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What are the top private graphic design schools in the U.S. for 2022?
|1||Rhode Island School of Design||Rhode Island||1%|
|2||School of Visual Arts||New York||1%|
|4||The New School's Parsons School of Design||New York||1%|
|5||California Institute of the Arts||California||2%|
|6||Pratt Institute||New York||2%|
|7||Maryland Institute College of Art||Maryland||2%|
|8||ArtCenter College of Design||California||2%|
|9||Savannah College of Art and Design||Georgia||3%|
|10||Ringling College of Art and Design||Florida||3%|
|11||Carnegie Mellon University||Pennsylvania||3%|
|12||California College of the Arts||California||3%|
|13||Washington University in St. Louis||Missouri||4%|
|14||School of the Art Institute of Chicago||Illinois||4%|
|15||Minneapolis College of Art and Design||Minnesota||4%|
|16||Brigham Young University||Utah||4%|
|17||The Cooper Union||New York||5%|
|18||Otis College of Art and Design||California||5%|
|19||University of Southern California||California||5%|
|20||Full Sail University||Florida||5%|
|21||Kansas City Art Institute||Missouri||6%|
|22||Syracuse University||New York||6%|
|23||Rochester Institute of Technology||New York||6%|
|25||Academy of Art University||California||7%|
|26||Columbia College Chicago||Illinois||7%|
|27||University of the Arts||Pennsylvania||7%|
|29||Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design||Colorado||8%|
|31||College for Creative Studies||Michigan||8%|
|32||Cleveland Institute of Art||Ohio||8%|
|33||University of Notre Dame||Indiana||9%|
|34||Texas Christian University||Texas||9%|
|35||Maine College of Art & Design||Maine||9%|
|36||University of Miami||Florida||9%|
|37||University of San Francisco||California||10%|
|38||Southern New Hampshire University||New Hampshire||10%|
|40||Laguna College of Art and Design||California||10%|
|42||New York Institute of Technology||New York||15%|
|44||Loyola University New Orleans||Louisiana||15%|
|45||Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design||Wisconsin||15%|
|46||George Fox University||Oregon||15%|
|47||University of Tampa||Florida||15%|
|48||Oral Roberts University||Oklahoma||15%|
|49||Vermont College of Fine Arts||Vermont||15%|
Our 2022 list of the Top 50 Private Graphic Design School Programs in the US. We considered over 400 private colleges with graphic design programs for this year's rankings. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.
1. Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, Rhode Island (Top 1% of schools considered)
Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) houses the Graphic Design Department, which offers BFA and MFA degrees in Graphic Design. One of the school’s largest departments, RISD Graphic Design serves 165 students. Undergraduates have the opportunity to learn, collaborate, and work in dedicated studios including the Design Center Graphic Design Studios and the Graphic Design Type Shop, among others.
The RISD Graphic Design BFA is a four-year program that focuses on project-based learning. Students can expect to work on projects that cover book design, UX design, packaging, film graphics, and more. The program also attracts visiting artists, critics, and designers from around the world. During the junior and senior years of the program, BFA students will have the opportunity to complete a professional internship.
Through electives and workshops, students will work in various areas of graphic design during the final year of the program. To graduate, all Graphic Design BFA students will complete an independent degree project. Visiting critics are invited to review completed projects.
The Rhode Island School of Design MFA in Graphic Design has two tracks: a two-year pathway for students with an undergraduate degree in graphic design or related degree, and a three-year option for individuals with liberal arts, sciences or fine arts degrees. Both tracks allow students to customize the curriculum through cross-disciplinary electives. The first year of the two-year track consists of graduate seminars, graphic design studies, electives, and studios. During the second year, students will complete the Graduate Thesis.
In the three-year track, students will take electives, a seminar and graduate level Type Design, Form, Typography and History of Graphic Design courses during the first year. The second and third year consists of studios, seminars, electives and the thesis.
All Graphic Design MFA students share individual workspaces in a large design studio in RISD's Center for Integrative Technologies (CIT), which houses several graduate programs and the graduate student gallery. MFA students will have opportunities to interact with Digital + Media, Teaching + Learning in Art + Design, Interior Architecture, and Textiles graduate students.
Around 96% of Rhode Island School of Design graduates are employed one year after graduation, with 70% employed in positions directly related to their major. RISD Graphic Design alumni are Senior Graphic Designers, UX Designers, Product Designers, Industrial Designers, Textile Designers, Creative Designers, Art Directors, and Brand Identity Designers, among others.
Rhode Island School of Design was established in 1877, making it one of the first art and design schools in the U.S. A private, nonprofit college, RISD serves 2,576 students enrolled in more than 25 areas leading to the BFA, BArch, MA, MFA, MArch, MDES, MID, MLA, MMA, or MAT. RISD is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) and the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA). The Architecture (MArch), Landscape Architecture (MLA), and MA in Teaching (MAT) programs have special accreditation by the National Architecture Accrediting Board, Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board, and the RI Department of Education, respectively.
2. School of Visual Arts, New York, New York (Top 1% of schools considered)
The School of Visual Arts (SVA) has an interdisciplinary Design Program that offers concentrations in Graphic Design, 3D Design, Interaction Design, and Motion Graphics. Programs lead to a BFA or MFA. Students at both levels will participate in guest lectures, workshops, exhibitions, and competitions covered by CNN, NBC, and others. The program also provides complimentary membership to The One Club for Creativity, which includes The Art Directors Club and Type Directors Club.
All SVA Design students have access to the Digital Imaging Center and internship opportunities at local and national companies, as well as campus-based Visual Arts Press. Graduate students also have 24-hour access to individual, private studios.
The Design Program at School of Visual Arts allows BFA students to customize an additional area of focus within the concentration. Examples include branding, experiential design, editorial design, environmental design, package design, book jacket design, and information graphics. Course examples for BFA students include Foundations of Visual Computing, Computers in Studio I-II, Information Graphics, Toys and Games, and Design for Social Change. During the final year of the program, students will complete a Senior Project course and Portfolio. Sample projects include Designing a Business, Creative Computing for Interaction Experiences, and Differentiate or Die: How to Get a Job When You Graduate.
At the end of every academic year the Design Department hosts an Industry Review Day for graduating seniors. Designers, creative directors, and editors are invited to meet and network with students. the event is held in-person and virtually.
The MFA Design/Design as Entrepreneur covers branding, user experience, motion graphics, video, interaction, digital publishing, new media directing, and art book publishing. Because the program emphasizes leadership and entrepreneurship, other areas explored include business, marketing, networking, research, advertising, intellectual property, and ethnography. Course examples include Type for Masters, Writing and Designing the Visual Book, Designing and Branding, Intellectual Property and the Law, and Design Conception: Developing Your Venture. During the final year of the MFA program, students will complete a several seminars and the Thesis, which consists of six courses.
SVA Design alumni work for advertising agencies, marketing firms, publishing companies, design studios, nonprofit organizations, museums, and more. Some SVA alumni have even founded their own start-ups, studios, and design firms, while others have become partners in businesses and individual projects. To date, School of Visual Arts alumni have started more than 50 design studios around the world.
The School of Visual Arts (SVA) is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), and/or the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA). The school opened as the Cartoonists and Illustrators School in 1947 with 35 students and three teachers. Today, the School of Visual Arts serves more than 4,000 students enrolled in more than 30 BFA, MA, MFA, and MPS programs.
3. Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut (Top 1% of schools considered)
Yale School of Art (Yale SoA) offers an MFA In Graphic Design that takes two years to complete, full-time. Consisting of 60 credit hours, the program accepts just 12 students each year and up to six students into the preliminary-year program, which appeals to students with relevant experience in an area outside of design.
The Yale SoA Graphic Design Program consists of lectures, presentations, workshops, and exhibitions, along with immersive studio work group thesis meetings, and one-on-one sessions with editing and writing tutors. MFA students have access to more than 2,000 courses offered each year, the Sterling Memorial and Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Libraries, art and natural history museums, conferences, and films.
Other MFA program perks include designated workspaces in the design studio loft, motion capture and VR tools at the Center for Collaborative Arts and Media, and unlimited access to equipment such as the RISO Digital Duplicator, Vandercook presses, bookbinding materials, and wide format printers.
To graduate, students must complete a thesis and a portfolio. Yale SoA Graphic Design graduates are prepared to seek positions at advertising agencies, print and online publishing companies, design firms, manufacturing companies, computer systems design, web design studios, marketing companies, and public relations firms, among others.
Founded in 1701, Yale University (Yale) is one of the oldest institutes of higher learning in the U.S. A member of the Ivy League, Yale is accredited New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE). The school serves 12,060 students enrolled in 80 majors in more than 100 departments and schools including Yale College, the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, and Yale Professional Schools—including Yale School Art.
Established in 1869, Yale SoA was the nation’s first art school connected with an institution of higher learning. The school serves more than 100 students enrolled in graduate Graphic Design, Painting/Printmaking, Photography, and Sculpture programs. Yale SoA also offers an undergraduate Art major for students in Yale College.
4. The New School's Parsons School of Design, New York, New York (Top 1% of schools considered)
The New School's Parsons School of Design houses the School of Art, Media, and Technology (AMT) which has a Communication Design Program with several degree pathways. The AAS in Communication Design is a campus-based 60 credit hour program with full-time and part-time schedules. Course examples for the program include Design History & Practice, Typography & Interaction, and Professional Practices & Portfolio. The Communication Design AAS program can be completed in just two years, full-time.
The Parsons School of Design (Parsons) BFA in Communication Design is the oldest undergraduate program of its kind in the U.S. Consisting of 120 credits and STEM-designated, the program is offered on-campus, full-time. Studio course examples include Drawing/Imaging, Space/Materiality, and Time. Other courses include Design Studies, Interaction Lab, Objects as History, and Typography Lab. The Parsons BFA in Communication Design takes four years to complete.
Parsons has one option for graphic designers seeking an advanced degree. The Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Communication Design, with a Concentration in Digital Product Design is a specialized program that emphasizes teamwork strategies and collaboration. This full-time, STEM-designated program consists of 30 credits taken over one year.
Students in all Parsons School of Design programs benefit from interdisciplinary collaboration, visiting artists, lectures, and AMT events, and access to Our Making Center, which consists of 600 workstations and facilities for animation, 3D prototyping, printmaking, and motion capture.
Graduates of the Parsons School of Design AAS and BFA programs work in brand and editorial design, type design, data visualization, digital product design, exhibition design, motion graphics, UX/UI design, and environmental and spatial graphics at creative agencies, tech companies, publishing companies, cultural institutions such as MoMA and the New York Times, digital design firms, and start-ups.
Graduates of the MPS program have gone on to pursue advanced degrees in areas such as Human-Computer-Interaction (HCI). Others are Interaction Designers, Product Managers, Digital Product Designers, and Entrepreneurs.
The New School is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), with Parsons included within the scope of MSCHE accreditation. The New School was founded in 1896 as The Chase School by American Impressionist William Merritt Chase. In 1904, Arts Educator Frank Alvah Parsons joined the school, later becoming its sole director. Between 1904 and 1910, Parsons launched three programs: Advertising, Costume Design, and Interior Decoration.
Today, as one institution known as The New School Parsons, this art and design college serves more than 5,000 students enrolled in 130 degree and diploma programs. Around 275 additional students attend Parsons Paris, which offers undergraduate, graduate, minor, and summer programs.
5. California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, California (Top 2% of schools considered)
The School of Art at California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) has a Graphic Design Program with BFA and MFA options. Program features for both pathways include small, critique-based classes, communal studios with 24 hour access, mentoring, and access to School of Art facilities and labs. Courses for the programs are taught by industry professionals with years of experience.
Course examples at the undergraduate level include Design Issues, Digital Design Lab, Graphic Design I-IV, Motion, Web Design, Typography I-III, and Professional Practice for Graphic Design. Students will also complete several workshops throughout this four-year program. To enhance the degree, BFA students may add the Digital Arts Minor, which consists of 18 units of study. Students in the minor can learn about sound production and programming, and how make films, animate, and create games for the web.
The CalArts Graphic Design MFA has an Integrated Media (IM) Concentration, which combines IM seminars and critiques with specialized coursework and access to elective courses offered across the institute. Visual Literacy, Typographics IA-IB, and Graphic Design Theory are just a few required courses for the program. Students will also participate in two MFA Graphic Design Practicum workshops and Graduate Seminar I-II (Lecture) and Graduate Seminar I-II (Studio).
All California Institute of the Arts students have the opportunity to complete an internship, study abroad experience, and a portfolio of their best work.
CalArts Graphic Design alumni work in a variety of positions at Meta (formerly Facebook), Google, Walt Disney Imagineering, Art Center College of Design, Evernote, M+ Works, North Carolina State University College of Design, the Whitney Museum of Art, and Otis College of Design, among others.
California Institute of the Arts is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC). The school is also an accredited institution member of the National Association of Schools of Dance (NASD).
California Institute of the Arts traces its roots back to 1961, when Walt and Roy Disney formed the school through a merger of the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music and the Chouinard Art Institute. Today, CalArts serves nearly 1,200 students enrolled in more than 70 degree programs across six schools including the School of Critical Studies, The Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance, the School of Art, the School of Film/Video, The Herb Alpert School of Music, and the School of Theater.
6. Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York (Top 2% of schools considered)
The School of Design at Pratt Institute (Pratt) launched in 2014. The school houses the Communications Design Program, which offers BFA and MFA degrees in Communications Design. Also offered in the School of Design are the Associate of Occupational Studies (AOS) in Graphic Design, an AAS in Graphic Design/Illustration, and an MS in Packaging, Identities and Systems Design.
In addition to degree programs, Pratt Institute offers certificate programs in the School of Continuing Studies. Options for designers include Graphic Design, Digital Design, Branding & Digital Marketing, Digital Product Design, UX/UI Mobile Design, Human-Centered Design, and Motion Graphics.
The Communications Design BFA at Pratt Institute has three emphasis areas: Advertising Art Direction, Graphic Design, and Illustration. Course examples across programs include Image as Communication, Sketchbook Warehouse, Process and Production, Advertising, Emerging Practices, Typography, Illustration, Package Design, Special Topics: Publications, Freelancing & Business Illustration and Graphic Design, Typeface Design, and Sequential Art and Graphic Novel. Students in all emphasis areas may complete an internship at a field related professional site. Successful completion of the Senior Project is required to graduate.
The Graphic Design AOS and Graphic Design/Illustration AAS Programs are 66 credit hours each. The AOS is an intensive, career-track program with an all art and design curriculum. Designed for high school graduates and adults with or without a degree, the AOS includes capstone courses and internship opportunities. Course examples include Graphic Design I-II, Digital Design, Packaging Design I-II, Digital Media, Typography I-III, UI/UX Interactive Media I-II, and Advertising Design I-II. In just two years, AAS students will graduate with a professional portfolio of their best work, along with the skills needed to pursue immediate employment in graphic design, interactive media, advertising, package design, web design, illustration, game design, and publishing.
The AAS in Graphic Design/Illustration at Pratt Institute prepares students for transfer into the Fine Arts Department at Pratt Institute, the Communications Design BFA, or other school or related program of their choice. The program combines advanced art and design coursework with liberal studies. Course examples for the program include Light, Color and Design I-II, Material and 3 Dimensional Form, Illustration I-II, Themes in Art and Culture, Pre-Press and Print Production, History of Art and Design, Communication Design I-II, and UI/UX Interactive Media I.
The Communications Design MFA at Pratt Institute consists of 60 credit hours that may be completed in two years. Courses are taught by renowned professionals in the field. Students in the program will complete several studio courses, attend seminars, and complete a thesis and exhibition. Graduates of the program are prepared for academic careers, as well as leadership positions in identity systems and branding, user experience design, typography, information design, and environmental design, design strategy, print and digital media, social media and interaction design, and data visualization.
First offered in 1966, the MS in Packaging, Identities and Systems Design at Pratt consists of 48 credit hours, completed within two years. Course examples include Structural Packaging, Visual Perception, Cross-Platform Design, Packaging and the Retail Space, Sustainability and Design, Prototyping and Production, Packaging Design I-II, and Design Management. The Capstone Project is an end-of-degree course that results in a professional body of work.
Students in all programs and schools at Pratt Institute have the opportunity to enroll in one of more than 20 study abroad programs and international exchange programs in over a dozen locations such London, Milan, Florence, Tokyo, and Copenhagen.
Pratt Institute is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). Founded in 1887, Pratt serves 4,875 students across campuses in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Utica, New York. More than 50 undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs are offered in six schools including Architecture, Art, Design, Information, Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Continuing and Professional Studies.
7. Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, Maryland (Top 2% of schools considered)
Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) has a Graphic Design Program with three Concentrations: Graphic Design Studio, Book Arts Studio, and Graphic Design + Humanistic Studies. Consisting of 120 credit hours and leading to a BFA, the program consists of a three-year sequence of core design courses. Course examples include Drawing: Tradition and Innovation, Designing Information, Graphic Design I-IV, Typography I-III, Photoimaging, Flexible Design Studio, and Advanced Design I-II.
Graduates of the MICA Graphic Design BFA Program are prepared to pursue positions in advertising, marketing, public relations, entertainment, retail, architecture, multimedia, app design, social media, user experience design, and more.
At the graduate level, Maryland Institute College of Art offers Graphic Design MA (GDMA) and Graphic Design MFA (GD MFA) degrees. Housed in a loft-style studio space with dedicated computers and workspaces, the 60 credit hour GDMA prepares students for career advancement or entry into an MFA program. Program features include courses taught by industry professionals, seminars, and the GDMA Workshop, which provides the opportunity to create and exhibit a self-directed design project and a professional portfolio.
Also consisting of 60 credit hours, the GD MFA Program studio courses, seminars, and independent work. Elective options in digital media, print, and video allow students to create a focus area. Course examples include Advanced Publication Design, Design Studio I-IV, and Visiting Designers I-II. The Graphic Design MFA at MICA takes two years to complete, full-time.
Maryland Institute College of Art is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Founded in 1826, MICA is the nation’s oldest independent, continuously degree-granting college of art and design. The school serves 2,090 students from 45 states and 53 foreign countries. Forty percent of MICA students are Fine Arts majors and 60% are Design & Media Arts majors. Programs at MICA lead to a BFA, MA, MFA, or MPS degree.
8. ArtCenter College of Design, Pasadena, California (Top 2% of schools considered)
ArtCenter College of Design (ArtCenter) has a Graphic Design (Gx) Program with BFA and MFA (MGx) options. Minors in Graphic Design, Product Design, and Interaction Design are also offered through the Designmatters program, which combines studio courses, immersive, real-world studios, and Humanities & Sciences courses.
The 132-unit ArtCenter BFA in Gx explores both traditional and emerging media. Students in the program will complete 87 studio units and the remainder in Humanities & Sciences. Courses are taught by professors with expertise in packaging, transmedia design, motion, visual interaction, and print. Course examples include Narrative Sketching, Communication Design: Information and Context, Visual Interaction Design, Transmedia, Identity Systems, Graphic Design History, and Business. During the final term, BFA students will complete Portfolio and Career Preparation.
The ArtCenter College of Design MGx Program has two options: two-year and three-year. The two-year option consists of 75 units completed across four full terms, plus one ArtCenter Lite (ACL) summer term. Consisting of 86 units, the three-year option is for students who need to develop additional design skills in order to complete the graduate degree. This program consists of two additional terms. Upon successful completion of both terms, the student can enter the traditional graduate track.
Course examples across options include LinkedIn Learning, Typography 3, Design Research/Strategy, Graduate Visual Interaction Design, and Professional Leadership. MGx students will complete a number of labs, including the Portfolio Lab, and a thesis is required to graduate.
Students in all ArtCenter College of Design programs have the opportunity to intern, network, and interview with the school’s industry partners including Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Warner Bros., Meta (formerly Facebook), Apple, Ford, Mattel, Nike, Netflix, BMW, DreamWorks, Blizzard Entertainment, Walt Disney Imagineering, Riot Games, and Honda.
ArtCenter Graphic Design alumni work in branding and corporate identity, printing and poster design, package design, motion graphics, film title design, publication design, environmental graphic design, transmedia design, exhibition design, web design and development, interface ceding, visual interaction design, art direction, production management, information architecture, app design, and broadcast graphics.
Many ArtCenter graduates have been hired at Google, Meta, design and consulting firm IDEO, and Local Projects—a exhibition and media design firm for museums and public spaces.
ArtCenter College of Design is fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Founded in 1930, ArtCenter serves more than 2,000 students across campuses in Pasadena and Los Angeles, California. The school also has satellite studios in Petersen Automotive Museum (Miracle Mile, Los Angeles) and Berlin, Germany.
ArtCenter College of Design offers 11 undergraduate programs, seven graduate degree program leading to an MFA or MS, a joint MS/MBA program, and undergraduate minors in Business, Creative Writing, Material Science, Research, and Social Innovation.
9. Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, Georgia (Top 3% of schools considered)
Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) has a Graphic Design Program that offers degrees at all levels. Graphic Design students have the option to complete a BA, BFA, MA or MFA at campuses in Savannah or Atlanta, and online. Program features include courses taught by industry professionals from companies such as Hasbro, Google, and Airbnb, access to events such as SCADstyle, which attracts the biggest names in modern design, fashion, and global art, and individual critiques and mentoring by top professionals in the design industry.
All SCAD Graphic Design options offer the opportunity to add a minor to enhance the degree. Some of the most popular choices include Advertising, Mobile and Interactive Design, Advertising Copywriting, Mobile and Interactive Design, Advertising and Branding, and User Experience Design. Undergraduate students may also add a certificate such as Digital Publishing.
Graduates of the Graphic Design Program at Savannah College of Art go on to establish careers at major companies such as Apple, Verizon, IBM, Under Armour, and Ralph Lauren. Some program alumni have gone on to launch their own design studios, while others have established successful freelance careers.
Savannah College of Art and Design is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Founded in 1978, the school opened in 1979 with just 71 students, one classroom, and an administration building. Today, SCAD serves more than 15,000 students across campuses in Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia, and Lacoste, France.
Offering more than 100 degree programs and over 75 minors and certificate programs, Savannah College of Art and Design has more degree programs and specializations than any other art and design college in the U.S.
10. Ringling College of Art and Design, Sarasota, Florida (Top 3% of colleges considered)
Ringling College of Art and Design (RCAD) has a Graphic Design Program that launched in 1980. Available pathways include a 120 credit hour BFA and a 15 credit hour Minor. Program features include an immersive, studio-based curriculum, visiting artists from major studios such as DreamWorks, internships opportunities, and the opportunity to work on real-world projects with local businesses and at The Design Center—RCAD’s in-house design firm.
Course examples across programs include Graphic Design I-VI, Development of Art & Ideas, Design & Typography, 3D Problem Solving, 4D Design, New Media UI/UX, Drawing & 2D Design, Visual Persuasion Designing with Type, and Literature and Media Studies.
Graduates of the Ringling College of Art and Design Graphic Design Program are prepared for careers in many different industries. Examples include Advertising Director, Visual Identity Art Director, Conceptual Designer, Packaging Designer, Logo Designer, Global Brand manager, Digital Image Artist, Editorial Designer, Licensing Production Artist, Motion Graphics Designer, UI/UX Designer, Book Designer, and Communications Director.
RCAD alumni have been hired by companies such as Saatchi & Saatchi X, Microsoft, Walt Disney Imagineering, Google, Nickelodeon, Wieden+Kennedy, Meta (formerly Facebook), Leo Burnett, BBC Studios, Walt Disney Imagineering, Instagram, and Arc Worldwide.
Ringling College of Art and Design is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). A private, not-for-profit college, RCAD has been around since 1931, when it was co-founded by circus baron, John Ringling. Serving nearly 1,700 students from 54 countries, 45 states, and four territories, Ringling College of Art and Design offers eleven majors leading to a BFA degree, two majors leading to a BA, and minor options in 10 areas.
11. Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Top 3% of schools considered)
The College of Fine Arts (CFA) at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) houses the School of Design, which offers a Bachelor of Design (BDes). Equivalent to the BFA degree, the BDes has three tracks: Communications (Graphic Design), Products (Industrial Design), and Environments (Physical and Digital). BDes students have the option to focus in one or all three areas or pursue a focus that combines two of the three tracks. CMU BDes alumni have worked on a number of major projects including the Pinterest interface design, typefaces for The Guardian, the title sequence of the Spiderman movie, and the Starbucks logo.
The School of Design at Carnegie Mellon University has several other options for undergraduate students seeking a degree or program that combines liberal arts and design with interdisciplinary studies across pathways. The most notable option is the interdisciplinary BXA. The curriculum combines components of the CMU Bachelor of Humanities and Arts (BHA), Bachelor of Science and Arts (BSA), and the Bachelor of Computer Science and Arts (BCSA). BXA students may add a Design Concentration, which consists of 98 units of required courses and 10 units of Design electives. Course examples include Design Lab, Collaborative Visualizing, Design Studies: Systems, Prototyping Lab, and Studio I: Form and Context. Graduates of this program go on to work in user research, strategic planning, and information systems analysis, among other areas.
Another option is the Design Minor. Consisting of 54 units (including 27 units of design electives), the Design Minor is open to students who wish to add design to their current major. So, a Computer Science student who would like to add a design component to their program may enroll in the Minor. Course examples for the program include Design for Interactions for Communications, Design for Interactions for Products, and Human Experience in Design.
Finally, Carnegie Mellon University offers a unique program—Integrative Design, Arts, and Technology (IDeATe)—that allows students to add a concentration in areas such as animation and special effects, intelligent environments, media design, entrepreneurship for creative industries, physical computing, game design, sound design, learning media, and media design.
Graduate programs for designers include a one-year Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Design, a two-year MDes in Design, and a PhD in Transition Design. The CMU Design graduate programs are interdisciplinary and offer seminar and studio courses, with hands-on exposure to design processes, skills, and thinking.
Graduate students across programs will take courses such as Studio + Lab: Designing for Interactions, Studio: Research Based Design for Interactions, Seminar: Advanced Interaction & Service Design Concepts, Communication Design Studio: Theory & Practice, Design Research Methods, Seminar: Interaction & Service Design Concepts, Transition Design, Experiential Futures, Framing Proposals for change, and Design Writing Workshop.
MDes students will complete a Thesis across four courses, while MPS students may complete an optional Colloquium. During years two and three, PhD students will complete Research I, II, III & IV. During the final year of the program, students will assemble their dissertations (40-80K words) across Coda I & II.
Carnegie Mellon University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). Founded in 1900, CMU serves more than 14,500 students enrolled in 200+ programs in seven colleges and schools. With more than 400 start-ups to the school’s credit, Carnegie Mellon University also has over a dozen locations that provide degree programs, as well as 20+ research partnerships in Silicon Valley, Australia, Africa, and Qatar.
12. California College of the Arts, San Francisco and Oakland, California (Top 3% of schools considered)
California College of the Arts (CCA) has several options for designers seeking a degree at the undergraduate or graduate level. The BFA in Graphic Design provides access to a dedicated studio space, a Prototyping Studio, the Hybrid Lab, where students can explore virtual reality and other emerging technologies, and the Book Arts and Letterpress studio, which houses bookbinding equipment and lithography presses.
The CCA Graphic Design BFA begins with the First Year Experience where students explore a range of techniques, tools, and materials, and participate in studio projects and critiques. Course examples for this 120 credit hour program include Advanced Interactive, Typography 1-3, Graphic Design Tools, 2D, 3D, and, and Professional Practice Workshop. Students will complete an internship, and a Thesis is required to graduate.
At the graduate level, California College of the Arts offers an MFA in Design with a focus on Graphic, Interaction, and Industrial Design. Students have two options. The two-year option is designed for students with experience in one or more areas of design. The three-year option is for students with an undergraduate degree in an unrelated area. The first year of this program allows students to develop design skills in preparation for the traditional two-year curriculum.
While the CCA MFA in Design provides the opportunity to explore Graphic, Interaction, and Industrial Design, students may concentrate in either area. Course examples for the program include Contemporary Design practice, Expanded Tools, Business of Design, Scripting Graphics, The Studio 1 and 2, and Thesis Studio 1 and 2. Examples of electives include Digital type Design, Sound, Music & Technology, and Interaction Theory. Students in all CCA Design Programs benefit from the lecture series, workshops, visiting designers, the annual Headlands Center for the Arts Retreat, exhibitions for studio and year-end work, and access to the Materials Library.
Graduates of the Design Programs at California College of the Arts go on to become Graphic Designers, Project Managers, Product Designers, UI/UX Designers, Curators, Research and Development Technologists, Entrepreneurs, and Educators, among others.
Companies and organizations that have hired CCA graduates include Google, Apple, Meta (formerly Facebook), The New York Times, and Adobe, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, IDEO, and Headlands Center for the Arts, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
California College of the Arts is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), and the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). The school opened in 1907 as the School of the California Guild of Arts and Crafts. On the first day of class, CCA had just three teachers and 43 students. Today, California College of the Arts employs 420 faculty members that serve just over 1,600 students enrolled in more than 40 undergraduate, graduate, minors, and dual degree options.
13. Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri (Top 4% of colleges considered)
The College of Art at Washington University in St. Louis (WashU) is home to the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, which houses the Communication Design Program. Degree options include the 120 credit hour BA and the 121 credit hour BFA in Studio Art & Design/Communication Design.
For both programs, students will begin by working with an academic advisor to customize initial coursework and create a schedule. Students will then move on to core studios in 2D and 3D Design, Drawing, and Digital, supplemented by seminars. As students enter the second semester of the junior year, they will customize their own major courses. Course examples include Global Topics in Visual Communications, Letterpress Printing, Applied Illustration, Semiotics Studio: Designing Signs and Symbols, Programming Design, Content to Cover: The Design of Books, Type as Image: Experiments on Press, UX Research Methods for Design, and Multimedia Design: Time/Sound/Space.
Courses for the WashU Communication Design Program are supplemented by seminars and readings. In Professional Practice seminars, students will develop skills such as portfolio development, CV creation, interviewing, searching for jobs and internships, and public speaking.
In the senior year of the BFA Program, students will complete a final project (capstone), which may be a digital experience, illustrated book, screen-based presentation, graphic novel/mini-comic, or other work. The Senior Capstone will be presented in a public exhibition and reviewed by local design professionals.
Washington University in St. Louis has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) since 1913. Founded in 1853, the school serves nearly 16,250 students enrolled in more than 300 academic programs in seven schools. The Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts was founded in 2006 after the merging of the academic units of Architecture and Art, and the Washington University in St. Louis Museum.
14. School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois (Top 4% of schools considered)
The Visual Communication Design (VCD) Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) has undergraduate, graduate, and certificate options for students interested in graphic design.
The VCD Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Studio is a one-year, 30-credit program consisting of art history courses, seminars, and studio seminars. Upon completion of the Certificate Program, students may enter the MFA in Studio Program.
The 60 credit hour MFA in Studio is an interdisciplinary pathway that allows students to explore other SAIC departments such as Film, Video, New Media, and Animation (FVNMA), Designed Objects, Intermedia, Writing, Architecture, Photography, and Interior Architecture. Besides interdisciplinary studies, a major component of the MFA in Studio is the opportunity to complete a graduate project every semester.
Students will work one-on-one with a faculty member and they may sign up with artists, writers, and other academics from other SAIC departments. Graduate seminars, such as Form-Configuration-Content and Narrative Architectures, are also part of the program. Successful completion of a thesis is required to graduate.
The BFA in Studio with a Concentration in VCD focuses on physical media (environments, objects and print) and virtual media (interactive and time-based media). Course examples for the program include Image Studio, Identity Systems, Advanced Typography, 4D Design: Manipulating Media, Envisioning Information, Dynamic Information Visualization, Electronic Publications, UI/UX Responsive Web Design, Package Design, and Advanced Motion Graphics.
VCD BFA students are encouraged to complete a Career and Professional Experience (CAPX) internship and participate in the Fall or Spring Exhibition, and the year-end Visual Communication Design Show. Graduates will leave the SAIC VCD Program with a professional portfolio of their best work.
Students in all SAIC Design Programs have access to the VCD AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Arts) chapter, which hosts local visiting designers, tours of Chicago studios, the annual Town Hall AIGA event, and a biannual portfolio preparation seminar. The VCD Department also offers the opportunity for students to participate in juror-led student workshops, entry jurying, and jurors’ lectures through the Chicago International Poster Biennial (CIPB).
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). SAIC has also been accredited as a charter member by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) since 1948. Founded in 1866, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago is one of the oldest accredited independent schools of art and design in the country. Serving more than 3,500 students, SAIC offers more than 50 areas of study in 24 academic departments.
15. Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Minneapolis, Minnesota (Top 4% of schools considered)
Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) offers a BFA in Graphic Design, an MA in Graphic and Web Design, an interdisciplinary MFA, and a fully online User Experience (UX) Design Certificate.
Students in all MCAD Design programs will participate in critiques, collaborative projects, and hands-on training experiences through internships and other experiential learning activities. Students in all programs also have the option to study abroad in places such Japan, Germany, Ireland, England, Italy, or anywhere in the U.S.
The 120 credit hour BFA in Graphic Design combines core courses, foundation studies and studio electives with humanities and sciences coursework. Course examples for the program include Liberal Arts Advanced Seminar, Art and Globalization in the Atlantic World, Applied Art and Design Objects, Graphic Design 1-2, Digital Production, Publication Design, Type Plus, Web and Screen, Coding Concepts, and Advanced Graphic Design Seminar. MCAD BFA students will also complete Senior Project: Graphic Design, worth six credit hours.
The MCAD MA in Graphic and Web Design is a 30 credit hour program that explores typography, web design and programming, design principles, ideation, workflow management, and research. Students in this program can expect to work in teams with peers and professionals in the industry to complete projects and solve problems. Course examples for the program include Typography, User Experience Design, Experimental Interaction, Design in Context, and Motion Design.
The 60 credit hour Interdisciplinary MFA highlights independent and collaborative studios, one-on-one work with a mentor, and the opportunity to pursue creative work in multiple areas. Examples include graphic design, web and multimedia, paper and book arts, experimental video/film, web and multimedia, comic arts, animation, printmaking, illustration, photography, installation, drawing/painting, and public arts.
Graduates of the Design Programs at Minneapolis College of Art and Design go on to establish careers such as Graphic Designer, Brand and Logo Designer, Production Artist, Editorial Illustrator, User-Experience (UX) Designer, Art Director, Front-End Developer, Creative Director and Web Designer, among others. MCAD alumni work for design firms, start-ups, publishing houses, large corporations, museums, government agencies, small businesses, and production studios. Some graduates have launched their own design studios or other creative firms.
Minneapolis College of Art and Design is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) and the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). MCAD is also affiliated with the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD).
Established in 1886, Minneapolis College of Art and Design serves more than 800 students. The school offers 14 undergraduate majors leading to a BFA or BS, three MA programs, including the new MA in Creative Leadership (launching summer 2022), one MFA program, and five professional development certificate programs.
16. Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah (Top 4% of colleges considered)
The College of Fine Arts and Communications at Brigham Young University (BYU) houses the Department of Design, which offers a BFA in Graphic Design. An Online Graphic Design Fundamentals Certificate is available through BYU-Idaho and BYU-Pathway Worldwide.
The BFA is a limited enrollment program of 40 students. Students must complete 120 credit hours to graduate, including 72.5-73.5 in the major. Course examples include Branding, 3-Dimensional Design, Interaction Design, Design Lab, Typography, Design Thinking, Motion, Bookbinding, Letterpress Studio, and Illustration Fundamentals. Graphic Design BFA students are encouraged to complete a professional internship after their Junior year in the program.
The BYU Graphic Design Fundamentals Certificate is a 15 credit hour program that explores conceptual design, typography, and visual design. Building into the BAS in Professional Studies degree, the Certificate Program consists of 15 credit hours. Courses include Introduction to Graphic Design, Graphic Design, Creating Online Media, Typography, and User Experience Design. Potential careers for graduates of the BYU Graphic Design Fundamentals Certificate Program include Junior Graphic Designer, Marketing Production Artist, Design Assistant, and Junior Production Artist.
Graduates of the Brigham Young University Graphic Design BFA Program work in design-related disciplines such as experience and service design, branding and product design, publishing and interaction design, and web design and mobile app development, motion graphics, and data visualization. They work at advertising agencies, traditional design studios, and interactive agencies or on internal teams at a variety of businesses, corporations, and organizations. Some graduates go on to establish successful freelance careers or launch their own design studios.
Brigham Young University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). The school was founded in 1875 as Brigham Young Academy (BYA) by Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints President Brigham Young. With nearly 35,000 students enrolled in close to 400 degree programs and minors, BYU is the one of the largest private universities in the U.S.
17. The Cooper Union, New York, New York (Top 5% of schools considered)
The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art (Cooper Union) houses the School of Art, which offers a BFA in Art. This flexible, 130 credit hour program allows students to choose courses from seven disciplines upon completion of the first year Foundation Program. Options include Graphic Design, Printmaking, Drawing, Photography, Audiovisual, Painting, and Sculpture. In the Junior year of the Art BFA Program, students may take electives from the Schools of Architecture and Engineering to enhance the degree.
The Senior year consists of advanced coursework, seminar and studio courses, and development of the Senior Presentation for public viewing. Course examples include Four-Dimensional Design, Independent Study in Calligraphy, Animation Workshop, Advanced Drawing, Graphic Design I-II, Art of the Book, Information Design, Experimental Typography, Publication Design, Interactive Design Concepts, Motion Graphics, and Advanced Interactive Design Concepts: Computational Media.
All Cooper Union students have the opportunity to complete an internship and/or study abroad experience. Art BFA graduates are prepared to pursue careers in Advertising and Public Relations, Marketing, Design, Publishing, Package Design, Motion Graphics, Web Design, Entertainment, and many others.
The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art has been accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) since 1946. Founded in 1859 by industrialist, inventor, and philanthropist Peter Cooper, Cooper Union is one of the nation’s oldest institutions of higher education.
Serving close to 900 students, this all-honor private college awards all admitted undergraduate students a half-tuition scholarship currently valued at $22,275 per academic year. Programs at Cooper Union are offered in the Irwin S. Chann School of Architecture, School of Art, Albert Nerken School of Engineering, and the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences.
18. Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles, California (Top 5% of schools considered)
The Communication Department at Otis College of Art and Design (OTIS) offers a BFA in Communication Arts with an Emphasis in Graphic Design and an MFA in Graphic Design. A 16 credit hour Minor in Advertising Design is available, as well as a 16-course Graphic Design Certificate through OTIS College Extension.
The BFA Program emphasizes collaboration, cross-disciplinary studies, craft, and presentation skills. Formats covered include package design, apps, branding and logo development, websites, interactive design, books, and posters. Students will learn about UX/UI design, printmaking and traditional letterpress, storyboarding, typography and type design, and motion sequences design.
Course examples for the OTIS Graphic Design BFA Program include History of Graphic Design, Illustration, and Advertising Design Type and Alternative Media, Systems and Identity Design, Advanced Image Making Projects, Creative Action Studio, and Creative Practices. Students may add the Advertising Minor to enhance the degree.
During the final year of the Graphic Design Program, students will complete the Senior Thesis/Research Paper course, Senior Project/Seminar, and a Capstone Project.
The OTIS Graphic Design MFA features an accelerated curriculum running four consecutive semesters over 14 months. The program, which typically begins in the summer semester, consists of courses in history and design theory, studio projects, round table discussions, and workshops led by visiting artists and designers. Course examples for the program include Models of Practice, Seminar Studio I-IV, Contemporary Graphic Design Issues, and Entrepreneurship.
Graduates of the BFA and MFA Programs at OTIS College of Art and Design have been hired at Amazon, Capitol Records, Apple, Ogilvy Worldwide, Google, GUESS, Anthropologie, Disney Consumer Products, Young & Rubicam, Deutsch Inc., L.A., Hallmark, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Interscope Records, Metro, Conde Nast Publications, Gehry Partners, the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SciArc), and WB Network, among others.
Otis College of Art and Design is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC). The school is also a member of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD). Founded in 1918, OTIS is Los Angeles’ oldest professional school of the arts. Serving more than 1,200 students, the school offers 11 BFA degree programs and MFA degrees in Fine Arts, Graphic Design, Public Practice, and Writing. A variety of minors and certificate programs are also available. Programs and courses at Otis College of Art and Design are led by more than 430 professors—all active professionals in their respective fields.
19. University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California (Top 5% of colleges considered)
University of Southern California (USC) is home to the USC Gayle Garner Roski School of Art and Design. First organized in 1883 and founded in 1895, USC Roski is one of Southern California’s oldest art and design schools. Besides a long history in the arts and design, Roski students benefit from an experimental and collaborative approach to learning, cross-disciplinary curriculums, hands-on studio courses, internship opportunities at places such as DreamWorks, National Geographic, MTV and Lego, and study abroad experiences Italy, London, Australia, and South Africa.
Degree options for designers include the BFA, MFA, and the Dual BFA/MFA Progressive Degree in Design. A Minor in Communication Design is also available. The Design BFA is a 128-unit, intensive, four-year pre-professional degree that requires a complementary Minor such as Advertising, Communication, Designing Products, Marketing, Digital Experiences, Business, Multimedia Experiences, or Entrepreneurship. Students may also choose 26 units of electives to customize a specialization in any area of design or other discipline. Selections may be from Roski or non-Roski courses from across USC.
Course examples for the Design BFA Program include Art and Design Studio I-II, 3D Design: Materials and Tools, Publication Design, Web Design, Advanced Design Projects, and Professional Practice in Design. Professional Internship in the Arts is a required component of the program, as well as the Senior Thesis completed over two courses.
The USC Roski Design MFA requires at least 56 units of study, including 26 elective units. Eighteen elective units must be from Roski School of Art and Design, and eight can be from departments and schools outside Roski. Suggest electives include Design Studio Co-Lab, Design Pedagogy, Directed Research, Design Study Tour, and Field Internship Experience. Examples of required courses for the program include Design Theory, Contemporary Issues in Design, Designers in Residence Forums, Individual Studies, and Advancement. MFA students will also complete a Master’s Thesis.
In addition to all USC Roski has to offer, MFA students benefit from the school’s partnership with organizations such as the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) and the opportunity to participate in discussions, seminars, and visits from leaders in the design industry.
The Communication Design Minor consists of 24 units and includes coursework in digital imaging, business, communication, visual literacy, marketing, and public relations. Specific course examples include Ideas in Intermedia, Marketing of Creative Disruption and Innovation, Advertising Media and Analysis, Video Installation and Moving Image Environments, Business and Professional Communication, and The Cultures of New Media. Communication Design Minors also have the opportunity to participate in the New York Design and International Study Tours, or the Practicum in Advertising and Promotion.
Graduates of USC Roski School of Art and Design have been hired by hundreds of top companies, studios and other organizations. Examples include Conde Nast, Cisco, Pinterest, American Apparel, PETA, NBCUniversal, DreamWorks Animation, J. Crew, Disney Interactive, MTV Networks, BCBGMAXAZRIA, Skechers, Vogue, L’Oreal, Paramount Pictures, DirectTV, 20th Century Fox, Fandango, Macy’s, E! Entertainment, Harper’s Bazaar Magazine, The Walt Disney Company, Marvel Studios, Mattel, Oliver Peoples, American Express, and Beats.
The University of Southern California is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC). Established in 1880 and serving 49,500 students across several campuses and centers, and 23 schools and divisions, USC is the oldest private research university in California and it is the largest private sector employer in the City of Los Angeles. The University of Southern California offers 600 graduate and professional programs in the areas of business, law, engineering, film, occupational therapy, pharmacy, and medicine.
20. Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida (Top 5% of colleges considered)
Full Sail University has a Graphic Design BS Program that may be completed in 20 months on-campus or 29 months online. Program features for both tracks include a project-based curriculum, hands-on experience with entertainment and media companies, seven project and portfolio courses, several Professional Development Seminars, and a four credit hour Career Readiness course. Other course examples include Creating Brand Experience, Interactive Editorial Design, Typography and Page Layout, Technology in the Entertainment and Media Industries, Logos and Symbols, and Digital Publishing, Graphic Design BS graduates are prepared to pursue positions at advertising agencies, marketing firms, and public relations firms, magazines and book publishers, web design companies, design studios, and more. Some graduates go on to pursue an advanced degree such as Full Sail University’s Media Design MFA.
Offered 100% online, the Full Sail MFA Program explores client communications, motivational theories, team dynamics, and research. Course examples include Organizational Structures, Defining Client Needs, Design Strategies and Motivation, Design Research, and Measuring Design Effectiveness. Courses are five credit hours each and the MFA Program takes just 12 months to complete, full-time.
Full Sail University is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC). The school opened in 1979 in Dayton, Ohio. Today, Full Sail is located just 35 minutes from downtown Orlando and Universal Studios. Serving approximately 21,000 students, Full Sail University offers degree programs and graduate certificates in the Arts, Entertainment, Media, and Technology.
21. 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 BFA in Graphic Design, an Art History and Studio (Graphic Design) double major, and a Creative Writing and Studio (Graphic Design) double major. All Graphic Design students benefit from interactions with visiting artists, the internship program, and faculty-led travel experiences in places such as France, Vietnam, Argentina, Peru, and Thailand.
In all pathways, students will take courses such as Type Image 1 & 2, Media Inquiry, Information & Data, Social Inquiry, Branding & Identity, Graphic Design Histories, and Interaction Inquiry. For Art History and Studio double majors, courses may include Contemporary Art, Global/Comparative Art, Modern Art, Baroque Art, and Art History Seminar. Creative Writing and Studio double majors will complete 15 credit hours of literature courses and 12 credits in Creative Writing Workshop. Writing Seminar and Critical Studies I-II are also part of this program.
Graduates of the Kansas City Art Institute Graphic Design Programs have landed positions with a wide variety of companies and organizations. Examples include Nickelodeon, The Getty Museum, Pentagram, Airbnb, Radius, Fossil, Salesforce, Hallmark, Populous, Barkley, Design Army, VML, Hyperakt, and R/GA.
Kansas City Art Institute is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA) and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Established in 1885 as a Sketch Club, KCAI serves more than 700 students enrolled in 13 majors in 15 program areas.
22. Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York (Top 6% of colleges considered)
Syracuse University (SU) houses the College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA), home to the School of Design and the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. A BFA in Communications Design is offered in the VPA School of Design, and a Bachelor’s in Graphic Design is available in the Newhouse School-Visual Communications Department.
Students in the BFA in Communications Design Program benefit from individual and group collaborations, projects covering everything from advertising to web and social media, internship opportunities with local and national companies, and the opportunity to study abroad in London through Syracuse Study Abroad. Course examples for this 120 credit hour program include Digital Tools for Designers, Communication Design Problems, Design Skills & Processes, Design Project management, Studio 1: Practices of Academic Writing, and Studio 2: Critical Research Writing.
During the final year of the VPA Communications Design Program, students will complete the Portfolio & Practice course. Final portfolios will be displayed at the annual two-day Senior Portfolio Show in New York City. Graduates of the program work at top firms across the country as Designer, Creative Directors, and more.
The Newhouse School Bachelor’s in Graphic Design explores design as it relates to digital, web, print, and video. Course examples include Typographic Graphic Design, User Interface and User Experience (UI/UX) Design, and Introduction to Graphic Design. A major component of the program is the Fall Workshop. Established in 1999, the Workshop hosts industry professionals from around the world that serve as mentors for student projects. The Newhouse School Graphic Design Bachelor’s Degree Program prepares students for creative careers advertising, branding, publishing, augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR), UI/UX, and web design, among others.
Graduates of the Syracuse University Newhouse Graphic Design Program have been recruited by Google, The Washington Post, Amazon, and many others. Some program alumni have gone on to launch their own creative agencies and studios.
Syracuse University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). Founded in 1870, the school serves around 21,330 students from all 50 states and 120 countries. More than 200 majors and minors, and 200 advanced degree programs, are offered across SU’s 13 colleges and schools. In addition to campuses in Syracuse, and Manhattan, New York, Washington DC, and Los Angeles, Syracuse University operates overseas centers in France, Italy, London, Poland, Chile, and Spain.
23. Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, New York (Top 6% of colleges considered)
Rochester Institute of Technology’s (RIT) College of Art and Design houses the School of Design, which has undergraduate and graduate programs for graphic designers. The BFA in Graphic Design is a 120 credit hour program that provides opportunities to gain industry experience through cooperative education and internships with top companies in New York and across the country. Coursework for the program also provides learning experiences through collaborative class projects with RIT partners such as Starbucks, Kraft, and Unilever.
BFA students will study everything from branding and identity systems to UI/UX. Senior electives allow students to choose advanced coursework in an area that interests them. Examples include Editorial Design, Interactive Design III, Packaging Systems Collaborative, Packing Systems Projects, Typography III, and Advertising Design. All students will take four Graphic Design Studio courses, Design Systems I-II, Experiential Graphic Design, Interactive Design I-II, Motion Design I-II, and Professional Practices. The RIT Graphic Design BFA culminates with a Graphic Design Capstone and final public exhibition.
Graduates of the Rochester Institute of Technology Graphic Design Program are prepared to pursue positions such as Product Designer, Associate Art Director, Junior Graphic Designer, Illustrator, Digital Product Designer, Motion Designer, UI/UX Designer, Promotions Marketing Coordinator, Presentation Designer, Social Media Director, Identity/Packaging Designer, and UI/UX Designer, among others.
At the graduate level, RIT offers a 60 credit hour, STEM-designated MFA in Visual Communication Design that explores graphic, motion, and interactive design, UI/UX design, 3D digital design, and design studies. The program is cross-disciplinary, allowing students customize the curriculum with coursework from other programs and departments. Like the BFA Program, the MFA program offers access to cooperative education and internship opportunities, as well as workshops, state-of-the art production facilities and studio spaces, and networking through RIT’s Creative Industry Day.
Course and elective examples for the program include 3D Modeling and Motion, Design Studies Seminar, Character Design and Rigging, 3D Particles and Dynamics, Design Praxis I-II, Real Time Design, Branding and Identity Design, Programming for Designers, UX Design Strategies, Information Design, Digital Media Integration, and Project Design and Implementation.
With a 100% outcome rate, graduates of the Rochester Institute of Technology VCD MFA Program go on to secure employment in positions such as Senior Visual Designer, Graphic and UI/UX Designer, Product Designer, Motion Graphic Designer, User Experience Researcher, Game Producer, and Cinematographer and Editor, among others.
Rochester Institute of Technology is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). Dating back to 1829, the school serves more than 19,000 students, making it one of the largest private universities in the U.S. With additional campuses in China, Croatia, Dubai, and Kosovo, RIT offers more than 200 academic programs across 11 colleges and institutes.
24. Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts (Top 6% of colleges considered)
The School of Visual Arts (SVA) at Boston University (BU) has a Graphic Design Program with BFA, MFA, and Certificate options. Housed in the College of Fine Arts, SVA is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Established in 1954, the School provides immersive studio experiences, internship opportunities, workshops, seminars, unique electives, and minors that complement any design program. All Graphic Design students also have access to state-of-the-art facilities such as the Engineering Production Innovation Center (EPIC), the Visual Arts Resource Library, Darkrooms, Computer Labs, and the Media Center. Graduate students have 24/7 access to individual private studios.
The BU Graphic Design Certificate Program is designed for students with a bachelor’s degree with little to no experience in graphic design. This one-year, intensive program requires 30 credit hours of study including core studios, typography, and electives. Graduates of this program are prepared for positions in the industry or for entry into the Graphic Design MFA Program.
Consisting of 60 credit hours, the MFA Program hosts visiting artists and designers, workshops, and group critiques. Through BU’s partnership with AIGA Boston, MFA students have opportunities to network with industry leaders through campus events and visits to area studios. Of the 60 required credit hours, 32 are in Graduate Graphic Design courses. Other requirements include Graphic Design Theory I-II, History of Graphic Design, and Graduate Typography. Twelve required elective credit hours allow students to explore additional areas within and outside of design.
In the Boston University Graphic Design BFA Program, students have the opportunity to specialize in an area of interested through electives. Examples include Exhibition Design, Design for the Web, Editorial Design, Motion Graphics, Interactive Design, and Experience Design. Consisting of 132 credit hours, the BFA curriculum is cross-disciplinary with course options from the Faculty of Computing & Data Sciences, [email protected], Hariri Institute for Computing, the College of Communication, and Questrom School of Business.
Other BU BFA Program benefits include partnerships with area design studios and businesses that lead to internships and employment and the study abroad program in Venice, Italy. Past students have also participated in a two-week design intensive in Amsterdam and a two-week Printmaking workshop at the Franz Masareel Centrum in Kasterlee, Belgium.
Graduates of the Boston University Graphic Design Programs have held positions at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (MSLO), Converse, and Free People, to name a few. Some program alumni have launched their own design studios or creative firms, while others have found success as freelance designers.
Boston University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE). With more than 300 programs of study offered in 22 colleges, divisions, and schools, BU serves close to 33,680 students across a 175-acre campus that houses close to 3,000 buildings, laboratories, classrooms, and libraries. With 10,000 faculty and staff, BU is Boston’s largest employer. While Boston University can be traced back to 1839, where it began as the Newbury Biblical Institute, the school was officially chartered in 1869.
25. Academy of Art University, San Francisco, California (Top 7% of schools considered)
The Academy of Art University has graphic design programs at all degree levels. Housed in the School of Graphic Design and leading to an AA, BFA, MA, MFA or Certificate, the programs explore branding, experience design, print, packaging, communication design, innovation, editorial design, typography, user experience, environmental design, and motion graphics. Students work with all forms of media including traditional, digital, emerging, and interactive.
Course examples across programs include Branding Principles, Design Technology: Visual Design Tools, Human-Centered Design, Information Design, Package Design 3: Advanced 3D Branding, Social Media Strategy, The Power of Signs: Semiotics & The Visual Arts, Type Systems, Typography: Hierarchy and Form, User Experience Design, Visual Literacy, and Web Design.
Depending on the program, students will complete a final project or thesis. All students have the option to complete an internship. Graduates will leave the Graphic Design Programs with a professional portfolio.
Academy of Art University graduates have been recruited by Apple, Google, IDEO, Nike, R/GA, Square, and The Clorox Company, among others. Job titles include Art Director, Creative Director, Graphic Designer, Product Designer, Service Designer, and User Experience Designer.
Academy of Art University is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC). Founded in 1929, Academy of Art University is a family-owned private university that serves more than 7,000 students. Academy of Art is also one of the nation’s largest private art and design schools. Divided into 22 schools, Academy of Art University offers more than 129 degree programs in 40+ areas of study. Programs lead to the AA, BA, BFA, BS, B. Arch, MAT, MA, MFA and M. Arch degrees.
26. Columbia College Chicago, Chicago, Illinois (Top 7% of colleges considered)
Columbia College Chicago (Columbia or Columbia College) houses the School of Fine and Performing Arts, which offers BA, second BA, and BFA degrees in Graphic Design. A 21 credit our Graphic Design Minor is also available. This program explores graphic design, typography, visual culture, and website design.
The second BA degree program is designed for students who have earned a bachelor’s degree in another area. Students in the traditional BA Program may choose a concentration and a minor or double major. Concentration options include Web Design and Publication Design. Minors that complement the program include Creative Advertising, Design Management, Entrepreneurship, Marketing, Motion Graphics, Photography, and User Experience.
Majors that complement the BA Program include Advertising, Arts Management, Communication, Computer Animation, Illustration, Immersive Media, Interaction Design, Marketing, Public Relations, and Social Media and Digital Strategy.
The Columbia College Graphic Design BFA allows students to study in multiple areas of art and design. Course examples for the program include Design Lab, Design Thinking, Experimental Typography, Graphic Design I-V (various topics), Letterpress Studio, Motion Graphics, Photo Communication, Publication Design, and Website Design.
Both the BA and BFA programs begin with foundations courses and cover design programs such as Illustrator, InDesign, and Photoshop. All Graphic Design students have opportunities to complete an internship. Past placements include Leo Burnett, 50000feet Creative Agency, Foot, Cone & Belding, and Pivot Design. The programs culminate with the production of a professional portfolio of the student’s best work.
Graduates of the Graphic Design Programs at Columbia College work as designers, creative directors, and brand designers at startups, design firms, ad agencies, nonprofits, and major corporations. Examples include Cards Against Humanity, Google, Fjord (part of Accenture Interactive), Leo Burnett, Modern Luxury, One Design Company, and Time Zone One.
Columbia College Chicago is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Founded in 1890 as the Columbia School of Oratory, Columbia serves 7,000 students enrolled in more than 150 majors, minors, and graduate programs. In addition to offering programs in creative areas such as communication and writing, media and digital, and music and sound, Columbia offers business management programs.
27. University of the Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Top 7% of colleges considered)
The College of Art, Media & Design at the University of the Arts (UArts) houses the School of Design, which offers BFA degrees in Graphic Design and Illustration. The Illustration BFA is cross-disciplinary, so students will work with other students in majors such as Graphic Design, Product Design, Interaction Design, Fine Arts, and Animation. In addition to training students in industry software such as After Effects, Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, and InDesign, the Illustration BFA curriculum explores typography, traditional and experimental painting methods, anatomy, and developing narratives. Specialized graphic design courses are also part of the program.
Graduates of the UArts Illustration BFA Program have worked with The New Yorker, Random House, ESPN, Rolling Stone, The New York Times, Fortune, and Ralph Lauren, among others.
The UArts Graphic Design BFA is a 120 credit hour cross-disciplinary program that provides collaboration and networking opportunities with local non-profits, social agencies, and arts organizations. Course examples include Drawing as Seeing and Meaning, Typography I-III, Design History, Digital Design Lab, Design for Persuasive Visual Communication, Real World Design, Image and Narrative, Design for Interaction, School of Design Workshop, and Editorial Systems.
BFA students have the opportunity to complete unpaid and paid internships with major companies and studios such as Cartoon Network, Urban Outfitters, and Sterling Publishing. The program culminates with the Senior Thesis.
Graduates of the UArts Graphic Design Program are prepared for employment in fields ranging from branding and motion graphics to publication design. Students and alumni have worked for NASA, Disney, National Geographic, MTV, ESPN, Meta (formerly Facebook), DreamWorks, ESPN, The Wall Street Journal, Penguin Group Publishing, Hallmark, Harper-Collins, Hasbro, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Knopf, Marvel Comics, NASA, 20th Century Fox, Oprah, Warner Bros., Blizzard Entertainment, Newsweek, Simon & Schuster, Nickelodeon, PBS, Time Magazine, and NPR, among others.
University of the Arts is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). Founded in 1876 as part of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, University of the Arts serves nearly 1,500 students enrolled in more than 40 degree programs in fine arts, design, media arts, dance, music, theater, and crafts. More than 20 minors are available and open to all students. UArts programs are offered in the Schools of Art, Dance, Design, Film, Music, Theater Arts, and Graduate and Professional Studies.
28. Baylor University, Waco, Texas (Top 7% of colleges considered)
The College of Arts & Sciences at Baylor University (Baylor) is the school’s largest academic division. Established in 1919, the College consists of 25 academic departments (including the Department of Art and Art History), and eight academic centers and institutes. Housed in the Lewis Art Building, the Department of Art and Art History houses smart classrooms, computer labs for graphic design and photography, darkrooms, and state-of-the-art studios drawing, painting, printmaking, and more. Students in the Baylor Studio Art BFA Program have access to all Department facilities.
The Studio BFA offers an emphasis in Graphic Design that consists of 66 hours in Studio Art, 15 hours in Art History, and 50-51 hours in Liberal Arts. Course examples for the program include Digital Media for Graphic Design, Publication Design, Illustration, Studio Topics in Graphic Design, Typography and Conceptual Development, Package Design, Identity Design, Web Design, Internship in Studio Art and Portfolio Preparation. In the Portfolio course, students will develop a final Graphic Design Portfolio. Portfolio Preparation also covers interviewing, presentation skills, and job search strategies.
Graduates of the Baylor University Studio Art BFA work for advertising agencies, publishing firms, creative agencies and design studios, publishers, newspapers and magazines, public relations firms, marketing companies, web design firms, and museums, among others
Baylor University is accredited by the by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Chartered in 1845, the school is the oldest continually operating university in Texas. Serving close to 20,630 students, Baylor offers more than 250 degree programs across 12 academic divisions.
29. Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design, Denver, Colorado (Top 8% of colleges considered)
Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design (RMCAD) has a Graphic Design Program that has both on-campus and online options. Consisting of 123 credit hours, the program leads to a BFA. The curriculum includes 48 credits in Graphic Design, 45 in Liberal Arts, 18 in Foundations, and 12 in Studio Electives. Course examples include 3D Packaging, Experimental Typography, Design Systems, Sign + Symbol, Raster Image Processing, Layout Design, Visual Sequencing, User Prototyping, Vector Illustration, Web Design I-II, Interaction Design, and Information Visualization.
In the Junior year of the RMCAD Graphic Design Program, students will participate in the Graphic Design Junior Portfolio Review. In the final year of the program, students will complete Senior Graphic Design Seminar, Graphic Design Senior Portfolio Review, and the Graphic Design Graduation Portfolio.
Other program features include workshops conducted by design professionals, presentations, teaching engagements, international instructors, visiting faculty, and annual award shows used as class assignments. Design students also have the opportunity to gain work experience through the RMCAD Graphic Design Internship Program.
Potential job titles for graduates of the RMCAD Graphic Design Program include Art Director, Package Designer, Digital Project Manager, User Experience/User Interface (UI/UX) Designer, Brand Designer, Illustrator, Interactive Media Designer, Web Designer, and Production Manager, among others.
Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). The school began in 1963 as Rocky Mountain School of Art. Serving more than 1,000 students, RMCAD offers 16 degree and certificate programs delivered in campus/hybrid and online formats.
30. Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana (Top 8% of colleges considered)
The School of Professional Advancement (SoPA) at Tulane University (Tulane) has BA and Post-Baccalaureate (PABC) Certificate Programs in Digital Design with Concentrations in Graphic Design and Interactive UX/UI Design. The BA in Digital Design consists of 42 major hours, 18 elective hours, and 60 hours in general requirements. The Digital Design PABC requires 30 major hours and an additional UX/UI Design Concentration.
Course examples across programs include Typography Studio, Intro to UX Design, Letterpress Studio, Poster Design, Packaging Design, Interactive Technologies, Motion Design Studio, Social Media Studio, Designer as Author, Digital Illustration, SEO SEM, and Portfolio & Professional Practices.
Worth three credits, Portfolio & Professional Practices is a studio course that prepares students for entry into the workforce through mock interviews, portfolio reworking, personal branding, and developing presentation techniques.
Other program highlights include 16 flexible elective credits, the option to study in other tracks, and access to symposiums, social events, professional conferences, and internship opportunities.
Graduates of the Tulane University Digital Design Program work in-house for specific brands or companies, and in advertising, book publishing, marketing, app design, web design, public relations, entertainment, museums, and magazines and newspapers, among others. Job titles include Creative Director, Publication Designer, Packaging Designer, Brand Manager, Front-End Web Developer, Type Designer, Art Director, Illustrator, Print Designer, and Environmental Designer.
Tulane University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Founded in 1834, Tulane was the first major research institution to require public service for graduation. Serving more than 14,500 students, Tulane University offers more than 275 programs in 10 colleges and schools.
31. College for Creative Studies, Detroit, Michigan (Top 8% of colleges considered)
The College for Creative Studies (CCS) houses the Graphic Design Department. With an enrollment of 114 students, the Department is one of the top five largest academic units at CCS. Leading to a BFA, the STEM-designated Graphic Design Program (Communication Design/CD) allows students to add a 15 credit hour Minor or Business Concentration. Minor examples include Advertising Design: Digital, Creative Entrepreneurship, Entertainment Arts, Illustration, Photography, and Product Design.
CD students will complete 42 to 43 credits in liberal arts and 84 credits in studio. Course examples include 2D & 3D Integrated Design Studio, 4D Design Studio, Motion Design, Interaction I-III, Typography I-III, Advanced Communication Design, Concepts & Methods/Visual Culture, and Business Practices. Other program features include the opportunity to study abroad for a year or a semester in places such Paris, Australia, Germany, Mexico, and as Austria and internship opportunities at Foote Cone & Belding, Microsoft, Urban Outfitters, Reebok, FUSE, Whirlpool, Quicksilver, and Chrysler.
With one of the highest employment rates in the country, CCS Communication Design graduates work in industries such as advertising, book publishing, public relations, marketing, magazine and newspaper publishing, retail, manufacturing, industrial design, and entertainment as Graphic Designers, User Experience Designers (UX), Brand Managers, Advertising Designers, User Interface Designers, (UI), Visual Designers, Editorial Designers, Web Designers, Creative Director,
Many College for Creative Studies Design alumni are entrepreneurs with design studios across the U.S. and around the globe. CCS alumni have launched studios in Detroit, Los Angeles, New York, and The Netherlands.
The College for Creative Studies is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The school is also an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Founded in 1906 as the Detroit Society of Arts and Crafts, the College for Creative Studies is a private, nonprofit institution that serves more than 1,400 students enrolled in 23 art and design programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.
32. Cleveland Institute of Art, Cleveland, Ohio (Top 8% of colleges considered)
The Graphic Design BFA Program at Cleveland Institute of Art (CIA) explores print, marketing, and advertising design, editorial and publication design, event and exhibition design, interactive and motion graphics, web design, packaging design, signage, and production. Students will also explore print and conventional and experimental media forms.
Course examples include Graphic Design: Advanced Studio, Contemporary Marketing + Art Direction, and Design for Communication. The CIA Graphic Design Program culminates with the Graphic Design BFA Thesis and Graphic Design: BFA Statement + Exhibition.
Potential job titles for graduates of the Graphic Design Program at Cleveland Institute of include, but are not limited to Book Designer, Art Advertising Designer, Magazine Designer, Art Director, Designer + Founder, Film Director + Writer, and Associate Partner.
Cleveland Institute of Art is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) and the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Chartered as the Western Reserve School of Design for Women in 1882, this independent, not-for-profit college serves around 600 students enrolled in 15 programs of study.
33. University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana (Top 9% of colleges considered)
University of Notre Dame (Notre Dame or ND) houses the College of Arts and Letters, home to the Department of Art, Art History & Design. The Department’s Division of Design has a Design Program with BA, BFA, and MFA pathways. Design students may concentrate in Visual Communication Design (VCD) or Industrial Design or add a Minor in Collaborative Innovation. In addition to design, students in the five-course Minor come from architecture, engineering, business, and science. Course examples include Social Design: Initiatives, Challenges & Innovation, Design research Practices, and Collaborative Design Development (Capstone).
University of Notre Dame encourages multidisciplinary learning, so students in all ND Design Programs have the opportunity to collaborate with faculty and students in other departments and colleges. Examples include the IDEA Center at Innovation Park, Mendoza Business School, the College of Engineering, Keough School for Global Affairs, The School of Architecture, and the College of Science. Other program features include local and campus-based projects, summer internships, and study abroad opportunities in places such as India, Nepal, South Africa, and Haiti.
Across programs and concentrations, Design students will explore packaging, data visualization, user-centered design, digital modeling and visualization, product automation, scale-graphics, social design and social innovations, UX/UI, cultural divergence, and health care. Course examples include Interaction Design of Device User Interface, Rapid Prototyping Lab, Web Design: Web-based interactivity for desktop and mobile Digital Solid Modeling, Advanced Visualization, Motion Design Using Kinetic Messages, Typography: History, application, and art of typography, Digital Visualization Lab, Packaging Design: Professional Practice, and Advanced Product Development-Social Design.
Depending on the program, Design students will complete a capstone or thesis, and a professional portfolio of their best work during the final year of the study.
Within six months of graduating, 94% of ND Design majors are employed full-time, participating in service programs, enrolled in graduate school, or working on independent projects. Neary 75% of students are working full-time. Examples of wide variety of companies that have hired Notre Dame Design graduates include Ogilvy & Mather, Booz Allen Hamilton, Walt Disney Imagineering, HarperCollins, IBM, JP Morgan, Southwest Airlines, The Denver Broncos, Giorgio Armani, Deloitte, Bain & Company, 2K Games, and Morningstar.
The University of Notre Dame is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Founded in 1842 and chartered by the State of Indiana in 1844, Notre Dame is affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church. Formerly a men’s university, the school became coeducational in 1972. University of Notre Dame serves 12,800 students enrolled in 75 undergraduate majors and more than 20 graduate programs in eight colleges and schools.
34. Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, Texas (Top 9% of colleges considered)
The College of Fine Arts at Texas Christian University (TCU or Texas Christian) houses the Department of Design, which offers a BFA in Graphic Design. A major component of the program is the internship requirement during the third year of study. The TCU Design Internship provides the opportunity for students to work at design studios or ad agencies in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area, anywhere in the U.S., and overseas. Texas Christian Design students have completed internships in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, Austin, Houston, St. Louis, Kansas City, Peru, Taiwan, England, and Panama, among others. Many Design students receive offers to remain with the studio or agency part-time during their senior year, while others are recruited for full-time positions.
Consisting of 124 credit hours, the TCU Graphic Design BFA Program explores advertising, packaging, branding and corporate identity, web and interactive media, typography, and publications. Students will complete 51 credit hours in Graphic Design. Course examples include Corporate Identity, Advertising Design, Computer Applications to Graphic Design, Package Design, Publication Design, Advanced Design Practices, and Typography. Students will also complete Portfolio and Marketing, the Senior Thesis in Visual Communication, and The Digital Portfolio.
Graduates of the Texas Christian University Graphic Design Program have enjoyed a prefect 100% over the past four years. Program alumni are Creative Designers and Art Directors at ad agencies and design studios in just about every major city in Texas, across the U.S., and abroad. Examples include New York, Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle, London, Peru, Germany, Guatemala, Panama, and Nicaragua.
Texas Christian University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Established in 1873 as one of the Southwest’s earliest coed universities, TCU serves nearly 12,000 students enrolled in more than 200 degree programs in 10 colleges and schools.
35. Maine College of Art & Design, Portland, Maine (Top 9% of colleges considered)
The Graphic Design BFA at Maine College of Art (MECA&D) is an interdisciplinary program that covers methods in both analog and digital media. Areas explored include branding, information design, narrative, interactivity, and motion. Examples of required courses include Elements of Graphic Design Branding and Visual Systems, Information Design, Typography I-III, Letterform Design, Interactive Design, and Web Design.
Students in the Graphic Design BFA Program will have opportunities to focus in an area of interest through electives, and during the final year, students will complete Professional Studio in Graphic Design, Senior Studio, Senior Independent Projects and several advanced studio electives.
MECA&D graduates will leave Graphic Design BFA Program with a professional portfolio, which will be presented at the Senior Exhibition.
Maine College of Art & Design is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Founded in 1882 as part of the Portland Society of Art, MECA&D serves nearly 600 degree-seeking students and 1,500 continuing students. Degree programs lead to a BFA, MFA, or MAT.
36. University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida (Top 9% of colleges considered)
The University of Miami (UM) houses the College of Arts and Sciences, home to the Department of Art and Art History, which offers a BFA with a Concentration in Graphic Design and Multimedia. Part of the Electronic Media Area, the Graphic Design and Multimedia BFA is multidisciplinary program that provides access to studios, computer labs, drawing classrooms, and exhibition spaces. Course examples for the program include 2D and 3D Design, Color Digital Photography, Drawing, Graphic Design I-III, Introduction to Electronic Media, Experimental Illustration for Print and Interactive Media, Multimedia I-III, and Typography.
Also part of the program is the Seminar in Professional Practices, which requires placement in a professional design or multimedia setting. Student may also enroll in the UM Internship (UMI) Program, which allows students to obtain real-world work experience at a design studio or creative agency in the Miami/Broward area. The Graphic Design and Multimedia Program at the University of Miami culminates with a professional portfolio and exhibition. Potential job titles for graduates of the program include Art Director, Graphic Designer, Multimedia Artist, Packaging Designer, 3D Artist, Computer Graphic Designer, Web Designer, Media Specialist, Brand Manager, Exhibit Designer, Digital Artist, Layout Designer, Multimedia Producer, Illustrator, User Experience Designer, Concept Artist, and Digital Media Designer, among others.
The University of Miami is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Founded in 1925, this private research university opened in 1926 with 646 full-time students enrolled in programs across the College of Liberal Arts, the School of Music, and the Evening Division. Today, University of Miami serves more than 17,000 students enrolled in nearly 350 majors and programs across 12 colleges and schools.
37. University of San Francisco, San Francisco, California (Top 10% of colleges considered)
The College of Arts & Sciences at University of San Francisco (USF) houses the Department of Art + Architecture. The Design BA Program here is interdisciplinary and explores Graphic Design, Environmental Design, and Digital Media Design. The program consists of 49 units in the major, nine units of studio and design seminar electives, the Design Internship, Professional Practice in Design, and the Senior Design Project.
Examples of course requirements include Visual Communication I-II, Digital Media Design, Fabrication Lab, Typography, and Design Fundamentals. Elective examples include Sustainable Systems In Design, Copy Culture, Advanced Typography, Interaction Design and Critical Brand/Package Design. In addition to the Design Internship, BFA students can obtain experience through the Exhibition Design Practicum, which encompasses the curation, design, organizing, and launch of an exhibition in the University of San Francisco Thacher Gallery.
The USF Design BA Program culminates with the Senior Thesis Exhibition. Graduates will leave the program with an industry-ready, professional portfolio.
USF Design alumni work in design studios, for start-ups, museums and other non-profit entities, and in-house for companies in just about every industry. Some go on to enroll in graduate programs at New York University (NYU), Pratt Institute, Rhode Island School of Art and Design (RISD), Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), and University of the Arts London, among others.
Companies and organizations that have hired USF Design graduates include Apple, Disney, Etsy, Google, Harper Collins, Oracle, Pandora, San Francisco Magazine, The Discovery Science Center in Orange County, The Harvey Milk Center for the Arts, and Twitter.
University of San Francisco is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC). Established in 1855 as the St. Ignatius Academy, USF San Francisco’s first university. When it opened, this private, Jesuit university had just three students. Today, University of San Francisco serves more than 10,000 students enrolled in more than 100 program in five colleges and schools.
38. Southern New Hampshire University, Manchester, New Hampshire (Top 10% of colleges considered)
The Graphic Design Program at Southern New Hampshire University can be completed entirely online, with no set class meetings and 24/7 access to course materials. Leading to a BA, the program has two 12 credit hour concentration options: 3D Modeling and Animation and Web Design. Students in both programs will develop design skills in digital media, brand identity, and design thinking. They will also develop practical, professional, and business skills.
Consisting of 120 credit hours, the SNHU Graphic Design Program requires 42 general education credits (including Digital Photography), nine in arts and sciences, 33 in the major, and 36 in free electives. Course examples include Graphics and Layout in Print Media, Advanced Digital Graphic Design for the Web, Media Communication and Visual Literacy, Typography, Public Speaking and Presentation Skills, Desktop Publishing, and Applied Statistics for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).
Required courses for the 3D Modeling and Animation Concentration includes Intro to Digital Sculpting, 3D Modeling and Animation, Interactive Animation, and 3D Character Animation. Students in the Web Design Concentration will take Digital Publishing, User Interface and Experience, Advanced Multiplatform Design, and , Interactive Animation for the Web.
The SNHU Graphic Design BA Program culminates with the Graphic Design Portfolio course, where students will create digital and print portfolios, develop a personal brand identity, engage in critiques, and showcase their work.
Graduates of the Southern New Hampshire University Graphic Design Program are prepared to pursue positions in Advertising, Marketing, and Public Relations, among others.
Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit institution accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE). Founded in 1932 as New Hampshire Accounting and Secretarial School, SNHU opened in a two-room storefront with less than 50 students enrolled in accounting, bookkeeping, and secretarial courses.
Today, SNHU operates across a 300-acre campus that serves more than 3,000 residential students, and over 135,000 online students, making it one of the country’s fastest growing universities. Students at Southern New Hampshire University have access to more than 200 career-focused programs leading to associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees.
39. Chapman University, Orange, California (Top 10% of colleges considered)
The Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences at Chapman University (Chapman) houses the Department of Art. Design students here have two options: the BFA in Graphic Design or the 24 credit hour Graphic Design Minor. Both programs explore areas such as 2D, 3D and 4D, print, interactive design, web design, and UX/UI Design. Course examples across programs include Branding & Advertising Design, Web and Interaction Design, Book Design, Advanced Typography, Visualization - Perspective and Rendering, 4D Design, Advanced Interaction UX/UI and Web Design, Advanced Graphic Design, Illustration, and Motion Design.
Other program features include two portfolio workshops, training in Adobe Creative Suite, laser cutting, and 3D printing, access to design-related jobs on campus and off-campus internship opportunities, and the London Sustainable Design course, which allows students to work on projects with industry clients overseas. Students will also complete a number of graphic design projects with direction and advice from real clients.
An additional component of the Chapman Graphic Design BFA is the option to integrate coursework from other programs at Chapman such as Advertising and Public Relations, Marketing, Creative Industries, Business, and Sociology.
Graduates of the Chapman University Graphic Design BFA Program are prepared to pursue positions in all areas of Graphic Design.
Chapman University is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities (WSCUC). Founded in 1861 as Hesperian College, Chapman University is a business, entertainment, and technology college that serves 10,000 students from just about every state and 82 countries. Chapman offers 200 programs in 11 colleges and schools at the main campus in Orange, California.
40. Laguna College of Art and Design, Laguna Beach, California (Top 10% of colleges considered)
The BFA in Graphic Design + Digital Media (GD+DM) at Laguna College of Art and Design (LCAD) is a multidisciplinary program that explores traditional and emerging areas such as 3D, iPad development, motion, advertising, print, packaging, action sport design, video, and web design. Students in the program have the option to choose an emphasis such Illustration or Action Sport Design.
Other program features include small class sizes, courses taught by industry professionals, hands-on design projects, access to advanced software applications, equipment, and facilities, mentorships, internships, and partnerships with companies such as Sony Music.
LCAD also offers a GD-DM Minor that can be taken alone or added to a related program. Consisting of six entry-level courses, the Minor provides a foundation in Graphic Design and Digital Media and related software applications. Course examples include Graphic Design 1, Typography 1, Fundamentals of Digital Imaging 1: Photoshop and Fundamentals of Digital Imaging 2: Illustrator.
Graduates of the LCAD GD+DM Program work with top companies and organizations such as Saatchi & Saatchi, Vans, Razorfish, United Nations, Warner Bros., Apple, Sony Pictures, IKEA, Taco Bell, Red Bull, Nike, Amazon, Capitol Records, Pixar, Sony Music, Lexus, Fox Entertainment, Maserati, Billabong, R/GA, Meta (formerly Facebook), Disney Interactive, Live Nation, Coca-Cola, Hurley, and AT&T Entertainment.
Laguna College of Art and Design is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Founded in 1961, LCAD serves close to 750 students enrolled in dozens of degree and minor programs. In addition to the Laguna Beach campus, Laguna College of Art and Design has educational affiliates locally and around the world including NHTV Breda University of Applied Sciences (NHTV), The Netherlands; Florence Academy of Arts, Italy; and Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art, California.
41. Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts (Top 15% of colleges considered)
The College of Arts, Media and Design (CAMD) at Northeastern University (Northeastern) has several options for students seeking an undergraduate or advanced degree in Graphic Design. The undergraduate program leads to a BFA in Design with Concentrations in Graphic and Information Design, Experience Design, and Interaction Design. All options prepare students for positions such as Graphic Designer, User Experience Designer, Product Manager, Futuristic Product Designer, Design Strategist, Design Consultant, and Exhibition Designer, among others.
A major component of the CAMD BFA is the Co-op Program, which allows students to gain valuable experience working in the arts, design and media, fashion and travel, food and beverage, government and civic, and news and publishing sectors. Examples of participating companies include Ogilvy, AutoDesk, NBC Universal, The Boston Globe, The Museum of Fine Arts, The Boston Beer Company, Reebok International, New Balance, The TJX Companies, City of Boston, MassDOT/MBTA, Dana-Faber Cancer Institute, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, edX, Education First, Fidelity Investments, and Thomas Reuters.
Students in the Northeastern University Design BFA Program will graduate with a professional portfolio of their best work.
At the graduate level, Northeastern CAMD offers MFA, MS, and Certificate Programs in Information Design and Visualization. Features for this STEM-designated program include seminars, studio courses, visiting artists and researchers, workshops, and the option to create a focus area from electives.
The MFA is a 60 credit hour program that takes two years to complete. The program explores design, programming, data analysis, and research methods. The MFA culminates with a thesis project and exhibition. The MS is a 1-year, 32 credit hour program that explores areas such as human factors, programming, user testing, design process, data physicalization, and user-scenario mapping and observation. The MS program is also available at Northeastern University’s recently launched Vancouver, BC campus.
Both graduate options provide Co-op experiences with The Broad Institute, Philips Research, Thomas Reuters, and MassDOT/MBTA. Potential careers include, but are not limited to, Design Researcher, Data Visualization Expert, Visualization Researcher, Visual Communication Expert, and Visual Strategist.
The Graduate Certificate in Information Design and Visualization consists of 16 credit hours. Designed for students looking to complement their degree in areas such as communications, data science, design or media, the Certificate Program covers multidisciplinary skills such as programming, design process, data analysis, user testing, and design critique.
In addition to Co-op experiences, all Northeastern University CAMD students have the opportunity to complete an internship and study abroad experiences at the University of Arts London and Central Saint Martins. Other study abroad options include a semester in Venice, Ireland, Berlin, Rome or Cuba.
Northeastern University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE). Founded in 1898, the school serves around 33,700 students enrolled in more than 900 degree and certificate programs in nine colleges and schools, and at the recently launched campus in Vancouver, BC. Northeastern also offers select advanced degrees at graduate campuses in Charlotte, North Carolina; Seattle, Washington; Silicon Valley, Northern California, and Toronto, Canada.
42. New York Institute of Technology, New York, New York (Top 15% of colleges considered)
The School of Architecture & Design at New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) houses the Department of Digital Art and Design, which has BFA and MFA options in Graphic Design. In the BFA Program, students will master industry tools and software such as such as Adobe Creative Cloud, laser cutters, and 3D printers. Consisting of 120 credit hours and offered at the New York And Long Island campuses, the program explores areas such as advertising, web and interactive design, branding, packaging, information graphics, logos, illustration, typography, experience design, motion graphics, and editorial.
Students in the NYIT Graphic Design BFA Program will have the opportunity to gain experience through individual and collaborative projects, and internships with design studios and local advertising agencies. In the portfolio course, taken during the final year of the program, students will develop a professional portfolio of their best work.
Graduates of the New York Institute of Technology Graphic Design Program are Art Directors, Package Designers, Production Artists, Illustrators, Brand Developers, Graphic Designers, Motion Graphics Designers, and Interactive/Web Designers, to name a few. They work for the NBA, Panasonic, WarnerMedia, Penguin Random House, Nickelodeon, and Magic Visual Productions, among others.
The MFA in Digital Art & Design with a Graphic Design Concentration is offered at the NYIT NYC campus only. This 60 credit hour program explores user experience design, print, art and technology, type and layout, and business. The program allows 12 elective credits, which provide the opportunity for students to focus in an area of interest. Students will complete the Graduate Academic Internship and three thesis courses: Thesis I-II, and Thesis Paper and Exhibition.
Graduates of the New York Institute of Technology MFA Program are UI/UX Designers, Senior Graphic Designers, Creative Directors, and Motion Graphics Designers. They work at places such as Mission Graphics, Beatworks, Topix Media Lab, Design Language, and TAG Creative.
Students in all NYIT Design Programs have access to the HIVE (Home for Innovation, Visualization, and Exploration), which has partnerships with local organizations such Metropolitan Museum of Art (Media Lab), Lincoln Square Business Improvement District, and the Viscardi Center. At the HIVE students can work on collaborative projects, participate in workshops and presentations, and connect with all NYIT digital art locations in NYC, Long Island, and Beijing.
New York Institute of Technology is accredited by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSACS). Founded in 1955, New York Institute of Technology serves more 8,000 students across campuses in New York City and Long Island; Jonesboro, Arkansas, and Vancouver, Canada. NYIT offers more than 90 degree programs in six colleges and schools.
43. Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Top 15% of colleges considered)
The Westphal College of Media Arts & Design at Drexel University (Drexel) houses the Graphic Design Program, which leads to a BS degree. A 24 credit hour Minor is also available. All Westphal students will participate in Drexel’s cooperative education program (co-op)—the largest, oldest, and most well-known co-op program in the U.S. This university requirement allows students to gain hands-on experience prior to graduation. Experiences have taken place in London, Ghana, Spain, Hong Kong, and Greece, among others.
The Graphic Design BS consists of 183 credit hours. In this project-based, collaborative program, students will master software applications such as InDesign, Adobe Illustrator, and Photoshop. Electives and minor options allow student designers to pursue advanced study in areas such as environmental graphic design, virtual reality and immersive media, experimental publication design, technology information management, web design, business, motion graphic design, photography, project management, product design, nonprofit communication, marketing, human-computer interaction (HCI), computing technology, and writing.
Course examples for the program include Publication Design, Book Design, Motion Graphics: Storyboarding and Development for Time-Based Media, Computer Imaging I: Introduction to Adobe Illustrator, Corporate Identity, Information Graphics: Mapping, Wayfinding, Data Visualization, Computer Imaging II: Intro to Adobe Photoshop, Physics: Light and Sound, Production: Introducing the Tools and Methods of Production Management for Print and Screen Media, and Web Graphics/Web Design.
Graduates of the Drexel University Graphic Design BS Program often go on to full-time positions with a Co-op employer. Program alumni work at Apple, Penguin Random House, ESPN, Siemens, Bloomberg, Meta (formerly Facebook), Sesame Workshop, Marvel Entertainment, Comcast, Urban Outfitters, Saatchi & Saatchi, Philadelphia Museum of Art, QVC, SAP, Digitas, The Franklin Institute, QVC, and Under Armour, among others.
Drexel University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). Established in 1891 as Drexel Institute of Art, Science and Industry, the school serves close to 23,600 students, enrolled in more than 200 degree programs in 15 colleges and schools.
44. Loyola University New Orleans, New Orleans, Louisiana (Top 15% of colleges considered)
The Graphic Design Program at Loyola University of New Orleans is part of the College of Music and Media’s School of Communication & Design, Department of Design. Housed in the newly renovated Monroe Hall with fully equipped state-of-the-art labs and darkrooms, the Department of Design has its own AIGA chapter which hosts guest artists and fundraising events. The Department also offers internship opportunities at places such as the New Orleans Museum of Art and Peter Mayer Advertising, and study abroad experiences in the UK, Italy, France, New Zealand, and Morocco.
Program options for Graphic Designers include a 120 credit hour Graphic Design BDes and a 21 credit hour Design Minor. Both programs explore typography, design history and theory, print, and narrative. Upper division BDes coursework covers topics such as publication design, motion graphics, interactive design, and type design. Course examples across programs include Design History 1-2, Typography Lab 1-2, Print Design & Narrative, Interactive Design & Narrative 1-2, Motion Design & Narrative 1, Design Topics, Business of Design, Social/Political Design, and Illustration Design. GDes students will complete a Design Internship and Design Capstone course.
Graduates of the Design Programs at Loyola University New Orleans are prepared for graduate study, teaching positions, and positions such as Graphic Designer, Creative Director, Package Designer, Motion Graphics Designer, Publications Designer, Web Designer, Book Designer, UI/UX Designer, Brand Manager, and Exhibition Designer, among others.
Loyola University New Orleans is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Established in 1904, Loyola University New Orleans is a private, Jesuit university that serves around 4,550 students enrolled in nearly 150 programs in five colleges and through Loyola Online.
45. Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design (MIAD), Milwaukee Wisconsin (Top 15% of colleges considered)
Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design (MIAD) has a Communication Design (CD) Program that requires 120 credits to graduate. Leading to a BFA, the program consists of 78 studio credits and 42 liberal studies credits. Liberal study areas include Art History (12 credits), English & Writing (12), and Humanities & Sciences (18). Studio courses explore 2D, 3D and 4D design, packaging, typography, web design, and advertising.
Course examples for the program include Communication Design I-IV, Computer Studio I-III, Information Graphics, Advertising Design, Typography I-II, Packaging Design, and Advanced Computer Studio. Students will complete the Communication Design Thesis across two courses totaling six credit hours, and Professional Portfolio/Practice, worth three credits. This course is a culmination of study in the MIAD Communication Design Program.
MIAD Communication Design graduates are Graphic Designers, Book Designers, Art Directors, UX Designers, Advertising Designers, Publications Designers, Illustrators, Web Designers, and Package among others. Some MIAD alumni go on to pursue graduate study or launch their own ad agencies and creative studios.
Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design is a member of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD)—a consortium of 39 leading art schools in the United States and Canada. The school is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art & Design (NASAD) and the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Founded in 1974, MIAD is the only four-year, nonprofit, private college of visual art and design in the State of Wisconsin. Serving 1,750 degree-seeking, pre-college, and outreach/special programs students, the school offers 20 degree and minor programs in everything from Animation to Sustainability.
46. George Fox University, Newberg, Oregon (Top 15% of colleges considered)
George Fox University housed the Department of Art and Design, which has five major programs and Minors in Art, Art History, and Graphic Design. Leading to a BA, the George Fox Graphic Design Program features faculty mentors, the coveted project-based course Creative Suite, participation in community-based events such as art retreats on the Oregon Coast, participation in ArtTalk (weekly visiting artist series), guaranteed internships with companies such as Nike, and access to AIGA.
The George Fox Graphic Design Programs explore branding and identity systems, web design, print and packaging, and UI/UX design. Specific course examples across programs include Art and Professional Networking Seminar, Design in Practice, Experience Design, Systems, Identity, and Branding, Collaborative Design, UI/UX Design, Print and Packaging, Creative Suite, and Web Design. The 18 credit hour Graphic Design Core is project-driven and covers the top applications used in the industry.
In the third year of the program, students will complete the Junior Portfolio Review. The program culminates with the Senior Capstone Research Defense.
Graduates of the George Fox Graphic Design Program are prepared to pursue positions in book publishing, entertainment, newspaper and magazine publishing, advertising, marketing, and public relations, among other areas. Around 92% of George Fox University alumni are employed, attending graduate school or volunteering within 12 months of graduation.
George Fox University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). Founded in 1891, this nonprofit Christian institution serves 4,295 students enrolled in more than 80 degree programs. George Fox University operates across four Oregon campuses in Newberg (main), Portland, Salem, and Redmond.
47. University of Tampa, Tampa, Florida (Top 15% of colleges considered)
The Department of Design at University of Tampa (UT) is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Housed in the UT College of Arts and Letters, the Department provides access to and participation in the Visiting Artist Program, the Art and Design Immersion Travel Course, experiential learning activities at local galleries and museums, the campus-based, 30,000-square-feet R.K. Bailey Art Studios, and the Ferman Center for the Arts.
The UT Graphic Design BFA is housed in the Department of Design. Topics of study for the program include traditional design, visual communication: art and contemporary + history and theories, advanced study in typography, digital design, collaboration and entrepreneurship, and socially responsible design. Course examples include Graphic Design I-IV, Printing, Mixed Media Painting, Publishing and Book Arts, Typography I-II, Branding and Packaging, Design Thinking, Intaglio Printmaking, Digital Photography, and Graphic Design Portfolio Studio.
Students are also encouraged to complete a professional internship and they may add a minor to help expand their skill sets. Examples include Communication, Media and Culture, Digital Media, Film and Media Arts, Interactive Media, Public Relations, Writing, New Media, and the Advertising Minor, with courses in Communication Department and the John H. Sykes College of Business.
The University of Tampa Graphic Design BFA culminates with the Senior Capstone Project and Exhibit at the UT Scarfone/Hartley Gallery.
University of Tampa is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Founded in 1931, the school opened as Tampa Junior College with just 62 students. Today, UT serves 10,500 students enrolled in more than 200 academic programs across four colleges.
48. Oral Roberts University, Tulsa, Oklahoma (Top 15% of colleges considered)
The College of Arts & Cultural Studies at Oral Roberts University (ORU) houses a Graphic Design Program that follows the guidelines established by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Leading to a BFA in Art with a Graphic Design Specialization, the program covers core areas such as Drawing, Fundamentals and Art History, Motion Design, Typography, Digital Photography, Web Design, and Graphic Design. ORU BFA students will also complete an internship, senior project, and a final portfolio of their best work.
Graduates of the Oral Roberts University Graphic Design Program are prepared to pursue positions in Advertising, Brand Design, Graphic Design, Packaging Design, Book Design, Photography, Creative Direction, Public Relations, Marketing, User Experience Design, News and Magazine Layout, Animation, Web Design, and Education.
Oral Roberts University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The school was founded in 1963 by Christian Televangelist Granville Oral Roberts. Serving nearly 4,800 students, ORU offers more than 125 programs in the Colleges of Arts and Cultural Studies, Business, Education, Health Sciences, Science and Engineering, and Theology and Ministry.
49. Vermont College of Fine Arts, Montpelier, Vermont (Top 15% of colleges considered)
Vermont College of Fine Arts (VCFA) has a Graphic Design Program that has been in existence since 2011. This low-residency MFA Program is designed for students with professional experience in graphic design or an academic background in visual art, design or design education, communications, or media arts.
The VCFA Graphic Design MFA consists of week-long residencies where students will participate in lectures, exhibitions, critiques, discussions, and workshops. For a minimum of 25 hours each week, students will work through courses and projects at home, while in contact with faculty advisors through phone, email, and video conference.
Two-year and three-year program options are available. The two-year option is for designed for professionals in the design industry who have earned a bachelor’s degree in graphic design or a related field. This option explores critical thinking, communication skills, and graphic design. The three-year option is designed for students with a background in an unrelated area. During the first year, this option explores design theory and history, authorship, image making, and typography. Upon successful completion of the first year, students will advance to the two-year program.
The Graphic Design Program at Vermont College of Fine Arts culminates with a Digital Thesis and Presentation. Students will leave the program with a professional portfolio of their best work.
Vermont College of Fine Arts (VCFA) is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) and the National Association of Schools of Art & Design (NASAD). Founded in 1834 as Newbury Seminary, the school serves around 360 students enrolled in seven MFA programs including Writing, Visual Art, Music Composition, Writing for Children & Young Adults, Film, Graphic Design, and the International MFA in Creative Writing & Literary Translation.
50. Willamette University, Salem, Oregon (Top 15% of colleges considered)
The Graphic Design Program at Willamette University is housed in Pacific Northwest College of Art (PCNA). Leading to a BFA, the program emphasizes hands-on learning, and both collaborative and independent projects that students will work on in state-of-the-art printmaking studios, the Wacom Lab, and other facilities. BFA students may also participate in PNCA’s Design Lecture Series, which attracts guest artists and designers from around the world. Launched in 2016, the series is a collaboration between PNCA, the Graphic Design Program, and Portland-based FISK Studio.
The Willamette University/PNCA Graphic Design Program requires 120-121 credit hours of study. Course examples for the program include Time Arts, Visual Elements 2D, Typography, Interactive Media, Production, Marketing & Branding, Motion Graphics, Design Studio II: Culture & Audience, Graphic Design Advanced Studio: Vision, and Research for Creative Practice. Suggested electives include Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR/VT), Interface and Structure, Printmaking, and Environment and Experience.
In the final year of the program, students will have the option to complete the Graphic Design Internship or the Center for Design course. The PNCA Graphic Design BFA culminates with a Design Arts Thesis and Portfolio. Graduates have go on to establish successful careers at places such as Nike, Wieden+Kennedy, Microsoft, Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (PICA), and NBC News Digital. Some program alumni have launched their own freelance businesses or design studios where they have worked with clients such as Uniqlo, XBOX, Lexus, AT&T, IBM, Starbucks, Google, Legoland, and Coca-Cola, among others.
Willamette University and Pacific Northwest College of Art are accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). PNCA is also a member of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art & Design (AICAD) and the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU).
Willamette University was established in 1842, making it the oldest university in the West. This liberal arts college serves close to 1,900 students enrolled in dozens of programs across the Colleges of Arts & Sciences and Law, Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA), and the Atkinson Graduate School of Management. Willamette University and PNCA merged in 2021.
Established in 1909, PNCA is an independent college within Willamette University. The school serves around 650 students enrolled in 11 BFA degrees and eight minors. Eight graduate MA and MFA degrees are offered within the PNCA Hallie Ford School of Graduate Studies.