips Chicago-based design studios. All Graphic Design BFA students have the opportunity to take advantage of enrichment programming such as minors, internships, and more than 300 study abroad programs in 50+ countries.

The Graphic Design BFA Program at UIUC ends with a Graphic Design Practicum and a Graphic Design Capstone.

For students seeking an advanced degree, the University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign has an Art and Design MFA with a Concentration in Design for Responsible Innovation (formerly Graphic Design). Consisting of 64 credit hours, this interdisciplinary program explores responsible practices in traditional print media and emerging technologies such as digital interaction, visual narrative, systems thinking, data visualization, and information design.

The UIUC Art and Design MFA has specialized tracks of study in Sustainable and Regenerative Design, Visual Cultural Studies, and Urban Sociology and Critical Race Design. Students may also focus on applied research in responsible innovation, engagement, and social impact. MFA students will complete a written thesis and participate in the graduation exhibition to complete the program.  

Graduates of the Design Programs at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign work in areas such as publication design, advertising, interaction design, consulting, photography, type design, art direction, and environmental design. Program alumni work for advertising agencies, design studios, start-ups, and on in-house design teams in a variety of settings.