What are the top Virginia graphic design schools for 2022?

Top 5 Graphic Design School Programs in Virginia - 2022 College Rankings
1Virginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmond
2George Mason UniversityFairfax
3Old Dominion UniversityNorfolk
4Liberty UniversityLynchburg
5Virginia State UniversityPetersburg

Our 2022 ranking of the top graphic design school programs in Virginia. For an explanation of the ranking criteria, click here.

1. Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia
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.

2. George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia
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.

3. Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia
Old Dominion University

Old Dominion University (ODU) has a Graphic Design Program that leads to a BFA. Housed in the College of Arts and Letters’ Department of Art, the program consists of courses and projects that take place in classrooms and production labs in dedicated facilities in the ODC Hixon Art Studio Building and the Barry Arts Building. Facilities are state-of-the-art and equipped with Apple computers and the latest industry standard software.

Besides providing access to state-of-the-art facilities, the BFA Program hosts visiting designers, workshops, and exhibitions. Students also have access to professional and student organizations such as the Graphic Design Club, AIGA Hampton Roads Chapter, and Richmond Ad Club. The Graphic Design Club hosts workshops, field trips, and on-campus presentations.

The ODU Graphic Design Program requires 34 credit hours in the major. Course and elective examples include Design Concepts, Advanced Typography, Design Systems, Motion Graphics, Illustrative Design, Brand Identity, Editorial Design, Interactive, Letterpress Design, Art Direction, Environmental Graphics, Package Design, and Poster Design. An internship is also part of the program as well as a Design Seminar and Design Capstone in the final year of the program.

Nearly 100% of Old Dominion University graduates are either employed or in graduate school within six months of graduation.

Old Dominion University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Founded in 1930 by the College of William and Mary, ODU serves 24,375 students enrolled in more than 130 bachelor’s and master’s degree programs across eight colleges.

4. Liberty University, Lynchburg, Virginia
Liberty University

Liberty University’s School of Communication and the Arts has both BFA and MFA degree options in Graphic Design and BFA and BS degrees in Studio & Digital Arts: Graphic Design. Across programs, students will explore digital art, vector imaging, design for publications, marketing design, brand design, and more.

School of Communication and the Arts features include internship opportunities at major companies and studios such as Disney, Ralph Lauren, Bloomingdale’s, and ESPN, study abroad experiences in London and Paris, and extensive coursework in Portfolio Development.

Graduates of the Liberty U Graphic Design Programs are prepared to pursue positions in Branding, User Interface, Packaging Design, Illustration, Textile Design, and many other areas. Program alumni work for companies and organizations such as the Motion Picture Association of America, Hallmark, and Capital One.

Liberty University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Founded in 1971, Liberty U has grown from around 154 students to more than 100,000 students enrolled in 700 programs, including 450 online. Programs at Liberty University are housed in 15 colleges and schools.

5. Virginia State University, Petersburg, Virginia
Virginia State University

The College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Virginia State University (VSU) houses the Department of Art and Design. Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), the Department has a Graphic Design Concentration within the BFA Program. An 18 credit hour Graphic Design Minor is also available.

Course examples across options include Typography I-II, Graphic Design I-II, Web Design I-III, Illustration I-II, Graphic Design History, Silkscreen Procedures, HTML, Package Design, Editorial Illustration, Visual Narrative, Advertising Design, Web Animation, and Strategic Design. In the junior or senior year of the BFA Program, students will have the opportunity to complete a professional internship at a local design studio, advertising agency, non-profit or other business. The program culminates with the Senior Thesis Project which will be presented before the Departmental Committee.

Graduates of the VSU Graphic Design Program are prepared for careers in Print and Package Design, Illustration, Book Design, Advertising and Marketing, and Public Relations, among others.

Virginia State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Founded in 1882, VSU serves 4,000 students enrolled in more than 40 majors leading to a bachelor’s degree, 17 graduate degree programs, two doctoral programs, and seven certificate programs. Academic offerings at VSU are housed in six colleges including Agriculture, Business, Education, Engineering and Technology, Humanities and Social Sciences, and Natural and Health Sciences.