What are the top East Coast graphic design schools for 2022?

Top 25 Graphic Design Schools and Colleges on the East Coast - 2022 Rankings
RankingSchoolStateTop %
1Rhode Island School of DesignRhode Island 1%
2School of Visual ArtsNew York 2%
3Yale UniversityConnecticut 2%
4The New School's Parsons School of DesignNew York 3%
5Pratt InstituteNew York 3%
6Maryland Institute College of ArtMaryland 4%
7Carnegie Mellon UniversityPennsylvania 4%
8Virginia Commonwealth UniversityVirginia 5%
9The Cooper Union New York 5%
10Syracuse UniversityNew York6%
11Rochester Institute of TechnologyNew York6%
12Massachusetts College of Art and DesignMassachusetts 7%
13Boston UniversityMassachusetts 7%
14University of the ArtsPennsylvania 8%
15Temple UniversityPennsylvania 9%
16Fashion Institute of TechnologyNew York 9%
17Queens CollegeNew York 10%
18Maine College of Art & DesignMaine 10%
19Kutztown UniversityPennsylvania 15%
20Southern New Hampshire UniversityNew Hampshire 15%
21Purchase CollegeNew York 15%
22Pennsylvania State UniversityPennsylvania 15%
23George Mason UniversityVirginia 15%
24University of MarylandMaryland 15%
25Northeastern UniversityMassachusetts 15%

Our 2022 rankings of the Top 25 Graphic Design School Programs in the East. We considered over 190 East colleges with graphic design programs for this year's rankings. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.

For rankings purposes we define the East as Virginia, Rhode Island, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. 

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

Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) houses the Graphic Design Department, which offers BFA and MFA degrees in Graphic Design. One of the school’s largest departments, RISD Graphic Design serves 165 students. Undergraduates have the opportunity to learn, collaborate, and work in dedicated studios including the Design Center Graphic Design Studios and the Graphic Design Type Shop, among others.

The RISD Graphic Design BFA is a four-year program that focuses on project-based learning. Students can expect to work on projects that cover book design, UX design, packaging, film graphics, and more. The program also attracts visiting artists, critics, and designers from around the world. During the junior and senior years of the program, BFA students will have the opportunity to complete a professional internship.

Through electives and workshops, students will work in various areas of graphic design during the final year of the program. To graduate, all Graphic Design BFA students will complete an independent degree project. Visiting critics are invited to review completed projects.

The Rhode Island School of Design MFA in Graphic Design has two tracks: a two-year pathway for students with an undergraduate degree in graphic design or related degree, and a three-year option for individuals with liberal arts, sciences or fine arts degrees. Both tracks allow students to customize the curriculum through cross-disciplinary electives. The first year of the two-year track consists of graduate seminars, graphic design studies, electives, and studios. During the second year, students will complete the Graduate Thesis.

In the three-year track, students will take electives, a seminar and graduate level Type Design, Form, Typography and History of Graphic Design courses during the first year. The second and third year consists of studios, seminars, electives and the thesis.

All Graphic Design MFA students share individual workspaces in a large design studio in RISD's Center for Integrative Technologies (CIT), which houses several graduate programs and the graduate student gallery. MFA students will have opportunities to interact with Digital + Media, Teaching + Learning in Art + Design, Interior Architecture, and Textiles graduate students.

Around 96% of Rhode Island School of Design graduates 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, Product Designers, Industrial Designers, Textile Designers, Creative Designers, Art Directors, and Brand Identity Designers, among others.

Rhode Island School of Design was established in 1877, making it one of the first art and design schools in the U.S. A private, nonprofit college, RISD serves 2,576 students enrolled in more than 25 areas leading to the BFA, BArch, MA, MFA, MArch, MDES, MID, MLA, MMA, or MAT. RISD is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) and the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA). The Architecture (MArch), Landscape Architecture (MLA), and MA in Teaching (MAT) programs have special accreditation by the National Architecture Accrediting Board, Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board, and the RI Department of Education, respectively.

2. School of Visual Arts, New York, New York (Top 2% of schools considered)

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.

3. Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut (Top 2% of schools considered)
Yale School of Art

Yale School of Art (Yale SoA) offers an MFA In Graphic Design that takes two years to complete, full-time. Consisting of 60 credit hours, the program accepts just 12 students each year and up to six students into the preliminary-year program, which appeals to students with relevant experience in an area outside of design.

The Yale SoA Graphic Design Program consists of lectures, presentations, workshops, and exhibitions, along with immersive studio work group thesis meetings, and one-on-one sessions with editing and writing tutors. MFA students have access to more than 2,000 courses offered each year, the Sterling Memorial and Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Libraries, art and natural history museums, conferences, and films.

Other MFA program perks include designated workspaces in the design studio loft, motion capture and VR tools at the Center for Collaborative Arts and Media, and unlimited access to equipment such as the RISO Digital Duplicator, Vandercook presses, bookbinding materials, and wide format printers.

To graduate, students must complete a thesis and a portfolio. Yale SoA Graphic Design graduates are prepared to seek positions at advertising agencies, print and online publishing companies, design firms, manufacturing companies, computer systems design, web design studios, marketing companies, and public relations firms, among others.

Founded in 1701, Yale University (Yale) is one of the oldest institutes of higher learning in the U.S.  A member of the Ivy League, Yale is accredited  New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE). The school serves 12,060 students enrolled in 80 majors in more than 100 departments and schools including Yale College, the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, and Yale Professional Schools—including  Yale School Art.

Established in 1869, Yale SoA was the nation’s first art school connected with an institution of higher learning. The school serves more than 100 students enrolled in graduate Graphic Design, Painting/Printmaking, Photography, and Sculpture programs. Yale SoA also offers an undergraduate Art major for students in Yale College.

4. The New School's Parsons School of Design, New York, New York (Top 3% of schools considered)
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.

5. Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York (Top 3% of schools considered)
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.

6. Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, Maryland (Top 4% of schools considered)
Maryland Institute College of Art

Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) has a Graphic Design Program with three Concentrations: Graphic Design Studio, Book Arts Studio, and Graphic Design + Humanistic Studies. Consisting of 120 credit hours and leading to a BFA, the program consists of a three-year sequence of core design courses. Course examples include Drawing: Tradition and Innovation, Designing Information, Graphic Design I-IV, Typography I-III, Photoimaging, Flexible Design Studio, and Advanced Design I-II.

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.

At the graduate level, Maryland Institute College of Art offers Graphic Design MA (GDMA) and Graphic Design MFA (GD MFA) degrees. Housed in a loft-style studio space with dedicated computers and workspaces, the 60 credit hour GDMA prepares students for career advancement or entry into an MFA program. Program features include courses taught by industry professionals, seminars, and the GDMA Workshop, which provides the opportunity to create and exhibit a self-directed design project and a professional portfolio.

Also consisting of 60 credit hours, the GD MFA Program studio courses, seminars, and independent work. Elective options in digital media, print, and video allow students to create a focus area. Course examples include Advanced Publication Design, Design Studio I-IV, and Visiting Designers I-II. The Graphic Design MFA at MICA takes two years to complete, full-time.

Maryland Institute College of Art is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Founded in 1826, MICA is the nation’s oldest independent, continuously degree-granting college of art and design. The school serves 2,090 students from 45 states and 53 foreign countries. Forty percent of MICA students are fine arts majors and 60% are design & media arts majors. Programs at MICA lead to a BFA, MA, MFA, or MPS degree.

7. Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Top 4% of schools considered)
Carnegie Mellon University

The College of Fine Arts (CFA) at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) houses the School of Design, which offers a Bachelor of Design (BDes). Equivalent to the BFA degree, the BDes has three tracks: Communications (Graphic Design), Products (Industrial Design), and Environments (Physical and Digital). BDes students have the option to focus in one or all three areas or pursue a focus that combines two of the three tracks. CMU BDes alumni have worked on a number of major projects including the Pinterest interface design, typefaces for The Guardian, the title sequence of the Spiderman movie, and the Starbucks logo.

The School of Design at Carnegie Mellon University has several other options for undergraduate students seeking a degree or program that combines liberal arts and design with interdisciplinary studies across pathways. The most notable option is the interdisciplinary BXA. The curriculum combines components of the CMU Bachelor of Humanities and Arts (BHA), Bachelor of Science and Arts (BSA), and the Bachelor of Computer Science and Arts (BCSA). BXA students may add a Design Concentration, which consists of 98 units of required courses and 10 units of Design electives. Course examples include Design Lab, Collaborative Visualizing, Design Studies: Systems, Prototyping Lab, and Studio I: Form and Context. Graduates of this program go on to work in user research, strategic planning, and information systems analysis, among other areas.

Another option is the Design Minor. Consisting of 54 units (including 27 units of design electives), the Design Minor is open to students who wish to add design to their current major. So, a Computer Science student who would like to add a design component to their program may enroll in the Minor. Course examples for the program include Design for Interactions for Communications, Design for Interactions for Products, and Human Experience in Design.

Finally, Carnegie Mellon University offers a unique program—Integrative Design, Arts, and Technology (IDeATe)—that allows students to add a concentration in areas such as animation and special effects, intelligent environments, media design, entrepreneurship for creative industries, physical computing game design, sound design, learning media, and media design.

Graduate programs for designers include a one-year Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Design, a two-year MDes in Design, and a PhD in Transition Design. The CMU Design graduate programs are interdisciplinary and offer seminar and studio courses, with hands-on exposure to design processes, skills, and thinking.

Graduate students across programs will take courses such as Studio + Lab: Designing for Interactions, Studio: Research Based Design for Interactions, Seminar: Advanced Interaction & Service Design Concepts, Communication Design Studio: Theory & Practice, Design Research Methods, Seminar: Interaction & Service Design Concepts, Transition Design, Experiential Futures, Framing Proposals for change, and Design Writing Workshop.

MDes students will complete a Thesis across four courses, while MPS students may complete an optional Colloquium. During years two and three, PhD students will complete Research I, II, III & IV. During the final year of the program, students will assemble their dissertations (40-80K words) across Coda I & II.

Carnegie Mellon University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). Founded in 1900, CMU serves more than 14,500 students enrolled in 200+ programs in seven colleges and schools. With more than 400 start-ups to the school’s credit, Carnegie Mellon University also has over a dozen locations that provide degree programs, as well as 20+ research partnerships in Silicon Valley, Australia, Africa, and Qatar.

8. Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia (Top 5% of schools considered)
Virginia Commonwealth University

The School of the Arts (VCUarts) at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) houses the Department of Graphic Design, which offers a Graphic Design BFA and a Design/Visual Communications MFA. Students in both programs have access to resources such as the student-run Golab, which provides print and production services, and middle Of broad—an experimental design lab that provides opportunities to work on real-world state projects.

The VCUArts Graphic Design BFA consists of 122 credit hours, including the 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 Book Arts, Typeface Design, Web Design, Research and Practice, and Design Activism.

The 60 credit hour Design/Visual Communications MFA at Virginia Commonwealth University is a design and research degree that culminates in a final research project, work of art, thesis or dissertation. MFA students will complete several Visual Communications Workshops and Seminars and Research/Individual Study, an Internship, or Teaching Practicum. Study abroad opportunities are also available.

Graduates of the Graphic and Design/Visual Communications Programs at VCU are Creative Directors Environmental Graphic Designers, Interaction/Interface Designers, Exhibition Designers, and Broadcast/Film Designers, among others.

Virginia Commonwealth University is a public research university accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Founded in 1838 as the medical department of Hampden-Sydney College, VCU serves around 29,400 students enrolled in more than 200 programs in 15+ colleges, school, and centers.

Founded in 1928, the Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts at (VCUarts) is a four-year, non-profit art and design school accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), the National Association of Schools of Dance (NASD), the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM), and the National Association for Schools of Theatre (NAST). The school serves around 3,200 students enrolled in 18 bachelor’s and five master’s degree programs.

9. The Cooper Union
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.

10. Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York (Top 6% of colleges considered)
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.

11. Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, New York (Top 6% of colleges considered)
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.

12. Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston, Massachusetts (Top 7% of colleges considered)
Massachusetts College of Art and Design

Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt) has a Communication Design Program with BFA and Certificate options. The Communication Design Certificate has three levels of certification. Level 1  consists of four courses and covers visual communication for print and screen-based mediums. Level 2 consists of three courses and a non-credit workshop. Building on skills learned in Level 1, Level 2 includes advanced coursework in brand design, interactive design for web and mobile interfaces, typography, and UX design. Level 2 students will complete a professional portfolio.

Level 3 consists of four courses and one non-credit workshop. The most advanced level of the three, this option consists of advanced courses in design systems. Level 3 graduates are prepared to pursue immediate employment in the industry.

The MassArt Communication Design BFA explores advertising, branding and package design, interactive communication, information design, web and app design, user experience design, and publication design. Course examples include Advertising and Art Direction, Disobedient Design: From Activist Posters to Augmented Reality, Letterpress Printing, Programming for Designers, Graphic Design I-IV, Experimental Book Arts, Poster Design, Advanced Web Projects, Typography I-III, Identity Systems, Type Design, and Information Architecture.

BFA students will complete several design studio courses, Professional Practice, Independent Study, Advanced Projects I-II, the Graphic Design Portfolio course and the Senior Degree Project. Though optional, the MassArt Graphic Design Internship, worth three credits, is highly recommended.

Graduates of the Communications Design Programs at Massachusetts College of Art and Design work in advertising, book publishing, public relations, marketing, print media, entertainment, web development, social media, and animation and multimedia, among others. Some program alumni have established successful freelance careers, while others have gone on to launch their own creative studios and design firms.

Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt) is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE). The school, which opened as Massachusetts Normal School in 1873, serves nearly 2,000 undergraduate, graduate, and continuing education students. Known as the Commonwealth’s Art and Design School, MassArt offers 24 programs leading to the BFA, MFA, MDES, MAT, or March.

13. Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts (Top 7% of colleges considered)
Boston University

The School of Visual Arts (SVA) at Boston University (BU) has a Graphic Design Program with BFA, MFA, and Certificate options. Housed in the College of Fine Arts, SVA is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Established in 1954, the School provides immersive studio experiences, internship opportunities, workshops, seminars, unique electives, and  minors that complement any design program. All Graphic Design students also have access to state-of-the-art facilities such as the Engineering Production Innovation Center (EPIC), the Visual Arts Resource Library, Darkrooms, Computer Labs, and the Media Center. Graduate students have 24/7 access to individual private studios.

The BU Graphic Design Certificate Program is designed for students with a bachelor’s degree with little to no experience in graphic design. This one-year, intensive program requires 30 credit hours of study including core studios, typography, and electives. Graduates of this program are prepared for positions in the industry or for entry into the Graphic Design MFA Program.

Consisting of 60 credit hours, the MFA Program hosts visiting artists and designers, workshops, and  group critiques. Through BU’s partnership with AIGA Boston, MFA students have opportunities to network with industry leaders through campus events and visits to area studios. Of the 60 required credit hours, 32 are in Graduate Graphic Design courses. Other requirements include Graphic Design Theory I-II, History of Graphic Design, and Graduate Typography. Twelve required elective credit hours allow students to explore additional areas within and outside of design.

In the Boston University Graphic Design BFA Program, students have the opportunity to specialize in an area of interested through electives. Examples include Exhibition Design, Design for the Web, Editorial Design, Motion Graphics, Interactive Design, and Experience Design. Consisting of 132 credit hours, the BFA curriculum is cross-disciplinary with course options from the Faculty of Computing & Data Sciences, Innovate@BU, Hariri Institute for Computing, the College of Communication, and Questrom School of Business.

Other BU BFA Program benefits include partnerships with area design studios and businesses that lead to internships and employment and the study abroad program in Venice, Italy. Past students have also participated in a two-week design intensive in Amsterdam and a two-week Printmaking workshop at the Franz Masareel Centrum in Kasterlee, Belgium.

Graduates of the Boston University Graphic Design Programs have held positions at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (MSLO), Converse, and Free People, to name a few. Some program alumni have launched their own design studios or creative firms, while others have found success as freelance designers.

Boston University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE). With more than 300 programs of study offered in 22 colleges, divisions, and schools, BU serves close to 33,680 students across a 175-acre campus that houses close to 3,000 buildings, laboratories, classrooms, and libraries. With 10,000 faculty and staff, BU is Boston’s largest employer. While Boston University can be traced back to 1839, where it began as the Newbury Biblical Institute, the school was officially chartered in 1869.

14. University of the Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Top 8% of colleges considered)
University of the Arts

The College of Art, Media & Design at the University of the Arts (UArts) houses the School of Design, which offers BFA degrees in Graphic Design and Illustration. The Illustration BFA is cross-disciplinary, so students will work with other students in majors such as Graphic Design, Product Design, Interaction Design, Fine Arts, and Animation. In addition to training students in industry software such as After Effects, Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, and InDesign, the Illustration BFA curriculum explores typography, traditional and experimental painting methods, anatomy, and developing narratives. Specialized graphic design courses are also part of the program.

Graduates of the UArts Illustration BFA Program have worked with The New Yorker, Random House, ESPN, Rolling Stone, The New York Times, Fortune, and Ralph Lauren, among others.

The UArts Graphic Design BFA is a 120 credit hour cross-disciplinary program that provides collaboration and networking opportunities with local non-profits, social agencies, and arts organizations. Course examples include Drawing as Seeing and Meaning, Typography I-III, Design History, Digital Design Lab, Design for Persuasive Visual Communication, Real World Design, Image and Narrative, Design for Interaction, School of Design Workshop, and Editorial Systems.

BFA students have the opportunity to complete unpaid and paid internships with major companies and studios such as Cartoon Network,  Urban Outfitters, and Sterling Publishing. The program culminates with the Senior Thesis.

Graduates of the UArts Graphic Design Program are prepared for employment in fields ranging from branding and motion graphics to publication design. Students and alumni have worked for NASA, Disney, National Geographic, MTV, ESPN, Meta (formerly Facebook), DreamWorks, ESPN, The Wall Street Journal, Penguin Group Publishing, Hallmark, Harper-Collins, Hasbro, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Knopf, Marvel Comics, NASA, 20th Century Fox, Oprah, Warner Bros., Blizzard Entertainment, Newsweek, Simon & Schuster, Nickelodeon, PBS, Time Magazine, and NPR, among others.

University of the Arts is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). Founded in 1876 as part of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, University of the Arts serves nearly 1,500 students enrolled in more than 40 degree programs in fine arts, design, media arts, dance, music, theater, and crafts. More than 20 minors are available and open to all students. UArts programs are offered in the Schools of Art, Dance, Design, Film, Music, Theater Arts, and Graduate and Professional Studies.

15. Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Top 9% of colleges considered)
Temple University

The Tyler School of Art and Architecture at Temple University (Temple) houses the Graphic & Interactive Design (GAID) Department. Two options are available for designers: the GAID BFA and MFA. The Tyler School GAID BFA has an option with Entreperneurial Studies. The BFA explores emerging and traditional media, illustration, virtual reality, iteration, typography, packaging, Imagemaking, craft and technology, social media, prototyping, and web design.

Program benefits for this 126 credit hour program include small class sizes, mentorship, and access to state-of-the-art labs, studios, and equipment. GAID BFA students also have the opportunity to complete the Collaborative Design Workshop in Rome, which last six weeks. Course examples for the program include Advanced Typography, Interactive Design, The Business of Design, Advertising Design, Illustration, Advanced Graphic Design, Computers for Design, Digital Narratives, and the Senior Graphic Design: Brand Identity, Packaging, Art Direction, Hybrid Design and Publishing.

The Entrepreneurial Studies option is offered in partnership with Temple University’s Fox School of Business. In addition to GAID requirements, this program explores innovation, how to start a business, and entrepreneurship. Course examples for this program include Ready, Fire, Aim: Launching a Profitable Micro-venture in 100 Days, Be Your Own Boss: Planning to Start Your Own Business, and Entrepreneurial and Innovative Thinking. Entrepreneurial Studies students have at least five different internship options. Examples include the Field Internship, New Venture Internship: Learning to be a High-Value Employee, Manager, or Founder, and the Rome Internship.

Both GAID BFA Programs culminate with the Senior Portfolio Capstone and Senior Graphic Design: Projects in Authorship.

The Temple University Graphic & Interactive Design MFA requires 60 credit hours to graduate. This interdisciplinary, research-driven program consists of electives, seminars, project courses, and art history courses. Project and seminar courses include Graduate Professional Practices (three credits), Visual Design Graduate Seminar (12 credits/four terms), Graphic Design Graduate Projects (nine credits/three terms), and Visual Design Thesis (12 credits/four terms).

Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), the GAID MFA culminates with the Thesis Exhibition with Slide Show.

Graduates of the Temple University GAID Programs work at design studios, in film and television, the music industry, in design education, at advertising agencies, for publishing companies, web design firms, and in their own start-ups or freelance businesses.

Temple University is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSA-CESS). Founded in 1884 as a night school, Temple serves 37,365 students, making it the largest university in Philadelphia. Temple University offers more than 500 academic programs in 17 colleges and schools, including five professional schools.

16. Fashion Institute of Technology, New York, New York (Top 9% of colleges considered)
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.

17. Queens College, Queens, New York (Top 10% of colleges considered)
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.

18. Maine College of Art & Design, Portland, Maine (Top 10% of colleges considered)
Maine College of Art & Design

The Graphic Design BFA at Maine College of Art (MECA&D) is an interdisciplinary program that covers methods in both analog and digital media. Areas explored include branding, information design, narrative, interactivity, and motion. Examples of required courses include Elements of Graphic Design Branding and Visual Systems, Information Design, Typography I-III, Letterform Design, Interactive Design, and Web Design.

Students in the Graphic Design BFA Program will have opportunities to focus in an area of interest through electives, and during the final year, students will complete Professional Studio in Graphic Design, Senior Studio, Senior Independent Projects and several advanced studio electives.

MECA&D graduates will leave Graphic Design BFA Program with a professional portfolio, which will be presented at the Senior Exhibition.

Maine College of Art & Design is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Founded in 1882 as part of the Portland Society of Art, MECA&D serves nearly 600 degree-seeking students and 1,500 continuing students. Degree programs lead to a BFA, MFA, or MAT.

19. Kutztown University, Kutztown, Pennsylvania (Top 15% of colleges considered)
Kutztown University

The College of Visual and Performing Arts at Kutztown University (KU) houses the Communication Design (CD) Program. Leading to a BFA or MFA, the program covers graphic design, creativity, typography, digital illustration, advertising design, emerging media, branding, interactive design, coding, design history, photography, print media production, and communications.

All KUCD students have opportunities to add a minor or fine arts studio to enhance the degree, and obtain work experience through an internship at one of 35 participating advertising agencies, design studios or media firms. BFA students will complete the Professional Practices and Portfolio Development courses during the final year of the program and participate in the Senior Exhibition. In the second year of the program, MFA students will complete the Graduate Research Project Capstone worth 12 credits.

Graduates of the Kutztown University Communication Design Programs are Graphic Designers Web Designers, Art Directors, Advertising Designers, App Designers, Interactive Designers, Design Directors, and Hybrid Designers, among others.

Kutztown University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), and a dozen other accrediting agencies. Founded in 1866 as Keystone State Normal School, KU serves 7,675 students enrolled in more than 130 academic areas of study in the Colleges of Visual and Performing Arts; Liberal Arts and Sciences; Education; and Business.  

20. Southern New Hampshire University, Manchester, New Hampshire (Top 15% of colleges considered)
Southern New Hampshire University

The Graphic Design Program at Southern New Hampshire University can be completed entirely online, with no set class meetings and 24/7 access to course materials. Leading to a BA, the program has two 12 credit hour concentration options: 3D Modeling and Animation and Web Design. Students in both programs will develop design skills in digital media, brand identity, and design thinking. They will also develop practical, professional, and business skills.

Consisting of 120 credit hours, the SNHU Graphic Design Program requires 42 general education credits (including Digital Photography), nine in arts and sciences, 33 in the major, and 36 in free electives. Course examples include Graphics and Layout in Print Media, Advanced Digital Graphic Design for the Web, Media Communication and Visual Literacy, Typography, Public Speaking and Presentation Skills, Desktop Publishing, and Applied Statistics for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).

Required courses for the 3D Modeling and Animation Concentration includes Intro to Digital Sculpting, 3D Modeling and Animation, Interactive Animation, and 3D Character Animation. Students in the Web Design Concentration will take Digital Publishing, User Interface and Experience, Advanced Multiplatform Design, and , Interactive Animation for the Web.

The SNHU Graphic Design BA Program culminates with the Graphic Design Portfolio course, where students will create digital and print portfolios, develop a personal brand identity, engage in critiques, and showcase their work.

Graduates of the Southern New Hampshire University Graphic Design Program are prepared to pursue positions in Advertising, Marketing, and Public Relations, among others.

Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit institution accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE). Founded in 1932 as New Hampshire Accounting and Secretarial School, SNHU opened in a two-room storefront with less than 50 students enrolled in accounting, bookkeeping, and secretarial courses.

Today, SNHU operates across a 300-acre campus that serves more than 3,000 residential students, and over 135,000 online students, making it one of the country’s fastest growing universities. Students at Southern New Hampshire University have access to more than 200 career-focused programs leading to associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees.

21. Purchase College, Purchase, New York (Top 15% of colleges considered)
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.

22. Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania (Top 15% of colleges considered)
Pennsylvania State University

Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) houses the College of Arts an Architecture, home to the Stuckeman School Department of Graphic Design, which offers a BDes and a Minor in Graphic Design. The BDes is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). In partnership with the School of Visual Arts (SOVA), the Stuckeman School Graphic Design Department has an Art MFA Program with a Graphic Design Concentration.

All Department of Graphic Design students benefit from an interdisciplinary and collaborative learning environment, courses taught by industry professionals, small class sizes, and access to state-of-the-art labs, libraries, and studios. Students also have access to workshops and they have the opportunity to show their work in the campus-based exhibit gallery. 

The Penn State BDes Program consists of 120 credit hours, including 45 general education credits, 3-9 elective credits, and 73 credits in the major. BDes students have the opportunity to complete an Internship or Studio Apprenticeship as well as a final project and professional portfolio. Course examples for the program include Experience Design Process + Methods, Design Foundation 1-2, Programming for the Web, Time and Sequence, Typography 1-2, Applied Experience Design, Visualizing Information, and Design Thinking and Creativity.

The 60 credit hour Art MFA requires 30 credit hours in the major. The program expands on the undergraduate program, with additional coursework in advanced design, research, and teaching. Specific course examples include Art Research, Individual Studies, New Media Art, Graduate Seminar, and Supervised Experience and College Teaching. The MFA Program culminates with the MFA Thesis Exhibition.

Graduates of the Graphic Design Programs at Pennsylvania State University are prepared for careers that require art and design skills such as branding, typography, UI/UX design, art direction, packaging, information visualization, and storytelling, among others.

Pennsylvania State University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) since 1921. Pennsylvania’s only land-grant university, Penn State was chartered in 1855 as one of the nation’s first colleges of agricultural science. Today, the school serves close to 89,000 students enrolled in more than 275 undergraduate majors and 300+ graduate and professional programs, including medical and legal studies. Programs at Pennsylvania State University are offered across 24 campuses, sixteen academic colleges, and several schools.  

23. George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia (Top 15% of colleges considered)
George Mason University

The Graphic Design Program at George Mason University (GMU) is housed in the School of Art. Degree options include a BA and BFA in Art and Visual Technology (AVT). Both options offer Concentrations in Graphic Design, New Media, and Printmaking, among others. Part of the College of Visual and Performing Arts, the School of Art has non-degree options in Graphic Design (Certificate and a Minor), and Art and Visual Technology (Minor).

The BA is a Liberal Arts Program that comprises general education coursework, electives, a foreign language or minor. The BFA is a Professional Degree Program that requires 120 credits to graduate. Both programs require success completion of the Mason Core, which includes Foundation Courses such as Information Technology, Oral Communication, Advanced Composition, and Quantitative Reasoning. 

Course examples across programs include Digital Design Studio, New Media in Creative Arts, Visual Thinking, Advanced Aesthetics, Typography, Digital Printmaking, Nontraditional Approaches to Drawing,  EcoArt, and Professional Design Practices. Students may complete an internship and the Senior Design Project is required to graduate.

Graduates of the George Mason AVT Program are prepared for positions in all areas of graphic and visual design at advertising agencies, magazines, publishing companies, web design firms, museums, design firms, marketing companies, game studios, and more.

George Mason University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Founded in 1949 as a branch of the University of Virginia, GMU enrolls more than 39,000 students from all 50 states and 130 countries, making it the largest public university in the Commonwealth of Virginia. George Mason University offers 200 degree programs in 10 colleges and schools.

24. University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland (Top 15% of colleges considered)
University of Maryland

The College of Arts and Humanities at University of Maryland (UMD) houses the Department of Art, which offers BA and MFA Programs in Art Studio with a Concentration in Graphic Design. Program benefits include the Visiting Artist Lecture Series and opportunities to complete an internship and/or work in the student-run gallery Herman Maril Gallery. Study abroad opportunities in places such as the UK, Spain, Hong Kong, Jordan, and Sweden are also available to Department of Art students.

UMD Department of Art students have interned for or worked on projects with USA Today, the American Red Cross, Discovery Channel, AOL, the Smithsonian Institution, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Girl Scouts of the USA, Humane Society of the United States, Kennedy Center, The Washington Post, America for the Arts, National Organizers Alliance, The Washington Times, American Film Institute, the International Labor Rights Forum, Very Special Arts, and just about every major Maryland television network.

Course examples for the Art Studio Graphic Design Concentration include Intermediate Graphic Design Principles, Graphic Design Processes, Advanced Graphic Design Principles: Design in Society, Advanced Interactive Graphic Design, and Directed Studies in Graphic Design. The MFA also requires Directed Graduate Studies in Studio Art (six courses consisting of 5-7 credit hours each), Graduate Colloquium (12 credits), and Master’s Thesis Research (six credits) in preparation for the MFA Thesis Exhibition.

Graduates of the University of Maryland Art Studio/Graphic Design Program will leave with a professional portfolio of their best work.

The University of Maryland is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). Founded in 1856, UMD is the flagship institution of the State of Maryland. The school employs more than 14,000 faculty and staff that serve 40,700+ students. University of Maryland offers more than 250 academic programs in 12 colleges.

25. Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts (Top 15% of colleges considered)
Northeastern University

The College of Arts, Media and Design (CAMD) at Northeastern University (Northeastern) has several options for students seeking an undergraduate or advanced degree in Graphic Design. The undergraduate program leads to a BFA in Design with Concentrations in Graphic and Information Design, Experience Design, and Interaction Design. All options prepare students for positions such as Graphic Designer, User Experience Designer, Product Manager, Futuristic Product Designer, Design Strategist, Design Consultant, and Exhibition Designer, among others.

A major component of the CAMD BFA is the Co-op Program, which allows students to gain valuable experience working in the arts, design and media, fashion and travel, food and beverage, government and civic, and news and publishing sectors. Examples of participating companies include Ogilvy, AutoDesk, NBC Universal, The Boston Globe, The Museum of Fine Arts, The Boston Beer Company, Reebok International, New Balance, The TJX Companies, City of Boston, MassDOT/MBTA, Dana-Faber Cancer Institute, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, edX, Education First, Fidelity Investments, and Thomas Reuters.

Students in the Northeastern University Design BFA Program will graduate with a professional portfolio of their best work.

At the graduate level, Northeastern CAMD offers MFA, MS, and Certificate Programs in Information Design and Visualization. Features for this STEM-designated program include seminars, studio courses, visiting artists and researchers, workshops, and the option to create a focus area from electives.

The MFA is a 60 credit hour program that takes two years to complete. The program explores design, programming, data analysis, and research methods. The MFA culminates with a thesis project and exhibition. The MS is a 1-year, 32 credit hour program that explores areas such as human factors, programming, user testing, design process, data physicalization, and user-scenario mapping and observation. The MS program is also available at Northeastern University’s recently launched Vancouver, BC campus.

Both graduate options provide Co-op experiences with The Broad Institute, Philips Research, Thomas Reuters, and MassDOT/MBTA. Potential careers include, but are not limited to, Design Researcher, Data Visualization Expert, Visualization Researcher, Visual Communication Expert, and Visual Strategist.

The Graduate Certificate in Information Design and Visualization consists of 16 credit hours. Designed for students looking to complement their degree in areas such as communications, data science, design or media, the Certificate Program covers multidisciplinary skills such as programming, design process, data analysis, user testing, and design critique.

In addition to Co-op experiences, all Northeastern University CAMD students have the opportunity to complete an internship and study abroad experiences at the University of Arts London and Central Saint Martins. Other study abroad options include a semester in Venice, Ireland, Berlin, Rome or Cuba.

Northeastern University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE). Founded in 1898, the school serves around 33,700 students enrolled in more than 900 degree and certificate programs in nine colleges and schools, and at the recently launched campus in Vancouver, BC. Northeastern also offers select advanced degrees at graduate campuses in Charlotte, North Carolina; Seattle, Washington; Silicon Valley, Northern California, and Toronto, Canada.