Did you know? Savannah College of Art and Design alumni work at top companies around the globe like Apple, IBM, Ralph Lauren, Under Armour, and Verizon. Learn more.
What are the top graphic design schools in the South for 2022?
|1||Savannah College of Art and Design||Georgia||1%|
|2||North Carolina State University||North Carolina||2%|
|3||Ringling College of Art and Design||Florida||2%|
|5||Full Sail University||Florida||4%|
|6||University of Florida||Florida||4%|
|7||University of Tennessee||Tennessee||5%|
|8||University of Georgia||Georgia||6%|
|9||Appalachian State University||North Carolina||6%|
|10||University of Central Florida||Florida||7%|
|11||Louisiana State University||Louisiana||8%|
|13||Florida State University||Florida||9%|
|14||Clemson University||South Carolina||10%|
|15||University of Arkansas||Arkansas||10%|
|16||University of North Florida||Florida||15%|
|17||University of Tennessee at Chattanooga||Tennessee||15%|
|18||University of Miami||Florida||15%|
|19||University of South Florida||Florida||15%|
|20||University of North Carolina||North Carolina||15%|
|21||Loyola University New Orleans||Louisiana||15%|
|22||University of Memphis||Tennessee||15%|
|23||Kennesaw State University||Georgia||15%|
|24||University of Tampa||Florida||20%|
|25||Jackson State University||Mississippi||20%|
Our 2022 ranking of the Top 25 Graphic Design School Programs in the South. We considered over 150 southern colleges with graphic design programs for this year's rankings. For an explanation of our ranking criteria, click here.
We define the South as Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas.
1. Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, Georgia (Top 1% of schools considered)
Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) has a Graphic Design Program that offers degrees at all levels. Graphic Design students have the option to complete a BA, BFA, MA or MFA at campuses in Savannah or Atlanta, and online. Program features include courses taught by industry professionals from companies such as Hasbro, Google, and Airbnb, access to events such as SCADstyle, which attracts the biggest names in modern design, fashion, and global art, and individual critiques and mentoring by top professionals in the design industry.
All SCAD Graphic Design options offer the opportunity to add a minor to enhance the degree. Some of the most popular choices include Advertising, Mobile and Interactive Design, Advertising Copywriting, Mobile and Interactive Design, Advertising and Branding, and User Experience Design. Undergraduate students may also add a certificate such as Digital Publishing.
Graduates of the Graphic Design Program at Savannah College of Art go on to establish careers at major companies such as Apple, Verizon, IBM, Under Armour, and Ralph Lauren. Some program alumni have gone on to launch their own design studios, while others have established successful freelance careers.
Savannah College of Art and Design is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Founded in 1978, the school opened in 1979 with just 71 students, one classroom, and an administration building. Today, SCAD serves more than 15,000 students across campuses in Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia, and Lacoste, France.
Offering more than 100 degree programs and over 75 minors and certificate programs, Savannah College of Art and Design has more degree programs and specializations than any other art and design college in the U.S.
2. North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina (Top 2% of schools considered)
The College of Design at North Carolina State University (NC State University) houses the Department of Graphic and Industrial Design, which offers a Bachelor of Graphic Design (BGD) and a Master of Graphic Design (MGD). Both programs are recognized by the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) and accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). The NC State MGD is one of the few graphic design graduate programs with STEM Classification (CIP).
At the undergraduate level, students will learn how to collaborate with computer programmers, software engineers, and ethnographers; implement human-centered research methods, communicate information and messages through digital platforms, images, and typography; and produce product packaging, applications, websites, identity systems, data visualizations, signage, books, and magazines.
Collaborative Research and Design Projects are a major component of the BGD Program. In the Department of Graphic and Industrial Design’s Collaborative Sponsored Studios, students have the opportunity to work on real-world projects with clients and developers, engineers, designers, and other business professionals. Companies that students have worked with include Hanes, Coca Cola, IBM, Caterpillar, Bosch Appliances, Lowe’s, Under Armour, North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, and John Deere.
In addition to working in Collaborative Studios, NC State BGD students have the opportunity to take an advanced studio in another College of Design discipline (a swing studio), study abroad for a semester or summer at the NC State Prague Institute, and gain professional experience through paid internships.
The NC State MGD Program has two-year and three-year options. The two-year program, MGD II, is designed for students with a BFA in Graphic Design and experience in the field. The three-year program, MGD III, is for students with a BA in another field or with a Concentration in Graphic Design. Students in this program will take two semesters of specialized coursework before entering the MGD II Program.
All students will participate in graduate studios, seminars, and workshops, they will have opportunities to take electives at affiliate universities such as Duke University and University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, and work on collaborative projects and research with major companies and institutes such as IBM, the Institute of Emerging Issues, SAS, NC State Laboratory for Analytic Sciences, and Red Hat. For the graduate project, MGD students will research an area of focus, record conclusions, design studies and mock-ups, and present the project to the public.
Graduates of the MGD Program at North Carolina State University are prepared for leadership positions in user experience and user interface design (UX/UI), with expertise in artificial intelligence (AI), research, data visualization, and digital typography. Graduates are also qualified to teach universities or pursue a PhD in Design or other related area.
NC State MGD alumni go on to establish successful careers at consulting firms, software companies, and colleges and universities. Examples include Adobe, Lenovo, IBM, Fjord, IDEO, Red Hat Software, Carnegie Mellon, University of Washington, Pratt Institute, and University of Michigan.
North Carolina State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Established in 1887 as a land-grant institution focusing in agriculture and engineering, NC State employs more than 9,000 faculty and staff members that serve 36,000+ students enrolled in more than 260 degree programs across 11 colleges.
3. Ringling College of Art and Design, Sarasota, Florida (Top 2% of colleges considered)
Ringling College of Art and Design (RCAD) has a Graphic Design Program that launched in 1980. Available pathways include a 120 credit hour BFA and a 15 credit hour Minor. Program features include 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 across programs include Graphic Design I-VI, Development of Art & Ideas, Design & Typography, 3D Problem Solving, 4D Design, New Media UI/UX, Drawing & 2D Design, Visual Persuasion Designing with Type, and Literature and Media Studies.
Graduates of the Ringling College of Art and Design Graphic Design Program are prepared for careers in many different industries. Examples include Advertising Director, Visual Identity Art Director, Conceptual Designer, Packaging Designer, Logo Designer, Global Brand manager, Digital Image Artist, Editorial Designer, Licensing Production Artist, Motion Graphics Designer, UI/UX Designer, Book Designer, and Communications Director.
RCAD alumni have been hired by companies such as Saatchi & Saatchi X, Microsoft, Walt Disney Imagineering, Google, Nickelodeon, Wieden+Kennedy, Meta (formerly Facebook), Leo Burnett, BBC Studios, Walt Disney Imagineering, Instagram, and Arc Worldwide.
Ringling College of Art and Design is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). A private, not-for-profit college, RCAD has been around since 1931, when it was co-founded by circus baron, John Ringling. Serving nearly 1,700 students from 54 countries, 45 states, and four territories, Ringling College of Art and Design offers eleven majors leading to a BFA degree, two majors leading to a BA, and minor options in 10 areas.
4. Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama (Top 3% of colleges considered)
Auburn University has a Graphic Design Program that is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Housed in the College of Architecture, Design, and Construction’s School of Industrial and Graphic Design, the BFA in Graphic Design (BFA GDES) is Alabama’s only Graphic Design Program to receive accreditation by the NASAD.
Consisting of 123 credit hours, the Auburn GDES Program explores branding and packaging, wayfinding design, UI/UX, illustration, app design, typography, motion design, and publishing. Course examples for the program, Graphic Design I-II, Graphic Processes, Typographics, Photo Design, Interactive Media, and Research, Writing, & Presentation. Other program benefits include cross-disciplinary collaborations, a professional studio environment with hands-on design instruction, guest lectures, exhibitions, and design symposiums. An optional internship is part of the program as well as study abroad experiences in England, Hong Kong, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Taiwan or Scotland.
During the final year of the Auburn Graphic Design BFA Program, students will complete a professional portfolio of their best work.
Auburn GDES alumni go on to secure positions with magazines, advertising agencies, publishers, design studios, marketing firms, web design companies, and more. They work in branding and packaging, illustration, environmental graphics, web design and development, interactive media, and exhibition design, among other areas.
Auburn University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Chartered in 1856 as the East Alabama Male College, the school went on to become the first land-grant college in the South in 1872. Today, Auburn serves a diverse population of more than 31,500 students, making it one of the largest universities in the region. Auburn University offers 150 majors and programs across 15 colleges and schools.
5. Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida (Top 4% of colleges considered)
Full Sail University has a Graphic Design BS Program that may be completed in 20 months on-campus or 29 months online. Program features for both tracks include a project-based curriculum, hands-on experience with entertainment and media companies, seven project and portfolio courses, several Professional Development Seminars, and a four credit hour Career Readiness course. Other course examples include Creating Brand Experience, Interactive Editorial Design, Typography and Page Layout, Technology in the Entertainment and Media Industries, Logos and Symbols, and Digital Publishing, Graphic Design BS graduates are prepared to pursue positions at advertising agencies, marketing firms, and public relations firms, magazines and book publishers, web design companies, design studios, and more. Some graduates go on to pursue an advanced degree such as Full Sail University’s Media Design MFA.
Offered 100% online, the Full Sail MFA Program explores client communications, motivational theories, team dynamics, and research. Course examples include Organizational Structures, Defining Client Needs, Design Strategies and Motivation, Design Research, and Measuring Design Effectiveness. Courses are five credit hours each and the MFA Program takes just 12 months to complete, full-time.
Full Sail University is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC). The school opened in 1979 in Dayton, Ohio. Today, Full Sail is located just 35 minutes from downtown Orlando and Universal Studios. Serving approximately 21,000 students, Full Sail University offers degree programs and graduate certificates in the Arts, Entertainment, Media, and Technology.
6. University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida (Top 4% of colleges considered)
Established in 1925, the College of the Arts at University of Florida (UF) houses the fully accredited schools of Art + Art History, Music, Theatre and Dance, the Center for Arts in Medicine, and the Digital Worlds Institute. In the School of Art + Art History, students interested in design can earn a Graphic Design BFA, an MFA in Graphic Design/Design & Visual Communications (MXD), or a Graphic Design Certificate.
The 120 credit hour Graphic Design BFA explores art history, drawing, design, and 2D, 3D, and 4D. Course examples for the 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, and Image, Form and Meaning. Students in the UF Graphic Design BFA will take Design Workshop, studios such as Design and Professional Practice Studio and Senior Design Studio, and they will work with clients on real-world projects. Students will leave the program with a professional portfolio of their best work.
The University of Florida MXD MFA is a terminal degree consisting of 60 credit ours of study. In existence for more than 20 years, this design-centered, interdisciplinary program has two-year and three-year options that consists of studios, seminars, workshops, practicums, and internship opportunities. The MFA also provides opportunities to develop entrepreneurial skills and teaching skills through electives. Examples include Seminar in Social Entrepreneurship, Creativity in Entrepreneurship, Teaching Art in Higher Education, and Methods of Research in Art Education. Students have the option to complete a Thesis or MFA Creative Project.
In the 15 credit hour Graphic Design Certificate Program at University of Florida is open to students majoring in Art or Art History. Courses include Perceptual Drawing, Visual Methods and Processes, Typography 1: Letterform, Design Thinking, and Graphic Design Practice. The UF Graphic Design Certificate Program takes four semesters to complete.
Graduates of the Graphic Design and Visual Communications Programs at University of Florida are designers, educators, entrepreneurs, and creative directors, among others. Program alumni work at major companies such as Apple, Walt Disney Imagineering, Meta (formerly Facebook), Verizon, Microsoft, IBM, IBM, Twitter, JetBlue, Kate Spade, West Elm, IDEO, Fossil, Viacom, JetBlue, and for the Miami Heat.
MDX MFA alumni have also laned positions at Google, L’Oréal, University at Buffalo, University of Colorado–Boulder, Illinois State University, Alabama at Birmingham, Ball State University, Northern Alabama University, Auburn University, and the University of Florida.
The University of Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Founded in 1858 as Gainesville Academy, the school opened with just a few students. Serving nearly 58,000 students today, UF encompasses a 2,000-acre campus with more than 900 buildings, including the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum-certified building in the State of Florida. The University of Florida offers more than 300 undergraduate and graduate programs in 14 colleges and schools.
7. University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Knoxville, Tennessee (Top 5% of colleges considered)
The College of Architecture and Design at University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UT Knoxville or UTK) houses the School of Design, which offers a BFA Graphic Design and a 15 credit hour Graphic Studies Minor that takes two years to complete. Graphic Design Program features include small class sizes, collaborative Design Studios, 24/7 access to state-of-the-art labs and equipment, and participation in the Annual Senior Show.
Course examples across programs include Advertising Principles, The Art of Presentation Design, Principles, Processes and Applications of Design, Design as Visual Message-Making, User-Centered Design, Writing, Layout, and Production of Technical Documents, Expanded Principles of Typography, Interactive & Screen-Based Design, Advanced Design Investigations, The Idea of Design. BFA students have the option to complete the Practicum (45 working hours), Undergraduate Research (course) and/ or a study abroad experience.
Over the past five years, graduates of the UTK Graphic Design Program have enjoyed an impressive 90% employment rate. Alumni work at leading companies such as Apple, GAP, Google, HGTV, Instagram, Meta (formerly Facebook), and Zillow. Some have started their own companies including Matchstic Media, Morris Creative, Nathanna Design, Old City Mailroom, Robin Easter Design, and many others. All students must complete a Capstone Project to graduate.
Graduates of the UT Knoxville Graphic Design Programs are prepared to pursue positions at advertising agencies, publishing companies, magazines, design studios, public relations firms, marketing firms, film studios, web design companies, game studios, and museums, among others.
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, has been continuously accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) since 1897. Founded in 1794 as Knoxville as Blount College, UT Knoxville serves 31,700 students enrolled in more than 900 programs of study in 11 colleges.
8. University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia (Top 6% of colleges considered)
The Franklin College of Arts & Sciences at University of Georgia (UGA) houses the Lamar Dodd School of Art, which has both undergraduate and graduate programs for designers. The BFA in Fine Arts has Graphic Design, Photography & Expanded Media, Printmaking & Book Arts, and Scientific Illustration Concentrations. All concentrations require successful completion of the Franklin College Core and Area VI coursework. Course examples include Art History, Color and Composition, Drawing, Professional Seminar, and Three-Dimensional Design.
Students in the Graphic Design Concentration have opportunities to study in other associated subject areas through design focus tracks and electives. To create a track, BFA students may choose nine credit hours from the following courses: Art, Design & Architectural History, Communications & Media, Cultural Studies, Interaction & Computing, Marketing & Strategy, and Studio Art & Design. Elective examples include Data Visualization, Graphic Design Field Study, Internship in Art, and Topics in Digital Platforms & Dynamic Media I.
For students interested in a design minor, the UGA Dodd School offers a Digital Design + Media Minor consisting of 15 credit hours. With nine hours of upper division coursework, the program focuses on Graphic Design, Photography, and Time-Based Media.
Another option for designers is the Interdisciplinary Art & Design AB (BA). Program features include the Area VI coursework, experiential learning (study abroad in Cortona, Costa Rica, Ghana or field study), and the option to complete a minor, certificate program or double major in a field outside of the Dodd School of Art. The Interdisciplinary Art & Design AB requires 122 credit hours to graduate.
For graduate students, the Lamar Dodd School of Art at University of Georgia offers an MFA in Printmaking and Book Arts. Students in this program can take Area VI coursework, and study graphic design through electives. Other program features include private MFA studios with natural lighting and large windows, access to state-of-the-art equipment to produce print, paper and book arts media, and the multifunctional Project Space for installing, staging, critiquing, and exhibiting work. The Printmaking and Book Arts Program is also offered at the undergraduate level. The program leads to a BFA.
Graduates of the Art and Design Programs at University of Georgia work in a variety of positions at creative firms, retailers, broadcasting companies, magazines, museums, publishers, and more. Examples of companies that have hired UGA graduates include IBM Design, Meta (formerly Facebook), the Metropolitan Museum of Art, CNN & Turner Broadcasting, Bustle, Gensler, Free People, and Aveda.
University of Georgia is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Established in 1785 and the state’s flagship institution, UGA serves more than 40,000 students enrolled in 379 degree programs across 17 colleges and schools. Established in 1910, the Graduate School houses 250 of UGA’s 379 degree programs.
9. Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina (Top 6% of colleges considered)
Appalachian State University (Appalachian State or ASU) houses the College of Fine and Applied Arts (CFAA). In the CFAA Department of Art, students can earn a BFA in Graphic Design. Program benefits faculty-led regional and national trips, study abroad experiences in places such as Austria, Italy, Panama, and South Africa, and internships with companies and organizations such as Discovery Communications (Chicago, Illinois), Publicis (Bangkok, Thailand), and Appalachian Voices (Boone, North Carolina). Students in this four-year professional program also have access to clubs and organizations such as AIGA ASU, the Art History Club and Student Art League, and the Arts Management Organization (AMO).
The Appalachian State Graphic Design BFA consists of 120 credit hours. Although it is not required, many students add a minor such as Studio Art with Portfolio Review, Studio Art without Portfolio Review, or Art History. Course examples for the program include Digital Imaging, Interaction Design, Idea Lab, Technical Writing, Video Production and Story, Typography I-III, Creativity: Methods & Practice, Motion Graphics, Hand-Lettering, and Sign, Symbol, Image.
The ASU Graphic Design curriculum includes an internship opportunity and Graphic Design Professional Practice. In this course, students will participate in lectures, create self-promotional packages, engage in research and writing related to job search preparedness, and develop and refine their portfolios. Students may also visit local or regional design studios and printing facilities.
Graduates of the Appalachian State University Graphic Design BFA Program can pursue careers such as Advertising Director, Computer Graphic Artist, Book Designer, Communications Specialist, Creative Director, Editorial Artist, Graphic Designer, Art Director, Multimedia Designer, and Cartoonist or Illustrator. Program alumni have been hired at Gap, McCall Publishing, Red hat, Oculus Studios, Amazon.com, COCG, Footbridge Media, Fifty&Fifty, and Raizlabs, among others.
Appalachian State University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC). Founded in 1899 as Watauga Academy, Appalachian State is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. The school serves more than 20,600 students enrolled in more than 200 degree programs in eight colleges and schools.
10. University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida (Top 7% of schools considered)
The College of Arts and Humanities at University of Central Florida (UCF) houses the School of Visual Arts & Design (SVAD), which offers an Emerging Media BFA with a Graphic Design Track. At the graduate level, SVAD offers an interdisciplinary Emerging Media MFA with a Studio Art and Design Track.
The Emerging Media BFA Program explores interactive and web design, typography, branding and packaging, UI/UX design, poster creation, publication design, film and broadcast graphics, and identity systems. Consisting of 120 credit hours, the program requires 63 credit hours in the major. Course examples include Type & Design, Intermediate Graphic Design I-II, Advanced Computer Graphic Design, Computer Art, Art in the Last 25 Years, and Special Problems in Graphic Design. In addition, Emerging BFA students will work on building a professional portfolio during the entire four years of the program.
With a focus on Electronic Media, SVAD Emerging Media MFA is a rigorous, 60 credit hour program that consists of individual and group critiques, experimentation with emerging and traditional media, and mentoring. The program requires 18 credit hours of electives and 18 in Thesis courses. Elective examples include Design Theory and Methods, Time Arts, Art, Design and Human Interactions, Serial Content, and The Professional Practice of Art. The UCF Emerging Media MFA Program culminates with a Thesis Exhibition.
University of Central Florida alumni work at Amazon, Google, Lockheed Martin, Walt Disney World, Microsoft, The Walt Disney Company, Universal Orlando Resort, AdventHealth, Salesforce, Meta (formerly Facebook), Orlando Health, and TEKsystems, among others.
University of Central Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Founded in 1963, University of Central Florida opened in 1968 as Florida Technological University. When it opened, the school had less than 2,000 students. Today, UCF serves more than 70,000 students making it the largest university by enrollment in the State of Florida, and one of the nation’s largest universities. Program offerings include 106 bachelor’s degrees, 95 master’s degrees, 31 research doctorates, three professional doctorates, and three specialist degrees.
11. Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana (Top 8% of schools considered)
The College of Art & Design at Louisiana State University (LSU) houses the School of Art, which has a Graphic Design Program with BFA and MFA pathways. Students in all School of Art programs have access to the Arts, Visualization, Advanced Technologies and Research (AVATAR) Initiative and the Art Building, which houses classrooms, studio spaces, the Design Shop, Fabrication Factory, IDEA Hub, and teaching labs. Students may also join the Digital Art and Design Association (DADA), participate in design competitions and join the Graphic Design Student Organization (GDSA), which hosts field trips to local design firms and lectures.
The curriculum for both programs explores graphic design, packaging design, branding, print and editorial design, information design, environmental design, motion graphics, typography, illustration/digital imaging, and identity design. Specific course examples for the 120 credit hour BFA include Letter Forms, Graphic Design I-III, Color Design, Graphic Abstraction, Prepress Production Techniques, Interactive Multimedia Design, Applied Typography, and Digital Imaging Techniques.
The LSU Graphic Design MFA is a 60 credit hour program that combines workshops and lectures by visiting artists with graduate studio courses, studio art electives, and art history. A Teaching Seminar is part of the program as well as two Thesis Research courses worth six credits. The Grap[hic Design MFA culminates with the MFA Thesis Report and Exhibition.
LSU graduates have been hired at companies such as Disney, Pixar Animation Studios, Travel + Leisure, The Washington Post, DreamWorks, Lucasfilm, Sony Picture Entertainment, Leftfield Entertainment, New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation, Hunter Museum of American Art, Nissan North America, Halliburton, Modern Art Museum (Fort Worth, Texas), Bluebonnet, Baltimore Museum of Art, SVAD-NYC, KPMG LLP., Modern Media, and Trace Labs.
Louisiana State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The three areas of concentration in the School of Art are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Louisiana State University was founded in 1860 as the Louisiana State Seminary of Learning and Military Academy. The flagship institution of the Louisiana State University System, LSU serves nearly 36,000 students enrolled in more than 330 programs across 18 colleges, schools, and centers, and LSU Online.
12. Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana (Top 8% of colleges considered)
The School of Professional Advancement (SoPA) at Tulane University (Tulane) has BA and Post-Baccalaureate (PABC) Certificate Programs in Digital Design with Concentrations in Graphic Design and Interactive UX/UI Design. The BA in Digital Design consists of 42 major hours, 18 elective hours, and 60 hours in general requirements. The Digital Design PABC requires 30 major hours and an additional UX/UI Design Concentration.
Course examples across programs include Typography Studio, Intro to UX Design, Letterpress Studio, Poster Design, Packaging Design, Interactive Technologies, Motion Design Studio, Social Media Studio, Designer as Author, Digital Illustration, SEO SEM, and Portfolio & Professional Practices.
Worth three credits, Portfolio & Professional Practices is a studio course that prepares students for entry into the workforce through mock interviews, portfolio reworking, personal branding, and developing presentation techniques.
Other program highlights include 16 flexible elective credits, the option to study in other tracks, and access to symposiums, social events, professional conferences, and internship opportunities.
Graduates of the Tulane University Digital Design Program work in-house for specific brands or companies, and in advertising, book publishing, marketing, app design, web design, public relations, entertainment, museums, and magazines and newspapers, among others. Job titles include Creative Director, Publication Designer, Packaging Designer, Brand Manager, Front-End Web Developer, Type Designer, Art Director, Illustrator, Print Designer, and Environmental Designer.
Tulane University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Founded in 1834, Tulane was the first major research institution to require public service for graduation. Serving more than 14,500 students, Tulane University offers more than 275 programs in 10 colleges and schools.
13. Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida (Top 9% of colleges considered)
Florida State University (FSU) has a Studio Art Program with BA, BFA, and MFA pathways. Housed in the Department of Art in the College of Fine Arts, the Studio Art Program provides opportunities to concentrate or focus in areas related to Graphic Design. All pathways offer access to studio spaces in the Carnaghi Arts Building (CAB) and labs and other facilities in The Facility For Arts Research (FAR). Part of FSU’s College of Fine Arts, FAR houses REBOOT Laboratory, collab, Small Craft Advisory Press, and comma.
Other facilities include the Digital Media Lab, Photo Labs, Printmaking Labs, and FabLab Digital Fabrication Lab. Additional project and installation spaces are available for MFA students in the 400-square-feet MFA Gallery. MFA students also have access to individual 235-square-feet studios, a graduate seminar room, common spaces, FSU’s Innovation Hub, Lightbox, and FAR&AWAY—the visiting artist program. Both BFA and MFA students have 24/7 access to CAB art studios.
The interdisciplinary Studio Art BA has a Digital Media Concentration, which covers areas such as Text+Media and Interactive. Text+Media explores typography, printmaking, and photography. Interactive explores exhibition design, interface design, experience design, web design, animation, and contemporary art. Students in this program may add another major, minor or certificate. In addition to access to dedicated computer and media labs, FSU Studio Art students (including BFA students) have internship and study abroad opportunities, as well as opportunities for gallery exhibition at the FSU Phyllis Straus Gallery.
The Florida State University Studio Art BFA consists of 120 credit hours. Students may concentrate in Digital Media. The BFA Program culminates with a Thesis Project which will be displayed at FSU’s Museum of Fine Arts.
The Studio MFA at FSU is a three-year, fully funded residency program that provides professional teacher training, teaching opportunities at the college level, study trips, studio visits, and curatorial and exhibition opportunities locally and on campus. The Studio Art MFA culminates with an Exhibition event in Florida State University’s Museum of Fine Art (MoFA).
Florida State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Founded in 1851, FSU serves nearly 44,000 students enrolled in 276 degree programs at all levels. One of the largest and oldest universities in Florida, FSU houses 16 colleges and schools at campuses across the state.
14. Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina (Top 10% of colleges considered)
The Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business at Clemson University houses the Department of Graphic Communications, which has BS and MS pathways. Consisting of 400 students, the Graphics Communications BS provides access to a 14,000-square-foot laboratory and two additional state-of-the-art labs equipped with packaging and printing equipment.
Students also benefit from interactions with students in the Packaging Science Department through the Sonoco Institute, which hosts workshops, classes, and seminars. A mandatory internship part of the program a as well as the opportunity to add a Business Administration or Packaging Science Minor.
Graduates of the Graphics Communications BS Program at Clemson University have been hired at R.R. Donnelley, Boston Beer Company, Newell Brands, The Hughes Agency, and Horizon Investments. Some program alumni have gone on to pursue graduate study at Clemson, Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD), and Wake Forest University.
The Clemson University Graphic Communications MS Program has both Thesis and Non-Thesis options. Students in the Thesis option will complete 33 credit hours to graduate. Non-Thesis students will complete 30 credit hours. Core courses for both options include Current Developments and Trends in Graphic Communications, Package and Specialty Printing, Commercial Printing, and Graphic Communications Graduate Seminar.
The Thesis option requires the Master’s Thesis Research course. The Non-Thesis option requires Graphic Communications Research Problems I-II. For students without relevant work experience, an industrial internship is a required component of the MS Program—both options.
Graduates of the Graphic Communications MS at Clemson University are placed in creative, technical, and scientific positions; sales, marketing, and customer service; packaging, printing, and publishing; and academic and management.
For students seeking a program that provides a foundation in Art, Clemson University has a Fine Arts Program with BA and BFA pathways. Housed in the College of Architecture, Arts, and Humanities’ Department of Art, both programs are accredited by National Association for Schools of Art & Design (NASAD).
The Art BA is a Liberal Arts program that allows students to customize their studies with a double major or a minor in any area. Students in may also choose an emphasis such as Digital Art and Design Media. The Visual Arts BFA offers emphasis areas such as New Media, Drawing, Printmaking or Photography, with complementary coursework in Graphic Design and Animation.
Program benefits for both pathways include the visiting artist series, access to Lee Gallery, the annual field trip to art centers such as New York City, the four-week summer school in Orvieto, Italy, and the opportunity to exhibit works in the Lee Art Gallery in the senior year or the programs. In addition, Clemson Art students regularly display their work in national and regional venues, as well as locally in the Pendleton and Greenville arts districts.
Graduates of the Clemson University Art and Visual Arts Programs work at art museums and galleries, for publications, and in public relations, exhibit design, graphic design, illustration, art therapy, media, retail, animation and cartoons, and art journalism. Recent employers include Anthropologie, GDC Home, Museum of the Cherokee, Kaleidoscope Design Factory, and Greenville County Schools.
Some program alumni have gone on to pursue graduate study at Sotheby’s Institute of Art, Northwestern University, Christie’s Education, Columbus College of Art and Design (CCAD), and University of Georgia.
Clemson University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The school opened as Clemson Agricultural College in 1893 with 446 students. Today, Clemson University serves 26,400 students enrolled in more than 200 degree programs and 90+ minor options.
15. University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Fayetteville, Arkansas (Top 10% of schools considered)
The Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences at University of Arkansas, Fayetteville (U of A) houses the School of Art, home to the Graphic Design BFA Program. Launched in 2016, the program explores areas such as design processes, typography, web design and web apps, experience design, print, and interactive design. BFA students will also learn how to work with the latest industry software and techniques used to create designs.
Course examples for the BFA Program include Typographic Systems, Digital Tools and Concepts, Identity Design, User Experience, Interactive Language, Human Centered Design, Identity Systems, and Technology in Context. Students will complete the Professional Development and Seminar course, the Graphic Design Internship, and BFA Degree Project (Capstone).
Graduates of the University of Arkansas Graphic Design BFA Program have completed an internship with or currently work for companies and organizations such as Saatchi & Saatchi X, Rockfish, Walmart Corporate, Sam’s Club Corporate, Acumen Brands, J.B. Hunt, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Olivet, Hayseed Ventures, Elkins Design, Collective Bias, Field Agent, Archetype, RevUnit, DOXA, and BLKBox Labs.
Beginning Fall 2022, the School of Art at University of Arkansas, Fayetteville will offer a new MDes with a Focus in Graphic and Communication Design. The program will be the first of its kind in Arkansas. Through a gift from the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation, the fully accredited, two-year residency MDes Program will provide funding support for all accepted students. Other program benefits will include participation in the Design Clinic, collaborative learning experiences, special topics, studio projects, and research opportunities.
Examples of special topics include Design and Sustainability, Design and Consumer Experience, and Design and Entrepreneurship. The program will also require a Thesis.
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Established in 1871 as the first public university in Arkansas, U of A serves just under 29,075 students, making it the state’s largest university. University of Arkansas offers more than 200 academic programs in 10 colleges and schools.
16. University of North Florida, Jacksonville, Florida (Top 15% of schools considered)
The College of Arts & Sciences (COAS) at University of North Florida (UNF) has a BFA Program that offers an interdisciplinary major in Graphic Design & Digital Media. Housed in the COAS Department of Art, Art History, and Design, the program features internship opportunities, study abroad experiences in Brazil, Italy, and others, visiting artists, and participation in two Senior Showcases in UNF Gallery Spaces.
The Graphic Design & Digital Media BFA is a limited access program that requires a review before taking restricted classes. Areas explored include motion graphics, advertising design, poster design, web design, visual identities, and packaging, among others. With 24 major and free electives, BFA students have opportunities to explore other areas of art and design. Course examples for this 120 credit hour program include Creativity and Critique, Visual Systems, Process and Methods, UI and Interaction Design, Graphic Symbols and Semiotics Type Communication, Visual Identity, and Time-Based Media.
In the final year of the UNF Graphic Design & Digital Media BFA Program, COAS students will complete the Professional Practices course and a Graphic Design Portfolio. Graduates are prepared to pursue positions at advertising agencies, creative firms, design studios, marketing companies, production studios, web design firms, public relations firms, and in-house design departments at companies in just about every industry.
University of North Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Chartered in 1965, UNF is one of 12 public universities in the State University System of Florida (SUSF). The school serves 17,000 students across six colleges and Hicks Honors College. University of North Florida offers 60 bachelor's degree with 75 areas of concentration, 36 master's degrees with 72 areas of concentration, five doctoral degrees with three areas of concentration, and one specialist degree.
17. University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Chattanooga, Tennessee (Top 15% of schools considered)
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) houses the College of Arts and Sciences, home to the Department of Art (UTC Art), which has a BFA Program with a Graphic Design Concentration. As part of UTC, students in the program have access to internships at local and national companies, cooperative education assignments with partner companies, and experiential learning opportunities.
Course examples for this 120 credit hour program include Space and Sequence, Visual Literacy for Graphic Design, Processes and Materials for Graphic Design, Typography I-II, Studio Processes, Design History, Expanded Drawing, Interactive Media, and Survey of Time-Based Art.
UTC Graphic Design BFA students will also complete two Graphic Design Workshops, a Portfolio Review, and the Professional Practices in Graphic Design and Professional Preparation for the Visual Artist courses.
UTC Graphic Design graduates are prepared to pursue positions at advertising agencies, creative agencies and studios, marketing firms, web design studios, public relations firms, production studios, publishing companies, newspapers and magazines, and technology firms, among others.
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Founded in 1886, UTC serves more than 10,000 students enrolled in 97 undergraduate programs, 88 graduate programs, and 50 minors in six colleges and schools.
18. University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida (Top 15% of colleges considered)
The University of Miami (UM) houses the College of Arts and Sciences, home to the Department of Art and Art History, which offers a BFA with a Concentration in Graphic Design and Multimedia. Part of the Electronic Media Area, the Graphic Design and Multimedia BFA is multidisciplinary program that provides access to studios, computer labs, drawing classrooms, and exhibition spaces. Course examples for the program include 2D and 3D Design, Color Digital Photography, Drawing, Graphic Design I-III, Introduction to Electronic Media, Experimental Illustration for Print and Interactive Media, Multimedia I-III, and Typography.
Also part of the program is the Seminar in Professional Practices, which requires placement in a professional design or multimedia setting. Student may also enroll in the UM Internship (UMI) Program, which allows students to obtain real-world work experience at a design studio or creative agency in the Miami/Broward area.
The Graphic Design and Multimedia Program at the University of Miami culminates with a professional portfolio and exhibition. Potential job titles for graduates of the program include Art Director, Graphic Designer, Multimedia Artist, Packaging Designer, 3D Artist, Computer Graphic Designer, Web Designer, Media Specialist, Brand Manager, Exhibit Designer, Digital Artist, Layout Designer, Multimedia Producer, Illustrator, User Experience Designer, Concept Artist, and Digital Media Designer, among others.
The University of Miami is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Founded in 1925, this private research university opened in 1926 with 646 full-time students enrolled in programs across the College of Liberal Arts, the School of Music, and the Evening Division. Today, University of Miami serves more than 17,000 students enrolled in nearly 350 majors and programs across 12 colleges and schools.
19. University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida (Top 15% of colleges considered)
The College of the Arts at University of South Florida (USF) houses the School of Art & Art History, which has a Graphic Arts BFA Program with a Concentration in Graphic Design. The program combines production courses with internship opportunities and portfolio development coursework. The curriculum focuses om print, image development, screen-based graphics, and image development. The program begins with illustration, drawing, and printmaking courses.
Over the next three years students will complete 18 credit hours in the concentration. Course examples include Graphic Interface, Motion Graphics, Book Design, Packaging Design, Business Graphic Design, Advanced Typography, Design Signs and Symbols, Advanced Illustration, Social Design, and Advanced Web Design.
All students in the USF Graphic Design Concentration must complete the Art and Art History Internship worth three credits. Research and study abroad opportunities are also part of the program. In the final year of the BFA Program, student designers will complete Graphic Design: Senior Studio, Senior Project: Research, and Senior Project: Portfolio. In addition, BFA students will design, organize, and promote an exhibition of their Final Senior Project.
Potential jobs titles for University of South Florida Graphic Design graduates include Creative Director, Graphic Designer, Production Artist, Design Consultant, Web Designer, UI/UX Designer, Motion Designer, Brand Designer, Illustrator, Packaging Designer, Layout Artist, Logo Designer, Senior Graphic Designer, Technical Designer, and Industrial Designer.
The University of South Florida (USF) is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Founded in 1956, USF serves more than 50,000 students across three campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Sarasota-Manatee. Students at University of South Florida choose from 180 undergraduate majors and degree programs at the graduate, specialist, and doctoral levels. Programs are housed in 14 colleges.
20. University of North Carolina, Charlotte, Charlotte, North Carolina (Top 15% of colleges considered)
The College of Arts + Architecture (COA+A) at University of North Carolina Charlotte (UNC Charlotte) has a 120 credit hour Graphic Design BFA Program that consists of 78 credit hours in the major. Housed in the COA+A Department of Art and Art History, the BFA is a professional degree program that takes four years to complete. Major components of the program include several graphic design projects, an internship, Senior Seminar, the recurring summer experience in Rome, and the BFA Senior Exhibition.
Course examples include 2D and 3D Design, Digital Foundations, Graphic Design I & II, Design Thinking, Interactive Art and Design, Communications Design, Print Production, Typography I-II, UX/UI Design Strategies, and Design Research. Students graduate from the UNC Charlotte Graphic Design Program with a professional portfolio of their best work.
Graduates are prepared to pursue careers in areas such as advertising and marketing, publications design, book design, exhibit design, UI/UX design, public relations, multimedia design, film and video, animation, web design, and computer systems design.
University of North Carolina-Charlotte is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Founded in 1946, UNC Charlotte serves around 30,150 students enrolled in more than 200 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs in nine colleges. University of North Carolina Charlotte is a public research university and the third largest school in the 16-campus UNC System.
21. Loyola University New Orleans, New Orleans, Louisiana (Top 15% of colleges considered)
The Graphic Design Program at Loyola University of New Orleans is part of the College of Music and Media’s School of Communication & Design, Department of Design. Housed in the newly renovated Monroe Hall with fully equipped state-of-the-art labs and darkrooms, the Department of Design has its own AIGA chapter which hosts guest artists and fundraising events. The Department also offers internship opportunities at places such as the New Orleans Museum of Art and Peter Mayer Advertising, and study abroad experiences in the UK, Italy, France, New Zealand, and Morocco.
Program options for Graphic Designers include a 120 credit hour Graphic Design BDes and a 21 credit hour Design Minor. Both programs explore typography, design history and theory, print, and narrative. Upper division BDes coursework covers topics such as publication design, motion graphics, interactive design, and type design. Course examples across programs include Design History 1-2, Typography Lab 1-2, Print Design & Narrative, Interactive Design & Narrative 1-2, Motion Design & Narrative 1, Design Topics, Business of Design, Social/Political Design, and Illustration Design. GDes students will complete a Design Internship and Design Capstone course.
Graduates of the Design Programs at Loyola University New Orleans are prepared for graduate study, teaching positions, and positions such as Graphic Designer, Creative Director, Package Designer, Motion Graphics Designer, Publications Designer, Web Designer, Book Designer, UI/UX Designer, Brand Manager, and Exhibition Designer, among others.
Loyola University New Orleans is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Established in 1904, Loyola University New Orleans is a private, Jesuit university that serves around 4,550 students enrolled in nearly 150 programs in five colleges and through Loyola Online.
22. University of Memphis, Memphis, Tennessee (Top 15% of colleges considered)
The College of Communication and Fine Arts at University of Memphis (U of M) houses the Department of Art, home to the Graphic Design Program which has BFA and MFA pathways. A 12 credit hour Graduate Certificate is also available. Courses for this program include History of Graphic Design, Print Communication Design, Writing/Design Process, and Interactive Media Design.
The Graphic Design Program covers print and digital design, visual communication, creative solutions, and current industry computer applications. Students in all programs have access to state-of-the-art facilities and equipment, internship opportunities, and instructors that have both professional and design education experience.
The BFA requires 120 credit hours to graduate and the MFA requires 60. Students in the BFA Program will complete 67 hours in Graphic Design. Course examples include Computer Assisted Graphic Design, Visual Thinking, Typographic Design I-II, Interactive Media Design, Electronic Pre-Press Production, Print Communication Design, and Graphic Design Methods. Graduates will leave the U of M Graphic Design BFA Program with a professional portfolio.
The MFA in Art with Graphic Design Concentration consists of 42 credit hours in 7000-level courses. Completed on a full-time schedule, the MFA culminates with the Thesis Exhibition.
Graduates of the Graphic Design Programs at University of Memphis are prepared to pursue titles such as Computer Graphic Designer, Web Designer, Media Specialist, Brand Manager, Digital Media Designer, Design Director, Graphic Designer, Multimedia Artist, Illustrator, User Experience Designer, Packaging Designer, 3D Artist, Exhibit Designer, Digital Artist, Layout Designer, Multimedia Producer, and Concept Artist.
University of Memphis is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). This public research university was established in 1912 as West Tennessee State Normal School. Serving close to 21,625 students, U of M offers more than 375 areas of study, subjects, and disciplines leading to degrees and certificates at all levels. Programs at U of M are housed in 13 colleges and schools.
23. Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, Georgia (Top 15% of colleges considered)
Kennesaw State University’s (KSU) School of Art and Design (SOAAD) serves more than 1,200 students enrolled in more than a dozen programs and concentrations leading to a BFA or MA. For students interested in graphic design, SOAAD offers has Art BFA Program with a Concentration in Graphic Communications. Consisting of 120 credit hours, the program provides the opportunity to concentrate in other areas such as Illustration, Painting and Drawing, Sequential Art, Photography and Video, Printmaking, and Textile and Surface Design.
SOAAD features include visiting artists, internship opportunities, summer art intensives, and the KSU partnership with ESA Saint-Luc in Bruxells, Belgium. This study abroad program provides unique opportunities such as the Comics curriculum at ESA St. Luc Brussels.
Course examples for the Graphic Communications Program include Advertising and Packaging, Typography I-II, Interactive Media Design, Web Design for Artists, Electronic Illustration, Pre-Press, Publication Design, Concept, Creativity, and Studio Practices, Motion Graphics, and Drawing I-II.
In the last year of the KSU Graphic Communications Program, students will complete the Design Practicum course, worth three credits, and Senior Art Seminar and Exhibition.
Graduates of the Art Programs at Kennesaw State University go on to establish careers as Graphic Designers, Graphic Artists, Multimedia Artists, Book Designers, UI/UX Designers, Brand Managers, Art Directors, and Packaging Designers, among others.
Kennesaw State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Founded in 1963 as a junior college, KSU serves nearly 43,000 students enrolled in over 170 degree programs in 11 colleges and KSU Journey Honors College. Kennesaw State University is one of top 50 largest public colleges in the U.S.
24. University of Tampa, Tampa, Florida (Top 20% of colleges considered)
The Department of Design at University of Tampa (UT) is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Housed in the UT College of Arts and Letters, the Department provides access to and participation in the Visiting Artist Program, the Art and Design Immersion Travel Course, experiential learning activities at local galleries and museums, the campus-based, 30,000-square-feet R.K. Bailey Art Studios, and the Ferman Center for the Arts.
The UT Graphic Design BFA is housed in the Department of Design. Topics of study for the program include traditional design, visual communication: art and contemporary + history and theories, advanced study in typography, digital design, collaboration and entrepreneurship, and socially responsible design. Course examples include Graphic Design I-IV, Printing, Mixed Media Painting, Publishing and Book Arts, Typography I-II, Branding and Packaging, Design Thinking, Intaglio Printmaking, Digital Photography, and Graphic Design Portfolio Studio.
Students are also encouraged to complete a professional internship and they may add a minor to help expand their skill sets. Examples include Communication, Media and Culture, Digital Media, Film and Media Arts, Interactive Media, Public Relations, Writing, New Media, and the Advertising Minor, with courses in Communication Department and the John H. Sykes College of Business.
The University of Tampa Graphic Design BFA culminates with the Senior Capstone Project and Exhibit at the UT Scarfone/Hartley Gallery.
University of Tampa is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Founded in 1931 as Tampa Junior College, the school opened with just 62 students. Today, UT is a global research university that serves 10,500 students. More than 200 academic programs are available in four colleges including the College of Arts and Letters, Sykes College of Business, the College of Natural and Health Sciences, and the College of Social Sciences, Mathematics, and Education.
25. Jackson State University, Jackson, Mississippi (Top 20% of colleges considered)
The College of Liberal Arts at Jackson State University (JSU) houses the Department of Art, which is the first art program in Mississippi to be accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). The program has maintained its accreditation since 1978. Department highlights include access to the state-of-the art Mac Lab, drawing and painting studios, smart classrooms, and a semester-long internship for Graphic Design students.
The JSU BA in Graphic Design consists of 124 credit hours of Art History, Foundations, Related Arts and Major courses. In the major, students will take courses such as Drawing I-III, Painting, Visual Thinking, Design I-III, Typography, Web Design, Computer Graphics, Advertising Art, Display Design, Printmaking, Sound Design, and Non-Western Art. In the Junior and Senior years, students will complete the Seminar on Aesthetics, Junior Graphic Design Studio I-II and Senior Graphic Design Studio I-II (Motion Graphics). A Portfolio Development course is also a major component of the BA Program.
Graduates of the Graphic Design Program at Jackson State University go on to positions at advertising agencies, magazines, book publishers, design studios, marketing firms, and web design studios, among others.
Jackson State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Established in 1877, JSU serves 7,080 students enrolled in more than 90 degree programs in five colleges including the College of Business; Science, Technology & Engineering; Life Long Learning; Public Service; and Public Health.