What are the top graphic design school programs in Connecticut for 2021?

Top 5 Connecticut Graphic Design Schools - 2021 College Rankings
1Yale University New Haven
2University of ConnecticutStorrs
3University of HartfordWest Hartford
4Sacred Heart UniversityFairfield
5Central Connecticut State UniversityNew Britain

Our 2021 ranking of the top 5 graphic design school programs in Connecticut. For an explanation of the ranking criteria, click here.

1. Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut
Yale School of the Art

Founded in 1701, Yale University serves nearly 13,600 students enrolled in dozens of programs in the areas of art, architecture, divinity, drama, forestry and environmental studies, law, management, music, public health, and more. The school, which houses more than 145 departments and schools, is home to one of the most prestigious fine arts schools in the U.S.

Established in 1869, Yale School Art was the nation’s first art school connected with an institution of higher learning. With an enrollment of more than 100 students, the school offers a BA in Art and MFA degrees in Graphic Design, Painting and Printmaking, Photography, and Sculpture. An interdisciplinary Film & Video program is also available.

The BA in Art offers the opportunity for intensive study leading to greater specialization in one or more areas such as Graphic Design, Painting/Printmaking, Photography, and Sculpture. Course highlights for the program include Advanced Graphic Design, Communicating with Time, Motion, and Sound, Graphic Design Methodologies, Interactive Design and the Internet, Intermediality: Typography, Motion, and Meaning, Introduction to Graphic Design, Letterform, Mobile Computing, Moving Image Methods, Print to Screen, Programming as Writing, Visual Thinking, and Writing as Metadata. Students in the program will complete a Sequence: Exhibition Design, which will allow them to showcase their designs.

The Yale Graphic Design MFA (Yale GDMFA) is a 60 credit hour program that accepts just 12 students each year and up to six students into the preliminary-year program. MFA applicants for this competitive program are expected to have “substantial and distinguished experience in visual studies and related professional experience,” says the school. Students can expect support for their graphic design collections in several ways including, “studio work led by faculty meeting weekly, small five- or six-person thesis groups meeting biweekly, and individual sessions with writing and editing tutors.”

Lectures, presentations, and workshops are also part of the program as well as access to “extraordinary” resources including Yale University courses, conferences, films, lectures, museums, and the “extensive” research and rare book collections of Sterling and Beinecke libraries. Students also have a designated workspace in the design studio loft and access to equipment including bookbinding materials, wide format printers, a RISO duplicator, Vandercook press, and workspaces in the School of Art buildings. More resources supporting interdisciplinary projects including motion capture and VR are available at the nearby Center for Collaborative Arts and Media.

The Yale Graphic Design MFA takes two years to complete, full-time.

2. University of Connecticut, Storrs, Stamford, Connecticut
University of Connecticut

The University of Connecticut (UConn) was established in 1881 as Storrs Agricultural School, opening with just three faculty members and 13 male students. Today, the school employs more than 18,000 faculty and staff members serving a coed population of more than 32,300 students.

Consisting of one main and four regional campuses, UConn offers eight undergraduate degrees in 117 majors, 17 graduate degrees in 88 research and professional practice fields of study, and six professional degree programs (JD, LLM, MD, DMD, PharmD, SJD) in 14 schools and colleges. The School of Fine Arts houses the Department of Art and Art History, which offers a BFA in Studio Art with a Graphic Design Concentration.

Program highlights include access to libraries, field experience, guest artists and designers, internships, studio space, study abroad opportunities, and up-to-date technology. Courses build upon a sequence of six upper-level courses in the area. The curriculum includes direct studies in design (20-25% of the total program), other courses in art and design, (20-30%), studies in art and design history (10-15%), and general studies and electives (25-35%). The program follows this sequence: Design Process, Graphic Design I-IV, and Senior Project.

Graduates of the BFA in Graphic Design have gone on to successful careers as Professional Artists, Designers, Illustrators, and Photographers. Some graduates are College Professors, while others are Arts Administrators. Program alumni have also pursued graduate study at Rhode Island School of Design, Virginia Commonwealth University, and University of Wisconsin, Madison, to name a few.

3. University of Hartford, West Hartford, Connecticut
University of Hartford

Chartered in 1957, University of Hartford (UHart) is a four-year private university that serves 6,600 students from 49 states and 47 countries. Spread across seven schools and colleges, UHart offers around 200 programs spanning the arts, business, education, engineering and technology, health professions, and humanities.

UH houses Hartford Art School, which offers a Visual Communication Design BFA (BFA VCD). Course highlights for the program include Academic Writing, Design Systems, Image Making and Meaning, Issues in Artmaking, Motion Design, Typography, and User Interface Design. All students must pass the Sophomore and Junior reviews as well as Senior Design Studio and Professional Practices. A final Senior Project is also required and students may participate in supervised internships.

The Project “is an advanced-level graphic design course that requires the student to work independently toward defining and investigating a specific problem or theme in graphic design,” says the school. “The course involves problem identification, individual research or investigation, and the production of a coherent final project of thesis quality.”

The VCD Program has an “exceptional job placement rate,” and “graduates will enter the workforce with both a rich portfolio and a strong alumni network” on their side.

4. Sacred Heart University, Fairfield, Connecticut
Sacred Heart University

Founded in 1963 as an independent, Catholic University, Sacred Heart University (SHU) was the first Catholic University in America to be led and staffed by lay people. The school serves more than 9,150 students enrolled in over 80 undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs, including online degree programs, in six distinct colleges and two schools.

The School of Communication, Media & the Arts (SCMA) offers a BA in Art & Design with a Graphic Design Concentration. The program requires the completion of 18 credits in foundational courses plus 33 credits in the concentration. Course highlights include Advertising Design, Design for the Web, Drawing II: Life, Graphic Design I-IV, Illustration, Interactive 2D Animation, and the Capstone.

The Senior Capstone course focuses on developing a professional portfolio and promotional materials, culminating in a public presentation to area advertising, design, marketing, and recruitment professionals. Students will receive guidance from faculty and visiting professionals.

BFA students will also gain experience through internships at top corporate media outlets, and some students choose to focus on community outreach and teacher training opportunities depending on their career goals and personal interests. In addition, each semester, SCMA faculty select the finest work across different classes for inclusion in the Media Arts eXhibition, known as THE MAX. This gives students the opportunity to present their work to peers, potential employers, and the public.

5. Central Connecticut State University, New Britain, Connecticut
Central Connecticut State University

Founded in 1849 as New Britain Normal School and serving nearly 11,800 students, Central Connecticut State University (CCSU) is the largest university within the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system and the oldest publicly supported institution of higher education in the state.

CCSU offers more than 150 degree and certificate programs in the schools of Business, Education & Professional Studies, Engineering, Science & Technology, Graduate Studies, and Carol A. Ammon College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences.

A Graphic/Information Design BA is offered in the College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences. The program focuses on graphic design, 3D Animation, Digital and 3D Imaging, History of Design, Information Design, Interactive Multimedia Design, and Website Design. Students will complete 36 credits of Graphic Design requirements, plus a Minor or 18 credits of major-related courses.

Some Minor options include Art for Graphic/Information Design Majors, Graphics Technology, Communication, Creative Writing, Entrepreneurship, Graphics Technology, Media Studies, Strategic Communication, and Writing & Publishing.

Graduates of the BA program are Broadcasters, Designers, and Publishers (both print and digital) in communication departments, design firms, multimedia studios, and more.