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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%|
|3||Savannah College of Art and Design||Georgia||1%|
|4||Pratt Institute||New York||1%|
|5||ArtCenter College of Design||California||1%|
|6||California Institute of the Arts||California||1%|
|8||The New School's Parsons School of Design||New York||2%|
|9||Ringling College of Art and Design||Florida||2%|
|10||Maryland Institute College of Art||Maryland||2%|
|11||University of Texas at Austin||Texas||2%|
|12||North Carolina State University||North Carolina||2%|
|13||California College of the Arts||California||2%|
|14||Carnegie Mellon University||Pennsylvania||2%|
|15||University of Cincinnati||Ohio||3%|
|16||Virginia Commonwealth University||Virginia||3%|
|17||School of the Art Institute of Chicago||Illinois||3%|
|18||University of North Texas||Texas||3%|
|19||Arizona State University||Arizona||3%|
|20||Minneapolis College of Art and Design||Minnesota||3%|
|21||Otis College of Art and Design||California||3%|
|22||University of California, Los Angeles||California||4%|
|23||The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art||New York||4%|
|24||Washington University in St. Louis||Missouri||4%|
|25||Brigham Young University||Utah||4%|
|26||University of Washington||Washington||4%|
|27||Portland State University||Oregon||4%|
|28||Full Sail University||Florida||4%|
|29||University of Illinois at Chicago||Illinois||5%|
|30||University of Southern California||California||5%|
|31||The Ohio State University||Ohio||5%|
|33||San Diego State University||California||5%|
|34||University of Florida||Florida||5%|
|35||University of Kansas||Kansas||5%|
|36||Fashion Institute of Technology||New York||6%|
|37||University of Illinois at Urbana– Champaign||Illinois||6%|
|38||University of Minnesota - Twin Cities||Minnesota||6%|
|39||Massachusetts College of Art and Design||Massachusetts||6%|
|40||Academy of Art University||California||6%|
|41||Rochester Institute of Technology||New York||6%|
|42||Kansas City Art Institute||Missouri||6%|
|43||Michigan State University||Michigan||7%|
|44||Texas State University||Texas||7%|
|45||University of Houston||Texas||7%|
|46||University of Utah||Utah||7%|
|48||Syracuse University||New York||7%|
|49||University of Georgia||Georgia||7%|
|50||Kent State University||Ohio||8%|
Our 2023 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)
Serving approximately 165 undergraduates and dozens of graduate students, the Graphic Design Department at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) is one of the school’s largest departments. Leading to a BFA, the four-year undergraduate Graphic Design Program provides the opportunity to collaborate, work, and learn in dedicated studios housed in the RISD Design Center. The program is project-based, allowing students to explore UX design, packaging, book cover book design, film graphics, and more. Course examples include Design Studio 1-4, Typography 1-2, Color + Surface, and History of Graphic Design.
Other BFA Program benefits include electives and workshops that allow students to work in various areas of graphic design; visiting artists, critics, and designers from around the world; and the opportunity to pursue professional internships during the junior and senior years of the program.
The Graphic Design BFA Program at Rhode Island School of Design ends with an independent degree project to be reviewed by visiting critics.
The Graphic Design MFA at RISD has two tracks: a two-year pathway for students with an undergraduate degree in graphic design or related field, and a three-year option for individuals with a fine arts, sciences, or liberal arts degree. 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 of the RISD Graphic Design MFA Program, 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 Graduate Thesis. Note that three-year track students will take an additional typography course.
All RISD 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 graduate students in Textiles, Digital + Media, Interior Architecture, and Teaching + Learning in Art + Design.
Rhode Island School of Design graduates enjoy a high employment rate. Around 96% of RISD alumni 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, Art Directors, Brand Identity Designers, Product Designers, Industrial Designers, Textile Designers, and Creative Designers, among others.
Founded in 1877, Rhode Island School of Design is one of the first art and design schools in the U.S. This private, nonprofit college serves approximately 2,620 students enrolled in dozens of majors and programs. 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, Landscape Architecture, and MA in Teaching 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 Design Program at School of Visual Arts (SVA) has several concentration options for undergraduate students who would like to study graphic design. Options include 3D Design, Motion Graphics, Interaction Design, and Graphic Design. Leading to a BFA, all options provide opportunities to engage with guest lecturers, participate in workshops and exhibitions, and enter competitions covered by CNN, NBC, and others. In addition, the SVA Design Program 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 the 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 their chosen concentration. Examples include package design, editorial design, branding, environmental design, book jacket design, experiential design, or 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.
For students seeking graduate degree, School of Visual Arts has an interesting option that leads to an MFA in Design/Design as Entrepreneur. Consisting of 60 credit hours, the curriculum for this program covers art book publishing, branding, new media directing, interaction, digital publishing, user experience, video, and motion graphics. Leadership and entrepreneurship are also emphasized, so students will explore other areas such as advertising, business, marketing, networking, research, intellectual property, and ethnography.
Course examples for the program 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.
Graduates of the Design Programs at School of Visual Arts hold positions at advertising agencies, marketing firms, publishing companies, design studios, nonprofit organizations, museums, and more. Some SVA alumni have even launched 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 launched more than 50 design studios around the world.
School of Visual Arts opened in 1947 as the Cartoonists and Illustrators school. Classes began with just three teachers and 35 students. Today, School of Visual Arts serves approximately 4,110 students enrolled in dozens of BFA, MA, MFA, and MPS programs. SVA is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), with individual program accreditation by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) and the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA).
3. Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, Georgia (Top 1% of schools considered)
The Graphic Design Program at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) provides degree options at all levels. Students can enroll in a BA, BFA, MA or MFA program at campuses in Savannah or Atlanta, and online. A Graphic Design Minor consisting of 25 credit hours is also available. Across all programs, students benefit from courses taught by industry professionals from companies such as Google, Hasbro, and Airbnb; individual critiques and mentoring by top professionals in the design industry; and access to events such as SCADstyle, which attracts the biggest names in modern design, fashion, and global art.
All SCAD Graphic Design options offer the opportunity to add a minor to enhance the degree. Examples include Advertising, Mobile and Interactive Design, Advertising Copywriting, Mobile and Interactive Design, Advertising and Branding, and User Experience Design. Students may also add the Digital Publishing Certificate. Undergraduates may choose up to 20 hours of electives, which provides additional opportunities to develop skills in multiple areas of art and design. At every degree level, SCAD students have the opportunity to complete an internship at a local, regional, national, or global company.
Graduates of the Graphic Design Program at Savannah College of Art and Design go on to establish careers in Graphic Design, Branding, Package Design, UX Design, Mobile App Design, and Interactive Design. Program alumni have been hired at Disney, Apple, Google, Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, Reddit, Hulu, Riot Games, Stripe, Groupon, Yelp, Verizon, IBM, Facebook, Live Nation, Airbnb, Under Armour, and Ralph Lauren. Some program alumni have gone on to launch their own design studios, while others have established successful freelance careers.
Providing more than 100 degree program options and over 75 minors and certificate programs, Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) has more programs and specializations than any other art and design college in the U.S. 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. Savannah College of Art and Design is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
4. Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York (Top 1% of schools considered)
Pratt Institute (Pratt) houses the School of Design, home to the Communications Design Program, which has both BFA and MFA pathways. Established in 2014, the School of Design also houses the Associate of Occupational Studies (AOS) in Graphic Design Program, the Graphic Design/Illustration AAS, and the STEM-designated Packaging, Identities and Systems Design MS Program.
For students seeking a shorter program, Pratt Institute offers a number of 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: Graphic Design, Advertising Art Direction, and Illustration. Course examples across areas 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 History of Art and Design, Communication Design, UI/UX Interactive Media Pre-Press and Print Production, Illustration, Material and 3 Dimensional Form, Light, Color and Design, and Themes in Art and Culture.
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 and include titles such as Sustainability and Design, Visual Perception, Motion Design, Typographic + Information Design, Creative Coding Studio, Prototyping and Production, Design Management, and Packaging and the Retail Space.
Students in this graduate program will complete several studio courses, attend seminars, and complete a thesis project and exhibition. Graduates are prepared for academic careers, as well as leadership positions in identity systems and branding, user experience design, typography, design strategy, information design, environmental design, print and digital media, social media and interaction design, and data visualization.
First offered in 1966, the Packaging, Identities and Systems Design MS Program at Pratt University consists of 48 credit hours, completed over 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 at Tokyo, Florence, Copenhagen, London, and Milan.
Pratt graduates have been hired at a variety of major companies and organizations such as Apple, Penguin Random House, DreamWorks Animation, Hasbro, IBM, Warner Music Group, Peacock, Carhartt, Dior, HBO, Gensler, Perkins Eastman, Memorial Sloan Kettering, NYC Department of Transportation, and HOK Group.
Founded in 1887, Pratt Institute was one of the nation’s first colleges to welcome students without regard to color, gender, or class. The school serves approximately 5,140 students across campuses in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Utica, New York. Nearly 50 undergraduate and graduate degree programs are offered across six schools and The Center for Interdisciplinary Studies. Pratt Institute is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
5. ArtCenter College of Design, Pasadena, California (Top 1% 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 available through the Designmatters program, which combines studio courses, immersive, real-world studios, and Humanities & Sciences courses.
The 132-unit ArtCenter Gx BFA explores both traditional and emerging media such as coding, apps, packaging, 3D motion graphics, film, books, and press kits. Students in the program will complete 87 studio units and the remainder in Humanities & Sciences. The curriculum is hands-on and courses are taught by professors with expertise in packaging, transmedia design, motion, visual interaction, and print. Course examples include Visual Interaction Design, Transmedia, Communication Design: Information and Context, Identity Systems, Graphic Design History, Narrative Sketching, and Business. During the final term of the Gx BFA, students will complete the Portfolio and Career Preparation course.
Throughout the program, ArtCenter Gx BFA students will have opportunities to complete projects in state-of-the-art facilities at ArtCenter such as Archetype Press and Hoffmitz Milken Center for Typography. Students will work on real-world digital campaigns, collaborate with subject experts, and create and distribute materials for ArtCenter partners such as Adobe, Nike, Cedars-Sinai Research Centers, and Homeboy Industries. Students will also have the opportunity to develop their own entrepreneurial branding.
The ArtCenter College of MGx Program has both two-year and three-year options. 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 Design Research/Strategy, Graduate Visual Interaction Design, Typography 3, LinkedIn Learning, 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 Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Warner Bros., Meta, Apple, Ford, Mattel, Nike, Netflix, BMW, DreamWorks, Blizzard Entertainment, Walt Disney Imagineering, Riot Games, and Honda.
ArtCenter Graphic Design alumni go on to establish careers in areas such as 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, visual interaction design, art direction, production management, information architecture, app design, and broadcast graphics.
Many ArtCenter graduates have been hired at Google, Meta, IDEO, and Local Projects—an exhibition and media design firm for museums and public spaces.
ArtCenter College of Design serves approximately 2,320 students from more than 50 countries. Founded in 1930, ArtCenter has campuses in Pasadena and Los Angeles, California, and satellite studios in Petersen Automotive Museum (Miracle Mile, Los Angeles) and Berlin, Germany. ArtCenter offers 11 undergraduate programs, seven graduate degree programs leading to an MFA or MS, a joint MS/MBA program, and undergraduate minors for Business, Creative Writing, and Social Innovation students.
ArtCenter College of Design is fully accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).
6. California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, California (Top 1% of schools considered)
California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) houses the School of Art, home to the Graphic Design Program, which provides small critique-based classes taught by industry professionals with years of experience. Leading to a BFA or MFA, the program also provides 24 hour access to communal studios, access to state-of-the-art facilities and labs, and the opportunity to work with faculty mentors throughout the program. Mentoring is a major component of all programs at CalArts.
At the undergraduate level, course examples include Digital Skills for Artists, Design Issues, VR Workshop, Digital Design Lab, Graphic Design I-IV, Skills for Visualization, Image Making, Motion, Web Design, Typography I-III, Sand Professional Practice for Graphic Design. Students will also complete several workshops during 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 explore sound production and programming, filmmaking, animation, and games creation for the web.
The Graphic Design MFA at California Institute of the Arts 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 CalArts students have the opportunity to enroll in the internship program, study abroad, and complete a portfolio of their best work.
CalArts Graphic Design alumni work in a variety of positions at major companies, studios and academic institutions such as Google, Walt Disney Imagineering, Meta, Whitney Museum of Art, Evernote, M+ Works, North Carolina State University College of Design, Art Center College of Design, and Otis College of Design.
In 1961, Walt and Roy Disney formed California Institute of the Arts through a merger of the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music and the Chouinard Art Institute. Today, CalArts serves more than 1,400 students enrolled in over 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. California Institute of the Arts also encompasses the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (REDCAT), located in downtown LA, and the Community Arts Partnership (CAP) with community organizations and public schools across LA County.
California Institute of the Arts is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC). The school is also an accredited institution member of the National Association of Schools of Dance (NASD).
7. Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut (Top 1% of schools considered)
Yale School of Art (SoA) at Yale University is a graduate school that awards MFA degrees in Graphic Design, Photography, Painting/Printmaking, and Sculpture. The Graphic Design MFA 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.
Consisting of 60 credit hours, the MFA Program consists of lectures, presentations, workshops, and exhibitions, along with immersive studio work group thesis meetings, and individual sessions with writing and editing tutors. MFA students have access to more than 2,000 courses offered each year, films, the Sterling Memorial and Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Libraries, and art and natural history museums. The program also provides opportunities to attend conferences and film festivals.
Other MFA program benefits 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.
The Yale SoA Graphic Design MFA takes two years to complete, full-time. To graduate, students must complete a thesis and a portfolio. Yale School of Art Graphic Design graduates are prepared to seek positions at advertising agencies, design firms, manufacturing companies, web design studios, marketing firms, print and online publishing companies, public relations agencies, and computer systems design companies.
Established in 1701, Yale University (Yale) is one of the oldest institutes of higher learning in the U.S. A member of the Ivy League, the school is home to 14,525 students served by more than 10,500 staff members. Eighty majors are offered across more than 100 departments and schools including Yale College, the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, and Yale Professional Schools—including Yale School Art (SoA). 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.
8. The New School's Parsons School of Design, New York, New York (Top 2% of schools considered)
The New School's Parsons School of Design (Parsons) is home to the School of Art, Media, and Technology (AMT), which has a Communication Design Program with several degree pathways including an AAS, BFA, and MPS. The Communication Design AAS is a campus-based, 60 credit hour program with full- 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 Communication Design BFA is the oldest undergraduate program of its kind in the U.S. STEM-designated and consisting of 120 credits, 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 Communication Design BFA 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.
For students seeking a shorter program, the Division of Continuing & Professional Education at Parsons has a Graphic and Digital Design Certificate Program that consists of five courses plus three electives. Required courses include Introduction to Graphic Design, Color Theory, Graphic Design History, Digital Graphics with Illustrator, and Digital Imaging Workshop. Elective examples include Animation Fundamentals, Graphic Design 2, Print Production in a Digital World, 3D Modeling, Digital Layout: Adobe InDesign, and Graphic Design Portfolio. Students typically complete Graphic and Digital Design Certificate Program in just 18 months.
All Parsons School of Design students benefit from interdisciplinary collaboration, visiting artists and lecturers, 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 houses, digital design firms, start-ups, and cultural institutions such as MoMA and the New York Times.
Graduates of the Parsons MPS Program have gone on to pursue advanced degrees in areas such as Human-Computer-Interaction (HCI). Others are Interaction Designers, Digital Product Designers, Product Managers, and Entrepreneurs.
The New School's Parsons School of Design was founded in 1896 as The Chase School. The school serves approximately 10,815 students enrolled more than 120 degree and diploma programs across six colleges and schools, including Parsons Paris. The New School Parsons is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
9. Ringling College of Art and Design, Sarasota, Florida (Top 2% of colleges considered)
The Graphic Design Program at Ringling College of Art and Design (RCAD) has been around since 1980. Students can enroll in the program’s 120 credit hour BFA or the 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, Design & Typography, Development of Art & Ideas, Design & Typography, 3D Problem Solving, New Media UI/UX, Drawing & 2D Design, Visual Persuasion Designing with Type, and Literature and Media Studies. Electives for the program allow students to explore a variety of interests. Elective examples include Intro to Letterpress, Wearable Messages, New Music: Music Branding, Design for Business, and Word, Image and Book.
Graduates of the Ringling College of Art and Design Graphic Design Program are prepared for a variety of different careers in many industries. RCAD alumni are Graphic Designers, Creative Directors, Visual Designers, Product Designers, Art Directors, and Interactive Designers, among others. They have worked with major companies, firms, and studios such as Apple, Saatchi & Saatchi X, Microsoft, Walt Disney Imagineering, Google, Nickelodeon, Netflix, Hallmark, Wieden+Kennedy, Meta, Leo Burnett, Ogilvy, BBC Studios, Walt Disney Imagineering, GM, Arc Worldwide, Instagram, Cartoon Network, LinkedIn, Spotify, Target, Hasbro, and Squarespace. Some RCAD alumni have gone on to launch their own design firms or freelance businesses.
Ringling College of Art and Design is a private, not-for-profit college that serves more than 1,600 students enrolled in eleven majors leading to a BFA degree, two majors leading to a BA, and minor options in 10 areas. Founded more than 130 years ago by circus magnate John Ringling, RCAD 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).
10. Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, Maryland (Top 2% of schools considered)
Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) requires all undergraduate students to complete the First Year Experience (FYE), which allows them to explore various programs and build foundation-level art and design skills. The FYE is also designed to prepare students for upper-level study within MICA’s Undergraduate Studies (UGS) programs.
For students interested in an undergraduate degree in Graphic Design, MICA has a Graphic Design BFA Program with three Concentrations including Graphic Design Studio, Graphic Design + Humanistic Studies, and Book Arts Studio. The Program consists of 120 credit hours and a three-year sequence of core design courses. Course examples include Graphic Design I-IV, Photoimaging, Typography I-III, Flexible Design Studio, Drawing: Tradition and Innovation, Designing Information, and Advanced Design.
BFA students may also choose a Minor to enhance the degree or focus in an additional area. More than 20 Minor options are available. Examples include Illustration, Animation, Sequential Art, Printmaking, Interactive Arts, Creative Entrepreneurship, Photography, Film & Video, Game Design, and Sustainability & Social Practice.
Graduates of the MICA Graphic Design BFA Program are prepared to pursue positions in advertising, marketing, public relations, entertainment, retail, architecture, multimedia, app design, social media, user experience design, and more.
The graduate programs at Maryland Institute of College and Art serve more than 300 students from nearly every state and 20 countries. For students interested in pursuing an advanced degree, MICA offers a both MA and MFA degrees in Graphic Design.
Housed in a loft-style studio space with dedicated computers and workspaces, the 60 credit hour Graphic Design MA (GDMA) prepares students for career advancement or entry into an MFA program. Program features include courses taught by industry professionals, access to a variety of seminars, and participation in the GDMA Workshop, which provides the opportunity to create and exhibit a self-directed design project and a professional portfolio.
Also consisting of 60 credit hours, the Graphic Design MFA (GD MFA) features studio courses, seminars, and independent work. Elective options in digital media, print, and video allow students to create a focus area. Course examples include Advanced Publication Design, Design Studio I-IV, and Visiting Designers I-II. The graduate Graphic Design Programs at MICA can be completed in two years, full-time.
Graduates of the art and design programs at Maryland Institute College or Art are designers, educators, and artists. Alumni have presented their work at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), The Smithsonian Institution (Smithsonian), The Whitney Museum of American Art (The Whitney), and Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA). MICA alumni have been hired at places such as Google, Adobe, Under Armour, Netflix, and Morehouse College.
Founded in 1826, Maryland Institute College of Art is the nation’s oldest independent, continuously degree-granting college of art and design. The school serves nearly 3,500 undergraduate, graduate, and open studies students from 49 states and 52 countries. Programs at MICA lead to a BFA, MA, MFA, MBA, MPS degree, or post-baccalaureate certificate. Maryland Institute College of Art is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).
11. University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas (Top 2% 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. Within the School is the Design Department. Housed in the Doty Fine Arts Building (DFA) and the Art Building (ART), the Department has several pathways to study Graphic Design. At the undergraduate level, students have the option to enroll in the Design BA or BFA Program. Students seeking an advanced degree may enroll in the Design MFA Program.
For students who prefer a shorter program, The Center for Professional Education at UT Austin has a Graphic Design Certificate Program 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.
At all degree levels, design students will explore graphic design, interaction design, and industrial design. All coursework is project-based and industry oriented, with the opportunity to create a specialization through courses across five areas: Graphic Design, Interaction Design, Industrial Design, Design History, and Design Research. Students in all UT Austin Design Programs also have plenty of opportunities to engage in experiential learning through the school’s internship and study abroad programs.
The Design BA 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 University of Texas at Austin Design MFA 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 are Graphic Designers, Brand Designers, UI/UX Designers, Book Designers, Interaction Designers, Art Directors, Product Designers, Project Managers, Design Strategists, Visual Designers, Industrial Designers, an Entrepreneurs, among others. UT Austin Design graduates work at Walt Disney Imagineering, Razorfish, Deloitte, Meta, The New York Times, H-E-B Digital, Publicis Sapient, Serenity Forge, Droga5, Double A Labs, Gensler, and frog design (part of Capgemini Invent).
Founded in 1883, University of Texas at Austin serves approximately 52,385 students, making it one of the largest universities in Texas. UT Austin provides more than 155 undergraduate degree programs with 170+ fields of study, 139 graduate degree programs, and nearly 100 doctoral programs across 18 colleges and schools. University of Texas at Austin is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
12. 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, home to the Bachelor of Graphic & Experience Design (BGXD) and Master of Graphic & Experience Design (MGXD) Programs. Both pathways 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 MGXD is also one of the few Graphic Design graduate programs in the U.S. with STEM Classification (CIP).
Students in the BGXD Program will participate in studios that explore topics such as branding, data visualization, artificial intelligence, and accessible design. Students will also practice visualization strategies such as storyboarding, mapping, and diagramming, and they will use rapid prototyping techniques to test ideas. All students have the opportunity to collaborate with fellow BGXD students as well as industrial design, architecture, and landscape architecture students.
Other BGXD Program benefits include distinctive courses such as Typography and Technology; Branding, Interaction, and Service Design; Image & Tech Tinkering; and Information and Publishing Design Systems; the opportunity to study abroad for a semester or summer at the NC State Prague Institute or other study abroad location; professional paid internships at major design firms; and participation in sponsored studios as part of the GXD curriculum. Examples of past sponsors have included Caterpillar, John Deere, Lowe’s, Under Armour, Hanes, Coca Cola, Bosch, Eastman Chemical, and The National Civil Rights Museum.
Graduates of BGXD Program at North Carolina State University are designers at top design firms and software companies such as IDEO, R/GA, IBM, Red Hat, Lenovo, SAS, Citrix, IQVIA, Pentagram, and Willowtree.
The MGXD Program at NC State has both two-year and three-year options. Both lead to a terminal degree, equivalent to the MFA, which qualifies graduates to pursue a Design PhD or teach at the university level. The two-year program (MGXD II) is designed for students with a Graphic Design BFA (or equivalent) and experience in design, visual communication, interaction design, or related field. The three-year program (MGXD III) is for students who have earned a BA in another field or a Graphic Design Concentration.
All students will participate in graduate studios, seminars, and workshops; they will have opportunities to take electives at affiliate universities such as Duke and UNC Chapel Hill; and students will 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 Software. For the final graduate project, MGXD students will research an area of focus, record conclusions, design studies and mock-ups, and present the project to the public.
Graduates of the MGXD 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.
NC State MGXD alumni go on to establish successful careers at consulting firms, software companies, and colleges and universities. Examples include Adobe, IDEO, Pratt Institute, Lenovo, IBM, and University of Michigan, Fjord, University of Washington, Red Hat Software, and Carnegie Mellon University.
North Carolina State University employs 9,000+ faculty and staff members that serve more than 36,000 students, making it the largest university in the University of North Carolina System. Established in 1887 as a land-grant institution focusing in agriculture and engineering, NC State offers more than 300 degree programs across 11 colleges, 68 departments, and The Graduate School. North Carolina State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
13. California College of the Arts, San Francisco, California (Top 2% of schools considered)
The Graphic Design Program at California College of the Arts (CCA) provides access to a dedicated studio space, a Prototyping Studio, and the Hybrid Lab, where students can explore virtual reality and other emerging technologies. Students also have access to the Book Arts and Letterpress studio, which houses bookbinding equipment and lithography presses. Leading to a BFA, the Graphic Design Program begins with the First Year Experience, where students have the opportunity to explore a range of techniques, tools, and materials, and participate in studio projects and critiques.
Course examples for this 120 credit hour program include Graphic Design 1-3, Advanced Interactive, 2D, 3D, and 4D, Professional Practice Workshop, Typography 1-3, Graphic Design Tools, and Writing 1-2. To graduate, Graphic Design BFA students will complete an internship and a Thesis Project.
Upon completion of the program, students are prepared for careers such as Graphic Designer, UX Designer, Product Designer, Book Designer, Motion Graphics Designer, Type Designer, Interaction Designer, Visual Designer, Web Designer, Identity Designer, Editorial Designer, and Service Designer.
Graduates of the Graphic Design BFA Program at California College of the Arts are successful freelancers, entrepreneurs, and salaried professionals. They work for companies and studios such as Google, IDEO, MacFadden & Thorpe, frog design, California Academy of Sciences, Snap Inc., Wolff Olins, Bonfire Labs, and Atlassian.
For students seeking an advanced degree, California College of the Arts has a Design MFA with three Concentrations: Graphic Design, Interaction Design, and Industrial Design. In addition, students have two options: the two-year program and three-year program. 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.
The Design MFA provides a variety of courses including titles such as Digital Electronics, Mechatronics, Interactive Media, Typography, The Studio 2: IxD, Contemporary Design, Hybrid Business Models, and Professional Practice. Other program benefits include 24/7 access to the Hybrid Lab and Rapid Prototyping Studio; a yearly retreat at Headlands Center for the Arts; intensive workshops with visiting designers; access to an extensive Materials Library; a lecture series that explores all disciplines; and exhibitions for studio and end-of-year work.
Graduates of the Design MFA Program 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. Companies and organizations that have hired CCA MFA alumni include Google, Apple, Meta, The New York Times, Adobe, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, IDEO, Headlands Center for the Arts, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
Graduates have also launched their own design firms and companies including Gold Collective, Backer Kit, Sensoree, and Anxy Magazine.
California College of the Arts began in 1907 as the School of the California Guild of Arts and Crafts. When it opened, the school had just three teachers and 43 students. Today, 420 faculty members serve more approximately 1,620 students enrolled in over 40 undergraduate, graduate, minor, and dual degree programs. California College of the Arts is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), and the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB).
14. 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, home to the four-year Bachelor of Design (BDes) Program. 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.
All BDes students benefit from access to collaborative dedicated studio spaces; participation in Confluence—a career event that attracts more than 70 major companies; the opportunity to work in multi-disciplinary teams in the areas of Design for Service (Sv) and/or Design for Social Innovation (Si); and study abroad opportunities in places such as Korea, Milan, New Zealand, Hong Kong, London, Paris, and The Netherlands.
Graduates of the CMU BDes Program have worked on a number of major projects including the title sequence of the Spiderman movie, the Starbucks logo, the Pinterest interface design, and typefaces for The Guardian.
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 for this program 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 Media Design, Animation & Special Effects, Sonic Arts, Immersive Technologies in Arts & Culture, Game Design, Design for Learning, and Innovation & Entrepreneurship.
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.
Across programs, graduate students 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 a 60,000- to 80,000-word dissertation or a body of written and practical work consisting of 40,000 to 60,000 words, across two courses.
Graduates of the Design Programs at Carnegie Mellon University have been hired at major companies, firms, and organizations such as Apple, Microsoft, Google, Meta, Skype, Whirlpool, Volkswagen/Audi, Motorola, Mayo Clinic, and the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, Pinterest, IDEO, R/GA, and Isobar.
Founded in 1900 by industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, Carnegie Mellon University began as Carnegie Technical Schools. Today, the school serves around 15,800 students enrolled in more than 200 programs across seven colleges and schools. CMU also has more than a dozen degree-granting locations, and over 20 research partnerships in Silicon Valley, Australia, Africa, and Qatar. A private, global research university, Carnegie Mellon University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
15. University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio (Top 3% 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 has a Bachelor of Science in Design – Communication Design Program and a Master of Design (MDes). All programs in the School of Design are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).
The five-year Communication Design Program has three areas of interest including Graphic Design, Interaction Design, and Motion Design. Students in all areas have opportunities to gain real-world experience through several required co-op experiences with top Fortune 500 companies such as Nike, 3M, IBM, Meta, Guess, Macy’s, Southwest Airlines, and Abercrombie & Fitch.
Consisting of 120 credit hours, the UC DAAP Communication Design Program requires courses such as Advanced Typography, Interaction Design, Collaborative Studio, Graphic Design 1-2, Welcome to Design, Applied Professional Practice – DAAP, Design Aesthetics, Interaction Design, Photo Design, Design & Meaning, and Motion Design.
The MDes Program at University of Cincinnati is a 60 credit-hour 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 include Design Communication, Translational Research, Design Strategy, 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 have established successful freelance careers, they have been hired at design firms, or they work on internal design teams. Career opportunities include advertising design, exhibition design, publishing, corporate communications, packaging, posters, webs design, branding, game applications, environmental design, film effects, 3D animation, virtual reality applications, and more.
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, University of Cincinnati serves nearly 48,000 students enrolled in more than 400 academic programs across 14 colleges and a graduate school.
16. Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia (Top 3% of schools considered)
Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) is home to the School of the Arts (VCUarts), which houses the Department of Graphic Design. Degree pathways here include the Graphic Design BFA and the Design MFA with a Visual Communications Concentration. Students in both programs have access to resources such as the student-run Golab, which provides print and production services, and middle Of broad (mOb)—an experimental design lab that provides opportunities to work on real-world state projects. Past projects have included projects signage for the James River Park System, a reimagined Monument Avenue in Richmond and the development of bridge concepts for Interstate 95.
Consisting of 122 credit hours, the VCUarts Graphic Design BFA includes the mandatory 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 Typeface Design, Book Arts, Design Activism, Research as Practice, and Web Design.
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, Research/Individual Study, and an Internship or Teaching Practicum. Study abroad opportunities are also available.
Graduates of the VCUarts Graphic Design and Design/Visual Communications Programs are Interaction/Interface Designers, Creative Directors, Environmental Graphic Designers, Broadcast/Film Designers, and Exhibition Designers.
Founded in 1838, Virginia Commonwealth University is a top 100 research university that serves more than 28,900 students. The largest employer in Richmond, Virginia, VCU offers more than 200 programs across 15+ colleges, schools, and centers. Virginia Commonwealth University accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
Founded in 1928, the 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 degree programs and five master’s degree programs.
17. School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois (Top 3% of schools considered)
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) houses the Visual Communication Design (VCD) Department, which has two pathways to study Graphic Design. At the undergraduate level, students can earn a BFA in Studio with a VCD Focus. At the graduate level the Department has a flexible Studio MFA that allows students to design their own plan of study.
The Continuing Studies Department at SAIC has an additional option for students seeking a shorter program. The Graphic Design Certificate consists of six courses including Introduction to Graphic Design, four studio courses to be selected by the student, and one elective course. Course examples include Digital Design: Adobe InDesign, Color Theory, and Digital Design: Adobe Illustrator.
The Studio BFA with a VCD focus explores physical media (environments, objects and print) and virtual media (interactive and time-based media). Course examples for the program include Symbol Design, Interaction design/Interface Design, Publication Design, Font/Typography Design, Website Design/Cross-Platform Design, Letterpress Printing and Book Binding, Exhibition Design, Environmental Graphics, Poster Design, and Motion Graphics Design.
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 of the SAIC VCD Program will enter the workforce with a professional portfolio of their best work.
The 60 credit hour Studio MFA is an interdisciplinary program 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. Course examples for the program include Image Studio, Envisioning Information, Package Design, Letterpress Bookworks, Type and Image in Motion, Advanced Typography, 4D Design: Manipulating Media, and Electronic Publications.
A major component of the SAIC Studio MFA is the opportunity to complete a graduate project every semester. MFA students will work one-on-one with a faculty member and they may sign up with artists, writers, and other academics from different 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.
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 Exploratory Languages—the visiting designer lecture series; juror-led student workshops; and jurors’ lectures through the Chicago International Poster Biennial (CIPB).
Graduates of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago are employed at museums, advertising agencies, marketing firms, non-profit organizations, and major companies and studios across the U.S.
Founded in 1866 by a group of 35 artists, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago is one of the nation’s oldest accredited independent schools of art and design. Serving approximately 3,570 students, SAIC offers over 50 areas of study in 24 academic departments. The School of the Art Institute of Chicago is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Since 1948, the school has been accredited as a charter member by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).
18. 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) is home to the only PhD in Art Education in the state of Texas. CVAD also houses the Design Department, which has several paths to study Graphic or Communication Design. At the undergraduate level, CVAD has a Communication Design BFA 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 Foundations for Communication Design, Image-Making and Color Theory, and Typography I. UX Design students will take additional requirements such as Foundations of User-Centered Design, Contextual Research Methods, and Typographic Systems.
Other course examples across Tracks include Cause-Based Design, Image Making & Color Theory, Communication Design Studio, Interaction Design, Data Visualization & the Design of Information, Advanced Product Design in UX Design, Prototyping & User Testing, Planning and Developing Interactive Systems, Art History Survey I-III, and GD Advanced Campaigns.
Students in both Tracks may add a minor such as Printmaking, New Media Art, Photography, or Art History. All UNT Communication Design students will complete a portfolio of their best work to graduate. Program alumni are prepared to work in advertising, publishing, entertainment, manufacturing, and computer systems design. University of North Texas CVAD graduates also qualify for jobs in government agencies, colleges and universities, nonprofit organizations, and museums.
Established in 1890 and employing more than 4,600 faculty and staff members, University of North Texas is one of the largest employers in the City of Denton, Texas. The school serves approximately 44,530 students, making it one of the top 10 largest universities in Texas and one of the largest in the U.S. Students at UNT have access to more than 200 degree options across 14 colleges and schools. University of North Texas is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and it is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).
19. Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona (Top 3% of colleges considered)
Arizona State University (ASU) houses the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts—home to The Design School. Within the School is a Visual Communication (Graphic) Design Program accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Degree options include a 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 ASU’s Tempe campus and through ASU Online. Course examples for the program include Visual Communication I-VI, Designing Life, Motion Graphics and Interaction Design, Principles for Graphic Design I-II, Advanced Media, Technology for Design I-II, Exhibit Design, and Letterform. 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 the Applied Project Course are also part of the program.
The MVCD Program at the ASU Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts explores interaction design, user experience design, design for social innovation, service design, participatory design, and more. Students will also engage in visualization, prototyping, theoretical research, ideation, creative solutions testing, and visual research.
Consisting of 42-43 credit hours, the MVCD Program 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.
Students in the two-year ASU MVCD Program are encouraged to complete an internship, while three-year students 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 Design Programs at Arizona State University are prepared to pursue positions such as Graphic Designer, Set and Exhibition Designer, Instructional Designer, Technologist, Design Educator, Commercial and Industrial Designer, Art Director, Media Collection Specialist, Desktop Publisher, Package Designer, Animator, and UI/UX Designer, among others.
ASU Design alumni have been hired at major companies and organizations such as Google, UNICEF, American Airlines, GoDaddy, and Banner Health.
Arizona State University serves approximately 140,760 students, making it one of the largest universities in the U.S. Founded in 1885 as the Arizona Territorial Normal School, ASU has four campuses that provide 800 fully accredited degree programs across 16 colleges and schools. Arizona State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
20. Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Minneapolis, Minnesota (Top 3% of schools considered)
The Graphic Design Program at Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) consists of both undergraduate and graduate pathways. Options include a Graphic Design BFA, Graphic and Web Design MA, an interdisciplinary MFA, and a User Experience (UX) Design Certificate that can be completed entirely online.
Students in all MCAD Design programs have access to hands-on training opportunities through internships and other experiential learning activities; critiques and collaborative projects; and study abroad experiences in places such England, Italy, Japan, Germany, Ireland, or anywhere in the U.S.
The 120 credit hour Graphic Design BFA combines core courses, foundation studies, and studio electives with humanities and sciences coursework. Course examples for the program include Print Culture, Art, and Communication in the Age of Mass Reproduction, Coding Concepts, Graphic Design 1-2, Digital Production, Applied Art and Design Objects, Publication Design, Type Plus, Web and Screen, Advanced Graphic Design Seminar, Art and Globalization in the Atlantic World, and Liberal Arts Advanced Seminar. MCAD BFA students will also complete the Senior Project: Graphic Design course, worth six credit hours.
The Graphic and Web Design MA at Minneapolis College of Art and 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 focuses on independent and collaborative studios, one-on-one work with a mentor, and opportunities to pursue creative work in multiple areas. Examples include graphic design, paper and book arts, printmaking, illustration, experimental video/film, web and multimedia, comic arts, drawing/painting, public arts, animation, photography, and installation.
Graduates of the Design Programs at Minneapolis College of Art and Design go on to land positions 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 was established in 1886 by the Minneapolis Society of Fine Arts. The school serves roughly 800 students from 40 states and 13 countries. Programs include 14 undergraduate majors leading to a BFA or BS, three MA degrees, one MFA degree, and seven professional development certificate options.
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). The school is also affiliated with the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD).
21. Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles, California (Top 3% of schools considered)
Otis College of Art and Design (OTIS) provides several paths to study Graphic Design. For students seeking a degree, Otis has both BFA and MFA Programs. For students seeking a shorter program, a Graphic Design Certificate consisting of 14 courses taken over 1-2 years is available through OTIS College Extension. Course examples for the program include 2D Design, Digital Tools: Print, Typography I-II, Design for Branding and Marketing, and Advanced Graphic Design.
The Graphic Design BFA Program emphasizes collaboration, cross-disciplinary studies, craft, and presentation skills. Formats covered include branding and logo development, interactive design, books, package design, apps, websites, and posters. Students will learn about UX/UI design, storyboarding, typography and type design, printmaking and traditional letterpress, and motion sequences design.
Course examples for the OTIS Graphic Design BFA Program include Creative Action Studio, Advertising Design Type and Alternative Media, Systems and Identity Design, Illustration, Advanced Image Making Projects, Creative Practices, and History of Graphic Design. To enhance the degree and develop skills in advertising or book arts, students may select electives from course clusters in these areas. Examples include Advertising Workshop, Copywriting, Bookmaking Projects, Ideation Bootcamp, On Screen Production & Concepts, Introduction to Letterpress, Bookstructures, and Advertising Design Studio.
During the final year of the Graphic Design BFA Program, students will complete the Senior Thesis/Research Paper course, Senior Project/Seminar, and a Capstone Project.
The Graphic Design MFA at Otis College of Art and Design features an accelerated curriculum spanning four consecutive semesters completed over 14 months. The program, which typically begins in the summer semester, consists of studio projects, workshops led by visiting artists and designers, round table discussions, and courses in history and design theory. Course examples for the program include Contemporary Graphic Design Issues, Models of Practice, Seminar Studio I-IV, and Entrepreneurship.
Graduates of the Graphic Design Programs at Otis College of Art and Design have been hired at places such as Amazon, Google, Apple, Ogilvy Worldwide, Conde Nast Publications, Young & Rubicam, Disney Consumer Products, Capitol Records, L.A., Hallmark, GUESS, Anthropologie, WB Network, Deutsch Inc., Los Angeles County Interscope Records, Metro, Gehry Partners, Museum of Art (LACMA), and the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SciArc).
Established in 1918, Otis College of Art and Design is Los Angeles’ oldest professional school of the arts. This private, non-profit college serves more than 1,200 students enrolled in 11 BFA and MFA degree programs in the Fine Arts, Graphic Design, Public Practice, and Writing. A variety of minors and certificate programs are also available. Programs and courses at OTIS are led by more than 430 professors—all active professionals in their respective fields.
Otis College of Art and Design is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).OTIS is also a member of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD) and the Partnership for Academic Leadership on Sustainability (PALS).
22. University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Los Angeles, California (Top 4% of schools considered)
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) houses the School of the Arts and Architecture, home to the Department of Design Media Arts (DMA). Within the Department are two paths to study Graphic Design: the DMA BA and the Media Arts MFA. Students in both programs will explore visual communication, narrative, game design, video, and network media through required coursework and/or electives.
Foundation courses for the undergraduate program cover typography; color, space and form; and interactivity and motion. Graduate Media Arts students will complete a number of seminars, group critiques, and programming media courses along with research projects and a final thesis project. The thesis will be part of the UCLA MFA Exhibition. Course examples for this program include Programming Media, Contemporary Topics in Media Arts, Virtuality, Creating Context & Collaborative Practice, and TA Training.
Courses for the UCLA DMA and Media Arts Programs are taught as studios, typically with no more than 22 students. Course examples for the undergraduate program include Design Culture, Topics in Visual Communication and Image, Typography, Network Media, Narrative, Word + Image, Special Topics in Design Media Arts, Form, Topics in Interactivity And Games, and Tangible Media. DMA BFA students will complete course 159, Capstone Senior Project in Design Media Arts, to graduate.
All UCLA DMA and Media Arts students have access to numerous 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 and Media Arts 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.
Some of the top companies that hire UCLA graduates include Google, Deloitte, Amazon, Apple, KPMG, Getty, Microsoft, NBCUniversal, Walt Disney Company, Mattel, Oracle, Kaiser Permanente, PricewaterhouseCoopers, SpaceX, Cisco Systems, Target Corporation, Accenture, Teach for America, Bloomberg, and the County of Los Angeles.
University of California Los Angeles has played a pivotal role in the formation of nearly 200 startup companies to date. Established in 1919, the school serves 45,900 students enrolled in more than 250 programs across 12 professional schools and UCLA College. UCLA students hail from more than 118 countries around the world. University of California Los Angeles is accredited by WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).
23. The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art (Cooper Union), New York, New York (Top 4% of schools considered)
The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art (Cooper Union) is home to the School of Art, which houses the Art BFA Program. Students in this program have the opportunity to select courses from seven disciplines upon completion of the First Year Foundation Program. Disciplines 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 develop skills in other areas.
In the senior year of this flexible, 130 credit hour program, students will complete advanced coursework, a number of seminar and studio courses, and work on the Senior Presentation for public viewing. Course examples for the Graphic Design area include Graphic Design I-II, Typography, Computational Studio, Motion Graphics, Advanced Design, and Independent Study in Graphic Design.
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 areas such as Advertising and Public Relations, Package Design, Motion Graphics, Publishing, Web Design, Marketing, and Entertainment.
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 nearly 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. Chanin School of Architecture, Albert Nerken School of Engineering, the School of Art, and the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences.
24. Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri (Top 4% of colleges considered)
Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis (WashU) has both BA and BFA options for students who would like to study Graphic Design. Consisting of 120 credit hours, the BA is designed for students seeking a combined liberal arts and studio experience. Students can major in Art or Design. The Design Major has a Communication Concentration, as well as Fashion Design. The Sam Fox BA Program does not require a capstone or final exhibition of work.
Designed for students seeking careers in design, art, and illustration, the BFA is an immersive studio program that requires 121 credits hours of study. Students can major in Communication, Art, Design, or Fashion Design. In the senior year, students will complete a capstone, which may be a digital experience, screen-based presentation, graphic novel/mini-comic, illustrated book, or other work. The Senior Capstone will be presented in a public exhibition and reviewed by local design professionals.
Students in both programs 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 Studio. All studio courses at WashU have low student-to-faculty ratios, so students will have plenty of opportunities to work one on one with instructors.
As students enter the second semester of the junior year, they will customize their own major courses. Course examples include Semiotics Studio: Designing Signs and Symbols, Letterpress Printing, Design for Social Impact, Animated Worlds, Printing Propaganda: The Letterpress Poster, Global Topics in Visual Communications, Programming Design, Content to Cover: The Design of Books, Type as Image: Experiments on Press, The Illustrators Sketchbook, Image and Meaning, UX Research Methods for Design, and Multimedia Design: Time/Sound/Space.
Courses for the Studio Art & Design Programs at Washington University in St. Louis 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.
Founded in 1853, Washington University in St. Louis serves approximately 17,050 students enrolled in more than 300 academic programs across 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. Washington University in St. Louis has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) since 1913.
25. 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—home to the Graphic Design BFA Program. This limited enrollment program of 40 students requires 120 credit hours to graduate, including 72.5-73.5 in the major. Course examples include History of Graphic Design, Branding, Ethnographic Research Design and Methods, Typography, Design Thinking, Letterpress Studio, Interaction Design, Studio Practices for Designers, and Interdisciplinary Motion.
A Professional Internship worth six credit hours is part of the Graphic Design BFA Program, as well as a Capstone Project completed over two courses (BFA Capstone Project: Research and BFA Capstone Project: Implementation) worth a total of five credit hours.
For students seeking a shorter program with a flexible schedule, Brigham Young University has a Graphic Design Fundamentals Certificate that can be completed entirely online. Available through BYU-Idaho and BYU-Pathway Worldwide, the Graphic Design Fundamentals Certificate explores visual design, typography, and conceptual design. Building into BU’s Professional Studies BAS degree, the Certificate Program consists of 15 credit hours.
Courses for this Certificate Program 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 Graphic Design BFA Program at Brigham Young University Graphic work in design-related disciplines such as branding and product design, publishing and interaction design, motion graphics, web design and mobile app development, data visualization, and experience and service design. Program alumni can be found at major advertising agencies, traditional design studios, and interactive agencies. Graduates also work on internal teams at a variety of businesses, corporations, and organizations. Some BYU Graphic Design graduates go on to launch their own design studios or establish a freelance career.
Brigham Young University was founded as Brigham Young Academy (BYA) in 1875 by Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints President Brigham Young. With 34,390 students enrolled in more than 435 programs, BYU is the one of the largest private universities in the U.S. Brigham Young University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
26. University of Washington, Seattle, Washington (Top 4% of colleges considered)
The College of Arts & Sciences (ArtSci) at University of Washington (UW) houses the School of Art + Art History + Design (SoA+AH+D), home to the Division of Design, which has two paths to study Graphic Design: the Bachelor of Design (BDes) and the Master of Design (MDes). The BDes has Visual Communication, Interaction Design, and Industrial Design Majors.
One of the largest and most decorated 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. Consisting of 180 credit hours, the Visual Communication BDes is intensive and collaborative, with opportunities to take electives in other areas of interest.
Courses for the program are five credit hours and include titles such as Marks + Symbols, Interface Design I-II, Exhibition Design, Visual Systems, Information Design, Publication Design, Advanced Typography, Corporate Identity, and Motion Design.
In the Junior and Senior years of the UW BDes program, students will complete an internship, a Design Capstone, and Design Exhibition worth 1-3 credit hours. Students will also have the opportunity to complete a Study Abroad experience in places such as Paris, London, or Amsterdam.
The MDes Program at University of Washington emphasizes individualized and interdisciplinary studies, which provides plenty of opportunities to study Visual Communication. This two-year, terminal degree is 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 allows students to choose courses from and complete research projects with the College of Engineering; the Departments of Communication, Psychology, and Biomedical Informatics; and the Schools of Business and Nursing. Past thesis topics include Information visualization, Urban Planning, Aviation, and Healthcare.
Throughout the MDes Program, students will have opportunities to complete several special projects led by design faculty and sponsored by major corporations. Other program benefits include project-based studios, seminars, and independent study. During the final year of the UW MDes Program, students will work with their Chair and committee to complete a thesis document and exhibition to be displayed at UW’s Henry Art Gallery.
Established in 1861, the University of Washington serves approximately 60,080 students across campuses in Seattle (main), Bothell, and Tacoma, Washington. UW houses more than 300 programs and 570+ degree options across 18 colleges and schools. 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). Engineering at the University is accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).
27. 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 has a Graphic Design BFA, a Graphic Design Minor, and an Advertising Management (AM) Minor for Graphic Design Majors. The 24 credit hour AM Minor consists of the following courses: Advertising, Creative Strategy, Consumer Behavior and Customer Satisfaction, Advertising Campaigns, and Marketing Management. Students will select one 400-level Marketing elective to complete the program.
The Graphic Design BFA Program at Portland State University provides the opportunity to gain experience through A + D Projects (the School of Art + Design’s in-house studio) where they have the chance to work on projects for real clients. Other program features include the peer mentorship program, the weekly graphic design lecture series, field trips, professional portfolio development, demos, and professional off-campus internships.
More than 200 study abroad programs are also open to BFA students. Examples include Summer Abroad experiences such as Art History in Rome, Mixed Media and Printmaking in Guanajuato, Mexico, and Berlin: The Fall and Rise of an Art City.
Each spring, PSU Graphic Design 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 network, display their work, and get feedback from industry professionals.
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.
Graduates of the Portland State University Design Programs are prepared to pursue positions such as Graphic Designer, Branding and Identity Designer, Interactive Designer, Web and Mobile Designer, Product Designer, Art Director, User Interface Designer, Environmental Designer, Illustrator, Design Manager, App Designer, Publication Designer, and Motion Graphics Designer.
Program alumni have been hired at major agencies and corporations such Apple, IBM, Nordstrom, Adidas, Snapchat, Spotify, Dropbox, Wieden+Kennedy, Buzzfeed, R/GA, Nike, and IDEO. Others have found success at design studios such as OMFCO, Jolby, Sandstrom, and Instrument. Some PSU Design alumni have gone on to launch their own start-ups, product lines, or freelance careers.
Portland State University opened in the summer of 1946 with 220 students. Today, PSU serves approximately 22,015 students, with more than 2,700 students enrolled in the College of Arts, making it the largest art school in the Pacific Northwest. PSU College of Arts houses the Schools of Art + Design, Architecture, Film, and Music & Theater. Portland State University offers more than 200 degree programs housed across nine colleges and schools. Portland State University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
28. Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida (Top 4% of colleges considered)
Full Sail University (Full Sail) provides several paths to study Graphic Design. For undergraduates, the school has a Graphic Design BS Program that may be completed in 20 months on-campus or 29 months online. Students in this program will develop skills in print publishing and interface design, as well as advertising, branding, and integration. Other program benefits include a project-based curriculum, hands-on experience with entertainment and media companies, Professional Development Seminars, and seven Graphic Design Project and Portfolio courses.
Course examples for the program include Graphic Design Principles I-II, Digital Publishing, Psychology of Play, Typography and Page Layout, Creating Brand Experience, Media Integration, Popular Culture in Media, Logos and Symbols, Interactive Editorial Design, Technology in the Entertainment and Media Industries, and Graphic Web Design.
Graduates of the Graphic Design BS Program at Full Sail University are prepared to pursue positions at advertising agencies, design studios, marketing firms, magazines, book publishers, public relations firms, web design companies, and design studios. Some graduates go on to pursue an advanced degree such as Full Sail University’s Media Design MFA.
Offered 100% online, the Full Sail Media Design MFA Program explores client communications, motivational theories, team dynamics, and research. Course examples include Brand Development, Design Strategies and Motivation, Effective Copywriting, Multi-Platform Delivery, Design Integration, Mastery: Personal Development and Leadership, and Measuring Design Effectiveness. To graduate, Media Design MFA students will complete Professional Practice and Thesis: Presentation of Design Solution.
The Full Sail Media Design MFA Program takes just 12 months to complete, full-time. Graduates are prepared for upper level positions at major companies, studios, and organizations; teaching positions at top universities; and to launch their own studios, businesses, or freelance careers.
For students seeking a shorter program, Full Sail University has a Visual Design Certificate that can be completed in 28 weeks, on campus. Consisting of 23 credit hours, the program features courses such as Graphic Design Principles I-II, Design Art and Theory, Technology in the Entertainment and Media Industries, and Color Theory. Certificate students will complete Project I: Visual Design and Portfolio I: Visual Design to graduate. Program alumni are prepared for entry-level positions or higher in a variety of industries.
Full Sail University offers graduate certificates and programs at all degree levels in the Arts, Entertainment, Media, and Technology. The school, which opened in 1979 in Dayton, Ohio, is located just 35 minutes from downtown Orlando and Universal Studios. Serving approximately 21,000 students, Full Sail is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
29. University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois (Top 5% of schools considered)
The College of Architecture, Design, and the Arts (CADA) at University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) houses the School of Design, home to the Bachelor of Design (BDes) and Master of Design (MDes) Programs. The School of Design also houses a studio-based, interdisciplinary Design Studies BA for students who are interested in studying multiple areas of design. With a focus on collaboration and the human experience in design, the Design Studies BA explores Graphic and Industrial Design, Humanities, and the Sciences.
The BDes and MDes Programs provide the opportunity to study Graphic Design or Industrial Design. 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 at UIC, 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 Graphic Design MDes at UIC is an intensive, collaborative program that takes two years to complete. Course examples include Advanced Graphic Design I-II, Combined Studio, Graduate Seminar, Documentation Studio, and Research Seminar I-II.
A major component of the Graphic MDes at University of Illinois at Chicago 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.
Serving nearly 34,000 students, University of Illinois at Chicago is the largest university in the Chicago area and one of the top five largest universities in the state. 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. The University of Illinois at Chicago is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
30. University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California (Top 5% of colleges considered)
The Gayle Garner Roski School of Art and Design at University of Southern California (USC) was first organized in 1883, and founded in 1895. One of Southern California’s oldest art and design schools, USC Roski provides several paths to study Graphic Design. Options include the BFA, MFA, and Dual BFA/MFA Degrees in Design. An interdisciplinary Communication Design Minor is also available.
As part of USC Roski School of Art and Design, all students benefit from an experimental and collaborative approach to learning, cross-disciplinary curriculums, hands-on studio courses, internship opportunities at DreamWorks, MTV, Lego, and National Geographic, and study abroad experiences in places such as South Africa, London, Australia, and Italy.
The USC Roski Design BFA is a 128-unit, intensive, four-year pre-professional degree that requires a complementary Minor such as Advertising, Digital Experiences, Communication, Designing Products, Marketing, Multimedia Experiences, Business, or Entrepreneurship. Students may also choose 26 units of electives to customize a specialization in practically 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 Publication Design, Art and Design Studio I-II, Advanced Design Projects, 3D Design: Materials and Tools, Web Design, 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 Design MFA at University of Southern California is a studio-based program that 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. Suggested Roski electives include Design Studio Co-Lab, Design Pedagogy, Directed Research, International Design Study Tour, and Field Internship Experience. Examples of required courses for the program include Design Theory, Contemporary Issues in Design, Designers in Residence Forum, Individual Studies, and Advancement. MFA students will also complete a Master’s Thesis spanning three courses worth a total four units.
In addition to all USC Roski has to offer, Design 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 USC Roski 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 Design Fundamentals, Advertising Media and Analysis, Video Installation and Moving Image Environments, The Cultures of New Media, Communication Technology and Culture, Ideas in Intermedia, Marketing Communication and Promotion Strategy, Typography, and Special Projects in Design.
All USC Roski Communication Design Minors have the opportunity to participate in the New York Design and International Study Tours, or the Practicum in Marketing Communication and Promotion Design.
Graduates of USC Roski School of Art and Design have been hired at hundreds of major companies, studios, and other organizations. Examples include Vogue, Conde Nast, Harper’s Bazaar Magazine, Walt Disney Company, Marvel Studios, Cisco, Pinterest, American Apparel, PETA, NBCUniversal, DreamWorks Animation, J. Crew, Disney Interactive, MTV Networks, BCBGMAXAZRIA, DirectTV, 20th Century Fox, Fandango, Macy’s, E! Entertainment, Oliver Peoples, American Express, Beats, Skechers, Mattel, L’Oreal, and Paramount Pictures.
Established in 1880, University of Southern California is the oldest private research university in California. The school employs approximately 28,120 faculty and staff that serve 49,000 students, making USC the largest private sector employer in the City of Los Angeles. University of Southern California provides 600 graduate and professional programs across 23 schools, academic divisions, and research institutes. Programs are offered in the areas of business, law, engineering, film, occupational therapy, pharmacy, and medicine. University of Southern California is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).
31. The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio (Top 5% of colleges considered)
The College of Arts and Sciences at The Ohio State University (OSU) houses the Department of Design and the Department of Art. Both provide paths to study Graphic Design. The Department of Design has a Visual Communication Design Program that leads to a Bachelor of Science in Design (BSD), and a Design Thinking Minor. For students seeking a graduate degree, the Department of Art has an interdisciplinary Visual Arts MFA Program.
Students in the Visual Communication Design Program will have access to undergraduate research opportunities beginning on day one. Students also have opportunities to study with students from Mackenzie Presbyterian University in São Paulo, Brazil, or participate in Design Week in Milan, Italy. Other program benefits include participation in student organizations such as Design for 90, D3: Design Develop Deploy, and NOMA: Designers for Diversity; the opportunity to pursue the Arts Honor Program; and portfolio development throughout the program.
Course examples for the BSD Program include Intermediate Visual Communication Design, Design Media, Materials and Processes, Advanced Visual Communication Design, Typographic Design, Collaborative Design, Design Research, Professional Practice, and Design History.
Graduates of the Visual Communication Design BSD at OSU have been hired at places such as McGraw-Hill Education, Microsoft, Walt Disney Company, IBM iX, The Digest, JP Morgan Chase, Binance, Walt Disney Imagineering, 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 Visual Arts MFA is a three-year, 66 credit hour 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 Arts 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 close to 65,795 students across six regional campuses including 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).
32. Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama (Top 5% of colleges considered)
The College of Architecture, Design, and Construction at Auburn University (Auburn) houses the School of Industrial and Graphic Design—home to Alabama’s only Graphic Design Program to receive accreditation by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Leading to a BFA, the Graphic Design (GDES) Program consists of 123 credit hours that focus on branding, packaging, wayfinding design, UI/UX, illustration, app design, typography, motion design, and publishing. Course examples include Graphic Design I-II, Interactive Media, Typographics, Graphic Processes, Photo Design, and Graphic Design History.
Besides a variety of in-demand courses, BFA students benefit from the program's professional studio environment, hands-on design instruction, cross-disciplinary collaborations, guest lecturers, exhibitions, and design symposiums. Students also have access to internship opportunities and access to Auburn University’s Study Abroad Program, with work and learn experiences in places such as Scotland, England, Hong Kong, Ireland, and Taiwan.
During the final year of the Auburn GDES BFA Program, students will complete a professional portfolio of their best work.
Auburn GDES graduates go on to secure positions with advertising agencies, publishers, design studios, magazines, marketing firms, web design companies, and more. They work in areas such as branding and packaging, illustration, environmental graphics, web design and development, interactive media, and exhibition design, among others.
Auburn University was 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 University serves a diverse population of approximately 31,765 students, making it one of the largest universities in the region. Auburn offers 150 majors and programs across more than a dozen colleges and schools. Auburn University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
33. San Diego State University, San Diego, California (Top 5% of schools considered)
The College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts (PSFA) at San Diego State University (San Diego State or SDSU) 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 students who would like to pursue a career in Graphic Design, the PFSA School of Art + Design has BA, MA, MFA degrees in Applied Arts and Sciences with a Graphic Design Emphasis. Students in all programs have access to state-of-the art facilities such as the Computing Labs for Digital Imaging, Interactive Media, and Video; Printmaking, Letterpress, and Book Arts Studios; Intaglio and Relief Printmaking Studios; the Screen Printing Studio; and seven Mac Computer Labs. SDSU Graphic Design students also benefit from the Art + Design School’s visiting lecture series; access to local galleries and museums; interaction with visual and performing arts organizations; and AIGA membership.
Course examples across programs include Graphic Design I-IV, Experiential Graphic Design, Expressive Typography I-IV, Screen Printing Studio, Design for the Internet, Artists and Designers in Real Time, Packaging Design, 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, Brand Designer, Ad Designer, Graphic Illustrator, Print Production Artist, Technical Illustrator, Layout/Production Artist, Book Artist, Packing Designer, Logo Designer, Art Director, and Multimedia Artist, among others.
Established in 1897 and serving approximately 35,725 students, San Diego State University is the oldest and largest higher education institution in San Diego. The school offers more than 200 degree programs across seven colleges and hundreds of departments. San Diego State University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).
34. University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida (Top 5% of colleges considered)
The College of the Arts at University of Florida (UF) encompasses the fully accredited schools of Art + Art History, Theatre + Dance, and Music, the Center for Arts in Medicine, and the Digital Worlds Institute. Within the School of Art + Art History are three paths to study Graphic Design including the Graphic Design BFA, the Design & Visual Communications (MxD) MFA, and the Graphic Design Certificate.
The 120 credit hour Graphic Design BFA explores 2D, 3D, and 4D, design, art history, and drawing. 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, Design: Visualization and Creativity, Image, Form and Meaning, and Design and Professional Practice Studio.
Students in the UF Graphic Design BFA Program will take Design Workshop and studios such as Design and Professional Practice, and Senior Design Studio. All students will have the opportunity to work with clients on real-world projects. Design students will graduate with a professional portfolio of their best work.
The University of Florida MxD MFA is a terminal degree consisting of 60 credit hours of coursework. In existence for more than 20 years, this design-centered, interdisciplinary program has two-year and three-year options consisting 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 Arts Advocacy and Public Policy, 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.
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, Creative Directors, Educators, and Entrepreneurs. Program alumni have been hired at a variety of companies, studios, and organizations such as Walt Disney Imagineering, Apple, Meta, Verizon, Microsoft, IBM, Twitter, JetBlue, West Elm, IDEO, Fossil, Viacom, JetBlue, Kate Spade, and the Miami Heat.
MxD alumni have also landed positions at Google, L’Oréal, Ball State University, Auburn University, University at Buffalo, Illinois State University, University of Alabama at Birmingham, University of Colorado–Boulder, Northern Alabama University, and University of Florida.
University of Florida was founded in 1858 as Gainesville Academy. When it opened, the Academy has just a few students. Today, UF serves approximately 61,110 students enrolled in more than 300 undergraduate and graduate programs across 16 colleges and schools. The University of Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
35. 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.
For students seeking a Graphic Design program, the Design Department has a Visual Communication (Graphic Design) BFA and a Book Arts Certificate with both undergraduate and graduate pathways. The undergraduate certificate consists of 12-13 credit hours. The graduate program requires 12 credit hours. Examples of available courses across programs include Publication and Editorial, Bookmaking, Papermaking or Japanese Woodblock, Publication Design, Letterpress, Writer’s Workshop, The Artists Book, Typography & Printing in Italy, and Medieval Manuscripts & 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 Principles in Visual Communication. Branding, Designing Understanding, Typographic Systems, Think and Make, Design Thinking and Research, Fundamentals in UX Design, Designing Social Interactions, and Elements of Type. 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 Final Capstone Project.
Graduates of the Visual Communication Design and Book Arts Programs at KU work in advertising, branding and package design, UI/UX design, publishing, book design marketing, public relations, industrial design, exhibition design, motion graphic design, environmental design, web design, and multimedia. Possible careers include Graphic Designer, Communications Manager, Advertising Commercial/Industrial Designer, Advertising Art Director, Visual Designer, Multimedia Artist, Public Relations Manager, Exhibition Designer, Art Director, and Marketing Manager.
Founded in 1865, University of Kansas opened on September 12, 1866 with one building and 55 students. Today, the school serves 28,500 students across five Kansas campuses including Lawrence, Overland Park, Kansas City, Wichita, and Salina. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), University of Kansas houses more than 400 degree and certificate programs across 13 academic schools.
36. Fashion Institute of Technology, New York, New York (Top 6% of colleges considered)
Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) has two paths to study Graphic Design. For students seeking a four-year degree, FIT’s School of Art and Design has a Graphic Design BFA Program that consists of 32 credit hours in the major. In the Communication Design Pathways Department is a Communication Design AAS, which has one-year and two-year options. The one-year option can be completed on campus or entirely online.
Both programs provide hands-on learning, collaborative and experimental design projects, courses taught by experienced design professionals, and access to more than 30 minors. Examples that complement the degree programs include Design Thinking, Film and Media Studies, Creative Technology, English, 3D Design, Color Studies, International Trade and Marketing, Ethics and Sustainability, and Creative Entrepreneurship.
The FIT Communication Design AAS is an introductory program that explores concept development, visual communication, typography, digital design foundation, layout systems, design process, presentation skills, photography, web design, information systems, and research methods. Course examples for the program include Advanced The Convergence of Type and Image, Design Process Technology, Visual Language, Typography I-II, Digital Graphics Intensive, Computer Typesetting and Design, Vector Graphics, Presentation Graphics for Built Environments, and Basic Bookbinding.
Graduates of the FIT Communication Design AAS Program are prepared to pursue entry-level positions in Graphic Design or admission to an FIT BFA Program such as Graphic Design, Packaging Design, Advertising and Digital Design, or Spatial Experience Design.
The FIT Graphic Design BFA explores topics such as branding, motion graphics, editorial design, advanced typography, interactive web design, experiential design (exhibitions and wayfinding) and emerging design practices and approaches. Course examples include Core Studio I: Design and Methodology, Typeface Design, Print and Digital Production, Core Studio II: Design and Culture, Design for Web-based User Interface, Typography and Language, Core Studio III: Design and Innovation, Print and Digital Production, and Motion Graphics for Designers. All BFA students will complete the Professional Preparation course, the Senior Thesis Project, and an Internship.
Graduates of the Graphic Design BFA Program at Fashion Institute of Technology work for advertising agencies, nonprofit organizations, branding agencies, cultural institutions, design studios, interactive agencies, and music producers. FIT alumni have been hired at BBDO, MoMA, Atlantic Records, The Jewish Museum, Nike, Sony Music, R/GA, Think Brands, Landor & Fitch, the New York Public Library, and Hyperkat.
Part of the State University of New York (SUNY) System, Fashion Institute of Technology opened in 1944 inside the High School of Needles Trades. On the first day of class, the school had 100 students. Today, FIT spans an entire city block and serves 8,150 students, according to the most recent available figures. Programs are offered at the undergraduate and graduate levels in five academic divisions. Fashion Institute of Technology is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), and the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA).
37. University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign, Champaign, Urbana (Top 6% of colleges considered)
The College of Fine & Applied Arts at University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign (UIUC) houses the School of Art & Design, home to Graphic Design BFA Program. Students in this 122 credit hour program have the option to explore other areas through an interdisciplinary selection of electives such as Advanced Interaction Design, Traditional Printmaking, and Video. Course examples for the program include Design Methods, Graphic Design Toolbox, Interaction Design, Typographic Systems, Graphic Design Inquiry, and Ethics of a Designer in a Global Economy.
Other BFA Program features include dedicated studio spaces, 24/7 access to computer labs, participation in the Annual BFA Exhibition held at UIUC’s Krannert Art Museum, the lecture series, and the Senior Portfolio Review held in Chicago. Graphic Design BFA students also have the opportunity to join the AIGA Student Chapter, which provides networking opportunities, workshops, and trips Chicago-based design studios. All Graphic Design BFA students have the opportunity to take advantage of enrichment programming such as minors, internships, and more than 300 study abroad programs in 50+ countries.
The Graphic Design BFA Program at UIUC ends with a Graphic Design Practicum and a Graphic Design Capstone.
For students seeking an advanced degree, the University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign has an Art and Design MFA with a Concentration in Design for Responsible Innovation (formerly Graphic Design). Consisting of 64 credit hours, this interdisciplinary program explores responsible practices in traditional print media and emerging technologies such as digital interaction, visual narrative, systems thinking, data visualization, and information design.
The UIUC Art and Design MFA has specialized tracks of study in 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 to complete the program.
Graduates of the Design Programs at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign work in areas such as publication design, advertising, interaction design, consulting, photography, type design, art direction, and environmental design. Program alumni work for advertising agencies, design studios, start-ups, and on in-house design teams in a variety of settings.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign was established in 1867 as Illinois Industrial University. The second oldest public school in the state, UIUC serves 55,000 students from 50 U.S. states and 126 countries. More than 150 undergraduate programs and more than 100 graduate and professional programs are offered across 16 colleges and instructional units. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
38. University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, Minneapolis, Minnesota (Top 6% of colleges considered)
University of Minnesota - Twin Cities (UMN) is home to the College of Design, which houses the Graphic Design Program. Available paths include a BFA degree along with MA, MFA, MS, and PhD degrees with an optional Graphic Design Track. Students in all programs participate in advanced studios, individual and collaborative design projects, workshops, seminars, internships, and the study abroad program.
The UMN Graphic Design BFA requires 120 total credits, with 80-89 in the major. The program explores areas such as typography, data visualization, digital drawing, color theory, hand-drawing, and web design. Course and elective examples include Interaction Design, Text and Image, Packaging and Display, Identity and Symbols, Product Innovation Lab, Design and Visual Presentation, Travels in Typography, Storytelling and Design, Data Visualization Studio, Digital Illustration and Animation, and Concept Sketching.
The Graphic Design BFA Program at University of Minnesota - Twin Cities 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 at University of Minnesota - Twin Cities allow students to specialize in Human Interaction with Designed Objects, Color Systems and Perception, Design History, Social and Cultural Implications of Design, Visual Representation of Information, Design Education, or Multicultural Communication.
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 UMN 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 are prepared to pursue positions at places such as graphic design studios, public relations firms, advertising agencies, publishing companies, web design companies, marketing firms, entertainment production studios, government agencies, and museums. Program alumni hold titles such as Graphic Designer, Art Director, User Experience Designer, Data Visualization Strategist, Web Designer, Interactive Designer, and Creative Director, and among others.
University of Minnesota - Twin Cities is the flagship institution of the University of Minnesota System and the state’s only land-grant university. Founded in 1851, UMN is one of largest research universities in the nation and one of just five universities in the U.S. with agricultural, engineering, law, medical, and veterinary medicine schools—all on one campus. Around 20,000 UMN faculty and staff serve more than 50,000 students enrolled in over 150 undergraduate majors, 150+ minors, and more than 200 master’s and doctoral programs. University of Minnesota - Twin Cities has been continuously accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) since 1913.
39. Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston, Massachusetts (Top 6% of colleges considered)
The Communication Design Program at Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt) has two program options for students seeking careers in Graphic Design: the Communication Design BFA and the Communication Design Certificate. 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. Program features include hands-on studio courses led by designers who are active in the industry; collaborative projects; readings and presentations; and the MassArt Internship.
In addition to several design studio courses, BFA students will complete Professional Practice, Independent Study, Advanced Projects I-II, the Graphic Design Portfolio course, and the Senior Degree Project. Other course examples include Graphic Design I-IV, Advertising and Art Direction, Lettering in Design, Typography I-III, Identity Systems, Programming for Designers, Experimental Book Arts, Poster Design, Print Production Workshop, Advanced Web Projects, Tools for Web & App Development, Type Design, and Information Architecture.
Graduates of the Communications Design BFA Program 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.
The Communication Design Certificate at Massachusetts College of Art and Design has three stackable 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 of the three, this level consists of advanced courses in design systems. Level 3 graduates are prepared to pursue immediate employment in visual designs, brand strategy and design, graphic design, UX/UI design, and product design at advertising agencies, design studios, interactive agencies, web design companies, and non-profits. Graduates also have the skills needed launch their own design studios and freelance businesses.
Founded in 1873 as Massachusetts Normal School, Massachusetts College of Art and Design is the nation’s first and only public college of art and design. The school serves approximately 1,785 students enrolled more than 40 degree, minor, and certificate programs. More than 150 continuing education students are enrolled in over 100 classes and workshops in all areas of art and design.
Massachusetts College of Art and Design is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) and it is also an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).
40. Academy of Art University, San Francisco, California (Top 6% of schools considered)
The School of Graphic Design at Academy of Art University has five paths to study Graphic Design. Options include the AA, BFA, MA, MFA or Certificate in Graphic Design. All programs explore problem-solving, 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 undergraduate programs Introduction to Interactive Design, The Creative Process, Design Technology: Digital Publishing Tools, Strategies for Branding, Typography 1: Hierarchy and Form, Social Media Content Development, Typography 2: Formalizing Structure, Package Design 1: 3D Thinking/Making, History of Graphic Design, Visual Storytelling: Editing Fundamentals for Short-Form Video Content, Branding Principles, Visual Systems, Package Design 2: Executing 3D Design, Programming and Culture, English Composition: Creative Persuasion & Argument, and Designing Careers.
Course examples for the graduate programs include Making Ideas Visible, Type Forms, Visual Thinking, Integrated Communications - Message Synthesis, Visual Communications Lab, Digital Design Studio 1, The Nature of Identity, Directed Study, Professional Practices for Designers & Advertisers, and User Experience Design.
Certificate students will complete a final portfolio. AA students will have the foundation needed to transition into the Graphic Design BFA Program at Academy of Art University. BFA students will complete an internship and the Senior Portfolio to graduate, while MA students will complete the 700-level MA Portfolio. MFA students will complete Directed Studies, and Internship, three Thesis courses, and Design Seminar/Portfolio to graduate.
Graduates of the Graphic Design Programs at Academy of Art University have been recruited by a variety of major studios, companies, and organizations. Examples include Apple, Google, IDEO, Nike, R/GA, Square, and The Clorox Company. Job titles include Art Director, Creative Director, Graphic Designer, Product Designer, Service Designer, and User Experience Designer, among others.
Academy of Art University is a family-owned private university located in San Francisco—one of the world’s top cities for animation careers. Established in 1929 and serving more than 7,000 students, Academy of Art is 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.
The art and design programs at Academy of Art University are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). The Academy is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).
41. Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, New York (Top 6% of colleges considered)
The College of Art and Design at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) houses the School of Design, which has two pats to study Graphic Design. At the undergraduate level, the School has a Graphic Design BFA that provides opportunities to gain industry experience through cooperative education and internships with top companies in New York and across the country. Coursework for this 120 credit hour program provides additional opportunities to gain real-world experience through collaborative class projects with RIT partners such as Kraft, Starbucks, 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, Packaging Systems Collaborative, Interactive Design III, Packing Systems Projects, Advertising Design, and Typography III. All BFA 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.
With a 94% outcome rate, graduates of the Rochester Institute of Technology Graphic Design Program go on 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.
Program alumni have been hired at major corporations, advertising agencies, publications, and design firms such as Vogue Italia, Walt Disney Company, Adobe, Apple, Sesame Street, ESPN, the NHL, Sports Illustrated, and Fisher-Price.
At the graduate level, Rochester Institute of Technology offers a 60 credit hour, STEM-designated Visual Communication Design (VCD) MFA 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 Branding and Identity Design, UX Design Strategies, 3D Modeling and Motion, Real Time Design, Programming for Designers, Design Studies Seminar, Character Design and Rigging, Digital Media Integration, and Project Design and Implementation, 3D Particles and Dynamics, Design Praxis I-II, and Information Design.
With a 97% 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 a top research university that dates back to 1829. With global campuses in China, Croatia, Dubai, and Kosovo and serving more than 19,000 students from 50 states and over 100 nations, RIT is also one of the largest private universities in the U.S. Students at RIT have access to more than 200 academic programs across 11 colleges and institutes. Rochester Institute of Technology is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
42. Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City, Missouri (Top 6% of colleges considered)
Kansas City Art Institute (KCAI) has a Graphic Design Program with three pathways: the traditional Graphic Design BFA, an Art History and Graphic Design Studio Double Major, and a Creative Writing and Graphic Design Studio Double Major. Across pathways, students benefit from the internship program, interactions with visiting artists, and faculty-led travel to places such as Thailand, France, Vietnam, Argentina, and Peru.
In all pathways, students will take courses such as Type Image I-II, Visual Inquiry, Information & Data Visualization, Social Inquiry, Branding & Identity, Graphic Design History, and Interaction Inquiry. For Art History/Graphic Design Studio, courses may include Contemporary Art, Global/Comparative Art, Modern Art, Baroque Art, and Art History Seminar. Students in the Creative Writing/Graphic Design Program 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 Graphic Design Program at Kansas City Art Institute have been hired in a variety of roles at companies, studies, and organizations such as Nickelodeon, The Getty Museum, Hallmark, Airbnb, Radius, Fossil, Salesforce, Pentagram, Hyperakt, R/GA, Populous, Barkley, Design Army, and VML.
Kansas City Art Institute was established in 1885 as a Sketch Club. Situated within Kansas City’s arts corridor—just steps from the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art—this four-year art and design college serves more than 700 students enrolled in 13 majors in 15 program areas. Kansas City Art Institute is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).
43. Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan (Top 7% 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. The Graphic Design Minor consists of 15 credit hours. 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 AAHD programs are eligible for AIGA membership, and they have access to the Annual Visiting Artist & Scholar Lecture Series, and opportunities to complete an internship at a local or national company.
In addition to completing required courses, students in the Graphic Design BFA will select courses from the Two-Dimensional, Three-Dimensional, and Electronic Art and Intermediate and Photography Areas. Course examples for the BFA and the Minor include Graphic Design I: Graphic Form, Motion Design, Digital Graphic Design: Tools and Methods, History of Graphic Design, Graphic Design II: Visual Communication, Interaction Design, Experimental Design Practices, Concepts of Graphic Design, Design Thinking for Entrepreneurs, Design Center, Cartographic Design and Production, and Senior Seminar and Professional Practice.
Graduates of the MSU Graphic Design BFA Program work at advertising agencies, marketing firms, design studios, publishing companies, and more. They hold titles such as Graphic Designer, Art Director, Creative Producer, Media Manager, Communications Coordinator, Web Designer, and User Experience Designer. Program alumni have been hired at Leo Burnett, General Motors, Quicken Loans, TechSmith Corporation, Campbell Ewald, Domino’s, and Shift Digital.
For students seeking a graduate degree, Michigan State University has a Create Your Own Pathway MFA Program that includes seminars, dedicated studio practice, opportunities for external study, and formal critique. Students may select courses from any area of interest to build a focus area. This includes Graphic Design. In addition to selected courses, and seminars such as History of Art and Professional Practices, MFA students will take studios such as Integration in Studio Art and Exploration and Research in Studio Art.
The Michigan State University MFA Program requires a Final Research Project, completed over several courses, to graduate. Program alumni are prepared to pursue positions at major companies, design studios, advertising agencies, non-profit organizations, and academic institutions.
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.
44. Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas (Top 7% of colleges considered)
The College of Fine Arts & Communication at Texas State University (Texas State) is home to the School of Art and Design, which houses the Communication Design Program (ComDes). Degree options include the BFA and MFA in ComDes. The 120 credit hour ComDes 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 brand experience, sustainable packaging, typography, corporate identity, environmental graphics, human-centered design, interactive design, art direction, and design research. Specific course examples include Branding Systems, Expanded Media, Trademark Design, Interactive Media, Introduction to Printmaking: Intaglio and Lithography, and Typography. The ComDes BFA Program culminates with a 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 DDB, Google, Microsoft, Disney, Verizon, IBM, Spotify, Indeed, Vrbo, H-E-B Digital, GSD&M, USAA, and Helms Workshop.
The Texas State University ComDes MFA is a terminal degree that can be completed online with just one 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 consists of 60 credit hours including 18 credit hours of core curriculum, 30 credit hours of prescribed communication design studio electives, six credit hours of free electives, and six credit hours of thesis. Courses explore digital design, visual communication, typography, and design history. Course examples include The Experimental Book, Generative Design, Experience Design, Imaging, Alternative Printing Methods, Kinetic Typography, Design for Motion, Corporate Identity Systems, Professional Practice, Design Futures, Entrepreneurial Design, Exhibitions, Corporate Marketing Materials, and Research Through Making.
In the Professional Practice course, MFA students will work with regional and national advertising agencies, graphic design firms, and digital media studios to gain professional experience.
Potential careers for graduates of the Texas State University MFA/CD Program include Senior Graphic Designer, Design Manager, Visual Designer, Creative Director, Typographer, Senior Interaction Designer, UI/UX Designer, Art Director, and Professor.
Lyndon B. Johnson is the Texas State University’s most famous alumni, and the only president to graduate from a Texas college. Established in 1899 as a teacher’s college known as Southwest Texas Normal School, the school serves approximately 38,170 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 and it is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
45. University of Houston, Houston, Texas (Top 7% of schools considered)
Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts (KGMCA) at University of Houston (UH) houses the School of Art, which has two paths to study Graphic Design: a BFA in Graphic Design and Studio Art MFA with a Graphic Design Concentration. Program features for the Graphic Design BFA include the option to add the Graphic Communications Technology Minor; learning and networking opportunities through visiting artists and speaker events; participation in workshops, site-specific projects, lectures, and critiques; and access to internship opportunities.
Consisting of 18 semester hours, the Graphic Communications Technology Minor explores 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.
All BFA Program students will take courses such as Colors, Materials and Methods, Intermediate Graphic Design, Introduction to Typography, History of Graphic Design, Art History, and Fundamentals of Graphic Design. Examples of recommended courses include Graphic Design Software, Digital Tools, Rendering and Sketching, Digital Fabrication, Printmaking, Photography/Digital Media, and Video Art.
The Graphic Design BFA Program at University of Houston culminates with the Senior Exhibition, which allows students to showcase their best work.
The UH Studio Art MFA with a Graphic Design Concentration consists of 60 semester hours including 24 hours in related arts, 18 hours in the concentration, nine hours in art history, and nine hours in graduate seminars. Course examples include Graphic Design Studio, Interdisciplinary Practice and Emerging Forms Studio, Art Seminar, and Writing Seminar. Upon completion of all coursework and projects for the program, MFA students will present their work in a Thesis Exhibition at University of Houston’s Blaffer Art Museum.
In addition to Graphic Designer, graduates of the Graphic Design Programs at UH are prepared to pursue positions such as Creative Director, User experience (UX) Designer, User interface (UI) Designer, Brand Identify Developer, Production Artist, Brand Manager, Product Developer, Art Director, Marketing Specialist, and Multimedia Artist.
Founded in 1927 and serving 46,700 students, University of Houston is the largest public research university in Houston and the third largest university in Texas. The school offers 276 degree programs across 16 colleges and schools, and an interdisciplinary Honors College. University of Houston is Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on College (SACSCOC).
46. University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah (Top 7% of colleges considered)
University of Utah houses the College of Fine Arts at University of Utah (The U), home to the Department of Art & Art History, which houses the Graphic Design BFA Program. Formerly the BFA in Studio Art–Graphic Design Emphasis, this new and improved program consists of 122 credit hours, with a minimum of 79 in the major. Students may declare the Graphic Design major in their first year of study. To advance to the second year, students must successfully complete all first year coursework and submit a portfolio. A second year review is required to advance to the third year of the program.
The Graphic Design BFA at The U includes six Studio Foundations courses that explore areas such as mapping, action, and touch. Course examples for the program include Design Strategy, Visual Rhetoric, Communication Design 1-5, Digital Drawing, History of Graphic Design, Writing for New Media, Typography 1-2, and Digital Imaging for Visual Artists.
Examples of upper division courses include Design Theory And Practice, Visiting Designer Studio: Design Co-op, Professional Practices Seminar, Graphic Design Capstone 1: Research And Inquiry, and Graphic Design Capstone 2: Development And Presentation.
The Visiting Designer Studio course is a requirement for all BFA Graphic Design majors. The course consists of workshops led by guest lecturers and studio driven projects. In the Professional Practices Seminar, students will complete a portfolio and professional resume. The Capstone courses are required to complete the Final BFA Project. Graduates of the Graphic Design Program at University of Utah are prepared to pursue positions at advertising agencies, design studios, publishing companies, web design firms, marketing agencies, and in all industries that require graphic design skills.
Founded in 1850, University of Utah is the state’s public flagship institution. A top-tier research university, The U serves more than 34,900 students enrolled in over 200 programs across 17 colleges and schools. University of Utah is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
47. Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts (Top 7% of colleges considered)
Boston University (BU) has several paths to study Graphic Design including BFA, MFA, and Certificate options. Programs are housed in the College of Fine Arts’ School of Visual Arts (SVA), which is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).
Established in 1954, SVA provides workshops, seminars, immersive studio experiences, internship opportunities, unique electives, and minors that complement all design programs. In addition to all SVA has to offer, Graphic Design students have access to state-of-the-art facilities such as the Engineering Production Innovation Center (EPIC), the Visual Arts Resource Library, the Media Center, Computer Labs, and Darkrooms.
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 provides 24/7 access to individual private studios, visiting artists and designers, workshops, and group critiques. Through BU’s partnership with AIGA Boston, MFA students also 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.
The Graphic Design BFA Program at Boston University provides the opportunity to specialize in an area of interest through electives. Examples include Experience Design, Interactive Design, Exhibition Design, Motion Graphics, Design for the Web, and Editorial 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; participation in a two-week design intensive in Amsterdam; and a two-week Printmaking workshop at the Franz Masareel Centrum in Kasterlee, Belgium. Students in both the BFA and MFA Graphic Design Programs at BU also have the opportunity to participate in the Studio Arts program in Venice, Italy. Students in this program will complete 16-18 credit hours in graphic design, painting, printmaking, drawing, Italian, art history, and sculpture. Courses are courses are held at BU’s Venice Center, with some electives offered off-site at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Venezia.
Graduates of the Graphic Design Program at Boston University have been hired at or worked with places such as Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (MSLO), Free People, and Converse. Some program alumni have launched their own design studios or creative firms, while others have found success as freelance designers.
Boston University dates back to 1839, where it began as the Newbury Biblical Institute. Officially chartered in 1869, the school serves approximately 36,730 students enrolled in more than 300 programs of study across 22 colleges, divisions, and schools. With 10,000 faculty and staff and a 175-acre campus that houses close to 3,000 buildings, laboratories, classrooms, and libraries, BU is Boston’s largest employer. Boston University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).
48. Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York (Top 7% of colleges considered)
Syracuse University (SU) houses the College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) and the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. Both provide degree options for students interested in pursuing a career in Graphic Design. The College of VPA (School of Design) has a Communications Design BFA Program. The Newhouse School (Visual Communications Department) has a Graphic Design Program that leads to a Bachelor’s degree.
BFA program benefits include hands-on projects covering everything from advertising and marketing to packaging and social media; individual and group collaborations; internship opportunities with local and national companies; and the opportunity to study in London, UK or Florence, Italy through the Syracuse Study Abroad Program. Course examples for this 120 credit hour program include Communication Design Problems, Digital Tools for Designers, Problem Solving Strategies, Communication Design I-II, Design, Cultural Traditions and the Environment, Design Skills & Processes, Design Project Management, and Analog Design Tools.
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 Designers, Creative Directors, and more.
The Graphic Design Program in the Newhouse School’s Visual Communication Department features a Fall Workshop. Established in 1999 and a major component of the program, the Workshop hosts industry professionals from around the world that serve as mentors for student projects. Students in this program can expect to take courses such as Typographic Design, User Interface and User Experience (UI/UX) Design, and Introduction to Graphic Design.
The Newhouse School Graphic Design Bachelor’s Degree Program prepares students for creative careers in advertising, branding, publishing, augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR), UI/UX, and web design.
Graduates of the Graphic Design Bachelor’s Program at Syracuse University have been recruited by major companies and publishers such as Amazon, Google, and The Washington Post. Some program alumni have gone on to launch their own creative agencies and studios.
Founded in 1870, Syracuse University serves approximately 21,320 students from all 50 states and 120 countries. More than 200 majors, 100 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. Syracuse University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
49. University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia (Top 7% of colleges considered)
University of Georgia (UGA) is home to Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, which houses Lamar Dodd School of Art. Within the School of Art are several paths to study Graphic Design. Options include the Fine Arts BFA, the Interdisciplinary Art & Design AB (BA), the Printmaking and Book Arts BFA and MFA, and the Digital Design + Media Minor.
The Fine Arts BFA at UGA has Graphic Design, Photography & Expanded Media, Printmaking & Book Arts, and Scientific Illustration Concentrations. The curriculum for the Graphic Design Concentration explores areas such as color techniques, graphic survey, typography, electronic design, layout, three-dimensional design, illustration, and photography. Because the program encourages an interdisciplinary approach to design, students have opportunities to select courses from other departments and schools outside the School of Art.
The Interdisciplinary Art & Design AB (BA) Program includes experiential learning opportunities such as study abroad in Cortona, Costa Rica, or Ghana, and the option to complete a minor, certificate program or double major in a field outside the Dodd School of Art. The Interdisciplinary Art & Design AB requires 122 credit hours to graduate.
The Printmaking and Book Arts BFA and MFA Programs provide 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. MFA students have access to private studios with natural lighting, large windows, and ample ventilation. The BFA requires 120 credits to graduate and the MFA requires a minimum of 67 credit hours to graduate.
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, and publishers. Companies that have hired UGA graduates include Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. (TBS), IBM Design, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Meta, Aveda, Bustle, Free People, and Gensler.
Chartered by the state of Georgia in 1785, University of Georgia is the nation’s first state university. The school 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. University of Georgia is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
50. Kent State University, Kent, Ohio (Top 8% of colleges considered)
The College of Communication and Information at Kent State University (KSU) houses the School of Visual Communication Design (VCD), home to the BA, BFA, MA, and MFA Programs in VCD. A key part of all degree programs at KSU is the mandatory internship. Many are paid and they provide the opportunity to work at companies and design studios in Cleveland, Chicago, New York, and San Francisco.
Students in all undergraduate programs will complete the Kent State University Core. Consisting of 36-37 credit hours, the Core covers six areas: Composition, Mathematics and Critical Reasoning, Humanities and Fine Arts, Social Sciences, Basic Sciences, and Additional Options. All undergraduate options explore illustration and design, 2D and 3D forms, print, interactive design, motion, exhibition design, package design, video, and environmental design. Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), the BA and BFA Programs also require a minor or secondary area of study. Examples include Advertising, Marketing, Health Communication, Visual Journalism, Public Relations, and Management or Entrepreneurship for Non-Business Majors. International study experiences, portfolio development, and an exhibition are also part of the programs.
The Graduate VCD Program at Kent State is one of only three programs in Ohio to offer an MA in Visual Communication Design. The Graduate Program was also the first to offer the terminal degree in the field, the MFA. The MA is a 32 credit hour program that consists of just three semesters of study. Course examples include Graphic Design Advanced, Concept Development and Implementation, Typographic Structures and Systems, User Experience Design Principles and Concepts, and Design Research Methods. Master of Arts students will complete the MA Project in Graphic Design and Illustration and a portfolio.
The Kent State VCD MFA is a 60 credit hour, five semester program that combines design, research, and theory coursework with hands-on teaching experiences at the freshman and sophomore level. MFA graduates are prepared for leadership roles in design and design education. MA graduates can pursue careers in Branding, User Experience Design, Social Media, and Digital Media, among others.
Established in 1910 as a teacher training school, Kent State University comprises an eight-campus system that serves approximately 30,590 students from across the U.S. and more than 100 countries. Kent State University provides access to more than 300 programs across 40+ colleges, departments, and schools. Kent State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).