What are the top graphic design school programs in the US?
|1||Rhode Island School of Design||Rhode Island||1%|
|2||School of Visual Arts||New York||1%|
|4||The New School's Parsons School of Design||New York||1%|
|5||California Institute of the Arts||California||1%|
|6||Pratt Institute||New York||1%|
|7||Maryland Institute College of Art||Maryland||1%|
|8||ArtCenter College of Design||California||2%|
|9||Savannah College of Art and Design||Georgia||2%|
|10||North Carolina State University||North Carolina||2%|
|11||Ringling College of Art and Design||Florida||2%|
|12||Carnegie Mellon University||Pennsylvania||2%|
|13||Virginia Commonwealth University||Virginia||2%|
|14||California College of the Arts||California||2%|
|15||University of Texas at Austin||Texas||3%|
|16||University of North Texas||Texas||3%|
|17||Washington University in St. Louis||Missouri||3%|
|18||School of the Art Institute of Chicago||Illinois||3%|
|19||University of California, Los Angeles||California||3%|
|20||Minneapolis College of Art and Design||Minnesota||3%|
|21||Arizona State University||Arizona||3%|
|22||University of Cincinnati||Ohio||4%|
|23||Brigham Young University||Utah||4%|
|24||The Cooper Union||New York||4%|
|25||Portland State University||Oregon||4%|
|26||University of Illinois at Chicago||Illinois||4%|
|27||Otis College of Art and Design||California||4%|
|28||University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign||Illinois||4%|
|29||University of Washington||Washington||5%|
|31||University of Southern California||California||5%|
|32||University of Kansas||Kansas||5%|
|33||Full Sail University||Florida||5%|
|34||Kansas City Art Institute||Missouri||5%|
|35||Michigan State University||Michigan||5%|
|36||San Diego State University||California||6%|
|37||University of Florida||Florida||6%|
|38||Syracuse University||New York||6%|
|39||University of Minnesota||Minnesota||6%|
|40||The Ohio State University||Ohio||6%|
|41||Rochester Institute of Technology||New York||6%|
|42||Texas State University||Texas||6%|
|43||Iowa State University||Iowa||7%|
|44||Massachusetts College of Art and Design||Massachusetts||7%|
|46||Academy of Art University||California||7%|
|47||University of Houston||Texas||7%|
|48||University of Tennessee||Tennessee||7%|
|49||University of Georgia||Georgia||7%|
|50||Columbia College Chicago||Illinois||7%|
Our 2022 rankings of the Top 50 Graphic Design School Programs in the US. We considered over 700 colleges with graphic design programs for this year's rankings. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.
1. Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, Rhode Island (Top 1% of schools considered)
Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) houses the Graphic Design Department, which offers BFA and MFA degrees in Graphic Design. One of the school’s largest departments, RISD Graphic Design serves 165 students. Undergraduates have the opportunity to learn, collaborate, and work in dedicated studios including the Design Center Graphic Design Studios and the Graphic Design Type Shop, among others.
The RISD Graphic Design BFA is a four-year program that focuses on project-based learning. Students can expect to work on projects that cover book design, UX design, packaging, film graphics, and more. The program also attracts visiting artists, critics, and designers from around the world. During the junior and senior years of the program, BFA students will have the opportunity to complete a professional internship.
Through electives and workshops, students will work in various areas of graphic design during the final year of the program. To graduate, all Graphic Design BFA students will complete an independent degree project. Visiting critics are invited to review completed projects.
The Rhode Island School of Design MFA in Graphic Design has two tracks: a two-year pathway for students with an undergraduate degree in graphic design or related degree, and a three-year option for individuals with liberal arts, sciences or fine arts degrees. Both tracks allow students to customize the curriculum through cross-disciplinary electives. The first year of the two-year track consists of graduate seminars, graphic design studies, electives, and studios. During the second year, students will complete the Graduate Thesis.
In the three-year track, students will take electives, a seminar and graduate level Type Design, Form, Typography and History of Graphic Design courses during the first year. The second and third year consists of studios, seminars, electives and the thesis.
All Graphic Design MFA students share individual workspaces in a large design studio in RISD's Center for Integrative Technologies (CIT), which houses several graduate programs and the graduate student gallery. MFA students will have opportunities to interact with Digital + Media, Teaching + Learning in Art + Design, Interior Architecture, and Textiles graduate students.
Around 96% of Rhode Island School of Design graduates are employed one year after graduation, with 70% employed in positions directly related to their major. RISD Graphic Design alumni are Senior Graphic Designers, UX Designers, Product Designers, Industrial Designers, Textile Designers, Creative Designers, Art Directors, and Brand Identity Designers, among others.
Rhode Island School of Design was established in 1877, making it one of the first art and design schools in the U.S. A private, nonprofit college, RISD serves 2,576 students enrolled in more than 25 areas leading to the BFA, BArch, MA, MFA, MArch, MDES, MID, MLA, MMA, or MAT. RISD is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) and the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA). The Architecture (MArch), Landscape Architecture (MLA), and MA in Teaching (MAT) programs have special accreditation by the National Architecture Accrediting Board, Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board, and the RI Department of Education, respectively.
2. School of Visual Arts, New York, New York (Top 1% of schools considered)
The School of Visual Arts (SVA) has an interdisciplinary Design Program that offers concentrations in Graphic Design, 3D Design, Interaction Design, and Motion Graphics. Programs lead to a BFA or MFA. Students at both levels will participate in guest lectures, workshops, exhibitions, and competitions covered by CNN, NBC, and others. The program also provides complimentary membership to The One Club for Creativity, which includes The Art Directors Club and Type Directors Club.
All SVA Design students have access to the Digital Imaging Center and internship opportunities at local and national companies, as well as campus-based Visual Arts Press. Graduate students also have 24-hour access to individual, private studios.
The Design Program at School of Visual Arts allows BFA students to customize an additional area of focus within the concentration. Examples include branding, experiential design, editorial design, environmental design, package design, book jacket design, and information graphics. Course examples for BFA students include Foundations of Visual Computing, Computers in Studio I-II, Information Graphics, Toys and Games, and Design for Social Change. During the final year of the program, students will complete a Senior Project course and Portfolio. Sample projects include Designing a Business, Creative Computing for Interaction Experiences, and Differentiate or Die: How to Get a Job When You Graduate.
At the end of every academic year the Design Department hosts an Industry Review Day for graduating seniors. Designers, creative directors, and editors are invited to meet and network with students. the event is held in-person and virtually.
The MFA Design/Design as Entrepreneur covers branding, user experience, motion graphics, video, interaction, digital publishing, new media directing, and art book publishing. Because the program emphasizes leadership and entrepreneurship, other areas explored include business, marketing, networking, research, advertising, intellectual property, and ethnography. Course examples include Type for Masters, Writing and Designing the Visual Book, Designing and Branding, Intellectual Property and the Law, and Design Conception: Developing Your Venture. During the final year of the MFA program, students will complete a several seminars and the Thesis, which consists of six courses.
SVA Design alumni work for advertising agencies, marketing firms, publishing companies, design studios, nonprofit organizations, museums, and more. Some SVA alumni have even founded their own start-ups, studios, and design firms, while others have become partners in businesses and individual projects. To date, School of Visual Arts alumni have started more than 50 design studios around the world.
The School of Visual Arts (SVA) is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), and/or the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA). The school opened as the Cartoonists and Illustrators School in 1947 with 35 students and three teachers. Today, the School of Visual Arts serves more than 4,000 students enrolled in more than 30 BFA, MA, MFA, and MPS programs.
3. Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut (Top 1% of schools considered)
Yale School of Art (Yale SoA) offers an MFA In Graphic Design that takes two years to complete, full-time. Consisting of 60 credit hours, the program accepts just 12 students each year and up to six students into the preliminary-year program, which appeals to students with relevant experience in an area outside of design.
The Yale SoA Graphic Design Program consists of lectures, presentations, workshops, and exhibitions, along with immersive studio work group thesis meetings, and one-on-one sessions with editing and writing tutors. MFA students have access to more than 2,000 courses offered each year, the Sterling Memorial and Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Libraries, art and natural history museums, conferences, and films.
Other MFA program perks include designated workspaces in the design studio loft, motion capture and VR tools at the Center for Collaborative Arts and Media, and unlimited access to equipment such as the RISO Digital Duplicator, Vandercook presses, bookbinding materials, and wide format printers.
To graduate, students must complete a thesis and a portfolio. Yale SoA Graphic Design graduates are prepared to seek positions at advertising agencies, print and online publishing companies, design firms, manufacturing companies, computer systems design, web design studios, marketing companies, and public relations firms, among others.
Founded in 1701, Yale University (Yale) is one of the oldest institutes of higher learning in the U.S. A member of the Ivy League, Yale is accredited New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE). The school serves 12,060 students enrolled in 80 majors in more than 100 departments and schools including Yale College, the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, and Yale Professional Schools—including Yale School Art.
Established in 1869, Yale SoA was the nation’s first art school connected with an institution of higher learning. The school serves more than 100 students enrolled in graduate Graphic Design, Painting/Printmaking, Photography, and Sculpture programs. Yale SoA also offers an undergraduate Art major for students in Yale College.
4. The New School's Parsons School of Design, New York, New York (Top 1% of schools considered)
The New School's Parsons School of Design houses the School of Art, Media, and Technology (AMT) which has a Communication Design Program with several degree pathways. The AAS in Communication Design is a campus-based 60 credit hour program with full-time and part-time schedules. Course examples for the program include Design History & Practice, Typography & Interaction, and Professional Practices & Portfolio. The Communication Design AAS program can be completed in just two years, full-time.
The Parsons School of Design (Parsons) BFA in Communication Design is the oldest undergraduate program of its kind in the U.S. Consisting of 120 credits and STEM-designated, the program is offered on-campus, full-time. Studio course examples include Drawing/Imaging, Space/Materiality, and Time. Other courses include Design Studies, Interaction Lab, Objects as History, and Typography Lab. The Parsons BFA in Communication Design takes four years to complete.
Parsons has one option for graphic designers seeking an advanced degree. The Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Communication Design, with a Concentration in Digital Product Design is a specialized program that emphasizes teamwork strategies and collaboration. This full-time, STEM-designated program consists of 30 credits taken over one year.
Students in all Parsons School of Design programs benefit from interdisciplinary collaboration, visiting artists, lectures, and AMT events, and access to Our Making Center, which consists of 600 workstations and facilities for animation, 3D prototyping, printmaking, and motion capture.
Graduates of the Parsons School of Design AAS and BFA programs work in brand and editorial design, type design, data visualization, digital product design, exhibition design, motion graphics, UX/UI design, and environmental and spatial graphics at creative agencies, tech companies, publishing companies, cultural institutions such as MoMA and the New York Times, digital design firms, and start-ups.
Graduates of the MPS program have gone on to pursue advanced degrees in areas such as Human-Computer-Interaction (HCI). Others are Interaction Designers, Product Managers, Digital Product Designers, and Entrepreneurs.
The New School is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), with Parsons included within the scope of MSCHE accreditation. The New School was founded in 1896 as The Chase School by American Impressionist William Merritt Chase. In 1904, Arts Educator Frank Alvah Parsons joined the school, later becoming its sole director. Between 1904 and 1910, Parsons launched three programs: Advertising, Costume Design, and Interior Decoration.
Today, as one institution known as The New School Parsons, this art and design college serves more than 5,000 students enrolled in 130 degree and diploma programs. Around 275 additional students attend Parsons Paris, which offers undergraduate, graduate, minor, and summer programs.
5. California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, California (Top 1% of schools considered)
The School of Art at California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) has a Graphic Design Program with BFA and MFA options. Program features for both pathways include small, critique-based classes, communal studios with 24 hour access, mentoring, and access to School of Art facilities and labs. Courses for the programs are taught by industry professionals with years of experience.
Course examples at the undergraduate level include Design Issues, Digital Design Lab, Graphic Design I-IV, Motion, Web Design, Typography I-III, and Professional Practice for Graphic Design. Students will also complete several workshops throughout this four-year program. To enhance the degree, BFA students may add the Digital Arts Minor, which consists of 18 units of study. Students in the minor can learn about sound production and programming, and how make films, animate, and create games for the web.
The CalArts Graphic Design MFA has an Integrated Media (IM) Concentration, which combines IM seminars and critiques with specialized coursework and access to elective courses offered across the institute. Visual Literacy, Typographics IA-IB, and Graphic Design Theory are just a few required courses for the program. Students will also participate in two MFA Graphic Design Practicum workshops and Graduate Seminar I-II (Lecture) and Graduate Seminar I-II (Studio).
All California Institute of the Arts students have the opportunity to complete an internship, study abroad experience, and a portfolio of their best work.
CalArts Graphic Design alumni work in a variety of positions at Meta (formerly Facebook), Google, Walt Disney Imagineering, Art Center College of Design, Evernote, M+ Works, North Carolina State University College of Design, the Whitney Museum of Art, and Otis College of Design, among others.
California Institute of the Arts is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC). The school is also an accredited institution member of the National Association of Schools of Dance (NASD).
California Institute of the Arts traces its roots back to 1961, when Walt and Roy Disney formed the school through a merger of the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music and the Chouinard Art Institute. Today, CalArts serves nearly 1,200 students enrolled in more than 70 degree programs across six schools including the School of Critical Studies, The Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance, the School of Art, the School of Film/Video, The Herb Alpert School of Music, and the School of Theater.
6. Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York (Top 1% of schools considered)
The School of Design at Pratt Institute (Pratt) launched in 2014. The school houses the Communications Design Program, which offers BFA and MFA degrees in Communications Design. Also offered in the School of Design are the Associate of Occupational Studies (AOS) in Graphic Design, an AAS in Graphic Design/Illustration, and an MS in Packaging, Identities and Systems Design.
In addition to degree programs, Pratt Institute offers certificate programs in the School of Continuing Studies. Options for designers include Graphic Design, Digital Design, Branding & Digital Marketing, Digital Product Design, UX/UI Mobile Design, Human-Centered Design, and Motion Graphics.
The Communications Design BFA at Pratt Institute has three emphasis areas: Advertising Art Direction, Graphic Design, and Illustration. Course examples across programs include Image as Communication, Sketchbook Warehouse, Process and Production, Advertising, Emerging Practices, Typography, Illustration, Package Design, Special Topics: Publications, Freelancing & Business Illustration and Graphic Design, Typeface Design, and Sequential Art and Graphic Novel. Students in all emphasis areas may complete an internship at a field related professional site. Successful completion of the Senior Project is required to graduate.
The Graphic Design AOS and Graphic Design/Illustration AAS Programs are 66 credit hours each. The AOS is an intensive, career-track program with an all art and design curriculum. Designed for high school graduates and adults with or without a degree, the AOS includes capstone courses and internship opportunities. Course examples include Graphic Design I-II, Digital Design, Packaging Design I-II, Digital Media, Typography I-III, UI/UX Interactive Media I-II, and Advertising Design I-II. In just two years, AAS students will graduate with a professional portfolio of their best work, along with the skills needed to pursue immediate employment in graphic design, interactive media, advertising, package design, web design, illustration, game design, and publishing.
The AAS in Graphic Design/Illustration at Pratt Institute prepares students for transfer into the Fine Arts Department at Pratt Institute, the Communications Design BFA, or other school or related program of their choice. The program combines advanced art and design coursework with liberal studies. Course examples for the program include Light, Color and Design I-II, Material and 3 Dimensional Form, Illustration I-II, Themes in Art and Culture, Pre-Press and Print Production, History of Art and Design, Communication Design I-II, and UI/UX Interactive Media I.
The Communications Design MFA at Pratt Institute consists of 60 credit hours that may be completed in two years. Courses are taught by renowned professionals in the field. Students in the program will complete several studio courses, attend seminars, and complete a thesis and exhibition. Graduates of the program are prepared for academic careers, as well as leadership positions in identity systems and branding, user experience design, typography, information design, and environmental design, design strategy, print and digital media, social media and interaction design, and data visualization.
First offered in 1966, the MS in Packaging, Identities and Systems Design at Pratt consists of 48 credit hours, completed within two years. Course examples include Structural Packaging, Visual Perception, Cross-Platform Design, Packaging and the Retail Space, Sustainability and Design, Prototyping and Production, Packaging Design I-II, and Design Management. The Capstone Project is an end-of-degree course that results in a professional body of work.
Students in all programs and schools at Pratt Institute have the opportunity to enroll in one of more than 20 study abroad programs and international exchange programs in over a dozen locations such London, Milan, Florence, Tokyo, and Copenhagen.
Pratt Institute is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). Founded in 1887, Pratt serves 4,875 students across campuses in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Utica, New York. More than 50 undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs are offered in six schools including Architecture, Art, Design, Information, Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Continuing and Professional Studies.
7. Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, Maryland (Top 1% of schools considered)
Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) has a Graphic Design Program with three Concentrations: Graphic Design Studio, Book Arts Studio, and Graphic Design + Humanistic Studies. Consisting of 120 credit hours and leading to a BFA, the program consists of a three-year sequence of core design courses. Course examples include Drawing: Tradition and Innovation, Designing Information, Graphic Design I-IV, Typography I-III, Photoimaging, Flexible Design Studio, and Advanced Design I-II.
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.
At the graduate level, Maryland Institute College of Art offers an MA in Graphic Design (GDMA) and an MFA in Graphic Design (GD MFA). Housed in a loft-style studio space with dedicated computers and workspaces, the 60 credit hour GDMA prepares students for career advancement or entry into an MFA program. Program features include courses taught by industry professionals, seminars, and 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 GD MFA Program 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 Graphic Design MFA at MICA takes two years to complete, full-time.
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). Founded in 1826, MICA is the nation’s oldest independent, continuously degree-granting college of art and design. The school serves 2,090 students from 45 states and 53 foreign countries. Forty percent of MICA students are fine arts majors and 60% are design & media arts majors. Programs at MICA lead to a BFA, MA, MFA, or MPS degree.
8. ArtCenter College of Design, Pasadena, California (Top 2% of schools considered)
ArtCenter College of Design (ArtCenter) has a Graphic Design (Gx) Program with BFA and MFA (MGx) options. Minors in Graphic Design, Product Design, and Interaction Design are also offered through the Designmatters program, which combines studio courses, immersive, real-world studios, and Humanities & Sciences courses.
The 132-unit ArtCenter BFA in Gx explores both traditional and emerging media. Students in the program will complete 87 studio units and the remainder in Humanities & Sciences. Courses are taught by professors with expertise in packaging, transmedia design, motion, visual interaction, and print. Course examples include Narrative Sketching, Communication Design: Information and Context, Visual Interaction Design, Transmedia, Identity Systems, Graphic Design History, and Business. During the final term, BFA students will complete Portfolio and Career Preparation.
The ArtCenter College of Design MGx Program has two options: two-year and three-year. The two-year option consists of 75 units completed across four full terms, plus one ArtCenter Lite (ACL) summer term. Consisting of 86 units, the three-year option is for students who need to develop additional design skills in order to complete the graduate degree. This program consists of two additional terms. Upon successful completion of both terms, the student can enter the traditional graduate track.
Course examples across options include LinkedIn Learning, Typography 3, Design Research/Strategy, Graduate Visual Interaction Design, and Professional Leadership. MGx students will complete a number of labs, including the Portfolio Lab, and a thesis is required to graduate.
Students in all ArtCenter College of Design programs have the opportunity to intern, network, and interview with the school’s industry partners including Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Warner Bros., Meta (formerly Facebook), Apple, Ford, Mattel, Nike, Netflix, BMW, DreamWorks, Blizzard Entertainment, Walt Disney Imagineering, Riot Games, and Honda.
ArtCenter Graphic Design alumni work in branding and corporate identity, printing and poster design, package design, motion graphics, film title design, publication design, environmental graphic design, transmedia design, exhibition design, web design and development, interface ceding, visual interaction design, art direction, production management, information architecture, app design, and broadcast graphics.
Many ArtCenter graduates have been hired at Google, Meta, design and consulting firm IDEO, and Local Projects—a exhibition and media design firm for museums and public spaces.
ArtCenter College of Design is fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Founded in 1930, ArtCenter serves more than 2,000 students across campuses in Pasadena and Los Angeles, California. The school also has satellite studios in Petersen Automotive Museum (Miracle Mile, Los Angeles) and Berlin, Germany.
ArtCenter College of Design offers 11 undergraduate programs, seven graduate degree program leading to an MFA or MS, a joint MS/MBA program, and undergraduate minors in Business, Creative Writing, Material Science, Research, and Social Innovation.
9. Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, Georgia (Top 2% of schools considered)
Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) has a Graphic Design Program that offers degrees at all levels. Graphic Design students have the option to complete a BA, BFA, MA or MFA at campuses in Savannah or Atlanta, and online. Program features include courses taught by industry professionals from companies such as Hasbro, Google, and Airbnb, access to events such as SCADstyle, which attracts the biggest names in modern design, fashion, and global art, and individual critiques and mentoring by top professionals in the design industry.
All SCAD Graphic Design options offer the opportunity to add a minor to enhance the degree. Some of the most popular choices include Advertising, Mobile and Interactive Design, Advertising Copywriting, Mobile and Interactive Design, Advertising and Branding, and User Experience Design. Undergraduate students may also add a certificate such as Digital Publishing.
Graduates of the Graphic Design Program at Savannah College of Art go on to establish careers at major companies such as Apple, Verizon, IBM, Under Armour, and Ralph Lauren. Some program alumni have gone on to launch their own design studios, while others have established successful freelance careers.
Savannah College of Art and Design is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Founded in 1978, the school opened in 1979 with just 71 students, one classroom, and an administration building. Today, SCAD serves more than 15,000 students across campuses in Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia, and Lacoste, France.
Offering more than 100 degree programs and over 75 minors and certificate programs, Savannah College of Art and Design has more degree programs and specializations than any other art and design college in the U.S.
10. North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina (Top 2% of schools considered)
The College of Design at North Carolina State University (NC State University) houses the Department of Graphic and Industrial Design, which offers a Bachelor of Graphic Design (BGD) and a Master of Graphic Design (MGD). Both programs are recognized by the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) and accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). The NC State MGD is one of the few graphic design graduate programs with STEM Classification (CIP).
At the undergraduate level, students will learn how to collaborate with computer programmers, software engineers, and ethnographers; implement human-centered research methods, communicate information and messages through digital platforms, images, and typography; and produce product packaging, applications, websites, identity systems, data visualizations, signage, books, and magazines.
Collaborative Research and Design Projects are a major component of the BGD Program. In the Department of Graphic and Industrial Design’s Collaborative Sponsored Studios, students have the opportunity to work on real-world projects with clients and developers, engineers, designers, and other business professionals. Companies that students have worked with include Hanes, Coca Cola, IBM, Caterpillar, Bosch Appliances, Lowe’s, Under Armour, North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, and John Deere.
In addition to working in Collaborative Studios, NC State BGD students have the opportunity to take an advanced studio in another College of Design discipline (a swing studio), study abroad for a semester or summer at the NC State Prague Institute, and gain professional experience through paid internships.
The NC State MGD Program has two-year and three-year options. The two-year program, MGD II, is designed for students with a BFA in Graphic Design and experience in the field. The three-year program, MGD III, is for students with a BA in another field or with a Concentration in Graphic Design. Students in this program will take two semesters of specialized coursework before entering the MGD II Program.
All students will participate in graduate studios, seminars, and workshops, they will have opportunities to take electives at affiliate universities such as Duke University and University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, and work on collaborative projects and research with major companies and institutes such as IBM, the Institute of Emerging Issues, SAS, NC State Laboratory for Analytic Sciences, and Red Hat. For the graduate project, MGD students will research an area of focus, record conclusions, design studies and mock-ups, and present the project to the public.
Graduates of the MGD Program at North Carolina State University are prepared for leadership positions in user experience and user interface design (UX/UI), with expertise in artificial intelligence (AI), research, data visualization, and digital typography. Graduates are also qualified to teach universities or pursue a PhD in Design or other related area.
NC State MGD alumni go on to establish successful careers at consulting firms, software companies, and colleges and universities. Examples include Adobe, Lenovo, IBM, Fjord, IDEO, Red Hat Software, Carnegie Mellon, University of Washington, Pratt Institute, and University of Michigan.
North Carolina State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Established in 1887 as a land-grant institution focusing in agriculture and engineering, NC State employs more than 9,000 faculty and staff members that serve 36,000+ students enrolled in more than 260 degree programs across 11 colleges.
11. Ringling College of Art and Design, Sarasota, Florida (Top 2% of colleges considered)
Ringling College of Art and Design (RCAD) has a Graphic Design Program that launched in 1980. Available pathways include a 120 credit hour BFA and a 15 credit hour Minor. Program features include an immersive, studio-based curriculum, visiting artists from major studios such as DreamWorks, internships opportunities, and the opportunity to work on real-world projects with local businesses and at The Design Center—RCAD’s in-house design firm.
Course examples across programs include Graphic Design I-VI, Development of Art & Ideas, Design & Typography, 3D Problem Solving, 4D Design, New Media UI/UX, Drawing & 2D Design, Visual Persuasion Designing with Type, and Literature and Media Studies.
Graduates of the Ringling College of Art and Design Graphic Design Program are prepared for careers in many different industries. Examples include Advertising Director, Visual Identity Art Director, Conceptual Designer, Packaging Designer, Logo Designer, Global Brand manager, Digital Image Artist, Editorial Designer, Licensing Production Artist, Motion Graphics Designer, UI/UX Designer, Book Designer, and Communications Director.
RCAD alumni have been hired by companies such as Saatchi & Saatchi X, Microsoft, Walt Disney Imagineering, Google, Nickelodeon, Wieden+Kennedy, Meta (formerly Facebook), Leo Burnett, BBC Studios, Walt Disney Imagineering, Instagram, and Arc Worldwide.
Ringling College of Art and Design is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). A private, not-for-profit college, RCAD has been around since 1931, when it was co-founded by circus baron, John Ringling. Serving nearly 1,700 students from 54 countries, 45 states, and four territories, Ringling College of Art and Design offers eleven majors leading to a BFA degree, two majors leading to a BA, and minor options in 10 areas.
12. Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Top 2% of schools considered)
The College of Fine Arts (CFA) at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) houses the School of Design, which offers a Bachelor of Design (BDes). Equivalent to the BFA degree, the BDes has three tracks: Communications (Graphic Design), Products (Industrial Design), and Environments (Physical and Digital). BDes students have the option to focus in one or all three areas or pursue a focus that combines two of the three tracks. CMU BDes alumni have worked on a number of major projects including the Pinterest interface design, typefaces for The Guardian, the title sequence of the Spiderman movie, and the Starbucks logo.
The School of Design at Carnegie Mellon University has several other options for undergraduate students seeking a degree or program that combines liberal arts and design with interdisciplinary studies across pathways. The most notable option is the interdisciplinary BXA. The curriculum combines components of the CMU Bachelor of Humanities and Arts (BHA), Bachelor of Science and Arts (BSA), and the Bachelor of Computer Science and Arts (BCSA). BXA students may add a Design Concentration, which consists of 98 units of required courses and 10 units of Design electives. Course examples include Design Lab, Collaborative Visualizing, Design Studies: Systems, Prototyping Lab, and Studio I: Form and Context. Graduates of this program go on to work in user research, strategic planning, and information systems analysis, among other areas.
Another option is the Design Minor. Consisting of 54 units (including 27 units of design electives), the Design Minor is open to students who wish to add design to their current major. So, a Computer Science student who would like to add a design component to their program may enroll in the Minor. Course examples for the program include Design for Interactions for Communications, Design for Interactions for Products, and Human Experience in Design.
Finally, Carnegie Mellon University offers a unique program—Integrative Design, Arts, and Technology (IDeATe)—that allows students to add a concentration in areas such as animation and special effects, intelligent environments, media design, entrepreneurship for creative industries, physical computing, game design, sound design, learning media, and media design.
Graduate programs for designers include a one-year Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Design, a two-year MDes in Design, and a PhD in Transition Design. The CMU Design graduate programs are interdisciplinary and offer seminar and studio courses, with hands-on exposure to design processes, skills, and thinking.
Graduate students across programs will take courses such as Studio + Lab: Designing for Interactions, Studio: Research Based Design for Interactions, Seminar: Advanced Interaction & Service Design Concepts, Communication Design Studio: Theory & Practice, Design Research Methods, Seminar: Interaction & Service Design Concepts, Transition Design, Experiential Futures, Framing Proposals for change, and Design Writing Workshop.
MDes students will complete a Thesis across four courses, while MPS students may complete an optional Colloquium. During years two and three, PhD students will complete Research I, II, III & IV. During the final year of the program, students will assemble their dissertations (40-80K words) across Coda I & II.
Carnegie Mellon University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). Founded in 1900, CMU serves more than 14,500 students enrolled in 200+ programs in seven colleges and schools. With more than 400 start-ups to the school’s credit, Carnegie Mellon University also has over a dozen locations that provide degree programs, as well as 20+ research partnerships in Silicon Valley, Australia, Africa, and Qatar.
13. Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia (Top 2% of schools considered)
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.
14. California College of the Arts, San Francisco and Oakland, California (Top 2% of schools considered)
California College of the Arts (CCA) has several options for designers seeking a degree at the undergraduate or graduate level. The BFA in Graphic Design provides access to a dedicated studio space, a Prototyping Studio, the Hybrid Lab, where students can explore virtual reality and other emerging technologies, and the Book Arts and Letterpress studio, which houses bookbinding equipment and lithography presses.
The CCA Graphic Design BFA begins with the First Year Experience where students explore a range of techniques, tools, and materials, and participate in studio projects and critiques. Course examples for this 120 credit hour program include Advanced Interactive, Typography 1-3, Graphic Design Tools, 2D, 3D, and, and Professional Practice Workshop. Students will complete an internship, and a Thesis is required to graduate.
At the graduate level, California College of the Arts offers an MFA in Design with a focus on Graphic, Interaction, and Industrial Design. Students have two options. The two-year option is designed for students with experience in one or more areas of design. The three-year option is for students with an undergraduate degree in an unrelated area. The first year of this program allows students to develop design skills in preparation for the traditional two-year curriculum.
While the CCA MFA in Design provides the opportunity to explore Graphic, Interaction, and Industrial Design, students may concentrate in either area. Course examples for the program include Contemporary Design practice, Expanded Tools, Business of Design, Scripting Graphics, The Studio 1 and 2, and Thesis Studio 1 and 2. Examples of electives include Digital type Design, Sound, Music & Technology, and Interaction Theory.
Students in all CCA Design Programs benefit from the lecture series, workshops, visiting designers, the annual Headlands Center for the Arts Retreat, exhibitions for studio and year-end work, and access to the Materials Library.
Graduates of the Design Programs at California College of the Arts go on to become Graphic Designers, Project Managers, Product Designers, UI/UX Designers, Curators, Research and Development Technologists, Entrepreneurs, and Educators, among others.
Companies and organizations that have hired CCA graduates include Google, Apple, Meta (formerly Facebook), The New York Times, and Adobe, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, IDEO, and Headlands Center for the Arts, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
California College of the Arts is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), and the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). The school opened in 1907 as the School of the California Guild of Arts and Crafts. On the first day of class, CCA had just three teachers and 43 students. Today, California College of the Arts employs 420 faculty members that serve just over 1,600 students enrolled in more than 40 undergraduate, graduate, minors, and dual degree options.
15. University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas (Top 3% of colleges considered)
The College of Fine Arts at the University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) houses the School of Design and Creative Technologies, home to the Design Department. Housed in the Doty Fine Arts Building (DFA) and the Art Building (ART), the Design Department offers BA, BFA, and MFA degrees in Design. In addition, the Center for Professional Education offers a Graphic Design Certificate that may be completed 100% online. Over 13 sessions, lasting three months, certificate students will master industry software such as After Effects, Photoshop, In Design, and Illustrator. The program also explores design practices and the production of static and motion graphic designs.
Design BA students at UT Austin combines liberal arts courses with courses in design techniques, aesthetics, theory, research methos, and history. While BA students will take fewer upper division design courses than BFA students will, the program offers the opportunity to explore other areas in additional departments across the university. Course examples for this 120 credit hour program include Sketching, History of Design, Introduction to 2D and 3D, Interaction Design, Typography, Design Research and Images in Communication. Internship and study abroad opportunities are also part of the program. Both are optional.
The Design BFA is a pre-professional degree consisting of 120 credit hours. Around two-thirds of the courses for this program are in Design and related coursework. Course examples include Identity Systems, Typography I-III, Design and Social Environment, and Industrial Design. Students in the Design BFA Program will complete one or more paid internships along with a capstone design project that will be presented in UT Austin’s Annual Public Exhibition. Students have interned at places such as Apple, Google, Samsung, Dell, IBM, and EA Games.
The MFA in Design at University of Texas at Austin is a 60 credit hour program designed for exceptional students with solid design skills. The program consists of seminars, studios, electives, and a thesis project. Design MFA students have 24/7 access to shared studio spaces and as well as the Design, Computer, Materials, and Digital Fabrication Labs, the Wood Shop, Visual Arts Center, and Fine Arts Library, and the Harry Ransom Center and The Foundry.
Graduates of the Design Programs at UT Austin go on to become Graphic Designers, Art Directors, Multimedia Designers, Entrepreneurs, UI/UX Designers, Book Designers, Project Managers, Package Designers, and Executives, among others.
The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Founded in 1883, the school opened in 1883 with one building, eight professors, one proctor, and 221 students. Today, UT Austin has around 52,000 students served by a teaching faculty of 3,133. The University of Texas at Austin offers more than 500 degree programs and fields of study in 18 colleges and schools.
16. University of North Texas, Denton, Texas (Top 3% of colleges considered)
The College of Visual Arts and Design (CVAD) at the University of North Texas (UNT) houses the Design Department, which offers a BFA in Communication Design with two tracks: Graphic Design and User-Experience Design (UX Design). Both tracks consist of studio coursework, with Graphic Design students taking additional requirements such as Typography I, Foundations for Communication Design, and Image-Making and Color Theory. UX Design students will take additional requirements such as Contextual Research Methods, Foundations of User-Centered Design, and Typographic Systems.
Course examples across Communication Design Tracks include Art History SurveyI-III, GD Advanced Campaigns, Interaction Design, Data Visualization & the Design of Information, Cause-Based Design, Image Making & Color Theory, Communication Design Studio, Prototyping & User Testing, Planning and Developing Interactive Systems, and Advanced Product Design in UX Design.
Students in both Tracks may add a minor such as New Media Art, Art History, Printmaking, or Photography. All UNT Communication Design students will complete a portfolio.
CVAD Communication Design students will graduate with a professional portfolio and the skills needed to pursue positions in industries such as advertising, publishing, entertainment, manufacturing, and computer systems design. University of North Texas CVAD graduates also qualify for jobs in government agencies, museums, colleges and universities, nonprofit organizations, and for associations, among others.
University of North Texas is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The school is also an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Established in 1890, UNT serves just over 38,150 students enrolled in 105 bachelor's, 88 master's, and 37 doctoral degree programs across 14 colleges and schools. With more than 4,600 faculty and staff members, University of North Texas is one of the largest employers in the City of Denton, Texas.
17. Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri (Top 3% of colleges considered)
The College of Art at Washington University in St. Louis (WashU) is home to the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, which houses the Communication Design Program. Degree options include the 120 credit hour BA and the 121 credit hour BFA in Studio Art & Design/Communication Design.
For both programs, students will begin by working with an academic advisor to customize initial coursework and create a schedule. Students will then move on to core studios in 2D and 3D Design, Drawing, and Digital, supplemented by seminars. As students enter the second semester of the junior year, they will customize their own major courses. Course examples include Global Topics in Visual Communications, Letterpress Printing, Applied Illustration, Semiotics Studio: Designing Signs and Symbols, Programming Design, Content to Cover: The Design of Books, Type as Image: Experiments on Press, UX Research Methods for Design, and Multimedia Design: Time/Sound/Space.
Courses for the WashU Communication Design Program are supplemented by seminars and readings. In Professional Practice seminars, students will develop skills such as portfolio development, CV creation, interviewing, searching for jobs and internships, and public speaking.
In the senior year of the BFA Program, students will complete a final project (capstone), which may be a digital experience, illustrated book, screen-based presentation, graphic novel/mini-comic, or other work. The Senior Capstone will be presented in a public exhibition and reviewed by local design professionals.
Washington University in St. Louis has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) since 1913. Founded in 1853, the school serves nearly 16,250 students enrolled in more than 300 academic programs in seven schools. The Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts was founded in 2006 after the merging of the academic units of Architecture and Art, and the Washington University in St. Louis Museum.
18. School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois (Top 3% of schools considered)
The Visual Communication Design (VCD) Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) has undergraduate, graduate, and certificate options for students interested in graphic design.
The VCD Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Studio is a one-year, 30-credit program consisting of art history courses, seminars, and studio seminars. Upon completion of the Certificate Program, students may enter the MFA in Studio Program.
The 60 credit hour MFA in Studio is an interdisciplinary pathway that allows students to explore other SAIC departments such as Film, Video, New Media, and Animation (FVNMA), Designed Objects, Intermedia, Writing, Architecture, Photography, and Interior Architecture. Besides interdisciplinary studies, a major component of the MFA in Studio is the opportunity to complete a graduate project every semester.
Students will work one-on-one with a faculty member and they may sign up with artists, writers, and other academics from other SAIC departments. Graduate seminars, such as Form-Configuration-Content and Narrative Architectures, are also part of the program. Successful completion of a thesis is required to graduate.
The BFA in Studio with a Concentration in VCD focuses on physical media (environments, objects and print) and virtual media (interactive and time-based media). Course examples for the program include Image Studio, Identity Systems, Advanced Typography, 4D Design: Manipulating Media, Envisioning Information, Dynamic Information Visualization, Electronic Publications, UI/UX Responsive Web Design, Package Design, and Advanced Motion Graphics.
VCD BFA students are encouraged to complete a Career and Professional Experience (CAPX) internship and participate in the Fall or Spring Exhibition, and the year-end Visual Communication Design Show. Graduates will leave the SAIC VCD Program with a professional portfolio of their best work.
Students in all SAIC Design Programs have access to the VCD AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Arts) chapter, which hosts local visiting designers, tours of Chicago studios, the annual Town Hall AIGA event, and a biannual portfolio preparation seminar. The VCD Department also offers the opportunity for students to participate in juror-led student workshops, entry jurying, and jurors’ lectures through the Chicago International Poster Biennial (CIPB).
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). SAIC has also been accredited as a charter member by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) since 1948. Founded in 1866, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago is one of the oldest accredited independent schools of art and design in the country. Serving more than 3,500 students, SAIC offers more than 50 areas of study in 24 academic departments.
19. University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), Los Angeles, California (Top 3% of schools considered)
The School of Arts and Architecture at University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) houses the Department of Design Media Arts (DMA), which has multidisciplinary pathways leading a BA or MA in DMA. Students in both pathways will explore visual communication, narrative, game design, video, and network media. Foundation courses for the undergraduate program cover color, space and form, interactivity and motion, and typography. Graduate DMA students will complete a number of seminars, group critiques, and programming media courses along with research projects and a thesis project.
Courses for the UCLA DMA Programs are taught as studios, with no more than 22 students. Course examples for the undergraduate program include Design Futures, 3D Modeling and Motion, Word + Image, Tangible Media, Network Media, Special Topics in Design Media Arts, and Topics in Interactivity And Games. For the Senior Project, undergraduate DMA students may complete one of three courses including Interactivity and Games, Video and Animation, or Visual Communication and Image.
All UCLA DMA students have access to an endless number of labs, spaces, and other facilities. Examples include the Broad Art Center, DMA Labs, Video Labs, Experimental Digital Arts (EDA) Space, Media Arts Research Space (MARS), the Audio and Video Labs, Fabrication & Electronics Labs, the Shoot Room, Print Lab, Art | Sci Center, New Wight Gallery, the UCLA Game Lab, DMA Graduate Student Gallery, and the Arts Library.
Graduates of the DMA Programs at University of California Los Angeles are prepared to pursue careers in areas such as graphic design, multimedia design, advertising, UI/UX design, art or design direction, media art, web design, content strategy, branding and packaging, book art and publishing, exhibition design, presentation design, graphic art, motion art and design, and marketing.
The University of California Los Angeles is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC). Established in 1919, UCLA is the second campus in the University of California System. Serving 45,900 students, UCLA offers more than 250 programs across 12 professional schools and UCLA College. To date, the school has helped launch more than 200 start-ups nationwide.
20. Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Minneapolis, Minnesota (Top 3% of schools considered)
Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) offers a BFA in Graphic Design, an MA in Graphic and Web Design, an interdisciplinary MFA, and a fully online User Experience (UX) Design Certificate.
Students in all MCAD Design programs will participate in critiques, collaborative projects, and hands-on training experiences through internships and other experiential learning activities. Students in all programs also have the option to study abroad in places such Japan, Germany, Ireland, England, Italy, or anywhere in the U.S.
The 120 credit hour BFA in Graphic Design combines core courses, foundation studies and studio electives with humanities and sciences coursework. Course examples for the program include Liberal Arts Advanced Seminar, Art and Globalization in the Atlantic World, Applied Art and Design Objects, Graphic Design 1-2, Digital Production, Publication Design, Type Plus, Web and Screen, Coding Concepts, and Advanced Graphic Design Seminar. MCAD BFA students will also complete Senior Project: Graphic Design, worth six credit hours.
The MCAD MA in Graphic and Web Design is a 30 credit hour program that explores typography, web design and programming, design principles, ideation, workflow management, and research. Students in this program can expect to work in teams with peers and professionals in the industry to complete projects and solve problems. Course examples for the program include Typography, User Experience Design, Experimental Interaction, Design in Context, and Motion Design.
The 60 credit hour Interdisciplinary MFA highlights independent and collaborative studios, one-on-one work with a mentor, and the opportunity to pursue creative work in multiple areas. Examples include graphic design, web and multimedia, paper and book arts, experimental video/film, web and multimedia, comic arts, animation, printmaking, illustration, photography, installation, drawing/painting, and public arts.
Graduates of the Design Programs at Minneapolis College of Art and Design go on to establish careers such as Graphic Designer, Brand and Logo Designer, Production Artist, Editorial Illustrator, User-Experience (UX) Designer, Art Director, Front-End Developer, Creative Director and Web Designer, among others. MCAD alumni work for design firms, start-ups, publishing houses, large corporations, museums, government agencies, small businesses, and production studios. Some graduates have launched their own design studios or other creative firms.
Minneapolis College of Art and Design is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) and the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). MCAD is also affiliated with the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD).
Established in 1886, Minneapolis College of Art and Design serves more than 800 students. The school offers 14 undergraduate majors leading to a BFA or BS, three MA programs, including the new MA in Creative Leadership (launching summer 2022), one MFA program, and five professional development certificate programs.
21. Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona (Top 3% of colleges considered)
The Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University (ASU) is home to the Design School, which houses a Visual Communication (Graphic) Design Program that is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Degree options include the Bachelor of Science in Design (BSD) in Graphic Design, a Master of Science in Design (MSD) with a Concentration in Visual Communication Design (VCD MSD), and a Master of Visual Communication Design (MVCD).
The Graphic Design BSD is available at the ASU Tempe campus and online. Students in the program will take courses such as Designing Life, Principles for Graphic Design I-II, Motion Graphics and Interaction Design, Advanced Media, Visual Communication I-VI, Technology for Design I-II, Letterform, and Exhibit Design. The ASU Graphic Design BSD requires 120 credit hours to graduate, including 45 upper division hours.
The VCD MSD is available at the ASU Tempe campus. Consisting of 36 credit hours taken over four semesters (two years), the MSD Program requires courses such as Research Methods, Qualitative Research in Design, Methods in Visual Communication I-II, and VCD Seminar: Contemporary Issues. Visiting designers, an internship in teaching design, and a Thesis or Applied Project are also part of the program.
The MVCD Program at the ASU Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts has two options: a two-year, studio-based degree for professionals with solid design experience or a degree in VCD, graphic design or other related area and a three-year degree, also studio-based, for students without an undergraduate design degree or experience in VCD or graphic design. The programs consist of 42-43 credit hours and explore interaction design, user experience design, design for social innovation, service design, participatory design, and more.
Students in the two-year ASU MVCD Program are encouraged to complete an internship. Students in the three-year program are required to complete an internship. Internships take place during the summer after the first year, and they may be completed anywhere in the U.S. and around the world. Both program options require successful completion of Advanced Visual Communication Design Studio IV (culminating experience), worth five credits.
Graduates of the Arizona State University Design Programs are prepared to pursue position such as Graphic Designer, Design Educator, Commercial and Industrial Designer, Art Director, Set and Exhibition Designer, Instructional Designer, Technologist, Animator, Media Collection Specialist, Desktop Publishers, Package Designers, and UI/UX Designer, among others. ASU Design alumni have been hired at major companies and organizations such as Google, American Airlines, Banner Health, GoDaddy, and UNICEF.
Arizona State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Founded in 1885 as the Arizona Territorial Normal School, ASU serves more than 134,500 undergraduate and graduate students across four campuses. More than 800 degree programs are available in 16 colleges and schools.
22. University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio (Top 4% of colleges considered)
The College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning (DAAP) at the University of Cincinnati (UC) houses the Myron E. Ullman Jr. School of Design, which offers a BS in Communication Design and a Master of Design (MDes). The five-year Communication Design BS provides opportunities to develop solid, marketable skills through several required co-op experiences. Three concentrations are available including Graphic Design, Interaction Design, and Motion Design.
Consisting of 120 credit hours, the Communication Design BS requires courses such as Welcome to Design, Collaborative Studio, Graphic Design 1-2, Advanced Typography, Design Aesthetics, Interaction Design, Photo Design, Design & Meaning, Motion Design, and Applied Professional Practice – DAAP.
The University of Cincinnati MDes is a multidisciplinary program that encompasses Communication Design, Fashion Design, and Industrial Design. The program focuses on strategy, systems thinking, evidence, methods, and designing for social impact. Course examples for this 60 credit hour program include Design Strategy, Translational Research, Design Communication, and Professional Development Seminar. A co-op experience is required as well as independent study and a thesis., which will be exhibited at the Annual UC DAAPworks Show.
Graduates of the DAAP Programs at University of Cincinnati are freelancers or they work for design firms and internal design teams. Careers include advertising, package design, interface design, user experience design, motion graphics, branding and corporate identity, web design, post-production design, digital product design, and exhibit design.
The University of Cincinnati is an urban research university that has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) since 1919. Accreditation includes all regional campuses. In addition, as an Ohio Public Institution, every program at UC is approved by the Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE). Founded in 1819, UC serves nearly 46,710 students enrolled in more than 400 academic programs across 14 colleges and a graduate school.
23. Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah (Top 4% of colleges considered)
The College of Fine Arts and Communications at Brigham Young University (BYU) houses the Department of Design, which offers a BFA in Graphic Design. An Online Graphic Design Fundamentals Certificate is available through BYU-Idaho and BYU-Pathway Worldwide.
The BFA is a limited enrollment program of 40 students. Students must complete 120 credit hours to graduate, including 72.5-73.5 in the major. Course examples include Branding, 3-Dimensional Design, Interaction Design, Design Lab, Typography, Design Thinking, Motion, Bookbinding, Letterpress Studio, and Illustration Fundamentals. Graphic Design BFA students are encouraged to complete a professional internship after their Junior year in the program.
The BYU Graphic Design Fundamentals Certificate is a 15 credit hour program that explores conceptual design, typography, and visual design. Building into the BAS in Professional Studies degree, the Certificate Program consists of 15 credit hours. Courses include Introduction to Graphic Design, Graphic Design, Creating Online Media, Typography, and User Experience Design. Potential careers for graduates of the BYU Graphic Design Fundamentals Certificate Program include Junior Graphic Designer, Marketing Production Artist, Design Assistant, and Junior Production Artist.
Graduates of the Brigham Young University Graphic Design BFA Program work in design-related disciplines such as experience and service design, branding and product design, publishing and interaction design, and web design and mobile app development, motion graphics, and data visualization. They work at advertising agencies, traditional design studios, and interactive agencies or on internal teams at a variety of businesses, corporations, and organizations. Some graduates go on to establish successful freelance careers or launch their own design studios.
Brigham Young University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). The school was founded in 1875 as Brigham Young Academy (BYA) by Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints President Brigham Young. With nearly 35,000 students enrolled in close to 400 degree programs and minors, BYU is the one of the largest private universities in the U.S.
24. The Cooper Union, New York, New York (Top 4% of schools considered)
The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art (Cooper Union) houses the School of Art, which offers a BFA in Art. This flexible, 130 credit hour program allows students to choose courses from seven disciplines upon completion of the first year Foundation Program. Options include Graphic Design, Printmaking, Drawing, Photography, Audiovisual, Painting, and Sculpture. In the Junior year of the Art BFA Program, students may take electives from the Schools of Architecture and Engineering to enhance the degree.
The Senior year consists of advanced coursework, seminar and studio courses, and development of the Senior Presentation for public viewing. Course examples include Four-Dimensional Design, Independent Study in Calligraphy, Animation Workshop, Advanced Drawing, Graphic Design I-II, Art of the Book, Information Design, Experimental Typography, Publication Design, Interactive Design Concepts, Motion Graphics, and Advanced Interactive Design Concepts: Computational Media.
All Cooper Union students have the opportunity to complete an internship and/or study abroad experience. Art BFA graduates are prepared to pursue careers in Advertising and Public Relations, Marketing, Design, Publishing, Package Design, Motion Graphics, Web Design, Entertainment, and many others.
The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art has been accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) since 1946. Founded in 1859 by industrialist, inventor, and philanthropist Peter Cooper, Cooper Union is one of the nation’s oldest institutions of higher education.
Serving close to 900 students, this all-honor private college awards all admitted undergraduate students a half-tuition scholarship currently valued at $22,275 per academic year. Programs at Cooper Union are offered in the Irwin S. Chann School of Architecture, School of Art, Albert Nerken School of Engineering, and the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences.
25. Portland State University, Portland, Oregon (Top 4% of schools considered)
The College of Arts at Portland State University (PSU) houses the School of Art + Design (A +D), which offers a BFA and a Minor in Graphic Design, and an Advertising Minor for Graphic Design Majors.
Students in the PSU Graphic BFA Program have the opportunity to gain experience through A +D Projects—the School of Art + Design’s in-house studio—where they will work on projects for real clients. Other program features include the weekly graphic design lecture series, field trips, professional portfolio development, demos, a peer mentorship program, and professional off-campus internships. More than 200 study abroad programs are also available to BFA students. Examples include Summer Abroad experiences such as Mixed Media and Printmaking in Guanajuato, Mexico and Art History in Rome, Berlin: The Fall and Rise of an Art City.
Each spring, Graphic Design BFA students will participate in the annual student showcase Be Honest. This allows them to present their work to design professionals. In the final year of the program, graduating Seniors will participate in Fresh—the A +D Graphic Design Senior Showcase. The event allows students to display their work, get feedback from industry professionals, and network.
Consisting of 32 credit hours of study, the PSU Graphic Design Minor is a flexible program that includes courses such as Digital Page Design, Communication Design Systems, Narrative and Communication Design Typography, Digital Imaging and Illustration, and Communication Design Systems.
The 24 credit hour Advertising Minor for Graphic Design Majors consists of Introduction to Business, Personal Finance, Creative Strategy, Essentials of Marketing, and Advertising Management. Students may take four credits of approved electives such as Student Advertising Agency, Advertising Campaigns, Marketing, and Portfolio Workshop.
Graduates of the Portland State University Design Programs are prepared to pursue positions such as Graphic Designer, Art Director, Design Manager, App Designer, Publication Designer, Branding and Identity Designer, Interactive Designer, Product Designer, Motion Graphics Designer, Web and Mobile Designer, User Interface Designer, Environmental Designer, and Illustrator.
Program alumni have been hired at major agencies and corporations such Apple, IBM, Nordstrom, Wieden+Kennedy, Buzzfeed, Adidas, Snapchat, Nike, IDEO, Dropbox, R/GA, and Spotify, Others have found success at design studios such as Instrument, OMFCO, Jolby, and Sandstrom. Many PSU Design alumni have also gone on to launch their own freelance careers, start-ups, or product lines.
Portland State University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). The school opened in the summer of 1946 with 220 students. Today, PSU serves nearly 24,000 students, with more than 2,700 students in the College of Arts, making it the largest art school in the Pacific Northwest. The College of Arts houses the Schools of Art + Design, Architecture, Film, and Music & Theater. Portland State University offers more than 200 degree programs in nine colleges and schools.
26. University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois (Top 4% of schools considered)
The College of Architecture, Design, and the Arts (CADA) at University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) houses the School of Design, which offers Bachelor of Design (BDes) and Master of Design (MDes) degrees in Graphic Design. A studio-based, interdisciplinary BA in Design is also available for students who are interested in studying multiple areas of design. With a focus on collaboration, the BA in Design explores Graphic and Industrial Design, the Sciences, and Humanities.
The Graphic Design BDes consists of a Foundation Year, followed by Form + Systems (year two), Expressions + Interactions (year three), and Options (final year). The Foundations Year consists of courses such as Design Drawing, Form Studio, and Color Theory. Year two course examples include Digital Media Design II: Interactivity and III: Motion, Type I: Form and Type II: Systems, and Form + Image Studio. During the third year of the BDES Program, students will take a number of design history courses and advanced courses such as Type III: Dimension, Type IV: Experimentation, Digital Media Design IV: Advanced Interactivity, and Social Media Design.
In the final year of the Graphic Design BDes Program, students will complete two Senior Design Colloquium courses, Mobile App Design (MAD) I-II, and two Capstones including the Personal Capstone: Graphic Design Thesis I-II and Professional Capstone: Interdisciplinary Product Development.
The UIC MDes in Graphic Design is a two-year program that focuses on an independent master’s research project. Delivered in Chicago and Basel, Switzerland, the MDes is a project-oriented program that culminates in a public exhibition of student’s final projects. Course examples include Advanced Graphic Design I-II, Combined Studio, Research Studio, Graduate Seminar, and Documentation Studio.
A major component of the UIC Graphic MDes is the study abroad experience. All Chicago-based students will participate in the Basel School of Design summer workshops, which take place at the FHNW HGK Basel Visual Communication Institute in Münchenstein, Switzerland.
The University of Illinois at Chicago is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The school serves more than 33,500 students, making it the largest university in the Chicago area. With roots dating back to 1859 when the Chicago College of Pharmacy was founded, UIC offers more than 250 degree programs and 85 minors across 16 colleges and schools.
27. Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles, California (Top 4% of schools considered)
The Communication Department at Otis College of Art and Design (OTIS) offers a BFA in Communication Arts with an Emphasis in Graphic Design and an MFA in Graphic Design. A 16 credit hour Minor in Advertising Design is available, as well as a 16-course Graphic Design Certificate through OTIS College Extension.
The BFA Program emphasizes collaboration, cross-disciplinary studies, craft, and presentation skills. Formats covered include package design, apps, branding and logo development, websites, interactive design, books, and posters. Students will learn about UX/UI design, printmaking and traditional letterpress, storyboarding, typography and type design, and motion sequences design.
Course examples for the OTIS Graphic Design BFA Program include History of Graphic Design, Illustration, and Advertising Design Type and Alternative Media, Systems and Identity Design, Advanced Image Making Projects, Creative Action Studio, and Creative Practices. Students may add the Advertising Minor to enhance the degree.
During the final year of the Graphic Design Program, students will complete the Senior Thesis/Research Paper course, Senior Project/Seminar, and a Capstone Project.
The OTIS Graphic Design MFA features an accelerated curriculum running four consecutive semesters over 14 months. The program, which typically begins in the summer semester, consists of courses in history and design theory, studio projects, round table discussions, and workshops led by visiting artists and designers. Course examples for the program include Models of Practice, Seminar Studio I-IV, Contemporary Graphic Design Issues, and Entrepreneurship.
Graduates of the BFA and MFA Programs at OTIS College of Art and Design have been hired at Amazon, Capitol Records, Apple, Ogilvy Worldwide, Google, GUESS, Anthropologie, Disney Consumer Products, Young & Rubicam, Deutsch Inc., L.A., Hallmark, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Interscope Records, Metro, Conde Nast Publications, Gehry Partners, the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SciArc), and WB Network, among others.
Otis College of Art and Design is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC). The school is also a member of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD). Founded in 1918, OTIS is Los Angeles’ oldest professional school of the arts. Serving more than 1,200 students, the school offers 11 BFA degree programs and MFA degrees in Fine Arts, Graphic Design, Public Practice, and Writing. A variety of minors and certificate programs are also available. Programs and courses at Otis College of Art and Design are led by more than 430 professors—all active professionals in their respective fields.
28. University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, Champaign, Illinois (Top 4% of colleges considered)
The University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign (UIUC) houses the College of Fine & Applied Arts, home to the School of Art & Design, which offers a BFA in Graphic Design. A major benefit of the program is the option to explore other areas through an interdisciplinary selection of electives. Examples include Sustainability, Video, Advanced Interaction Design, Photography, and Traditional Printmaking.
Other Graphic Design BFA Program benefits include dedicated studio spaces, 24-7 access to computer labs, the Senior Portfolio Review held in Chicago, the lecture series, and participation in the Annual BFA Exhibition held at the campus-based Krannert Art Museum. Students also have access to internship and study abroad opportunities, as well as the AIGA Student Chapter, which provides workshops, networking opportunities, and trips to local and Chicago-based design studios.
The University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign offers a graduate program for designers. The MFA in Art & Design has a Concentration in Design for Responsible Innovation (formerly Graphic Design) that requires a minimum of 64 credit hours to graduate. Students in this interdisciplinary program may also specialize in New Media.
The MFA also offers the following specialized tracks of study: Sustainable and Regenerative Design, Visual Cultural Studies, and Urban Sociology and Critical Race Design. Students may also focus on applied research in responsible innovation, engagement, and social impact. MFA students will complete a written thesis and participate in the graduation exhibition.
Graduates of the Design Programs at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign work in areas such as publication design, consulting, type design, advertising, interaction design, photography, art direction, environmental design, and consulting. They work for advertising agencies, design studios, start-ups, and with in-house design teams in a variety of settings.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Established in 1867 as Illinois Industrial University, UIUC is the second oldest public school in the state. Serving more than 52,000 students, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign offers 150+ undergraduate programs and more than 100 graduate and professional programs. Programs are managed across 16 colleges and instructional units.
29. University of Washington, Seattle, Washington (Top 5% of colleges considered)
The College of Arts & Sciences (ArtSci) at University of Washington (UW) has a Design Program with undergraduate and graduate degree options. Housed in the ArtSci School of Art + Art History + Design (SoA+AH+D), the Bachelor of Design (BDes) has Visual Communication, Interaction Design, and Industrial Design Majors. The UW Master of Design (MDes) is interdisciplinary, providing plenty of opportunities to study Visual Communication.
One of the largest undergraduate programs at UW, Visual Communication Design is a professional program that explores all areas of design systems, new media, typography, publication design, visual methods/processes, information design, and exhibition design. The Visual Communication BDes is intensive and collaborative program that requires a minimum of 180 credits to graduate. Courses are five credit hours and include titles such as Color + Composition, Marks + Symbols, Interface Design, Corporate Identity, Publication Design, Advanced Typography, Information Design, and Visual Systems.
In the Junior and Senior years of the UW BDes program, students will complete an internship, a Design Capstone, and a Design Exhibition. Students will also have the opportunity to complete a Study Abroad experiences in places such as London, Paris, or Amsterdam.
The University of Washington MDes is a two-year, terminal degree suited to students who already have a degree in a design-related field and several years of work experience in the field. The program is research-based and interdisciplinary, allowing students to choose courses from and complete research projects with the Departments of Communication, Psychology, and Biomedical Informatics, the Schools of Business and Nursing, and the College of Engineering. Past thesis topics include Information visualization, Healthcare, Urban Planning, and Aviation.
Throughout the MDes Program, students will opportunities to complete several special projects led by design faculty and sponsored by major corporations. Other program benefits include independent study, seminars, and project-based studios. During year two of the UW MDs Program, students will work with design faculty to complete Thesis Prep and the Master’s Thesis.
The University of Washington is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) and is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU). Established in 1861, UW serves around 57,300 students across campuses in Seattle (main), Bothell, and Tacoma, Washington. The school offers more than 300 programs and 570+ degree options in 18 colleges and schools.
30. Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama (Top 5% of colleges considered)
Auburn University has a Graphic Design Program that is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Housed in the College of Architecture, Design, and Construction’s School of Industrial and Graphic Design, the BFA in Graphic Design (BFA GDES) is Alabama’s only Graphic Design Program to receive accreditation by the NASAD.
Consisting of 123 credit hours, the Auburn GDES Program explores branding and packaging, wayfinding design, UI/UX, illustration, app design, typography, motion design, and publishing. Course examples for the program, Graphic Design I-II, Graphic Processes, Typographics, Photo Design, Interactive Media, and Research, Writing, & Presentation. Other program benefits include cross-disciplinary collaborations, a professional studio environment with hands-on design instruction, guest lectures, exhibitions, and design symposiums. An optional internship is part of the program as well as study abroad experiences in England, Hong Kong, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Taiwan or Scotland.
During the final year of the Auburn Graphic Design BFA Program, students will complete a professional portfolio of their best work.
Auburn GDES alumni go on to secure positions with magazines, advertising agencies, publishers, design studios, marketing firms, web design companies, and more. They work in branding and packaging, illustration, environmental graphics, web design and development, interactive media, and exhibition design, among other areas.
Auburn University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Chartered in 1856 as the East Alabama Male College, the school went on to become the first land-grant college in the South in 1872. Today, Auburn serves a diverse population of more than 31,500 students, making it one of the largest universities in the region. Auburn University offers 150 majors and programs across 15 colleges and schools.
31. University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California (Top 5% of colleges considered)
University of Southern California (USC) is home to the USC Gayle Garner Roski School of Art and Design. First organized in 1883 and founded in 1895, USC Roski is one of Southern California’s oldest art and design schools. Besides a long history in the arts and design, Roski students benefit from an experimental and collaborative approach to learning, cross-disciplinary curriculums, hands-on studio courses, internship opportunities at places such as DreamWorks, National Geographic, MTV and Lego, and study abroad experiences Italy, London, Australia, and South Africa.
Degree options for designers include the BFA, MFA, and the Dual BFA/MFA Progressive Degree in Design. A Minor in Communication Design is also available. The Design BFA is a 128-unit, intensive, four-year pre-professional degree that requires a complementary Minor such as Advertising, Communication, Designing Products, Marketing, Digital Experiences, Business, Multimedia Experiences, or Entrepreneurship. Students may also choose 26 units of electives to customize a specialization in any area of design or other discipline. Selections may be from Roski or non-Roski courses from across USC.
Course examples for the Design BFA Program include Art and Design Studio I-II, 3D Design: Materials and Tools, Publication Design, Web Design, Advanced Design Projects, and Professional Practice in Design. Professional Internship in the Arts is a required component of the program, as well as the Senior Thesis completed over two courses.
The USC Roski Design MFA requires at least 56 units of study, including 26 elective units. Eighteen elective units must be from Roski School of Art and Design, and eight can be from departments and schools outside Roski. Suggest electives include Design Studio Co-Lab, Design Pedagogy, Directed Research, Design Study Tour, and Field Internship Experience. Examples of required courses for the program include Design Theory, Contemporary Issues in Design, Designers in Residence Forums, Individual Studies, and Advancement. MFA students will also complete a Master’s Thesis.
In addition to all USC Roski has to offer, MFA students benefit from the school’s partnership with organizations such as the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) and the opportunity to participate in discussions, seminars, and visits from leaders in the design industry.
The Communication Design Minor consists of 24 units and includes coursework in digital imaging, business, communication, visual literacy, marketing, and public relations. Specific course examples include Ideas in Intermedia, Marketing of Creative Disruption and Innovation, Advertising Media and Analysis, Video Installation and Moving Image Environments, Business and Professional Communication, and The Cultures of New Media. Communication Design Minors also have the opportunity to participate in the New York Design and International Study Tours, or the Practicum in Advertising and Promotion.
Graduates of USC Roski School of Art and Design have been hired by hundreds of top companies, studios and other organizations. Examples include Conde Nast, Cisco, Pinterest, American Apparel, PETA, NBCUniversal, DreamWorks Animation, J. Crew, Disney Interactive, MTV Networks, BCBGMAXAZRIA, Skechers, Vogue, L’Oreal, Paramount Pictures, DirectTV, 20th Century Fox, Fandango, Macy’s, E! Entertainment, Harper’s Bazaar Magazine, The Walt Disney Company, Marvel Studios, Mattel, Oliver Peoples, American Express, and Beats.
The University of Southern California is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC). Established in 1880 and serving 49,500 students across several campuses and centers, and 23 schools and divisions, USC is the oldest private research university in California and it is the largest private sector employer in the City of Los Angeles. The University of Southern California offers 600 graduate and professional programs in the areas of business, law, engineering, film, occupational therapy, pharmacy, and medicine.
32. University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas (Top 5% of colleges considered)
The School of Architecture and Design at the University of Kansas (KU) houses the Department of Design. Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), the Department features access to state-of-the-art facilities, collaborations, lectures, and workshops led by industry professionals, study abroad programs, and local and international internships.
Program options for designers include a BFA in Visual Communication Design and a Certificate in Book Arts. The Certificate Program has undergraduate and graduate pathways. The undergraduate certificate consists of 12-13 credit hours. The graduate program requires 12 credit hours. Course examples across programs include Letterpress and bookmaking, Digital Letterpress, Printmaking: Intaglio, Lithography and Serigraphy, The Photobook, Publication and Editorial, and Medieval Manuscripts and Early Printed Books. Both programs offer the opportunity to complete Study Abroad: Typography & Printmaking in Italy.
The University of Kansas Visual Communication Design Program consists of 120 credit hours. Courses for this professional BFA are hands-on, studio-based, and research intensive. Course examples include Think and Make, Fundamentals in UX Design, Elements of Type, Designing Social Interactions, Branding, Typographic Systems, and Designing Understanding. In the Junior year of the program, students will begin working on their final portfolio. In the final year of the program, students will complete the Professional Studies requirement (two courses), Senior Problems, and the Capstone Project.
KU Visual Communication Design and Book Arts graduates work in areas such as advertising, publishing/magazine and book design marketing, public relations, branding and package design, industrial design, exhibition design, environmental design, UI/UX design, web design, print media, multimedia, and motion graphic design. Possible job titles include, but are not limited to, Graphic Designer, Art Director, Advertising Art Director, Marketing Manager, Visual Designer, Communications Manager, Advertising Commercial/Industrial Designer, Multimedia Artist, Public Relations Manager, and Exhibition Designer.
University of Kansas is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Founded in 1865, KU opened on September 12, 1866 with one building and 55 students. Today, University of Kansas serves 28,500 students across five campuses the in Lawrence, Overland Park, Kansas City, Wichita, and Salina, Kansas. KU offers more than 400 degrees and certificate programs in 13 academic schools.
33. Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida (Top 5% of colleges considered)
Full Sail University has a Graphic Design BS Program that may be completed in 20 months on-campus or 29 months online. Program features for both tracks include a project-based curriculum, hands-on experience with entertainment and media companies, seven project and portfolio courses, several Professional Development Seminars, and a four credit hour Career Readiness course. Other course examples include Creating Brand Experience, Interactive Editorial Design, Typography and Page Layout, Technology in the Entertainment and Media Industries, Logos and Symbols, and Digital Publishing, Graphic Design BS graduates are prepared to pursue positions at advertising agencies, marketing firms, and public relations firms, magazines and book publishers, web design companies, design studios, and more. Some graduates go on to pursue an advanced degree such as Full Sail University’s Media Design MFA.
Offered 100% online, the Full Sail MFA Program explores client communications, motivational theories, team dynamics, and research. Course examples include Organizational Structures, Defining Client Needs, Design Strategies and Motivation, Design Research, and Measuring Design Effectiveness. Courses are five credit hours each and the MFA Program takes just 12 months to complete, full-time.
Full Sail University is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC). The school opened in 1979 in Dayton, Ohio. Today, Full Sail is located just 35 minutes from downtown Orlando and Universal Studios. Serving approximately 21,000 students, Full Sail University offers degree programs and graduate certificates in the Arts, Entertainment, Media, and Technology.
34. Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City, Missouri (Top 5% of colleges considered)
Kansas City Art Institute (KCAI) has a Graphic Design Program with three pathways: the traditional BFA in Graphic Design, an Art History and Studio (Graphic Design) double major, and a Creative Writing and Studio (Graphic Design) double major. All Graphic Design students benefit from interactions with visiting artists, the internship program, and faculty-led travel experiences in places such as France, Vietnam, Argentina, Peru, and Thailand.
In all pathways, students will take courses such as Type Image 1 & 2, Media Inquiry, Information & Data, Social Inquiry, Branding & Identity, Graphic Design Histories, and Interaction Inquiry. For Art History and Studio double majors, courses may include Contemporary Art, Global/Comparative Art, Modern Art, Baroque Art, and Art History Seminar. Creative Writing and Studio double majors will complete 15 credit hours of literature courses and 12 credits in Creative Writing Workshop. Writing Seminar and Critical Studies I-II are also part of this program.
Graduates of the Kansas City Art Institute Graphic Design Programs have landed positions with a wide variety of companies and organizations. Examples include Nickelodeon, The Getty Museum, Pentagram, Airbnb, Radius, Fossil, Salesforce, Hallmark, Populous, Barkley, Design Army, VML, Hyperakt, and R/GA.
Kansas City Art Institute is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA) and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Established in 1885 as a Sketch Club, KCAI serves more than 700 students enrolled in 13 majors in 15 program areas.
35. Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan (Top 5% of schools considered)
The College of Arts & Letters at Michigan State University (MSU) houses the Department of Art, Art History, and Design (AAHD), which offers a BFA and a Minor in Graphic Design. BFA students have the opportunity to gain real-world experience in the AAHD Design Center, which provides creative services to local businesses. Students in all programs are eligible for AIGA membership, they have access to the Annual Visiting Artist & Scholar Lecture Series, and opportunities to complete an internship at a local or national company.
Courses for the 12 credit hour Graphic Design BFA explore 2D, 3D, electronic art, and photography. The Graphic Design Minor consists of 15 credit hours. Course examples across programs include Drawing, Graphic Design: Graphic Form, Printmaking, Digital Graphic Design: Tools and Methods, History of Graphic Design, Typography, Motion Design, Color and Design, and Concepts of Graphic Design.
Graduates of the MSU Graphic Design Program work at advertising agencies, marketing firms, design studios, publishing companies, and more. They hold titles such as Graphic Designer, Brand Identity Developer, Art Director, Logo Designer, Creative Director, Multimedia Artist, UI/UX Designer, Production Artist, Digital Designer, and Exhibition Designer, among others.
Michigan State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). This land-grant, public research university serves 49,695 students enrolled in more than 200 academic programs across 17 colleges. One of the largest and greenest campuses in the U.S., MSU houses more than 100 institutes and centers including the Institute of Global Health and the Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute.
36. San Diego State University, San Diego, California (Top 6% of schools considered)
The School of Art + Design at San Diego State University serves nearly 800 students. The School is part of the College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts (PSFA), which houses seven schools, three departments, and 15 interdisciplinary centers and institutes. Serving more than 5,000 students, PFSA provides internship opportunities, international experiences, and public performances and presentations to students in all of its departments and schools.
For artists interested in graphic design, the PFSA School of Art + Design offers a Graphic Design Emphasis for BA in Applied Arts and Sciences, MA, and MFA students. Students in all programs have access to state-of-the art facilities such as the Mac Computer Lab, Printmaking, Letterpress, and Book Arts Studios, Intaglio and Relief Printmaking Studios, the Screen Printing Studio, and the Computing Labs for Digital Imaging, Interactive Media, and Video. SDSU Graphic Design students at all levels also benefit from the visiting lecture series, access to local galleries, museums, and visual and performing arts organizations, and AIGA membership.
Course examples across programs include Artists and Designers in Real Time, Graphic Design I-IV, Packaging Design, Experiential Graphic Design, Expressive Typography, Screen Printing Studio, Design for the Internet, Art and Design Theory and Criticism, and Seminar in Professional Practice of Art and Design. BA students will complete the Senior Portfolio/Exhibition to graduate, while MA and MFA students will complete a Thesis or Final Project to graduate.
Graduates of the San Diego State University Graphic Design Programs are prepared to pursue positions such as Lead Graphic Designer, Technical Illustrator, Layout/Production Artist, Book Artist, Packing Designer, Logo Designer, Art Director, Multimedia Artist, Brand Designer, Graphic Illustrator, Print Production Artist, and Ad Designer, among others.
San Diego State University is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). Established in 1897 and serving just over 34,500 students, SDSU is the largest and oldest higher education institution in San Diego. San Diego State University offers more than 200 degree programs across seven colleges and hundreds of departments.
37. University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida (Top 6% of colleges considered)
Established in 1925, the College of the Arts at University of Florida (UF) houses the fully accredited schools of Art + Art History, Music, Theatre and Dance, the Center for Arts in Medicine, and the Digital Worlds Institute. In the School of Art + Art History, students interested in design can earn a Graphic Design BFA, an MFA in Graphic Design/Design & Visual Communications (MXD), or a Graphic Design Certificate.
The 120 credit hour Graphic Design BFA explores art history, drawing, design, and 2D, 3D, and 4D. Course examples for the program include Workshop for Art Research and Practice: WARP, Visual Methods and Processes, Space Studio, Digital Imaging, Graphic Design: Visual Systems in Design, Technologies and Processes, and Image, Form and Meaning. Students in the UF Graphic Design BFA will take Design Workshop, studios such as Design and Professional Practice Studio and Senior Design Studio, and they will work with clients on real-world projects. Students will leave the program with a professional portfolio of their best work.
The University of Florida MXD MFA is a terminal degree consisting of 60 credit ours of study. In existence for more than 20 years, this design-centered, interdisciplinary program has two-year and three-year options that consists of studios, seminars, workshops, practicums, and internship opportunities. The MFA also provides opportunities to develop entrepreneurial skills and teaching skills through electives. Examples include Seminar in Social Entrepreneurship, Creativity in Entrepreneurship, Teaching Art in Higher Education, and Methods of Research in Art Education. Students have the option to complete a Thesis or MFA Creative Project.
In the 15 credit hour Graphic Design Certificate Program at University of Florida is open to students majoring in Art or Art History. Courses include Perceptual Drawing, Visual Methods and Processes, Typography 1: Letterform, Design Thinking, and Graphic Design Practice. The UF Graphic Design Certificate Program takes four semesters to complete.
Graduates of the Graphic Design and Visual Communications Programs at University of Florida are designers, educators, entrepreneurs, and creative directors, among others. Program alumni work at major companies such as Apple, Walt Disney Imagineering, Meta (formerly Facebook), Verizon, Microsoft, IBM, IBM, Twitter, JetBlue, Kate Spade, West Elm, IDEO, Fossil, Viacom, JetBlue, and for the Miami Heat.
MDX MFA alumni have also laned positions at Google, L’Oréal, University at Buffalo, University of Colorado–Boulder, Illinois State University, Alabama at Birmingham, Ball State University, Northern Alabama University, Auburn University, and the University of Florida.
The University of Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Founded in 1858 as Gainesville Academy, the school opened with just a few students. Serving nearly 58,000 students today, UF encompasses a 2,000-acre campus with more than 900 buildings, including the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum-certified building in the State of Florida. The University of Florida offers more than 300 undergraduate and graduate programs in 14 colleges and schools.
38. Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York (Top 6% of colleges considered)
Syracuse University (SU) houses the College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA), home to the School of Design and the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. A BFA in Communications Design is offered in the VPA School of Design, and a Bachelor’s in Graphic Design is available in the Newhouse School-Visual Communications Department.
Students in the BFA in Communications Design Program benefit from individual and group collaborations, projects covering everything from advertising to web and social media, internship opportunities with local and national companies, and the opportunity to study abroad in London through Syracuse Study Abroad. Course examples for this 120 credit hour program include Digital Tools for Designers, Communication Design Problems, Design Skills & Processes, Design Project management, Studio 1: Practices of Academic Writing, and Studio 2: Critical Research Writing.
During the final year of the VPA Communications Design Program, students will complete the Portfolio & Practice course. Final portfolios will be displayed at the annual two-day Senior Portfolio Show in New York City. Graduates of the program work at top firms across the country as Designer, Creative Directors, and more.
The Newhouse School Bachelor’s in Graphic Design explores design as it relates to digital, web, print, and video. Course examples include Typographic Graphic Design, User Interface and User Experience (UI/UX) Design, and Introduction to Graphic Design. A major component of the program is the Fall Workshop. Established in 1999, the Workshop hosts industry professionals from around the world that serve as mentors for student projects. The Newhouse School Graphic Design Bachelor’s Degree Program prepares students for creative careers advertising, branding, publishing, augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR), UI/UX, and web design, among others.
Graduates of the Syracuse University Newhouse Graphic Design Program have been recruited by Google, The Washington Post, Amazon, and many others. Some program alumni have gone on to launch their own creative agencies and studios.
Syracuse University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). Founded in 1870, the school serves around 21,330 students from all 50 states and 120 countries. More than 200 majors and minors, and 200 advanced degree programs, are offered across SU’s 13 colleges and schools. In addition to campuses in Syracuse, and Manhattan, New York, Washington DC, and Los Angeles, Syracuse University operates overseas centers in France, Italy, London, Poland, Chile, and Spain.
39. University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, Minneapolis, Minnesota (Top 6% of colleges considered)
The College of Design at University of Minnesota - Twin Cities (UofM or UMTC) houses the Graphic Design Program, which has a BFA Program and MA, MFA, MS, and PhD Programs with an optional Graphic Design Track. Students in all programs will participate in advanced studios, design projects (individual and collaborative), seminars, workshops, internships, and study abroad experiences.
The Graphic Design BFA explores areas such as typography, data visualization, digital drawing, color theory, hand-drawing, and web design. Course and elective examples for the program include Text and Image, Packaging and Display, Travels in Typography, Identity and Symbols, Storytelling and Design, Data Visualization Studio, Digital Illustration and Animation, Concept Sketching, Interaction Design and Product Innovation Lab. The Graphic Design BFA Program culminates with the Senior Thesis and Exhibition, which allows students to present their work to the faculty, peers, and the design community. Students will graduate with a portfolio of their best work.
In addition to the Graphic Design Track, the MA, MFA, MS, and PhD Programs in the UofM College of Design allow students to specialize in one of the following areas: Design Education, Human Interaction with Designed Objects, Color Systems and Perception, Design History, Visual Representation of Information, Multicultural Communication or Social and Cultural Implications of Design.
The MA and MS Programs offer two plans: A and B. Plan A is thesis-focused and prepares students for the PhD Program. This pathway can be completed in 2-3 years full-time. Plan B is a project-based, two-year program designed for students seeking career advancement. Both plans are 34 credit hours and a both require a final oral examination.
The UMTC MFA with a Graphic Design Track consists of 60 credit hours completed over three years, full-time. Students will complete 40 credit hours in the major and 12 capstone project credits. A final oral examination is required to graduate. Consisting of 64 credit hours completed over four years, full-time, the PhD is for students interested in research or teaching. Students in this program will take 28 credits in the major and 24 dissertation credits.
Graduates of the Graphic Design Programs at University of Minnesota - Twin Cities work for advertising agencies, publishing companies, graphic design studios, public relations firms, web design studios, marketing firms, entertainment production studios, government agencies, museums, and in-house design departments at companies in a variety of industries. They hold titles such as Graphic Designer, Art Director, Data Visualization Strategist, Interactive Designer, Creative Director, User Experience Designer, and Web Designer, among others.
The University of Minnesota - Twin Cities has been accredited continuously since 1913 by Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Founded in 1851, UMTC is the flagship institution of the University of Minnesota System and the state’s only land-grant university. One of largest research universities in the nation, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities is also one of just five universities in the U.S. with agricultural, engineering, law, medical, and veterinary medicine schools all on one campus. Around 4,000 UMTC faculty members serve more than 50,000 students enrolled in over 150 undergraduate majors, 150+ minors, and more than 200 master’s and doctoral programs.
40. The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio (Top 6% of colleges considered)
Established in 1968, the College of Arts and Sciences at The Ohio State University (OSU) houses the Department of Design, which offers a Bachelor of Science in Design (BSD) in Visual Communication Design and a Design Thinking Minor. At the graduate level, the Department of Art, also housed in the College of Arts and Sciences, offers an MFA in Visual Art.
The OSU Visual Communication Design BSD Program begins with the Interdisciplinary Foundation Year consisting of 18 credit hours of coursework. During this time, students will focus on developing drawing skills, mastering design software tools, and typography. Course examples for the sophomore, junior and senior years include Intermediate Vis Com Design, Materials + Processes for Visual Communication Design, Collaborative Design, Professional Practices, Advanced Vis Com Design, Design Seminar for Visual Communication Design, and Design Research.
Graduates of the OSU Visual Communication Design BSD have been hired at places such as Microsoft, Walt Disney Company, IBM iX, The Digest, JP Morgan Chase, Binance, Walt Disney Imagineering, McGraw-Hill Education, Abercrombie & Fitch, Ring, Interbrand, and SafeAuto Insurance.
The Design Thinking Minor is a 15 credit hour program that covers the basics of design. Courses include Introduction to Design Practice, Design History, Exploring Design Thinking, Visualization as Thinking, and Presentation as Thinking. Students in all departments may add the Design Thinking Minor to their degree program.
The Ohio State University MFA in Visual Art is a three-year, 66 credit hour interdisciplinary program that explores Art and Technology, Painting and Drawing, Printmaking, Photography, Film/Video, Glass, and Sculpture. Students in this full-time program may specialize in a variety of design disciplines through electives and other coursework. Additional program benefits include visiting artists, critics, and curators, 24/7 access to private and semi-private studio spaces, internship opportunities, and access to state-of-the-art facilities, exhibition spaces, the Wexner Center for the Arts, and the Fine Arts and Cartoon Libraries.
The OSU Visual Art MFA Program culminates with the MFA Thesis Exhibition, which demonstrates the student’s expertise in their area of specialization. Exhibitions are displayed at the OSU-run, Urban Arts Space, located in downtown Columbus.
The Ohio State University was established in 1870 as Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College. The school serves more than 61,000 students at campuses across Ohio in Columbus (main), Lima, Mansfield, Marion, Newark, and OSU’s Agricultural Technical Institute in Wooster. More than 200 majors, minors, and specializations are offered in 18 colleges and schools. The Ohio State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA).
41. Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, New York (Top 6% of colleges considered)
Rochester Institute of Technology’s (RIT) College of Art and Design houses the School of Design, which has undergraduate and graduate programs for graphic designers. The BFA in Graphic Design is a 120 credit hour program that provides opportunities to gain industry experience through cooperative education and internships with top companies in New York and across the country. Coursework for the program also provides learning experiences through collaborative class projects with RIT partners such as Starbucks, Kraft, and Unilever.
BFA students will study everything from branding and identity systems to UI/UX. Senior electives allow students to choose advanced coursework in an area that interests them. Examples include Editorial Design, Interactive Design III, Packaging Systems Collaborative, Packing Systems Projects, Typography III, and Advertising Design. All students will take four Graphic Design Studio courses, Design Systems I-II, Experiential Graphic Design, Interactive Design I-II, Motion Design I-II, and Professional Practices. The RIT Graphic Design BFA culminates with a Graphic Design Capstone and final public exhibition.
Graduates of the Rochester Institute of Technology Graphic Design Program are prepared to pursue positions such as Product Designer, Associate Art Director, Junior Graphic Designer, Illustrator, Digital Product Designer, Motion Designer, UI/UX Designer, Promotions Marketing Coordinator, Presentation Designer, Social Media Director, Identity/Packaging Designer, and UI/UX Designer, among others.
At the graduate level, RIT offers a 60 credit hour, STEM-designated MFA in Visual Communication Design that explores graphic, motion, and interactive design, UI/UX design, 3D digital design, and design studies. The program is cross-disciplinary, allowing students customize the curriculum with coursework from other programs and departments. Like the BFA Program, the MFA program offers access to cooperative education and internship opportunities, as well as workshops, state-of-the art production facilities and studio spaces, and networking through RIT’s Creative Industry Day.
Course and elective examples for the program include 3D Modeling and Motion, Design Studies Seminar, Character Design and Rigging, 3D Particles and Dynamics, Design Praxis I-II, Real Time Design, Branding and Identity Design, Programming for Designers, UX Design Strategies, Information Design, Digital Media Integration, and Project Design and Implementation.
With a 100% outcome rate, graduates of the Rochester Institute of Technology VCD MFA Program go on to secure employment in positions such as Senior Visual Designer, Graphic and UI/UX Designer, Product Designer, Motion Graphic Designer, User Experience Researcher, Game Producer, and Cinematographer and Editor, among others.
Rochester Institute of Technology is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). Dating back to 1829, the school serves more than 19,000 students, making it one of the largest private universities in the U.S. With additional campuses in China, Croatia, Dubai, and Kosovo, RIT offers more than 200 academic programs across 11 colleges and institutes.
42. Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas (Top 6% of colleges considered)
The College of Fine Arts & Communication at Texas State University (Texas State) houses the School of Art and Design, home to the Communication Design Program (ComDes). Degree options include the BFA and MFA in ComDes. The 120 credit hour BFA provides mentoring, meetups, and internship opportunities through the Texas State’s relationships with local and national businesses. Students have also interned at companies in Europe.
Courses for the program are taught in a studio environment with access to the Mitte Complex, which houses state-of-the-art production facilities and equipment. Coursework explores corporate identity, brand experience, typography, environmental graphics, human-centered design, interactive design, art direction, sustainable packaging, and design research. Specific course examples include Branding Systems, Interactive Media, Trademark Design, Introduction to Printmaking: Intaglio and Lithography, Expanded Media, and Typography. The ComDes BFA Program culminates with the Senior Portfolio Presentation and Self-Promotion Capstone.
Before graduating from the program, many ComDes students have already earned publishing credits in journals such as PRINT, Communication Arts, Graphis New Talent Annual, Step Inside Design, CMYK, and Logo Lounge. Students in the program have also received recognition competitions such as the Austin Addy Awards, the San Antonio Addy Awards, AIGA Flux, Creative Summit, the American Advertising Federation Awards, Art The National Show, Director's Club of Houston, and The One Show.
Graduates of the Texas State University ComDes BFA Program have been placed at companies such as Microsoft, Disney, Verizon, IBM, Google, Indeed, DDB, Spotify, Vrbo, H-E-B Digital, Helm’s Workshop, GSD&M, and USAA, among others.
The Texas State University ComDes MFA (or MFA/CD) is a 60 credit hour program that can be completed online with one on-campus residency each year. During the residency, students will participate in workshops, critiques, and visiting designer lectures. Graduate assistantships are also offered in the School of Art and Design, and allow students to gain teaching experience through the ComDes BFA Program. Graduate assistantships are paid positions that require 20 hours of work per week.
The Texas State MFA/CD Program explores design history, visual communication, typography, and digital design. Course examples include Imaging, Alternative Printing Methods, Kinetic Typography, Design for Motion, Generative Design, Experience Design, Design for Motion, Corporate Identity Systems, Professional Practice, Design Futures, Entrepreneurial Design, Exhibitions, Corporate Marketing Materials, The Experimental Book, and Research Through Making. In the Professional Practice course, MFA students will work with regional and national advertising agencies, graphic design firms, or digital media studios to gain professional experience.
Potential careers for graduates of the Texas State University MFA/CD Program include, but are not limited to, Art Director, Senior Graphic Designer, Visual Designer, Creative Director, Design Manager, Typographer, Senior Interaction Designer, UI/UX Designer, and Professor.
Texas State University was established in 1899 as a teacher’s college known as Southwest Texas Normal School. With Lyndon B. Johnson as the school’s most famous alumni—and the only president to graduate from a Texas college—Texas State serves 38,000 students enrolled in more than 200 bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs. Located on the banks of the San Marcos River, Texas State University has been a part of the Texas State University System since 1911.
43. Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa (Top 7% of colleges considered)
The College of Design at Iowa State University (Iowa State or ISU) houses the Department of Graphic Design (GD), which offers the only public BFA in Graphic Design in the State of Iowa. At the graduate level, ISU offers MA and MFA degrees in Graphic Design. In partnership with the Iowa State Virtual Reality Applications Center, the ISU College of Design also offers a dual GD MFA/Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) MS degree. This interdisciplinary program allows students to study HCI, Graphic Design, and other disciplines such as Virtual Reality and Game-Based Learning.
Course examples for the GD MFA/HCI MS include Graphic Design and Behavioral Change, User engagement, Visual Design for HCI, Virtual Worlds and applications, Evaluating Digital Learning Environments, Python Application Development in HCI, Change by Design: Disruptive Innovation, Foundations in Game Based Learning, Computer Graphics and Geometric Modeling, and Emerging Practices in HCI. Dual degree students will also complete Graphic Design Studio, Thesis Preparation, and Graduate Thesis Studio I-II.
Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), all ISU Graphic Design pathways provide access to internships and other opportunities to gain work experience prior to graduation. BFA students also have access to study abroad experiences in the College of Design’s Rome Program or Graphic Design in Europe.
To qualify for admittance into the BFA Program, students must complete College of Design’s one-year Core Design Program. This program allows students to experiment with interdisciplinary work, while preparing for entry into the BFA. The curriculum for the Graphic Design BFA explores digital media, print, environmental graphics, and motion. Throughout the program, students will have the opportunity to travel to design centers across the U.S. and engage in studios in design applications such as 3D animation, publications, web and e-commerce, branding and logo design, motion graphics, multimedia, and more.
All BFA students will complete Graphic Design I-V and Professional Practices to graduate. Within six months of graduating, 95% of ISU’s BFA graduates are employed or continuing their education.
The MA in Graphic Design is an Experiential Graphic Design (MAxGD) Program that requires 30 credit hours to graduate. The program is designed for students with little to no experience in graphic design. The MAxGD explores areas such as interaction, information design, wayfinding, placemaking, and exhibition design. Course examples include Audience & Perception, Seminar: Design Humanics: Sensory Perception & Ergonomic Factors, and Design & Cultural Semiotics. Students will also complete two Graphic Design Graduate Studios.
The ISU Graphic Design MFA is a terminal degree that requires a minimum of 60 credits to graduate. Students in the program may choose an elective focus area outside of graphic design and they will work closely with faculty to complete the MFA Graduate Thesis. Seminars and studios are also part of the program.
For graduates receiving degrees from August 2020 to May 2021, 100% were employed or continuing their education within six months of graduation.
Iowa State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Founded in 1858, the school is the nation’s first designated land-grant institution. Iowa State serves just over 30,700 students enrolled in more than 100 undergraduate majors and over 200 fields of study leading a graduate or professional degree. Programs at Iowa State University are housed in eight colleges, two schools, and around 150 academic departments.
44. Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston, Massachusetts (Top 7% of colleges considered)
Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt) has a Communication Design Program with BFA and Certificate options. The Communication Design Certificate has three levels of certification. Level 1 consists of four courses and covers visual communication for print and screen-based mediums. Level 2 consists of three courses and a non-credit workshop. Building on skills learned in Level 1, Level 2 includes advanced coursework in brand design, interactive design for web and mobile interfaces, typography, and UX design. Level 2 students will complete a professional portfolio.
Level 3 consists of four courses and one non-credit workshop. The most advanced level of the three, this option consists of advanced courses in design systems. Level 3 graduates are prepared to pursue immediate employment in the industry.
The MassArt Communication Design BFA explores advertising, branding and package design, interactive communication, information design, web and app design, user experience design, and publication design. Course examples include Advertising and Art Direction, Disobedient Design: From Activist Posters to Augmented Reality, Letterpress Printing, Programming for Designers, Graphic Design I-IV, Experimental Book Arts, Poster Design, Advanced Web Projects, Typography I-III, Identity Systems, Type Design, and Information Architecture.
BFA students will complete several design studio courses, Professional Practice, Independent Study, Advanced Projects I-II, the Graphic Design Portfolio course and the Senior Degree Project. Though optional, the MassArt Graphic Design Internship, worth three credits, is highly recommended.
Graduates of the Communications Design Programs at Massachusetts College of Art and Design work in advertising, book publishing, public relations, marketing, print media, entertainment, web development, social media, and animation and multimedia, among others. Some program alumni have established successful freelance careers, while others have gone on to launch their own creative studios and design firms.
Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt) is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE). The school, which opened as Massachusetts Normal School in 1873, serves nearly 2,000 undergraduate, graduate, and continuing education students. Known as the Commonwealth’s Art and Design School, MassArt offers 24 programs leading to the BFA, MFA, MDES, MAT, or March.
45. Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts (Top 7% of colleges considered)
The School of Visual Arts (SVA) at Boston University (BU) has a Graphic Design Program with BFA, MFA, and Certificate options. Housed in the College of Fine Arts, SVA is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Established in 1954, the School provides immersive studio experiences, internship opportunities, workshops, seminars, unique electives, and minors that complement any design program. All Graphic Design students also have access to state-of-the-art facilities such as the Engineering Production Innovation Center (EPIC), the Visual Arts Resource Library, Darkrooms, Computer Labs, and the Media Center. Graduate students have 24/7 access to individual private studios.
The BU Graphic Design Certificate Program is designed for students with a bachelor’s degree with little to no experience in graphic design. This one-year, intensive program requires 30 credit hours of study including core studios, typography, and electives. Graduates of this program are prepared for positions in the industry or for entry into the Graphic Design MFA Program.
Consisting of 60 credit hours, the MFA Program hosts visiting artists and designers, workshops, and group critiques. Through BU’s partnership with AIGA Boston, MFA students have opportunities to network with industry leaders through campus events and visits to area studios. Of the 60 required credit hours, 32 are in Graduate Graphic Design courses. Other requirements include Graphic Design Theory I-II, History of Graphic Design, and Graduate Typography. Twelve required elective credit hours allow students to explore additional areas within and outside of design.
In the Boston University Graphic Design BFA Program, students have the opportunity to specialize in an area of interested through electives. Examples include Exhibition Design, Design for the Web, Editorial Design, Motion Graphics, Interactive Design, and Experience Design. Consisting of 132 credit hours, the BFA curriculum is cross-disciplinary with course options from the Faculty of Computing & Data Sciences, [email protected], Hariri Institute for Computing, the College of Communication, and Questrom School of Business.
Other BU BFA Program benefits include partnerships with area design studios and businesses that lead to internships and employment and the study abroad program in Venice, Italy. Past students have also participated in a two-week design intensive in Amsterdam and a two-week Printmaking workshop at the Franz Masareel Centrum in Kasterlee, Belgium.
Graduates of the Boston University Graphic Design Programs have held positions at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (MSLO), Converse, and Free People, to name a few. Some program alumni have launched their own design studios or creative firms, while others have found success as freelance designers.
Boston University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE). With more than 300 programs of study offered in 22 colleges, divisions, and schools, BU serves close to 33,680 students across a 175-acre campus that houses close to 3,000 buildings, laboratories, classrooms, and libraries. With 10,000 faculty and staff, BU is Boston’s largest employer. While Boston University can be traced back to 1839, where it began as the Newbury Biblical Institute, the school was officially chartered in 1869.
46. Academy of Art University, San Francisco, California (Top 7% of schools considered)
The Academy of Art University has graphic design programs at all degree levels. Housed in the School of Graphic Design and leading to an AA, BFA, MA, MFA or Certificate, the programs explore branding, experience design, print, packaging, communication design, innovation, editorial design, typography, user experience, environmental design, and motion graphics. Students work with all forms of media including traditional, digital, emerging, and interactive.
Course examples across programs include Branding Principles, Design Technology: Visual Design Tools, Human-Centered Design, Information Design, Package Design 3: Advanced 3D Branding, Social Media Strategy, The Power of Signs: Semiotics & The Visual Arts, Type Systems, Typography: Hierarchy and Form, User Experience Design, Visual Literacy, and Web Design.
Depending on the program, students will complete a final project or thesis. All students have the option to complete an internship. Graduates will leave the Graphic Design Programs with a professional portfolio.
Academy of Art University graduates have been recruited by Apple, Google, IDEO, Nike, R/GA, Square, and The Clorox Company, among others. Job titles include Art Director, Creative Director, Graphic Designer, Product Designer, Service Designer, and User Experience Designer.
Academy of Art University is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC). Founded in 1929, Academy of Art University is a family-owned private university that serves more than 7,000 students. Academy of Art is also one of the nation’s largest private art and design schools. Divided into 22 schools, Academy of Art University offers more than 129 degree programs in 40+ areas of study. Programs lead to the AA, BA, BFA, BS, B. Arch, MAT, MA, MFA and M. Arch degrees.
47. University of Houston, Houston, Texas (Top 7% of schools considered)
The University of Houston (UH) is home the Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts. Within the McGovern College is the School of Art, which offers a BFA in Graphic Design and an MFA in Studio Art. The graduate program has a Concentration in Graphic Design.
The UH Graphic Design BFA provides learning and networking opportunities through visiting artist and speaker events, and the option to add the Minor in Graphic Communications Technology. Consisting of 18 semester hours, the minor helps students master the technology used to produce print media. Course examples include Graphic Communication Output Lab, Graphics for Digital Media, Information Technology Applications for Digital Media, and Page Layout and Design. The UH Minor is part of the College of Technology’s Department of Information and Logistics Technology.
Other Graphic Design BFA benefits include participation in workshops, site-specific projects, lectures, and critiques, and access to internship opportunities. At the end of the program, students will participate in a senior exhibition that showcases their best work.
The MFA in Studio Art with a Concentration in Graphic Design consists of 60 semester hours including 24 hours in related arts, 18 hours in the concentration, 12 hours in art history, and six hours in graduate seminars. Course examples include Graphic Design Studio and Writing Seminar. Upon completion of all coursework and projects for the program, MFA students will present their work in a thesis exhibition at Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston.
The University of Houston is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Established in 1927, this public research university houses an interdisciplinary Honors College, and 16 colleges and schools that offer more than 400 degree programs to more than 47,000 students.
48. University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Knoxville, Tennessee (Top 7% of colleges considered)
The College of Architecture and Design at University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UT Knoxville or UTK) houses the School of Design, which offers a BFA Graphic Design and a 15 credit hour Graphic Studies Minor that takes two years to complete. Graphic Design Program features include small class sizes, collaborative Design Studios, 24/7 access to state-of-the-art labs and equipment, and participation in the Annual Senior Show.
Course examples across programs include Advertising Principles, The Art of Presentation Design, Principles, Processes and Applications of Design, Design as Visual Message-Making, User-Centered Design, Writing, Layout, and Production of Technical Documents, Expanded Principles of Typography, Interactive & Screen-Based Design, Advanced Design Investigations, The Idea of Design. BFA students have the option to complete the Practicum (45 working hours), Undergraduate Research (course) and/ or a study abroad experience.
Over the past five years, graduates of the UTK Graphic Design Program have enjoyed an impressive 90% employment rate. Alumni work at leading companies such as Apple, GAP, Google, HGTV, Instagram, Meta (formerly Facebook), and Zillow. Some have started their own companies including Matchstic Media, Morris Creative, Nathanna Design, Old City Mailroom, Robin Easter Design, and many others. All students must complete a Capstone Project to graduate.
Graduates of the UT Knoxville Graphic Design Programs are prepared to pursue positions at advertising agencies, publishing companies, magazines, design studios, public relations firms, marketing firms, film studios, web design companies, game studios, and museums, among others.
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, has been continuously accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) since 1897. Founded in 1794 as Knoxville as Blount College, UT Knoxville serves 31,700 students enrolled in more than 900 programs of study in 11 colleges.
49. University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia (Top 7% of colleges considered)
The Franklin College of Arts & Sciences at University of Georgia (UGA) houses the Lamar Dodd School of Art, which has both undergraduate and graduate programs for designers. The BFA in Fine Arts has Graphic Design, Photography & Expanded Media, Printmaking & Book Arts, and Scientific Illustration Concentrations. All concentrations require successful completion of the Franklin College Core and Area VI coursework. Course examples include Art History, Color and Composition, Drawing, Professional Seminar, and Three-Dimensional Design.
Students in the Graphic Design Concentration have opportunities to study in other associated subject areas through design focus tracks and electives. To create a track, BFA students may choose nine credit hours from the following courses: Art, Design & Architectural History, Communications & Media, Cultural Studies, Interaction & Computing, Marketing & Strategy, and Studio Art & Design. Elective examples include Data Visualization, Graphic Design Field Study, Internship in Art, and Topics in Digital Platforms & Dynamic Media I.
For students interested in a design minor, the UGA Dodd School offers a Digital Design + Media Minor consisting of 15 credit hours. With nine hours of upper division coursework, the program focuses on Graphic Design, Photography, and Time-Based Media.
Another option for designers is the Interdisciplinary Art & Design AB (BA). Program features include the Area VI coursework, experiential learning (study abroad in Cortona, Costa Rica, Ghana or field study), and the option to complete a minor, certificate program or double major in a field outside of the Dodd School of Art. The Interdisciplinary Art & Design AB requires 122 credit hours to graduate.
For graduate students, the Lamar Dodd School of Art at University of Georgia offers an MFA in Printmaking and Book Arts. Students in this program can take Area VI coursework, and study graphic design through electives. Other program features include private MFA studios with natural lighting and large windows, access to state-of-the-art equipment to produce print, paper and book arts media, and the multifunctional Project Space for installing, staging, critiquing, and exhibiting work. The Printmaking and Book Arts Program is also offered at the undergraduate level. The program leads to a BFA.
Graduates of the Art and Design Programs at University of Georgia work in a variety of positions at creative firms, retailers, broadcasting companies, magazines, museums, publishers, and more. Examples of companies that have hired UGA graduates include IBM Design, Meta (formerly Facebook), the Metropolitan Museum of Art, CNN & Turner Broadcasting, Bustle, Gensler, Free People, and Aveda.
University of Georgia is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Established in 1785 and the state’s flagship institution, UGA serves more than 40,000 students enrolled in 379 degree programs across 17 colleges and schools. Established in 1910, the Graduate School houses 250 of UGA’s 379 degree programs.
50. Columbia College Chicago, Chicago, Illinois (Top 7% of colleges considered)
Columbia College Chicago (Columbia or Columbia College) houses the School of Fine and Performing Arts, which offers BA, second BA, and BFA degrees in Graphic Design. A 21 credit our Graphic Design Minor is also available. This program explores graphic design, typography, visual culture, and website design.
The second BA degree program is designed for students who have earned a bachelor’s degree in another area. Students in the traditional BA Program may choose a concentration and a minor or double major. Concentration options include Web Design and Publication Design. Minors that complement the program include Creative Advertising, Design Management, Entrepreneurship, Marketing, Motion Graphics, Photography, and User Experience.
Majors that complement the BA Program include Advertising, Arts Management, Communication, Computer Animation, Illustration, Immersive Media, Interaction Design, Marketing, Public Relations, and Social Media and Digital Strategy.
The Columbia College Graphic Design BFA allows students to study in multiple areas of art and design. Course examples for the program include Design Lab, Design Thinking, Experimental Typography, Graphic Design I-V (various topics), Letterpress Studio, Motion Graphics, Photo Communication, Publication Design, and Website Design.
Both the BA and BFA programs begin with foundations courses and cover design programs such as Illustrator, InDesign, and Photoshop. All Graphic Design students have opportunities to complete an internship. Past placements include Leo Burnett, 50000feet Creative Agency, Foot, Cone & Belding, and Pivot Design. The programs culminate with the production of a professional portfolio of the student’s best work.
Graduates of the Graphic Design Programs at Columbia College work as designers, creative directors, and brand designers at startups, design firms, ad agencies, nonprofits, and major corporations. Examples include Cards Against Humanity, Google, Fjord (part of Accenture Interactive), Leo Burnett, Modern Luxury, One Design Company, and Time Zone One.
Columbia College Chicago is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Founded in 1890 as the Columbia School of Oratory, Columbia serves 7,000 students enrolled in more than 150 majors, minors, and graduate programs. In addition to offering programs in creative areas such as communication and writing, media and digital, and music and sound, Columbia offers business management programs.