What are the top Maryland graphic design schools for 2023?

Top 5 Maryland Graphic Design School Programs - 2023 College Rankings
1Maryland Institute College of ArtBaltimore
2University of MarylandCollege Park
3Towson UniversityTowson
4University of Maryland Baltimore CountyBaltimore
5Salisbury UniversitySalisbury

Our 2023 ranking of the top 5 graphic design school programs in Maryland. For an explanation of the ranking criteria, click here.

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

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

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

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

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

The graduate programs at Maryland Institute of College and Art serve more than 300 students from nearly every state and 20 countries. For students interested in pursuing an advanced degree, MICA offers a both MA and MFA degrees in Graphic Design.

Housed in a loft-style studio space with dedicated computers and workspaces, the 60 credit hour Graphic Design MA (GDMA) prepares students for career advancement or entry into an MFA program. Program features include courses taught by industry professionals, access to a variety of seminars, and participation in 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 Graphic Design MFA (GD MFA) features 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 graduate Graphic Design Programs at MICA can be completed in two years, full-time.

Graduates of the art and design programs at Maryland Institute College or Art are designers, educators, and artists. Alumni have presented their work at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), The Smithsonian Institution (Smithsonian), The Whitney Museum of American Art (The Whitney), and Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA). MICA alumni have been hired at places such as Google, Adobe, Under Armour, Netflix, and Morehouse College.

Founded in 1826, Maryland Institute College of Art is the nation’s oldest independent, continuously degree-granting college of art and design. The school serves nearly 3,500 undergraduate, graduate, and open studies students from 49 states and 52 countries. Programs at MICA lead to a BFA, MA, MFA, MBA, MPS degree, or post-baccalaureate certificate. 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).

2. University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland
University of Maryland

The College of Arts and Humanities at University of Maryland (UMD) houses the Department of Art, home to the Art Studio Program. Within the Program is a Graphic Design Concentration that leads to a BA or MFA. Program features include the Visiting Artist Lecture Series; study abroad opportunities in places such as the UK, Spain, Hong Kong, Jordan, and Sweden; and opportunities to complete an internship and/or work in the student-run gallery Herman Maril Gallery.

UMD Department of Art students have interned for or worked on projects with Discovery Channel, AOL, the Smithsonian Institution, Kennedy Center, American Film Institute, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, The Washington Times, Girl Scouts of the USA, Humane Society of the United States, America for the Arts, National Organizers Alliance, USA Today, the International Labor Rights Forum, Very Special Arts, the American Red Cross, 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. In addition to courses similar to these, the MFA 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 enter the job market with a professional portfolio of their best work. Across the Arts, Communication and Design Programs at UMD, alumni have worked with or been hired at Google, AARP, Discovery, Inc. Magazine, HBO, National Geographic, Shakespeare Theater Company, SiriusXM, VICE Media, Marriott International, Voice of America, The Washington Post, University of Maryland, and General Assembly.

Founded in 1856, University of Maryland is the flagship institution of the State of Maryland. The school employs more than 14,000 faculty and staff members that serve approximately 40,710 students. UMD provides more than 250 academic programs across 12 colleges. University of Maryland is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

3. Towson University, Towson, Maryland
Towson University

The College of Fine Arts & Communication (COFAC) at Towson University (TU) houses the Department of Art and Design, which has several paths to study Graphic Design. At the undergraduate level, the Art + Design BFA Program has a Graphic Design Concentration that requires 121-122 units to graduate. This includes 60 units in the Concentration. Course examples include Design: Creativity + Process, Illustration Concepts for Designers and Illustrators, Typography, Design for the WWW, Exhibit Design, Letterpress & Bookbinding, Graphic Design I-III, and Package Design.

Other program features include small class sizes; internship opportunities at graphic design studios, advertising agencies, and companies with in-house graphic design departments; access to state-of-the-art studios and labs, and career services; participation in Towson University’s own AIGA Chapter, which hosts field trips, workshops, and networking events; and study abroad/away programs in 60 countries and across the U.S.

In the final year of the program, students will produce a portfolio during the Graphic Design: Portfolio course, and complete a Final BFA Project to graduate. 

At the graduate level, Towson University has an Art Studio MFA with professional study in Graphic Design, Digital Media, Interactive Media Design, Illustration, Printmaking, Interrelated Media, Photography, and related areas. Course examples for the program include Graphic Design III, Artist Books, Illustration II, New Directions in Printmaking, Lithography Process II, Interactive Media, Photo Imaging, Designing for Production, and Design and Social Entrepreneurship.

Other program features include access to private studios, weekly critiques, and participation in graduate seminars. The Art Studio MFA Program at Towson University culminates with the MFA Project and Exhibition.

A final option for Designers seeking a shorter program is the Post-baccalaureate (PBC) Interactive Media Design Certificate (IAMD). Consisting of 12 units, the PBC-IAMD Program explores Visual Communication, Graphic Design Theories and Practices, and UX and UI Concepts. Coursework for may be applied any Towson graduate program. The PBC-IAMD Program at Towson University can be completed entirely online.

Graduates of the Art and Design Programs at Towson University are prepared to pursue careers at companies, studios, agencies, and organizations across the U.S. and abroad. Some of the top employers of TU graduates include Target, Stanley Black & Decker, NewDay USA, UPS, Aerotek, TEKsystems, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), State Farm, Geico, Enterprise Holdings, Sherwin-Williams, and Maryland State Government. Some TU graduates go on to pursue graduate study at schools such as Fordham University, Pennsylvania State University, Carnegie Mellon University, Howard University, and New York University.

Serving approximately 19,800 students, Towson University is the largest university in the Baltimore area, and the second largest university in the University System of Maryland. The school began as a teacher’s college in 1866. Today, TU students have access to more than 200 programs housed across seven colleges and dozens of departments. Towson University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

4. University of Maryland Baltimore County, Baltimore, Maryland
University of Maryland Baltimore County

University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) is home to the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences (CAHSS), which houses the Department of Visual Arts (VART). Within the Department is a Design BFA Program with a Graphic Design Concentration. Program features include intensive lectures, labs, and studios; the option to enhance the degree through electives; immersive workshops and seminars; and paid internships through the VART Internship Program.

UMBS VART students have interned with companies, studio, and organizations such as Zinnia Films, Baltimore Office of Promotion & the Arts, Smithsonian Institution, VueCare Media, Maryland Public Television, Stanley Black & Decker, Renegade Productions, Maryland Art Place, and Image Factory DC.

Students in all UMBC Visual Arts Programs are required to complete the Visual Arts Core. Consisting of 21-24 credit hours, the Core includes Visual Concepts I-IV (Camera Vision, Three Dimensional Form, Space and Interaction, Time-Based Media), Drawing I/Beginning Drawing, Introductions to Art and Media Studies, and Studies in Visual Culture (Prehistory through the 1750s).

The Graphic Design Concentration requires 45 credit hours of study. Course examples for the program include Graphic Design I: Image, Sign and Symbol, Typography I-III, Motion Design, Graphic Design III: Human Environmental Design, Advanced Interface Design, Design & Technology I-II, and Graphic Design IV: Word and Image. UMBC BFA students will complete a professional portfolio prior to graduation.

Graduates of the Graphic Design Program at University of Maryland, Baltimore County can pursue graduate study or careers at advertising agencies, public relations firms, web design studios, in-house design departments, production studios (entertainment), government departments and agencies, nonprofit organizations, and colleges and universities.

University of Maryland Baltimore County is part of the University System of Maryland. Established as a member in 1966, UMBC serves approximately 13,990 students enrolled in more than 200 degree, minor, and certificate programs across seven colleges and schools. The University of Maryland Baltimore County is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

5. Salisbury University, Salisbury, Maryland
Salisbury University

Fulton School of Liberal Arts at Salisbury University (SU) houses the Art Department, which serves more than 300 students. Within the Department are three paths to study Graphic Design. For students seeking a degree, SU has an Art BA Program with a Visual Communication Track and a Graphic Design Track within the Art BFA Program.

For students seeking a shorter program, the Art Department has an 18 credit hour Art Minor that allows students to select several courses from any Art and Design discipline. All Minor students will complete Design Principles, Drawing I, and Introduction to Art History. Examples of other available courses include Graphic Design I-III, Book Arts, Digital Imaging, User Experience Design, Graphic Design Agency, Illustration, and Advanced New Media.

The Visual Communication and Graphic Design Tracks within the Art BA and BFA Programs at SU provide intensive studio experiences, small class sizes, visiting artists, trips to DC, New York, and Philadelphia, and access to the Integrated Media Center. Students also have access to electronic media exhibitions on campus and a wide variety of degree-enhancing electives in other areas outside of Graphic Design.

BA and BFA students also benefit from SU’s relationships with more than 100 local and regional businesses with internship programs and the SU Study Abroad Program, which highlights experiences such as the Global Seminar in Photography: London and Paris, Venetian Art and Venice Biennale in Italy, and the Creative Arts Experience in Bologna. 

Graduates of the Visual Communications and Graphic Design Programs at Salisbury University are prepared for careers such as Graphic Designer, Web Designer, Animator, Illustrator, Creative Director, Director, Packaging Designer, Layout Designer, Exhibit Designer, Publications Designer, and Book Designer. Salisbury University alumni have been hired by companies and organizations such as Disney, Under Armour, Purdue, NASA, and J.P. Morgan.

Founded in 1925 as the State Normal School, Salisbury University serves approximately 7,125 students enrolled in 100 undergraduate majors and minors, as well as 20+ graduate degree and certificate programs. The academic programs at SU are organized across the College of Health and Human Services Clarke Honors College, Fulton School of Liberal Arts, Perdue School of Business, Henson School of Science & Technology, and Siedel School of Education. Salisbury University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).