35+ Years of Shaping Entertainment and Pop Culture - From Oscar and GRAMMY-winners, to animators, to creative directors and entrepreneurs, our graduates make significant contributions to their industries. Learn More.
|1||Yale University||Top 1%|
|2||Cranbrook Academy of Art||Top 1%|
|3||California Institute of the Arts||Top 1%|
|4||North Carolina State University||Top 1%|
|5||Rhode Island School of Design||Top 1%|
|6||Maryland Institute College of Art||Top 1%|
|7||Pratt Institute||Top 1%|
|8||ArtCenter College of Design||Top 1%|
|9||The New School's Parsons School of Design||Top 1%|
|10||Carnegie Mellon University||Top 1%|
|11||School of Visual Arts||Top 2%|
|12||Ringling College of Art and Design||Top 2%|
|13||Massachusetts College of Art and Design||Top 2%|
|14||Virginia Commonwealth University||Top 2%|
|15||School of the Art Institute of Chicago||Top 2%|
|16||California College of the Arts||Top 2%|
|17||Savannah College of Art and Design||Top 2%|
|18||University of North Texas||Top 3%|
|19||Minneapolis College of Art and Design||Top 3%|
|20||Otis College of Art and Design||Top 3%|
|21||Cooper Union||Top 3%|
|22||Arizona State University||Top 3%|
|23||University of Texas at Austin||Top 3%|
|24||Boston University||Top 3%|
|25||Washington University in St. Louis||Top 4%|
|26||University of California, Los Angeles||Top 4%|
|27||University of Cincinnati||Top 4%|
|28||Kent State University||Top 4%|
|29||The Ohio State University||Top 4%|
|30||San Diego State University||Top 4%|
|31||University of Kansas||Top 4%|
|32||Oregon State University||Top 5%|
|33||University of Georgia||Top 5%|
|34||Kansas City Art Institute||Top 5%|
|35||Portland State University||Top 5%|
|36||Utah State University||Top 5%|
|37||College for Creative Studies||Top 5%|
|38||Syracuse University||Top 5%|
|39||University of Illinois at Chicago||Top 6%|
|40||University of Arizona||Top 6%|
|41||Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute||Top 6%|
|42||University of Washington||Top 6%|
|43||Temple University||Top 6%|
|44||Texas State University, San Marcos||Top 6%|
|45||The University of the Arts||Top 6%|
|46||Queens Çollege||Top 7%|
|47||Brigham Young University||Top 7%|
|48||Academy of Art University||Top 7%|
|49||Northeastern University||Top 7%|
|50||San Jose State University||Top 7%|
Our 2018 list of the Top 50 Graphic Design School Programs in the US. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.
1. Yale University School of the Arts, New Haven, Connecticut (top 1% of schools considered)
Founded in 1701, Yale University is home to more than 12,450 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, the 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 Yale School of Art offers MFA degrees in Graphic Design, Painting and Printmaking, Photography, and Sculpture. An interdisciplinary Film & Video program is also available.
Graphic Design MFA (YGDMFA) is a competitive program that accepts just 10 students each year and up to seven students into the preliminary-year program. Per the School, MFA applicants are expected to have “substantial and distinguished experience in visual studies and related professional experience.” 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. The Yale Graphic Design MFA takes two years to complete, full-time.
2. Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan (top 1% of schools considered)
Cranbrook Academy began “informal art education” in the late 1920s. This unique art and design school consists of 10 programs/departments including 2D Design, 3D Design, Architecture, Ceramics, Fiber, Metalsmithing, Painting, Print Media, Photography and Sculpture. Each department has an enrollment of approximately 15 students. Students are selected by full-time Artists- or Designers-in-Residence who are the sole faculty members and the heads of the departments. Programs are “free of the formal course structure typical of most art schools and universities. Instead the studio environment is the core of the curriculum with emphasis on developing an individual body of work.”
The 2D Department is the Graduate Graphic Design Department, which places emphasis on “the experimental.” Work being produced in the department “falls on a continuum from book, poster and letterform design, through installation, social practices and contemporary art,” says the Academy. “Issues systematically pursued in the department include work situated at the intersection of design and art, an exploration of the relationship between writing, criticism and production, the process of critique as a generative tool, an interdisciplinary approach to design, and objects first: theory, language, and writing all in support of the object.”
This program leads to an MFA in 2D Design (Graphic Design).
3. California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, California (top 1% of schools considered)
California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) is the nation's first postsecondary institution to offer graduate and undergraduate degrees in both the Visual and Performing Arts. Established in 1961 by Walt and Roy Disney, the school is home to nearly 1,500 students enrolled in more than 70 programs across six schools including the Schools of Art, Critical Studies, Theater, and Film/Video, the Herb Alpert School of Music, and the Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance. The School of Art is home to the Graphic Design program, which leads to a BFA or MFA.
The BFA program is a full-time, four-year program that prepares students for a career in print and publication design, web and interface design, motion graphics for broadcast and film, branding, identity and type design, and design history and education. The MFA program offers two- and three-year options, including a Specialization in Motion Graphics. The Specialization prepares students to enter the commercial field of motion graphics.
4. North Carolina State University at Raleigh, Raleigh, North Carolina (top 1% of schools considered)
Founded in 1887, North Carolina State University at Raleigh (NC State) is home to nearly 33,800 students enrolled in 300 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Known as “the school of 100+ startups and spinoffs,” NC State houses 12 colleges and 65 departments. The College of Design is home to the Graphic Design program which offers two degree paths—a Bachelor of Graphic Design and a Master of Graphic Design. The College has recently established a PhD in Design/Information Design Concentration as well. The undergraduate and graduate degrees are NASAD (National Association of Schools of Art and Design) accredited and the PhD program is set to receive NASAD approval after graduating its first class.
Per the College of Design, students in the undergraduate program study comparative ideas about, and methods for, creating visual communication. Sequenced core studios, typography courses, and image-making courses “progressively introduce and develop skills, processes, and sensitivities across a range of media.” Graduate students will “closely examine the cultural and technological situatedness of graphic design and its products, and to seek understanding of the people who use and interact with the things that graphic designers make.”
5. Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, Rhode Island (top 1% of schools considered)
Founded in 1877, Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) is a private art and design school that serves approximately 2,480 students from across the U.S. and 57 other countries. The school offers 32 graduate and undergraduate art and design programs leading to a BFA, MFA, five-year Professional Baccalaureate, or a Bachelor of Architecture. Aspiring graphic designers have two options—a BFA or MFA.
One of the largest departments at RISD, Graphic Design offers “countless opportunities to collaborate within and beyond the discipline,” thanks to access to approximately 165 undergraduate majors. The MFA program offers the same opportunity, as well as two tracks: a two-year option designed for students entering with undergraduate degrees in graphic design or other visual communication, and a three-year option designed for students with degrees in liberal arts, the sciences or fine arts.
An impressive 96 percent of all RISD graphic design graduates are employed one year after graduation. Seventy percent are employed in positions directly related to their major.
6. Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, Maryland (top 1% of schools considered)
Founded in 1826, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) is the oldest degree-granting college of art in the nation. The school serves nearly 3,500 undergraduate, graduate, and continuing studies students from 49 states and 65 countries in fine arts, design, electronic media, art education, liberal arts, and professional studies degree and non-credit programs. MICA’s more than 80 art and design programs lead to either a BFA, MA, MFA, MPS or Certificate.
Programs for aspiring graphic designers include a BFA in Graphic Design with three Concentrations including Graphic Design Studio, Book Arts Studio, and Graphic Design + Humanistic Studies. An MFA in Graphic Design (GD MFA) is also available.
The undergraduate graphic design curriculum at MICA features a three-year sequence of core design courses, while the 60-credit MFA program features two years of full-time study that combines “critical seminars, guided studio courses, and independent work.” Per the school, students in the MFA program may choose a concentration in Critical Studies or Curatorial Practices or “take advantage of electives in many MICA departments, including video, printmaking, and digital media.”
7. Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York (top 1% of schools considered)
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.
8. ArtCenter College of Design, Pasadena, California (top 1% of schools considered)
Established in 1930, ArtCenter College of Design spans two campuses and four structures in the U.S. and Berlin. Home to approximately 2,100 students from the U.S. and more than 40 other countries, ArtCenter offers 11 undergraduate and seven graduate degrees in the areas of Industrial Design and Visual and Applied Arts. ArtCenter also offers a joint MS/MBA program with Drucker School of Management—the business school of Claremont Graduate University.
Programs for aspiring graphic designers include a BFA in Graphic Design and an MFA Graduate Graphic Design (MGx) degree. Students might also consider interdisciplinary programs such as the Desginmatters Concentration, which leads to a Certificate in Art and Design for Social Impact or the Integrated Studies Program, which covers essential skills and competencies, critical thinking and the creative process, cultural literacy and contextual reference, interdisciplinary experience, and quality of execution and professional practices.
Offered through the Graphic Design Department (GX), all programs offer internships and study abroad opportunities.
9. The New School's Parsons School of Design, New York, New York (top 1% of schools considered)
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.
10. Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (top 1% of schools considered)
Founded in 1900, Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) is a global research university that serves nearly 14,000 students from 109 countries. The school offers more than 100 programs across seven colleges and schools. The College of Fine Art, School of Design, offers a Bachelor of Design (BDes), formerly BFA, with three tracks: Products, Communication and Environments. Students may focus in one or all three areas, or pursue a more interdisciplinary focus that combines two of the three.
Other undergraduate options include the Minor in Design Application and the Undergraduate Interdisciplinary Degree known as “BXA,” which provides students with the ability to evenly balance their study of humanities or sciences with design. While BXA majors may take 26 design courses and 15 outside courses, most BXA students take 12 design courses, with the balance of their courses taken outside of the School of Design.
The Minor is for students admitted to other programs on campus who are interested in gaining “fundamental design skills and/or exposure to design.” Graduate options include a one-year Master of Arts (MA) in Design program, a one-year Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Design for Interactions, a two-year Master of Design (MDes) in Design for Interactions program, and a PhD in Design Studies.
11. School of Visual Arts, New York, New York (top 2% of schools considered)
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.”
12. Ringling College of Art and Design, Sarasota, Florida (top 2% of schools considered)
Ringling College of Art and Design (RCAD) was established in 1931 by circus baron, art collector, and real estate developer John Ringling. The school opened with 111 courses and just 75 students. Today, RCAD sits on a 35-acre campus and it is home to 1,300 degree-seeking students with 94% enrolled full-time, and 6% enrolled part-time. Students come from 42 states, DC, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Military Bases, and 56 countries.
RCAD offers a BFA in Graphic Design that prepares students to design “show-stopping solutions for print and interactive media.” Launched in 1980, the program allows students to collaborate with other artists such as copywriters, printers, photographers, illustrators, and developers to “make their ideas a reality.”
Graduates of the RCAD Graphic Design program have been hired by companies such as Google, Facebook, Adult Swim, CBS Interactive, ESPN, Apple iTunes, Leo Burnett, Microsoft, Yahoo!, American Greetings, IGN Entertainment, Wieden + Kennedy, Walt Disney Company, Birchbox, Inc. and many others.
13. Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston, Massachusetts (top 2% of schools considered)
Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt) was founded in 1873 as a training institution for aspiring architects, artists, drawing teachers, and designers. The school offers than 20 undergraduate art programs, nearly a dozen graduate programs, and seven Certificate programs to 1,985 students.
The Graphic Design Department offers BFA in Graphic Design that focuses on “learning by doing” in studio classes. Per the school, students in the program are exposed to intensive critique as well as discussions and lectures “through a sequenced combination of required courses in the major, studio electives, technical workshops and computer lab-based courses.”
Also available is a 38 credit hour Graphic Design Certificate Program (GDC) designed for working adults who are interested in advancing into a career in graphic design. Thanks to an excellent reputation in the design community, graduates of the Certificate program obtain jobs in all areas of the industry.
14. Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia (top 2% of schools considered)
Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) was established in 1838. It is home to 31,231 students enrolled in around 226 degree and certificate programs across 15 colleges and schools. The School of the Arts, which serves more than 3,000 students, offers 25 degree programs. An additional four programs are offered at VCU’s Qatar campus. The School of the Arts, Department of Graphic Design, has several programs for aspiring graphic designers. Options include BFA degrees in Graphic Design and Communication Arts, and an MFA with a Concentration in Design/Visual Communications.
Per the Department, students in the MFA program “concentrate on the philosophical, communicative, and aesthetic relationships of visual problem solving and the interacting skills leading to the effective articulation of concepts.” BFA students will take courses in the areas of Publication and Print Design, Sequential and Motion Design, and Interaction Design, “along with a series of related Studio and Seminar courses.” Both BFA options prepare students to create effective visual communications.
15. School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois (top 2% of schools considered)
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) was founded in 1866 as the Chicago Academy of Design. It is one of the oldest accredited independent schools of art and design in the country. Home to 3,650 students enrolled in more than 25 programs, SAIC offers several programs for aspiring graphic designers through its Visual Communication Design Department. Options include a BFA, MFA or Certificate in Graphic Design.
The BFA program has two major areas of focus including Physical Media (print, objects, and environments) and Virtual Media (interactive and time-based media). The MFA program offers the opportunity to explore other related departments at SAIC such as Printmedia, Writing, Photography, Architecture, Interior Architecture, and Designed Objects, and Film, Video, New Media, and Animation (FVNMA). The purpose of this opportunity is to “extend students’ design work into new territories.” The Graphic Design Certificate is designed for “students with an interest in exploring graphic design with an emphasis on print media,” says the Department.
Other Graphic Design Program highlights include an active AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Arts) student chapter, Exploratory Languages (a lecture series featuring leading designers and design educators from across the country), and CIPB (Chicago International Poster Biennial), which is an international competition representing leading designers from throughout the world. Internship opportunities and the option to study abroad are other highlights.
16. California College of the Arts, San Francisco and Oakland, California (top 2% of schools considered)
Founded in 1907, California College of the Arts (CCA) is home to nearly 2,000 students from 55 countries and 46 states. The school offers 22 undergraduate and 12 graduate degree programs, plus two minors. Undergraduate programs for aspiring graphic designers include BFA degrees in Graphic Design and Interaction Design and a BA in Visual Studies. Graduate options include an MA in Visual and Critical Studies and an MDes in Interaction Design.
Highlights for all programs include the opportunity to immerse in the areas of Brand Identity, Print, Motion Graphics, and Screen-Based and Interactive Design, elective offerings that will “strengthen” students “design toolkit,” and the opportunity to gain real-world experience through CCA’s extensive internship program. Graduates have landed positions at innovative design firms, museums, publishing houses, technology companies, nonprofits, and more.
17. Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, Georgia (top 2% of schools considered)
Founded in 1978, Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) is home to nearly 13,000 students from nearly 50 states and 115 countries. The school offers more than 40 degree programs, 70 minors and certificate programs, and dozens of online programs. With campuses in Atlanta, Hong Kong, and Lacoste, France, SCAD has plenty of opportunities to study at domestic and international locations and it offers more graphic design programs than just about any other school on our list. Options include BA, BFA, MA, and MFA degrees in Graphic Design and a Design Management MA. A Minor and a Certificate are also available.
All programs highlight Product Packaging, Entrepreneurship, Mobile Technology, Interface Design and User Experience. Students have the opportunity to declare a double major in the areas of Advertising, Branded Entertainment, Illustration, Motion Media Design, Sequential Art and more, and access to Minors such as Mobile and Interactive Design, Advertising Copywriting. Students may complement their degree with Certificates in Digital Publishing or Interactive Design as well.
The BA degree is offered in Atlanta, Savannah and online and the BFA, MA, MFA, and Minor programs are offered in Atlanta, Hong Kong, Savannah, and online. The Certificate program is offered in Atlanta, Savannah and online.
18. University of North Texas, Denton, Texas (top 3% of schools considered)
University of North Texas (UNT) was founded in 1890 as Texas Normal College and Teachers’ Training Institute. With more than 26,500 students enrolled, UNT is the fourth-largest university in Texas. The school offers 93 bachelor's, 125 master's and 47 doctoral degree programs across 11 colleges and schools. The College of Visual Arts & Design is home to the Design Department, which houses the Communication Design Program. Program options for aspiring graphic designers include BFA, MA, and MFA degrees in Communication Design.
The BFA program covers the basic principles of design, image making, color theory and typography. It is also designed to “help students learn to be effective conceptual thinkers and, most importantly, creative problem solvers in the disciplines of Advertising and of Graphic Design.” The 36 credit hour MA in Communication Design and the 60 credit hour MFA in Communication Design are both taught as concentrations in Design Research.
Students in all Graphic Design programs have the opportunity to complete an internship, study abroad, and access “valuable resources” consisting of over 1,000 reference books, magazines and paper/print samples of photography, illustration, typography, graphic design and advertising.
19. Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Minneapolis, Minnesota (top 3% of schools considered)
Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) was established in 1886. The school serves 800 students enrolled in Design (50% of the student body), Media Arts (25%) and other areas. More than 20 programs are available across several departments, including a BFA in Graphic Design, Post-Baccalaureate Certificates in Graphic Design and Interactive Design and Marketing, and an MFA in Visual Studies.
Per the school, students in the 120 credit hour BFA program will develop their own voice and produce original work, they will Research, engage with, and create innovative concepts, content, and form, and learn to communicate ideas visually. Students will also refine their technical and conceptual design skills in preparation for a professional career in graphic design.
The 60 credit hour MFA program allow students to pursue creative work in Graphic Design, Illustration, Interactive Media, Paper and Book Arts, Printmaking, and many others. Students in all graphic design programs have the opportunity to gain practical, real-world experience through a required internship. The option to study abroad or elsewhere in the U.S. is also highlighted.
20. Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles, California (top 3% of schools considered)
Otis College of Art and Design (OTIS) was established in 1918 by General Harrison Gray Otis-- founder and publisher of the Los Angeles Times. Home to 1,100 BFA and MFA students, OTIS offers more than a dozen interdisciplinary art and design programs from Animation and Motion Design to Illustration and Graphic Design. Specific programs for aspiring graphic designers are offered through the Communication Arts Department. Options include BFA degrees in Graphic Design and Communication Arts with an Emphasis in Graphic Design or Illustration or a Minor in Advertising Design, an MFA in Graphic Design and a Graphic Design Certificate.
Graduates of the Graphic Design programs at OTIS have landed positions at major companies such as Apple, Anthropologie, LACMA, Guess, Metro, Capitol Records, and others.
21. Cooper Union, New York, New York (top 3% of schools considered)
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 opportunities and study abroad opportunities.
22. Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona (top 3% of schools considered)
Founded in 1885, Arizona State University (ASU) is home to more than 98,000 students (2016) enrolled in over 290 academic undergraduate programs and hundreds of graduate programs across 17 colleges and schools. The Tempe campus is home to nearly 52,000 students, making it the largest campus in the ASU system.
The ASU Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts houses the Design School, which offers programs in the areas of Architecture, Environmental Design, Industrial Design, Interior Design, Landscape Architecture, Urban Design and Visual Communication Design/VCD (Graphic Design). Visual Communication Design (VCD) options include a BSD in Graphic Design, an MSD with a Concentration in Visual Communication Design (VCD MSD), and a Master of Visual Communication Design (MVCD).
The BSD allows students to work on projects in the areas of Information Design, Interaction Design, Exhibition Design, Animation, Motion Graphics, Branding, Publication Design, Web Design, Interface Design and multiple contemporary facets of sensorial design. The MSD for individuals interested in “advanced studies in visual language, history, theory, criticism and methodology, design processes and technology.” The degree “develops an understanding of contemporary graphic design issues through specialized research and design skills. It also prepares the graduate student for a career in graphic design education.”
The MVCD has two options—a two-year studio-based program and a 3+ program. The two-year studio program is designed for students with a degree in VCD or Graphic Design and a 3+ program is designed to be a first professional degree for those students who do not have an undergraduate degree in VCD or Graphic Design.
23. University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas (top 3% of schools considered)
The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) was founded in 1881. The school opened its doors in 1883 with one building, eight professors, one proctor, and 221 students. Today, UT Austin is home to more than 51,000 students enrolled in over 500 degree programs and fields of study across 18 colleges and schools. The College of Fine Arts, Department of Art and Art History has several programs for aspiring graphic designers. Options include BA, BFA and MFA degrees in Design, and a BFA in Visual Studies.
Students in all programs have the opportunity to complete an internship, which may include working at major companies with offices in the Austin area. Just a few include Google, Dell, IBM, Apple, Samsung, Frog, Pentagram, and EA Games.
24. Boston University, Boston Massachusetts (top 3% of schools considered)
Boston University (BU) was founded in 1839. It serves more than 33,000 students enrolled in more than 250 programs of study across 10 colleges and schools and a graduate school. The College of Fine Arts, School of Visual Arts has several programs for aspiring graphic designers. Options include BFA and MFA degrees in Graphic Design and a new Graduate Certificate.
The programs take “a studio-driven approach to design thinking and visual communication. With an emphasis on process and critical design thinking, the program sets itself apart as a maker-based design department set within an art school.” Students in the BFA program begin in the Foundation program. “Freshman year Foundation courses introduce visual concepts in two and three dimensions, with an emphasis on drawing from observation. Students specialize in graphic design coursework beginning in their sophomore year. Yearlong graphic design and typography studios emphasize form and communication.”
Students in the MFA program spend most of their time in the studio. Electives complement the graphic design studios, affording the opportunity to “specialize in areas of interest and provide the essential curricular agility to navigate in a changing practice.” Students participate in lectures “by nationally and internationally distinguished designers” and “direct contact with the industry further enhance the studio experience.”
The Certificate is a full-time, one-year intensive program that is designed for those who are entering the graphic design field for the first time. Students in all programs have access to more than 100 study abroad programs in more than 25 countries.
25. Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri (top 4% of schools considered)
Founded in 1853, Washington University in St. Louis serves 14,385 students from 90 countries and all 50 states + the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The university houses seven schools including Arts & Sciences, the Brown School, Olin Business School, the School of Law, the School of Medicine, the School of Engineering & Applied Science and Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts.
Sam Fox has three units—the College of Art (est. 1879), the College of Architecture (est. 1910) and Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum (est. 1881). The College of Art houses the Communication Design major, which leads to a BFA. The collaborative program explores disciplines across art and design, selecting from introductory courses in graphic design, typography, illustration, fashion design, painting, photography, printmaking, and sculpture. Students will also take drawing, two-dimensional design, three-dimensional design, digital design, and a weekly lecture course (first year).
In their junior year, students choose their own major courses. Sample courses include Art Practice, Design for Social Impact, Content to Cover: The Design of Books, Interaction Design: User-Centered Applications, and Illustration Concepts & Media/Visual Journalism. Seniors pursue a capstone project that “culminates in an illustrated book, zine, screen-based presentation, graphic novel/mini-comic, or digital experience.” The final project is displayed in a public exhibition and reviewed by external design professionals.
The 128 credit hour degree program is accredited by the College Art Association of American (CAA) and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).
26. University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), Los Angeles, California (top 4% of schools considered)
The University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) was founded in 1919 as the Southern Branch of the University of California. It is home to nearly 45,000 students from all 50 states and more than 100 foreign countries. The UCLA College and 12 professional schools offer more than 5,000 courses in 125 undergraduate degree programs, 98 master’s programs, 109 doctoral and professional programs, and 91 minors.
The School of Arts and Architecture is home to the Department of Design Media Arts (DMA), which offers both BA and MA degrees in Design Media Arts. Per the school, the DMA program “emphasizes innovative creation with digital and mass media within the context of a public research university.” The curriculum highlights “a solid foundation in form, color, space, motion, typography, and interactivity, followed by a broad selection of area studies courses in video, visual communication, network media, game design, and narrative.” The senior project allows students to focus on individual interests within the areas of Visual Communication and Image, interactivity and games, or video and animation.
“This uniquely challenging and diverse program invites students to balance aesthetic sensibility with logical reasoning, formal theories with practical application, and contemporary thought with historical perspective.” With courses that are taught as studios of no more than 22 students, individual growth and a sense of community within the department is encouraged.
27. University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio (top 4% of schools considered)
Founded in 1819, the University of Cincinnati (UC) is home to nearly 44,800 students enrolled in 370 degree programs across 13 colleges and a graduate school. The College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning (DAAP) houses the School of Design, which offers a BS in Communication Design. The program, which takes five years to complete, offers three Concentration areas including Graphic Design, Motion Design, and Interaction Design.
Students in the BS program will take a broad range of courses such as Foundational Drawing and Design, Kinetic Communication, Typography, Photodesign, and Design Ideation. Courses are supplemented with general education requirements, directed electives, design history, and interdisciplinary courses in design thinking and user-centered design. Per the school, studios “will refine and develop specific or general skills and be enhanced with further study in design history, methodology, research methods, and global studies.”
Besides the BS in Communication Design, aspiring graphic designers might consider another program offered through UC’s Blue Ash College. The Art and Visual Communication Department here offers a two-year Associate Degree in Applied Graphic Communication. The program is designed for “students seeking foundational skills appropriate for further study in the design field or for employment in areas of design support.” Classes are small, so students receive considerable personal attention and direction from faculty. Though the program is a two-year degree, students may take up to three years to complete the program.
28. Kent State University, Kent, Ohio (top 4% of schools considered)
Kent State University (KSU or Kent State) was founded in 1910 and it is home to 29,000 students enrolled in more than 300 degree programs across dozens of colleges and schools. The College of Communication and Information, School of Visual Communication Design, offers several programs for aspiring graphic designers including BFA, MA, and MFA degrees in Visual Communication Design and a Design Minor.
Per the School, the BFA program consists of approximately two-thirds of the coursework in the "creation and study of the visual arts," with the remainder in general studies. Because of the greater emphasis on upper-level studio courses, the BFA allows majors the opportunity to build greater expertise in a given area of the field.
The MFA is one of only three programs in the state to offer the Master of Arts degree in Visual Communication Design and was the first to offer the terminal degree in the field, the Master of Fine Arts. The MA is a 32 credit hour program that prepares students to work in emerging markets such as social media, branding, digital media and user experience design. The MFA “serves students with a strong undergraduate and/or professional experience in design who wish to advance into leadership roles.” Graduates “typically pursue careers in design education, but also stand out in the industry for their ability to solve problems from a research-based design perspective.”
The Design Minor provides students with “grounding in the fundamental elements of graphic design, including design research and history, graphic software, industry standards and professional ethics.” All School of Visual Communication Design students must complete 300 hours of internship before graduation. Most internships are paid and students have the opportunity to work at major companies across Cleveland and in Chicago, San Francisco and New York.
29. The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio (top 4% of schools considered)
The Ohio State University (OSU) was established in 1870. It is home to just over 66,000 students enrolled in more than 200 majors, specializations, and minors across 12+ colleges and schools. The College of Arts and Sciences is home to the Department of Design, which offers a Bachelor of Science in Design (BSD) in Visual Communication Design and a Design Thinking Minor.
Per the school, students in the program use digital tools, “including advanced computing technology, to visualize and present translations of complex data and ideas.” Students will “study and explore research-based approaches to the visual design of information, the development of brand identities based on present and future conditions, and the creation of way-finding systems for navigating complex environments.”
The production of printed materials such as books, brochures, packaging, and posters is also part of the program. Sample courses include Design Media 1 for Visual Communication Design, Typographic Design, Materials + Processes for Visual Communication Design, Design Research, Collaborative Design, Professional Practices, Sustainability and the Built Environment, and Design Matters. In their senior year, designers will complete a final project “that demonstrates each student's comprehensive knowledge and ability to work independently.”
The Design Thinking Minor is a 15 credit hour program introduces students to new and creative ways to solve problems. Courses include Design Practice, Design History, Exploring Design Thinking, Visualization as Thinking, and Presentation as Thinking.
30. San Diego State University, San Diego, California (top 4% of schools considered)
Founded in 1897 and home to nearly 34,000 students, San Diego State University (SDSU) is the oldest and largest university in San Diego and the third largest in California. The school offers nearly 160 undergraduate majors and minors, 16 pre-professional programs and nearly 100 graduate degrees and credentials across seven colleges.
The College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts (PSFA) has 10 core departments and schools, including the School of Art + Design. Here, students can earn a BA in Applied Arts and Sciences with an Emphasis in Graphic Design or Multimedia and an MA or MFA with an Emphasis in Graphic Design or Multimedia. Students may also focus on Book Arts or Illustration by choosing from an extensive collection of electives.
The Graphic Design program features participation in a large internship program that “places students in professional settings in graphic design firms, interior design offices, galleries, museums and schools in the Southern California region and, specifically, the San Diego community.” The active study abroad program offers experiences in places such as Turkey, Scotland, Mexico, and Japan. Graphic design students are also involved in professional organizations such as the American Institute of Graphic Art (AIGA), the American Craft Council, and the Society of Photographic Education.
Graduates of the art and design programs at SDSU hold titles such as Graphic Designer, Corporate Image Designer, Layout/Production Artist, Advertising Artist, Print Production Specialist, Graphic Illustrator, Technical Illustrator, and many others.
31. University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas (top 4% of schools considered)
The University of Kansas (KU) was founded in 1865. The school welcomed its first class in 1866. The school is home to nearly 28,500 students enrolled in more than 370 programs across 14 schools and one college—including the only schools of pharmacy and medicine in the state. The School of Architecture, Design and Planning is home to The Department of Design, which offers a BFA in Visual Communication Design (Graphic Design) and a Certificate in Book Arts.
The Graphic Design Program highlights courses such as Typographic Systems, Design Understanding, Designer as Author, Book Arts, Designing Information, Designing for Change, Environmental Graphics, Motion Graphics, and Designing for Social Interactions. Graduates of the program are prepared to pursue careers in a wide range of areas such as traditional print media, magazine and book design, corporate marketing communications, branding, packaging design, exhibition and environmental design, motion graphic design, website design, interface design and many others.
Certificate students “learn art and craft production across the “whole book”— papermaking, typography, printing, and binding, informed by the history of the book.” The 12 credit hour program highlights unique courses such as Expanded Media: The Artists’ Book, Relief Printing, Special Problems in Book Arts, and Advanced Design Studies - Typography, Printing and Papermaking in Italy.
32. Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon (top 5% of schools considered)
Oregon State University (OSU) was founded in 1868. With nearly 32,000 students in Corvallis, Bend, Newport and Portland, OSU is Oregon's largest university. Academic offerings include some 200 undergraduate and 80-plus graduate degree programs across 11 academic colleges. The College of Liberal Arts-School of Arts and Communication offers a BFA in Graphic Design featuring “a hybrid curriculum that incorporates courses in new media, digital communications, art and design, as well as an innovative course on collaboration.” Graduates of the program are prepared for positions in a variety of areas such as print media, editorial design, marketing, advertising, branding, package design, web design, app design, interface design, interaction design, information design, motion graphics and more.
33. University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia (top 5% of schools considered)
Established in 1785, University of Georgia (UGA) is home to more than 37,500 students enrolled in 170 majors and academic programs across 17 schools and colleges. The Lamar Dodd School of Art offers a BFA in Art with Concentrations in Graphic Design, Printmaking & Book Arts, and ArtX: Expanded Forms. An Interdisciplinary Art & Design A.B. (BA), a Minor in Studio Art, and MFA degrees in ArtX and Printmaking are also on the menu.
Per the school, “all BFA degrees include the Studio Art Core, comprised of a year-long survey of art history, introductory-level studio foundations, secondary-level ideation and methodologies, and upper-level interdisciplinary thematic studio and professional practice courses. Students pursuing the BFA degree enter the School of Art as Intended Art majors. In most studio programs, students are required to present an exhibition or final portfolio that serves as a capstone experience before graduation, demonstrating their achievement in developing a mature and cohesive body of work.”
All art and design students have access to a large study abroad program that offers experiences on all seven continents and UGA campuses in Costa Rica, Central America, Cortona, Italy, and Oxford, England.
34. Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City, Missouri (top 5% of schools considered)
Established in 1885, Kansas City Art Institute (KCAI) has a 130+ year history that includes notable name such as Walt Disney, who took classes there as a child, multimedia artist Robert Rauschenberg, who studied fashion design, writer Robert Morris, and performance artist and fabric sculptor Nick Cave, to name a few. Besides a long list of notable alumni and students, KCAI offers 13 academic disciplines in Art, Design and Media to a population of nearly 700 students.
Offerings for aspiring graphic designers include BFA degrees in Graphic Design, Interactive Arts and Printmaking. Per the school, the Graphic Design Program “goes beyond the traditional division between Web and print design to give students a cross-media skill set that adapts to context, audience and participant input.” The programs “rigorous approach to audience research, theory and conceptual problem-solving” helps position students as thought leaders in their chosen fields. KCAI design students “are exposed to professional practices, concepts and skills required to build rewarding careers.”
The Interactive Art BFA uses emerging technology as the “backbone of creation,” so students become “versed in software coding, physical computing and sensors, performance, games and play mechanics, rapid prototyping, user testing and experiential design.”
The Printmaking BFA covers the traditional printmaking processes and concepts including etching, lithography, drawing, collage, silkscreen, letterpress and book arts, as well as post-modern processes, including mass media, collaboration, simulation, appropriation and dissemination.
All programs offer access to KCAI’s internship program, three to five week long faculty-led travel programs, and full semester programs that can take them to one of several participating art and design colleges in the U.S. or overseas.
35. Portland State University, Portland, Oregon (top 5% of schools considered)
Portland State University (PSU) opened its doors in the summer of 1946 to just 220 students. Today, the school spans 50 city blocks, and it houses nine colleges and schools, 226 degree programs, and 28,400 students, including 1,700 international students from 91 countries. The College of Arts is home to the schools of Architecture, Art + Design, Music, and Theater + Film.
With 1,400 students enrolled, the School of Art + Design offers BA, BS, BFA degrees and Minors in areas from Art History to Graphic Design. The Graphic Design Program has two options a BFA and a Minor. Program highlights include mostly studio-based courses, opportunities to engage in professional internships, and summer study abroad experiences such as Printmaking in Mexico and Art History in Rome.
36. Utah State University, Logan, Utah (top 5% of schools considered)
Utah State University (USU) was founded on March 8, 1888. This land grant, public research university has regional campuses in Brigham City, Tooele, and Uintah Basin, a regional college with campuses in Price and Blanding, and extension offices in 28 of 29 Utah counties and at the Ogden Botanical Center, Thanksgiving Point, and Utah Botanical Center. Not surprisingly, with more than 28,000 students, USU is the fifth largest post-secondary institution in Utah.
Utah State University offers 168 undergraduate degrees and 143 graduate degrees through nine colleges and schools. Programs for aspiring graphic designers are offered through Cain College of the Arts, Department of Art + Design. Options include a BFA in Graphic Design. Per the school, the four-year program “delivers a comprehensive professional education in the study and practice of visual communication design. Education in design theory and practice prepares students to become leaders in the various disciplines that constitute today's design profession.”
Students receive training in theory, innovation, collaboration, professional practice, creative processes, sustainability, technical competence, and history, This “competitive” 120 credit hour program “culminates in the creation of a professional portfolio” that helps graduates land jobs with “prestigious national and international design studios and advertising agencies.”
37. College for Creative Studies, Detroit, Michigan (top 5% of schools considered)
The College for Creative Studies (CCS) was established in 1906 as The Detroit Society of Arts and Crafts. The school is home to more than 1,400 students enrolled in over a dozen degree programs across 14 academic departments. With an enrollment of 114 students, the Graphic Design Department is one of the top five largest departments at CCS. Degree options for aspiring graphic designers include a BFA in Communication Design (Graphic Design), Interaction Design or Motion Graphics and MFA degrees in Interaction Design and Integrated Design. Degrees that complement Graphic Design include BFAs in Advertising: Copywriting, Advertising: Design and Fine Arts.
All students have the opportunity to study abroad for a semester or a year in places such as Italy, Austria, Germany, Mexico, Paris, Australia, and more. Graduates of the Design programs at CCS are prepared to work in Graphic Design, Editorial Design, Environmental Design, Information Design, Interactive Design, Package Design, Publication Design, Web Design, and many others.
38. Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York (top 5% of schools considered)
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.
39. University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois (top 6% of schools considered)
Established in 1982 and home to more than 30,500 students, University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) is the largest university in Chicago. The school, which has regional campuses in Peoria, Rockford, Springfield, Urbana, IL, and The Quad Cities, offers 248 degree programs and 32 certificates across 15 colleges. The College of Architecture, Design, and the Arts houses the School of Design, which offers a Bachelor of Design (BDes) and a Master of Design (MDes) in Graphic Design.
The four-year BDes program highlights studio-based instruction, while the two-year MDes focuses on an independent master’s research project. A third option is the MDes Prelim Program. Offered to applicants who do not hold a bachelor’s degree in design, the Prelim Program is a customized yearlong program that prepares students for the two-year MDes.
40. University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona (top 6% of schools considered)
The University of Arizona (UA) was established in 1885. The school is home to more than 42,200 students enrolled in over 300 undergraduate and graduate degree programs across 20 colleges, 11 schools, and three campuses. The College of Fine Arts, School of Art offers several programs for aspiring graphic designers including a BFA in Studio Art with an emphasis in 2-D, 3-D & Extended Media, Illustration + Design, or Photography and MFA degrees in Studio Art-Visual Communications or Illustration + Design. The most popular options for aspiring graphic designers are the BFA and MFA in Studio Art with an Emphasis in Illustration + Design (I+D).
Per the school, the I+D BFA program “encompasses a diverse faculty with expertise in graphic design, illustration, letterpress, book arts, visual narratives, animation, motion graphics, information design, and interdisciplinary collaborations with the environmental sciences. These specializations are reflected in a broad array of curricular offerings including: field trips, team projects with community clients, internships, and study abroad programs. Through an exploration of the relationship between authorship, personal expression, visual problem solving, and communication, students develop a body of self-authored work consistent with the breadth of the expanding profession. With a high quality portfolio and web presence, students are prepared to go directly into the field and/or apply to graduate programs.”
Students in the MFA program “participate in interdisciplinary, graphic design and illustration courses; seminars, and independent studies developing a body of self-authored work that contributes to the broad and expanding field of illustration, design and art. Focused studio and course structures explore the theory, philosophy, and making of contemporary illustration, design and art. The program provides a range of opportunities for focus in visual narratives, community engagement, social practice, environmental projects, and technology, with a firm grounding in contemporary and historical contexts.”
The School of Art and I+D regularly host internationally known artists, designers, illustrators and alumni to participate with the graduate students in workshops and studio critiques.
41. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York (top 6% of schools considered)
Founded in 1824, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) is a collection of five schools offering more than 145 programs to a population of more than 7,600 students. The School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (HASS), Department of Communication and Media (C&M) offer a BS in Communications with a Concentration in Graphic Design, a dual major—BS in Communication (Concentration in Graphic Design) and Design, Innovation, and Society (COMM/DSIS), a Communication Design Certificate and a Graduate Graphics Certificate.
Graduates of HAAS Department of Communication programs go on to establish careers in industry and government as graphic designers, brand managers, product designers, marketing strategists; content developers and editors; interaction designers; user experience designers; art directors; web designers, game designers, analysts and developers and more.
42. University of Washington, Seattle, Washington (top 6% of schools considered)
The University of Washington was founded in 1861. The Seattle campus is home to more than 46,000 students (2017) enrolled in more than 165 majors across 16 colleges and schools and in 79 departments. The College of Arts & Sciences is home to the School of Art + Art History + Design (SoA+AH+D), which offers a Bachelor of Design (BDes) in Visual Communication Design and a Master of Design (MDes).
One of the largest undergraduate programs at the University of Washington, Visual Communication Design emphasizes “visual problem solving, organizational skills, and information theory.” Students in the programs engage in all phases of typography, information design, design systems, exhibition design, publication design, new media, and visual methods/processes. Sample courses for the BDes include Typography, Human Centered Design, Color + Composition, Interface Design, Motion Design, Visual Systems, Information Design, and Publication Design.
Sample MDes courses include advanced Design Foundations, Design Methods, Typography, Industrial Design, Interface Design, Case Studies in Corporate Identity, Exhibition and Installation Design, Interaction Design, Information Design, Design Graduate Studio, and Graduate Student Teaching Mentorship.
Students in both programs will have the opportunity to compete for more than 100 seats in the SoA+AH+D study abroad program to explore art, art history, and design in an international context. Past students have studied in Rome, Japan, Spain, and Tuscany.
43. Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (top 6% of schools considered)
Temple University was charted in 1888 as “The Temple College.” The school is home to more than 39,500 students enrolled in over 400 academic programs across 17 schools and colleges. The Tyler School of Art is home to the Graphic and Interactive Design program, which has two degree offerings—a BFA and MFA in Graphic and Interactive Design. The programs cover design concepts, and it teaches students “how to make images, to work with typography, and to master a wide range of new and traditional media.”
According to the School, graduates of both programs are “employed by studios and agencies around the country and abroad. They work in print and web design studios, advertising agencies, publishing companies, film and television, music packaging and promotion, product design and packaging, in design departments of major corporations, and as freelance illustrators.”
44. Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas (top 6% of schools considered)
Texas State University was authorized by the Texas legislature in 1899 under the name “Southwest Texas State Normal School.” The school opened its doors in 1903 with just 303 students. Today, the school is home to around 38,700 students enrolled in 98 bachelor’s, 90 master’s and 12 doctoral degree programs through nine academic colleges. The College of Fine Arts & Communication houses the School of Art and Design, which offers several programs for aspiring graphic designers. Options include BFA and MFA degrees in Communication Design.
Considered one of the largest public programs in the country, the Communication Design Program (undergraduate) allows students to pursue interests within four areas of professional study: Graphic Design, Art Direction, Interactive Media, and Illustration. Courses for the program are taught in a studio environment, with class sizes limited to 20.
The graduate program is designed to provide advanced study in the areas of Corporate Advertising, Art Direction, Graphic Design, and Digital Media Design. Per the school, students and graduates of the Communication Design programs at Texas State have received recognition in design journals by having their work published in CMYK, Step Inside Design, Graphis New Talent Annual, and PRINT. Students have also received recognition in competitions such as The One Show, American Advertising Federation Awards, National DSVC Student Show, Creative Summit, Art Director's Club of Houston, Austin Addy Awards, and San Antonio Addy Awards.
45. The University of the Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (top 6% of schools considered)
The University of the Arts (UArts) is the nation’s only comprehensive arts university. The school, which traces its roots back to 1868, is home to around 1,900 students enrolled in 41 undergraduate and graduate programs through the College of Art, Media and Design, the College of Performing Arts, and the Division of Liberal Arts. The College of Art, Media and Design houses the School of Design, which offers BFA degrees in Graphic Design and Design, Art + Technology, an MFA in Book Arts + Printmaking, and Minors in Book Arts, Typography, and Multimedia.
Students in the Graphic Design Program have the opportunity to choose courses from the Schools of Art, Film and Illustration or any cross-college program. All students have access to international opportunities such as study abroad, festivals, and workshops in countries such as Canada, France, and South Korea.
46. Queens College, Queens, New York (top 7% of schools considered)
Established in 1937, Queens College is part of the City University of New York (CUNY). Current enrollment is close to 19,000 matriculated students from over 170 countries across the globe. The school offers 69 undergraduate programs, 62 graduate programs and more than 40 certificate programs across four divisions including Arts and Humanities, Education, Mathematics and the Natural Sciences, and the Social Sciences. The Arts and Humanities Division houses the Design Program, which offers a BS in Design with a Concentration in Communication Design (Graphic Design), Interaction Design, or Animation and Illustration.
Minors in Graphic Design, Digital Graphics, and Imagemaking are also on the menu as well as an MFA in Studio with a Concentration in Media or other area with approval. Per the school, students in all Queens College Design programs “learn visual communication using industry-standard technology across interactive, time-based, digital and traditional media.” Graduates are prepared for a career in design or for graduate study.
47. Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah (top 7% of schools considered)
Brigham Young University (BYU) was founded in 1875 by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). Home to around 33,360 students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries, BYU offers more than 380 undergraduate majors and minors, master’s programs and doctorate programs. The school houses dozens of colleges, schools, and departments that offer everything from Accounting to Visual Communications.
The College of Fine Arts and Communications is home to 3,655 students enrolled in programs in the Department of Art, the School of Communications, the Department of Dance, the Department of Design, the School of Music, and the Department of Theater and Media Arts. Communications is one of the College’s top six majors by graduation.
Programs for aspiring graphic designers can be found in several departments and schools. Options include BA and BFA degrees in Graphic Design, a BFA in Art with a Focus in New Genres or Printmaking in the Department of Art, and Minors in Design or Advertising Design in the Department of Design. Other areas of study include Interaction Design, Motion Design, Visual Development, and Branding. Note that because the Graphic Design Program is so competitive, enrollment is limited to just 40 students.
48. Academy of Art University, San Francisco, California (top 7% of schools considered)
Established in 1929, Academy of Art University is home to an estimated 13,800 students from more than 112 countries. The Academy offers dozens of Art, Design, Fashion, and Architecture programs through several schools. The School of Graphic Design offers a variety of degree programs for aspiring game designers. Options include AA and BFA degrees Graphic Design and a Certificate.
According to the school, the Graphic Design Programs “guide students through the nuanced skill-development process required to achieve excellence in typography, print, packaging, branding, user experience, and motion graphics.” Sample courses include Design Technology: Digital Publishing Tools, Design Technology: Visual Design Tools, Visual Communication, Color Fundamentals, Interaction Design, Typography: Hierarchy and Form, Web Design, Package Design, Branding Principles, and Written Communication.
Courses are taught by “nationally recognized professionals who challenge their students to reach their personal creative potential.” Graduates of the Academy of Art programs will have the skills needed to “influence marketing strategies, raise awareness of critical issues, and facilitate cultural change.”
49. Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts (top 7% of schools considered)
Northeastern University was founded in 1898. Home to more than 20,000 students, Northeastern offers hundreds of programs across nine colleges and schools, as well as select advanced degrees at graduate campuses in Charlotte, North Carolina, Seattle, Silicon Valley, and Toronto. The College of Arts, Media and Design (CAMD) offers a range of programs for aspiring graphic Designers. Options include a BFA degree in Design with a Concentration in Graphic and Information Design, Interaction Design, or Experience Design, BA degrees in Art with a Concentration in Visual Studies, and Communication Studies and Graphic and Information Design.
Half majors in Graphic and Information Design, Interaction Design, and Visual Studies, and Minors in Graphic and Information Design, Experience Design, and Interaction Design are also available. Graduate offerings include MFA degrees in Information Design and Visualization, Studio Art, and Interdisciplinary Arts.
All CAMD students have the opportunity to study abroad in places such as Ireland, Venice, Rome, Berlin and Cuba.
50. San Jose State University, San Jose, California (top 7% of schools considered)
Founded in 1857, San Jose State University (SJSU) is the oldest public institution of higher education on the West Coast. Home to more than 32,100 students, the school offers 145 areas of study with an additional 108 concentrations, through eight colleges. The College of Humanities and the Arts houses the Department of Design, which offers a BFA and a Minor in Graphic Design.
This unique program admits every student as a BA Design Studies Major. Upon completion of DsGD 100 and portfolio review, students are eligible to apply for pre-admission to the Graphic Design Program. Once admitted to the program, students will learn how to apply the principles of color, composition, hierarchy, and typography as they relate in the various media—digital, print, motion, 3-D, etc.—that exist in design. Per the school, students will graduate with the ability to “create and develop original concepts, build prototypes, integrate feedback, carry projects through to the production process, and apply principles of visual communication as they relate to reaching audiences, the role of design in society, and the ability to work cooperatively.”
Graduates will show “fluency in the breadth of disciplines that graphic design encompasses, with deep exploration into information architecture, user interface design, interactive design, motion graphics, iterative image-making, exhibition design and typeface design. They will “demonstrate understanding of the design process, design thinking and professional standards and practices, including real-project learning scenarios and a transition into preparing a portfolio to enter the workforce.”