|1||Pratt Institute||Top 5%|
|2||The New School's Parsons School of Design||Top 10%|
|3||School of Visual Arts||Top 10%|
|4||Cooper Union||Top 15%|
|5||Syracuse University||Top 20%|
Our 2018 rankings of the top 5 graphic design school programs in New York. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.
Founded in 1887, Pratt institute is home to more than 4,600 students enrolled in 22 undergraduate degree programs, 26 graduate degree programs, and a variety of Certificate and Minor programs across five schools and The Center for Continuing and Professional Studies. Founded in 2014, The School of Design offers “up to four of Pratt’s oldest and most esteemed disciplines,” including Communications Design (ComD), Fashion Design, Industrial Design, and Interior Design.
Per the School of Design, the ComD program is the “the only program in the country that recognizes and embodies the convergence and integration of Illustration, Advertising, and Graphic Design as the primary forces for the visual expression of ideas.” Students may Concentrate in any of the three areas. The School of Design also houses the Graduate Communications Design Department, which also offers MFA and MS degrees in Communications Design and an MS in Package Design.
For students that are not ready to commit to a degree program, the School of Continuing and Professional Studies (SCPS) offers Certificate Programs in Digital Design including Graphic Design, Computer Graphics, Motion Graphics and others. These programs may be taken individually or “stacked,” producing an “accelerated path to completion.” Like the undergraduate and graduate ComD programs, Certificate programs offer the opportunity to complete an internship.
Students in all programs will have the opportunity to enroll on one of more than Pratt offers more than 20 study abroad programs and international exchange programs in more than a dozen locations including Florence, Milan, Copenhagen, London, and Tokyo.
Founded in 1896, The New School's Parsons School of Design is home to more than 5,000 students enrolled in 27 undergraduate, graduate, and associate degree programs. Parsons houses five schools, including the School of Art and Design History and Theory, the School of Art, Media, and Technology (AMT), the School of Constructed Environments, the School of Design Strategies, and the School of Fashion. The School of Art, Media, and Technology, offers several degree programs for aspiring graphic designers. Offerings include an AAS in Graphic Design and a BFA in Communication Design.
The AAS program provides a “solid foundation in the traditional practices and concepts of graphic design,” while the BFA covers typography and interaction. Sponsored projects are in the areas of publication, interaction design, branding, advertising, type design, information design, motion graphics, and environmental design.
Note that Parsons also offers a Graphic and Digital Design Certificate through its continuing education department. The program, which consists of six courses, can be completed online or through a combination of online and on-campus courses.
Founded in 1947 as “Cartoonists and Illustrators School,” School of Visual Arts (SVA) serves nearly 4,300 students from across the U.S. and abroad. The school offers 11 undergraduate and 21 graduate degree programs in areas ranging from fine arts and graphic design to filmmaking and photography. The programs at SVA lead to a BFA, MFA, MA, MAT or MPS degree.
Offerings for aspiring graphic designers include a BFA in Graphic Design that consists of 72 credits of studio art courses, 30 credits in humanities & sciences, 12 in art history, and six elective credits. An internship is part of the program, as well as the opportunity to focus in Package Design, Editorial Design, Information Graphics, Corporate Identity, Publication Design, CD Packaging, Book Jacket Design, Environmental Design, or Website Design.
Students who would like to earn an advanced degree have several options including an MFA in Design and a MFA Design / Designer as Author + Entrepreneur. Per the school, the MFA in Design “emphasizes entrepreneurship as an alternative to conventional practice, and as a means to raise the level of design expertise and achievement. It teaches “a broad set of visual, verbal and textual approaches as foundation for design, and focuses on “creation to optimize the designer’s abilities to rise to the next professional level.”
The MFA Design/Designer as Author + Entrepreneur is “suited for students and professionals with backgrounds in graphic design.” The school also encourages “those with environmental, product, Web, interaction design, film and photography backgrounds who are interested in further developing their ability to create content of value.”
All graduate students have access to SVA MFA studios, which are open hours a day and “designed to simulate an operational design/media firm with spacious work-stations that allow for individual and collaborative work.”
The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art (CU) was founded in 1859 by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper. The school offers programs in the areas of Art, Architecture and Engineering, and courses in the Humanities and Social Sciences. With nearly 1,000 students enrolled (2016-2017), CU’s art students account for 32 percent of the student body.
The School of Art at Cooper Union offers a flexible BFA in Art with a Focus Graphic Design. Students in the program may take elective studio classes and seminars, offered on a rotating basis, they may choose to focus their work in one or more areas of specialization, and they may enroll in advanced studio classes with the same course number multiple times. Students are also “encouraged to follow an integrated approach by selecting from various areas while observing a prerequisite system designed to allow in-depth study in specific disciplines.” Other program highlights include Internship and study abroad opportunities.
Founded in 1870, Syracuse University (SU) is home to nearly 22,000 students from all 50 U.S. states and 123 countries. The school offers more than 400 programs across 12 colleges and schools and a graduate school. The S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communication houses the Department of Multimedia Photography and Design, 1,900 undergraduate students, 250 master’s degree students and 13 doctoral degree students.
The Department offers BS degrees in Graphic Design and Multimedia Photography & Design (Graphic Design). Second degree and advanced degree options include BS degrees in Magazine or Advertising, an MA in Advertising, and an online MS in Communications with a Concentration in Advertising.
Students in the Graphic Design programs will learn how to create visual communications for newspapers, magazines and multimedia presentations. Multimedia photography and design coursework “emphasizes computer production techniques.” Students will also learn photography, communications writing and communications law and ethics. Sample courses include Motion Graphics and User Experience, Multimedia Storytelling, Diversity and Media Issues, Typographic Design, Graphic Design Problems, Type and Image for Multimedia, Ethics and Media Professions, and Introduction to Entrepreneurship and Emerging Enterprises. A Global Experience is also part of the program.