2022

What are the top public graphic design schools of 2022?

Top 50 Public Graphic Design Schools and Colleges in the U.S. – 2022 College Rankings
RankingSchoolStateTop %
1North Carolina State UniversityNorth Carolina 1%
2Virginia Commonwealth UniversityVirginia 1%
3University of Texas at AustinTexas 1%
4University of North TexasTexas 2%
5University of California, Los Angeles California 2%
6Arizona State UniversityArizona 2%
7University of CincinnatiOhio 3%
8Portland State UniversityOregon 3%
9University of Illinois at ChicagoIllinois 3%
10University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignIllinois 4%
11University of WashingtonWashington 4%
12Auburn UniversityAlabama 4%
13University of KansasKansas5%
14Michigan State UniversityMichigan 5%
15San Diego State UniversityCalifornia 5%
16University of FloridaFlorida6%
17University of Minnesota Minnesota 6%
18The Ohio State UniversityOhio 6%
19Texas State UniversityTexas 7%
20Iowa State UniversityIowa 7%
21Massachusetts College of Art and DesignMassachusetts 7%
22University of HoustonTexas 8%
23University of TennesseeTennessee8%
24University of GeorgiaGeorgia8%
25Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis Indiana 9%
26Appalachian State UniversityNorth Carolina 9%
27Kent State UniversityOhio 9%
28University of UtahUtah 10%
29University of Central FloridaFlorida10%
30Indiana UniversityIndiana 10%
31Ball State UniversityIndiana 10%
32University of Texas at ArlingtonTexas 15%
33University of Colorado, DenverColorado15%
34Oklahoma State UniversityOklahoma 15%
35Purdue UniversityIndiana 15%
36Texas A&M University-CommerceTexas 15%
37Louisiana State UniversityLouisiana 15%
38Temple UniversityPennsylvania 15%
39Florida State UniversityFlorida 15%
40Fashion Institute of TechnologyNew York 15%
41Oregon State UniversityOregon 15%
42University of Hawaii at MānoaHawaii 15%
43Colorado State UniversityColorado 15%
44Clemson UniversitySouth Carolina 15%
45University of ArkansasArkansas15%
46California State University, Los AngelesCalifornia 15%
47University of ArizonaArizona20%
48University of North FloridaFlorida20%
49University of Tennessee at ChattanoogaTennessee 20%
50Utah State UniversityUtah 20%

Our 2022 rankings of the Top 50 Public Graphic Design School Programs in the US. We considered over 300 public colleges with graphic design programs for this year's rankings. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.

1. North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina (Top 1% of schools considered)
North Carolina State University

The College of Design at North Carolina State University (NC State University) houses the Department of Graphic and Industrial Design, which offers a Bachelor of Graphic Design (BGD) and a Master of Graphic Design (MGD). Both programs are recognized by the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) and accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). The NC State MGD is one of the few graphic design graduate programs with STEM Classification (CIP).

At the undergraduate level, students will learn how to collaborate with computer programmers, software engineers, and ethnographers; implement human-centered research methods, communicate information and messages through digital platforms, images, and typography; and produce product packaging, applications, websites, identity systems, data visualizations, signage, books, and magazines.

Collaborative Research and Design Projects are a major component of the BGD Program. In the Department of Graphic and Industrial Design’s Collaborative Sponsored Studios, students have the opportunity to work on real-world projects with clients and developers, engineers, designers, and other business professionals. Companies that students have worked with include Hanes, Coca Cola, IBM, Caterpillar, Bosch Appliances, Lowe’s, Under Armour, North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, and John Deere. 

In addition to working in Collaborative Studios, NC State BGD students have the opportunity to take an advanced studio in another College of Design discipline (a swing studio), study abroad for a semester or summer at the NC State Prague Institute, and gain professional experience through paid internships.

The NC State MGD Program has two-year and three-year options. The two-year program, MGD II, is designed for students with a BFA in Graphic Design and experience in the field. The three-year program, MGD III, is for students with a BA in another field or with a Concentration in Graphic Design. Students in this program will take two semesters of specialized coursework before entering the MGD II Program.

All students will participate in graduate studios, seminars, and workshops, they will have opportunities to take electives at affiliate universities such as Duke University and University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, and work on collaborative projects and research with major companies and institutes such as IBM, the Institute of Emerging Issues, SAS, NC State Laboratory for Analytic Sciences, and Red Hat. For the graduate project, MGD students will research an area of focus, record conclusions, design studies and mock-ups, and present the project to the public.

Graduates of the MGD Program at North Carolina State University are prepared for leadership positions in user experience and user interface design (UX/UI), with expertise in artificial intelligence (AI), research, data visualization, and digital typography. Graduates are also qualified to teach universities or pursue a PhD in Design or other related area.

NC State MGD alumni go on to establish successful careers at consulting firms, software companies, and colleges and universities. Examples include Adobe, Lenovo, IBM, Fjord, IDEO, Red Hat Software, Carnegie Mellon, University of Washington, Pratt Institute, and University of Michigan.

North Carolina State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Established in 1887 as a land-grant institution focusing in agriculture and engineering, NC State employs more than 9,000 faculty and staff members that serve 36,000+ students enrolled in more than 260 degree programs across 11 colleges.

2. Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia (Top 1% of schools considered)
Virginia Commonwealth University

The School of the Arts (VCUarts) at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) houses the Department of Graphic Design, which offers a Graphic Design BFA and a Design/Visual Communications MFA. Students in both programs have access to resources such as the student-run Golab, which provides print and production services, and middle Of broad—an experimental design lab that provides opportunities to work on real-world state projects.

The VCUArts Graphic Design BFA consists of 122 credit hours, including the Art Foundation Program (AFO), which provides a first year, studio-based experience that explores current issues in art and design. Upon completion of the AFO, students move on to studio and seminar courses in graphic design that will help them develop skills in interaction design, publication and print design, and sequential and motion design. Course examples include Book Arts, Typeface Design, Web Design, Research and Practice, and Design Activism.

The 60 credit hour Design/Visual Communications MFA at Virginia Commonwealth University is a design and research degree that culminates in a final research project, work of art, thesis or dissertation. MFA students will complete several Visual Communications Workshops and Seminars and Research/Individual Study, an Internship, or Teaching Practicum. Study abroad opportunities are also available.

Graduates of the Graphic and Design/Visual Communications Programs at VCU are Creative Directors Environmental Graphic Designers, Interaction/Interface Designers, Exhibition Designers, and Broadcast/Film Designers, among others.

Virginia Commonwealth University is a public research university accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Founded in 1838 as the medical department of Hampden-Sydney College, VCU serves around 29,400 students enrolled in more than 200 programs in 15+ colleges, school, and centers.

Founded in 1928, the Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts at (VCUarts) is a four-year, non-profit art and design school accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), the National Association of Schools of Dance (NASD), the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM), and the National Association for Schools of Theatre (NAST). The school serves around 3,200 students enrolled in 18 bachelor’s and five master’s degree programs.

3. University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas (Top 1% of colleges considered)
University of Texas at Austin

The College of Fine Arts at the University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) houses the School of Design and Creative Technologies, home to the Design Department. Housed in the Doty Fine Arts Building (DFA) and the Art Building (ART), the Design Department offers BA, BFA, and MFA degrees in Design. In addition, the Center for Professional Education offers a Graphic Design Certificate that may be completed 100% online. Over 13 sessions, lasting three months, certificate students will master industry software such as After Effects, Photoshop, In Design, and Illustrator. The program also explores design practices and the production of static and motion graphic designs.

Design BA students at UT Austin combines liberal arts courses with courses in design techniques, aesthetics, theory, research methos, and history. While BA students will take fewer upper division design courses than BFA students will, the program offers the opportunity to explore other areas in additional departments across the university. Course examples for this 120 credit hour program include Sketching, History of Design, Introduction to 2D and 3D, Interaction Design, Typography, Design Research and Images in Communication. Internship and study abroad opportunities are also part of the program. Both are optional.  

The Design BFA is a pre-professional degree consisting of 120 credit hours. Around two-thirds of the courses for this program are in Design and related coursework. Course examples include Identity Systems, Typography I-III, Design and Social Environment, and Industrial Design. Students in the Design BFA Program will complete one or more paid internships along with a capstone design project that will be presented in UT Austin’s Annual Public Exhibition. Students have interned at places such as Apple, Google, Samsung, Dell, IBM, and EA Games.

The MFA in Design at University of Texas at Austin is a 60 credit hour program designed for exceptional students with solid design skills. The program consists of seminars, studios, electives, and a thesis project. Design MFA students have 24/7 access to shared studio spaces and as well as the Design, Computer, Materials, and Digital Fabrication Labs, the Wood Shop, Visual Arts Center, and Fine Arts Library, and the Harry Ransom Center and The Foundry.

Graduates of the Design Programs at UT Austin go on to become Graphic Designers, Art Directors, Multimedia Designers, Entrepreneurs, UI/UX Designers, Book Designers, Project Managers, Package Designers, and Executives, among others.

The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Founded in 1883, the school opened in 1883 with one building, eight professors, one proctor, and 221 students. Today, UT Austin has around 52,000 students served by a teaching faculty of 3,133. The University of Texas at Austin offers more than 500 degree programs and fields of study in 18 colleges and schools.

4. University of North Texas, Denton, Texas (Top 2% of colleges considered)
University of North Texas

The College of Visual Arts and Design (CVAD) at the University of North Texas (UNT) houses the Design Department, which offers a BFA in Communication Design with two tracks: Graphic Design and User-Experience Design (UX Design). Both tracks consist of studio coursework, with Graphic Design students taking additional requirements such as Typography I, Foundations for Communication Design, and Image-Making and Color Theory. UX Design students will take additional requirements such as Contextual Research Methods, Foundations of User-Centered Design, and Typographic Systems.

Course examples across Communication Design Tracks include Art History SurveyI-III, GD Advanced Campaigns, Interaction Design, Data Visualization & the Design of Information, Cause-Based Design, Image Making & Color Theory, Communication Design Studio, Prototyping & User Testing, Planning and Developing Interactive Systems, and Advanced Product Design in UX Design.

Students in both Tracks may add a minor such as New Media Art, Art History, Printmaking, or Photography. All UNT Communication Design students will complete a portfolio.

CVAD Communication Design students will graduate with a professional portfolio and the skills needed to pursue positions in industries such as advertising, publishing, entertainment, manufacturing, and computer systems design. University of North Texas CVAD graduates also qualify for jobs in government agencies, museums, colleges and universities, nonprofit organizations, and for associations, among others.

University of North Texas is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The school is also an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Established in 1890, UNT serves just over 38,150 students enrolled in 105 bachelor's, 88 master's, and 37 doctoral degree programs across 14 colleges and schools. With more than 4,600 faculty and staff members, University of North Texas is one of the largest employers in the City of Denton, Texas.

5. University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), Los Angeles, California (Top 2% of schools considered)
University of California Los Angeles

The School of Arts and Architecture at University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) houses the Department of Design Media Arts (DMA), which has multidisciplinary pathways leading a BA or MA in DMA. Students in both pathways will explore visual communication, narrative, game design, video, and network media. Foundation courses for the undergraduate program cover color, space and form, interactivity and motion, and typography. Graduate DMA students will complete a number of seminars, group critiques, and programming media courses along with research projects and a thesis project.

Courses for the UCLA DMA Programs are taught as studios, with no more than 22 students. Course examples for the undergraduate program include Design Futures, 3D Modeling and Motion, Word + Image, Tangible Media, Network Media, Special Topics in Design Media Arts, and Topics in Interactivity And Games. For the Senior Project, undergraduate DMA students may complete one of three courses including Interactivity and Games, Video and Animation, or Visual Communication and Image.

All UCLA DMA students have access to an endless number of labs, spaces, and other facilities. Examples include the Broad Art Center, DMA Labs, Video Labs, Experimental Digital Arts (EDA) Space, Media Arts Research Space (MARS), the Audio and Video Labs, Fabrication & Electronics Labs, the Shoot Room, Print Lab, Art | Sci Center, New Wight Gallery, the UCLA Game Lab, DMA Graduate Student Gallery, and the Arts Library.

Graduates of the DMA Programs at University of California Los Angeles are prepared to pursue careers in areas such as graphic design, multimedia design, advertising, UI/UX design, art or design direction, media art, web design, content strategy, branding and packaging, book art and publishing, exhibition design, presentation design, graphic art, motion art and design, and marketing. 

The University of California Los Angeles is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC). Established in 1919, UCLA is the second campus in the University of California System. Serving 45,900 students, UCLA offers more than 250 programs across 12 professional schools and UCLA College. To date, the school has helped launch more than 200 start-ups nationwide.

6. Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona (Top 2% of colleges considered)
Arizona State University

The Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University (ASU) is home to the Design School, which houses a Visual Communication (Graphic) Design Program that is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Degree options include the Bachelor of Science in Design (BSD) in Graphic Design, a Master of Science in Design (MSD) with a Concentration in Visual Communication Design (VCD MSD), and a Master of Visual Communication Design (MVCD).

The Graphic Design BSD is available at the ASU Tempe campus and online. Students in the program will take courses such as Designing Life, Principles for Graphic Design I-II, Motion Graphics and Interaction Design, Advanced Media, Visual Communication I-VI, Technology for Design I-II, Letterform, and Exhibit Design. The ASU Graphic Design BSD requires 120 credit hours to graduate, including 45 upper division hours.

The VCD MSD is available at the ASU Tempe campus. Consisting of 36 credit hours taken over four semesters (two years), the MSD Program requires courses such as Research Methods, Qualitative Research in Design, Methods in Visual Communication I-II, and VCD Seminar: Contemporary Issues. Visiting designers, an internship in teaching design, and a Thesis or Applied Project are also part of the program.

The MVCD Program at the ASU Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts has two options: a two-year, studio-based degree for professionals with solid design experience or a degree in VCD, graphic design or other related area and a three-year degree, also studio-based, for students without an undergraduate design degree or experience in VCD or graphic design. The programs consist of 42-43 credit hours and explore interaction design, user experience design, design for social innovation, service design, participatory design, and more.

Students in the two-year ASU MVCD Program are encouraged to complete an internship. Students in the three-year program are required to complete an internship. Internships take place during the summer after the first year, and they may be completed anywhere in the U.S. and around the world. Both program options require successful completion of Advanced Visual Communication Design Studio IV (culminating experience), worth five credits.

Graduates of the Arizona State University Design Programs are  prepared to pursue position such as Graphic Designer, Design Educator, Commercial and Industrial Designer, Art Director, Set and Exhibition Designer, Instructional Designer, Technologist, Animator, Media Collection Specialist, Desktop Publishers, Package Designers, and UI/UX Designer, among others. ASU Design alumni have been hired at major companies and organizations such as Google, American Airlines, Banner Health, GoDaddy, and UNICEF.

Arizona State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Founded in 1885 as the Arizona Territorial Normal School, ASU serves more than 134,500 undergraduate and graduate students across four campuses. More than 800 degree programs are available in 16 colleges and schools.

7. University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio (Top 3% of colleges considered)
University of Cincinnati

The College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning (DAAP) at the University of Cincinnati (UC) houses the Myron E. Ullman Jr. School of Design, which offers a BS in Communication Design and a Master of Design (MDes). The five-year Communication Design BS provides opportunities to develop solid, marketable skills through several required co-op experiences. Three concentrations are available including Graphic Design, Interaction Design, and Motion Design.

Consisting of 120 credit hours, the Communication Design BS requires courses such as Welcome to Design, Collaborative Studio, Graphic Design 1-2, Advanced Typography, Design Aesthetics, Interaction Design, Photo Design, Design & Meaning, Motion Design, and Applied Professional Practice – DAAP.

The University of Cincinnati MDes is a multidisciplinary program that encompasses Communication Design, Fashion Design, and Industrial Design. The program focuses on strategy, systems thinking, evidence, methods, and designing for social impact. Course examples for this 60 credit hour program include Design Strategy, Translational Research, Design Communication, and Professional Development Seminar. A co-op experience is required as well as independent study and a thesis., which will be exhibited at the Annual UC DAAPworks Show.

Graduates of the DAAP Programs at University of Cincinnati are freelancers or they work for design firms and internal design teams. Careers include advertising, package design, interface design, user experience design, motion graphics, branding and corporate identity, web design, post-production design, digital product design, and exhibit design.

The University of Cincinnati is an urban research university that has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) since 1919. Accreditation includes all regional campuses. In addition, as an Ohio Public Institution, every program at UC is approved by the Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE). Founded in 1819, UC serves nearly 46,710 students enrolled in more than 400 academic programs across 14 colleges and a graduate school.

8. Portland State University, Portland, Oregon (Top 3% of schools considered)
Portland State University

The College of Arts at Portland State University (PSU) houses the School of Art + Design (A +D), which offers a BFA and a Minor in Graphic Design, and an Advertising Minor for Graphic Design Majors.

Students in the PSU Graphic BFA Program have the opportunity to gain experience through A +D Projects—the School of Art + Design’s in-house studio—where they will work on projects for real clients. Other program features include the weekly graphic design lecture series, field trips, professional portfolio development, demos, a peer mentorship program, and professional off-campus internships. More than 200 study abroad programs are also available to BFA students. Examples include Summer Abroad experiences such as Mixed Media and Printmaking in Guanajuato, Mexico and Art History in Rome, Berlin: The Fall and Rise of an Art City.

Each spring, Graphic Design BFA students will participate in the annual student showcase Be Honest. This allows them to present their work to design professionals. In the final year of the program, graduating Seniors will participate in Fresh—the A +D Graphic Design Senior Showcase. The event allows students to display their work, get feedback from industry professionals, and network.

Consisting of 32 credit hours of study, the PSU Graphic Design Minor is a flexible program that includes courses such as Digital Page Design, Communication Design Systems, Narrative and Communication Design Typography, Digital Imaging and Illustration, and Communication Design Systems.

The 24 credit hour Advertising Minor for Graphic Design Majors consists of Introduction to Business, Personal Finance, Creative Strategy, Essentials of Marketing, and Advertising Management. Students may take four credits of approved electives such as Student Advertising Agency, Advertising Campaigns, Marketing, and Portfolio Workshop. 

Graduates of the Portland State University Design Programs are prepared to pursue positions such as Graphic Designer, Art Director, Design Manager, App Designer, Publication Designer, Branding and Identity Designer, Interactive Designer, Product Designer, Motion Graphics Designer, Web and Mobile Designer, User Interface Designer, Environmental Designer, and Illustrator.

Program alumni have been hired at major agencies and corporations such Apple, IBM, Nordstrom, Wieden+Kennedy, Buzzfeed, Adidas, Snapchat, Nike, IDEO, Dropbox, R/GA, and Spotify, Others have found success at design studios such as Instrument, OMFCO, Jolby Design Studio, and Sandstrom. Many PSU Design alumni have also gone on to launch their own freelance careers, start-ups, or product lines.

Portland State University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). The school opened in the summer of 1946 with 220 students. Today, PSU serves nearly 24,000 students, with more than 2,700 students in the College of Arts, making it the largest art school in the Pacific Northwest. The College of Arts houses the Schools of Art + Design, Architecture, Film, and Music & Theater. Portland State University offers more than 200 degree programs in nine colleges and schools.

9. University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois (Top 3% of schools considered)
University of Illinois at Chicago

The College of Architecture, Design, and the Arts (CADA) at University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) houses the School of Design, which offers Bachelor of Design (BDes) and Master of Design (MDes) degrees in Graphic Design. A studio-based, interdisciplinary BA in Design is also available for students who are interested in studying multiple areas of design. With a focus on collaboration, the BA in Design explores Graphic and Industrial Design, the Sciences, and Humanities. 

The Graphic Design BDes consists of a Foundation Year, followed by Form + Systems (year two), Expressions + Interactions (year three), and Options (final year). The Foundations Year consists of courses such as Design Drawing, Form Studio, and Color Theory. Year two course examples include Digital Media Design II: Interactivity and III: Motion, Type I: Form and Type II: Systems, and Form + Image Studio. During the third year of the BDES Program, students will take a number of design history courses and advanced courses such as Type III: Dimension, Type IV: Experimentation, Digital Media Design IV: Advanced Interactivity, and Social Media Design.

In the final year of the Graphic Design BDes Program, students will complete two Senior Design Colloquium courses, Mobile App Design (MAD) I-II, and two Capstones including the Personal Capstone: Graphic Design Thesis I-II and Professional Capstone: Interdisciplinary Product Development.

The UIC MDes in Graphic Design is a two-year program that focuses on an independent master’s research project. Delivered in Chicago and Basel, Switzerland, the MDes is a project-oriented program that culminates in a public exhibition of student’s final projects. Course examples include Advanced Graphic Design I-II, Combined Studio, Research Studio, Graduate Seminar, and Documentation Studio.

A major component of the UIC Graphic MDes is the study abroad experience. All Chicago-based students will participate in the Basel School of Design summer workshops, which take place at the FHNW HGK Basel Visual Communication Institute in Münchenstein, Switzerland.

The University of Illinois at Chicago is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The school serves more than 33,500 students, making it the largest university in the Chicago area. With roots dating back to 1859 when the Chicago College of Pharmacy was founded, UIC offers more than 250 degree programs and 85 minors across 16 colleges and schools.

10. University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign, Champaign, Illinois (Top 4% of colleges considered)
University of Illinois at Urbana

The University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign (UIUC) houses the College of Fine & Applied Arts, home to the School of Art & Design, which offers a BFA in Graphic Design. A major benefit of the program is the option to explore other areas through an interdisciplinary selection of electives. Examples include Sustainability, Video, Advanced Interaction Design, Photography, and Traditional Printmaking.

Other Graphic Design BFA Program benefits include dedicated studio spaces, 24-7 access to computer labs, the Senior Portfolio Review held in Chicago, the lecture series, and participation in the Annual BFA Exhibition held at the campus-based Krannert Art Museum. Students also have access to internship and study abroad opportunities, as well as the AIGA Student Chapter, which provides workshops, networking opportunities, and trips to local and Chicago-based design studios.

The University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign offers a graduate program for designers. The MFA in Art & Design has a Concentration in Design for Responsible Innovation (formerly Graphic Design) that requires a minimum of 64 credit hours to graduate. Students in this interdisciplinary program may also specialize in New Media.

The MFA also offers the following specialized tracks of study: Sustainable and Regenerative Design, Visual Cultural Studies, and Urban Sociology and Critical Race Design. Students may also focus on applied research in responsible innovation, engagement, and social impact. MFA students will complete a written thesis and participate in the graduation exhibition.

Graduates of the Design Programs at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign work in areas such as publication design, consulting, type design, advertising, interaction design, photography, art direction, environmental design, and consulting. They work for advertising agencies, design studios, start-ups, and with in-house design teams in a variety of settings. 

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Established in 1867 as Illinois Industrial University, UIUC is the second oldest public school in the state. Serving more than 52,000 students, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign offers 150+ undergraduate programs and more than 100 graduate and professional programs. Programs are managed across 16 colleges and instructional units.

11. University of Washington, Seattle, Washington (Top 4% of colleges considered)
University of Washington

The College of Arts & Sciences (ArtSci) at University of Washington (UW) has a Design Program with undergraduate and graduate degree options. Housed in the ArtSci School of Art + Art History + Design (SoA+AH+D), the Bachelor of Design (BDes) has Visual Communication, Interaction Design, and Industrial Design Majors. The UW Master of Design (MDes) is interdisciplinary, providing plenty of opportunities to study Visual Communication.

One of the largest undergraduate programs at UW, Visual Communication Design is a professional program that explores all areas of design systems, new media, typography, publication design, visual methods/processes, information design, and exhibition design. The Visual Communication BDes is intensive and collaborative program that requires a minimum of 180 credits to graduate. Courses are five credit hours and include titles such as Color + Composition, Marks + Symbols, Interface Design, Corporate Identity, Publication Design, Advanced Typography, Information Design, and Visual Systems.

In the Junior and Senior years of the UW BDes program, students will complete an internship, a Design Capstone, and a Design Exhibition. Students will also have the opportunity to complete a Study Abroad experiences in places such as London, Paris, or Amsterdam.

The University of Washington MDes is a two-year, terminal degree suited to students who already have a degree in a design-related field and several years of work experience in the field. The program is research-based and interdisciplinary, allowing students to choose courses from and complete research projects with the Departments of Communication, Psychology, and Biomedical Informatics, the Schools of Business and Nursing, and the College of Engineering. Past thesis topics include Information visualization, Healthcare, Urban Planning, and Aviation.

Throughout the MDes Program, students will opportunities to complete several special projects led by design faculty and sponsored by major corporations. Other program benefits include independent study, seminars, and project-based studios. During year two of the UW MDs Program, students will work with design faculty to complete Thesis Prep and the Master’s Thesis.  

The University of Washington is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) and is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU). Established in 1861, UW serves around 57,300 students across campuses in Seattle (main), Bothell, and Tacoma, Washington. The school offers more than 300 programs and 570+ degree options in 18 colleges and schools.

12. Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama (Top 4% of colleges considered)
Auburn University

Auburn University has a Graphic Design Program that is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Housed in the College of Architecture, Design, and Construction’s School of Industrial and Graphic Design, the BFA in Graphic Design (BFA GDES) is Alabama’s only Graphic Design Program to receive accreditation by the NASAD.

Consisting of 123 credit hours, the Auburn GDES Program explores branding and packaging, wayfinding design, UI/UX, illustration, app design, typography, motion design, and publishing. Course examples for the program, Graphic Design I-II, Graphic Processes, Typographics, Photo Design, Interactive Media, and Research, Writing, & Presentation. Other program benefits include cross-disciplinary collaborations, a professional studio environment with hands-on design instruction, guest lectures, exhibitions, and design symposiums. An optional internship is part of the program as well as study abroad experiences in England, Hong Kong, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Taiwan or Scotland.

During the final year of the Auburn Graphic Design BFA Program, students will complete a professional portfolio of their best work.

Auburn GDES alumni go on to secure positions with magazines, advertising agencies, publishers, design studios, marketing firms, web design companies, and more. They work in branding and packaging, illustration, environmental graphics, web design and development, interactive media, and exhibition design, among other areas.

Auburn University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Chartered in 1856 as the East Alabama Male College, the school went on to become the first land-grant college in the South in 1872. Today, Auburn serves a diverse population of more than 31,500 students, making it one of the largest universities in the region. Auburn University offers 150 majors and programs across 15 colleges and schools.

13. University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas (Top 5% of colleges considered)
University of Kansas

The School of Architecture and Design at the University of Kansas (KU) houses the Department of Design. Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), the Department features access to state-of-the-art facilities, collaborations, lectures, and workshops led by industry professionals, study abroad programs, and local and international internships. 

Program options for designers include a BFA in Visual Communication Design and a Certificate in Book Arts. The Certificate Program has undergraduate and graduate pathways. The undergraduate certificate consists of 12-13 credit hours. The graduate program requires 12 credit hours. Course examples across programs include Letterpress and bookmaking, Digital Letterpress, Printmaking: Intaglio, Lithography and Serigraphy, The Photobook, Publication and Editorial, and Medieval Manuscripts and Early Printed Books. Both programs offer the opportunity to complete Study Abroad: Typography & Printmaking in Italy.

The University of Kansas Visual Communication Design Program consists of 120 credit hours. Courses for this professional BFA are hands-on, studio-based, and research intensive. Course examples include Think and Make, Fundamentals in UX Design, Elements of Type, Designing Social Interactions, Branding, Typographic Systems, and Designing Understanding. In the Junior year of the program, students will begin working on their final portfolio. In the final year of the program, students will complete the Professional Studies requirement (two courses), Senior Problems, and the Capstone Project.

KU Visual Communication Design and Book Arts graduates work in areas such as advertising, publishing/magazine and book design marketing, public relations, branding and package design, industrial design, exhibition design, environmental design, UI/UX design, web design, print media, multimedia, and motion graphic design. Possible job titles include, but are not limited to, Graphic Designer, Art Director, Advertising Art Director, Marketing Manager, Visual Designer, Communications Manager, Advertising Commercial/Industrial Designer, Multimedia Artist, Public Relations Manager, and Exhibition Designer.

University of Kansas is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Founded in 1865, KU opened on September 12, 1866 with one building and 55 students. Today, University of Kansas serves 28,500 students across five campuses the in Lawrence, Overland Park, Kansas City, Wichita, and Salina, Kansas. KU offers more than 400 degrees and certificate programs in 13 academic schools.

14. Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan (Top 5% of schools considered)
Michigan State University

The College of Arts & Letters at Michigan State University (MSU) houses the Department of Art, Art History, and Design (AAHD), which offers a BFA and a Minor in Graphic Design. BFA students have the opportunity to gain real-world experience in the AAHD Design Center, which provides creative services to local businesses. Students in all programs are eligible for AIGA membership, they have access to the Annual Visiting Artist & Scholar Lecture Series, and opportunities to complete an internship at a local or national company.

Courses for the 12 credit hour Graphic Design BFA explore 2D, 3D, electronic art, and photography. The Graphic Design Minor consists of 15 credit hours. Course examples across programs include Drawing, Graphic Design: Graphic Form, Printmaking, Digital Graphic Design: Tools and Methods, History of Graphic Design, Typography, Motion Design, Color and Design, and Concepts of Graphic Design.

Graduates of the MSU Graphic Design Program work at advertising agencies, marketing firms, design studios, publishing companies, and more. They hold titles such as Graphic Designer, Brand Identity Developer, Art Director, Logo Designer, Creative Director, Multimedia Artist, UI/UX Designer, Production Artist, Digital Designer, and Exhibition Designer, among others.

Michigan State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). This land-grant, public research university serves 49,695 students enrolled in more than 200 academic programs across 17 colleges. One of the largest and greenest campuses in the U.S., MSU houses more than 100 institutes and centers including the Institute of Global Health and the Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute.  

15. San Diego State University, San Diego, California (Top 5% of schools considered)
San Diego State University

The School of Art + Design at San Diego State University serves nearly 800 students. The School is part of the College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts (PSFA), which houses seven schools, three departments, and 15 interdisciplinary centers and institutes. Serving more than 5,000 students, PFSA provides internship opportunities, international experiences, and public performances and presentations to students in all of its departments and schools.

For artists interested in graphic design, the PFSA School of Art + Design offers a Graphic Design Emphasis for BA in Applied Arts and Sciences, MA, and MFA students. Students in all programs have access to state-of-the art facilities such as the Mac Computer Lab, Printmaking, Letterpress, and Book Arts Studios, Intaglio and Relief Printmaking Studios, the Screen Printing Studio, and the Computing Labs for Digital Imaging, Interactive Media, and Video. SDSU Graphic Design students at all levels also benefit from the visiting lecture series, access to local galleries, museums, and visual and performing arts organizations, and AIGA membership.

Course examples across programs include Artists and Designers in Real Time, Graphic Design I-IV, Packaging Design, Experiential Graphic Design, Expressive Typography, Screen Printing Studio, Design for the Internet, Art and Design Theory and Criticism, and Seminar in Professional Practice of Art and Design. BA students will complete the Senior Portfolio/Exhibition to graduate, while MA and MFA students will complete a Thesis or Final Project to graduate.

Graduates of the San Diego State University Graphic Design Programs are prepared to pursue positions such as Lead Graphic Designer, Technical Illustrator, Layout/Production Artist, Book Artist, Packing Designer, Logo Designer, Art Director, Multimedia Artist, Brand Designer, Graphic Illustrator, Print Production Artist, and Ad Designer, among others.

San Diego State University is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). Established in 1897 and serving just over 34,500 students, SDSU is the largest and oldest higher education institution in San Diego. San Diego State University offers more than 200 degree programs across seven colleges and hundreds of departments.

16. University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida (Top 6% of colleges considered)
University of Florida

Established in 1925, the College of the Arts at University of Florida (UF) houses the fully accredited schools of Art + Art History, Music, Theatre and Dance, the Center for Arts in Medicine, and the Digital Worlds Institute. In the School of Art + Art History, students interested in design can earn a Graphic Design BFA, an MFA in Graphic Design/Design & Visual Communications (MXD), or a Graphic Design Certificate.

The 120 credit hour Graphic Design BFA explores art history, drawing, design, and 2D, 3D, and 4D. Course examples for the program include Workshop for Art Research and Practice: WARP, Visual Methods and Processes, Space Studio, Digital Imaging, Graphic Design: Visual Systems in Design, Technologies and Processes, and Image, Form and Meaning. Students in the UF Graphic Design BFA will take Design Workshop, studios such as Design and Professional Practice Studio and Senior Design Studio, and they will work with clients on real-world projects. Students will leave the program with a professional portfolio of their best work.

The University of Florida MXD MFA is a terminal degree consisting of 60 credit ours of study. In existence for more than 20 years, this design-centered, interdisciplinary program has two-year and three-year options that consists of studios, seminars, workshops, practicums, and internship opportunities. The MFA also provides opportunities to develop entrepreneurial skills and teaching skills through electives. Examples include Seminar in Social Entrepreneurship, Creativity in Entrepreneurship, Teaching Art in Higher Education, and Methods of Research in Art Education. Students have the option to complete a Thesis or MFA Creative Project.

In the 15 credit hour Graphic Design Certificate Program at University of Florida is open to students majoring in Art or Art History. Courses include Perceptual Drawing, Visual Methods and Processes, Typography 1: Letterform, Design Thinking, and Graphic Design Practice. The UF Graphic Design Certificate Program takes four semesters to complete.

Graduates of the Graphic Design and Visual Communications Programs at University of Florida are designers, educators, entrepreneurs, and creative directors, among others. Program alumni work at major companies such as Apple, Walt Disney Imagineering, Meta (formerly Facebook), Verizon, Microsoft, IBM, IBM, Twitter, JetBlue, Kate Spade, West Elm, IDEO, Fossil, Viacom, JetBlue, and for the Miami Heat.

MDX MFA alumni have also laned positions at Google, L’Oréal, University at Buffalo, University of Colorado–Boulder, Illinois State University, Alabama at Birmingham, Ball State University, Northern Alabama University, Auburn University, and the University of Florida.

The University of Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Founded in 1858 as Gainesville Academy, the school opened with just a few students. Serving nearly 58,000 students today, UF encompasses a 2,000-acre campus with more than 900 buildings, including the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum-certified building in the State of Florida. The University of Florida offers more than 300 undergraduate and graduate programs in 14 colleges and schools.

17. University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, Minneapolis, Minnesota (Top 6% of colleges considered)
University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

The College of Design at University of Minnesota - Twin Cities (UofM or UMTC) houses the Graphic Design Program, which has a BFA Program and MA, MFA, MS, and PhD Programs with an optional Graphic Design Track. Students in all programs will participate in advanced studios, design projects (individual and collaborative), seminars, workshops, internships, and study abroad experiences.

The Graphic Design BFA explores areas such as typography, data visualization, digital drawing, color theory, hand-drawing, and web design. Course and elective examples for the program include Text and Image, Packaging and Display, Travels in Typography, Identity and Symbols, Storytelling and Design, Data Visualization Studio, Digital Illustration and Animation, Concept Sketching, Interaction Design and Product Innovation Lab. The Graphic Design BFA Program culminates with the Senior Thesis and Exhibition, which allows students to present their work to the faculty, peers, and the design community. Students will graduate with a portfolio of their best work.

In addition to the Graphic Design Track, the MA, MFA, MS, and PhD Programs in the UofM College of Design allow students to specialize in one of the following areas: Design Education, Human Interaction with Designed Objects, Color Systems and Perception, Design History, Visual Representation of Information, Multicultural Communication or Social and Cultural Implications of Design.  

The MA and MS Programs offer two plans: A and B. Plan A is thesis-focused and prepares students for the PhD Program. This pathway can be completed in 2-3 years full-time. Plan B is a project-based, two-year program designed for students seeking career advancement. Both plans are 34 credit hours and a both require a final oral examination.

The UMTC MFA with a Graphic Design Track consists of 60 credit hours completed over three years, full-time. Students will complete 40 credit hours in the major and 12 capstone project credits. A final oral examination is required to graduate. Consisting of 64 credit hours completed over four years, full-time, the PhD is for students interested in research or teaching. Students in this program will take 28 credits in the major and 24 dissertation credits.

Graduates of the Graphic Design Programs at University of Minnesota - Twin Cities work for advertising agencies, publishing companies, graphic design studios, public relations firms, web design studios, marketing firms, entertainment production studios, government agencies, museums, and in-house design departments at companies in a variety of industries. They hold titles such as Graphic Designer, Art Director, Data Visualization Strategist, Interactive Designer, Creative Director, User Experience Designer, and Web Designer, among others.  

The University of Minnesota - Twin Cities has been accredited continuously since 1913 by Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Founded in 1851, UMTC is the flagship institution of the University of Minnesota System and the state’s only land-grant university. One of largest research universities in the nation, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities is also one of just five universities in the U.S. with agricultural, engineering, law, medical, and veterinary medicine schools all on one campus. Around 4,000 UMTC faculty members serve more than 50,000 students enrolled in over 150 undergraduate majors, 150+ minors, and more than 200 master’s and doctoral programs.

18. The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio (Top 6% of colleges considered)
The Ohio State University

Established in 1968, the College of Arts and Sciences at The Ohio State University (OSU) houses the Department of Design, which offers a Bachelor of Science in Design (BSD) in Visual Communication Design and a Design Thinking Minor. At the graduate level, the Department of Art, also housed in the College of Arts and Sciences, offers an MFA in Visual Art.

The OSU Visual Communication Design BSD Program begins with the Interdisciplinary Foundation Year consisting of 18 credit hours of coursework. During this time, students will focus on developing drawing skills, mastering design software tools, and typography. Course examples for the sophomore, junior and senior years include Intermediate Vis Com Design, Materials + Processes for Visual Communication Design, Collaborative Design, Professional Practices, Advanced Vis Com Design, Design Seminar for Visual Communication Design, and Design Research.

Graduates of the OSU Visual Communication Design BSD have been hired at places such as Microsoft, Walt Disney Company, IBM iX, The Digest, JP Morgan Chase, Binance, Walt Disney Imagineering, McGraw-Hill Education, Abercrombie & Fitch, Ring, Interbrand, and SafeAuto Insurance.

The Design Thinking Minor is a 15 credit hour program that covers the basics of design. Courses include Introduction to Design Practice, Design History, Exploring Design Thinking, Visualization as Thinking, and Presentation as Thinking. Students in all departments may add the Design Thinking Minor to their degree program.

The Ohio State University MFA in Visual Art is a three-year, 66 credit hour interdisciplinary program that explores Art and Technology, Painting and Drawing, Printmaking, Photography, Film/Video, Glass, and Sculpture. Students in this full-time program may specialize in a variety of design disciplines through electives and other coursework. Additional program benefits include visiting artists, critics, and curators,  24/7 access to private and semi-private studio spaces, internship opportunities, and access to state-of-the-art facilities, exhibition spaces, the Wexner Center for the Arts, and the Fine Arts and Cartoon Libraries.

The OSU Visual Art MFA Program culminates with the MFA Thesis Exhibition, which demonstrates the student’s expertise in their area of specialization. Exhibitions are displayed at the OSU-run, Urban Arts Space, located in downtown Columbus.

The Ohio State University was established in 1870 as Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College. The school serves more than 61,000 students at campuses across Ohio in Columbus (main), Lima, Mansfield, Marion, Newark, and OSU’s Agricultural Technical Institute in Wooster. More than 200 majors, minors, and specializations are offered in 18 colleges and schools. The Ohio State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA).

19. Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas (Top 7% of colleges considered)
Texas State University

The College of Fine Arts & Communication at Texas State University (Texas State) houses the School of Art and Design, home to the Communication Design Program (ComDes). Degree options include the BFA and MFA in ComDes. The 120 credit hour BFA provides mentoring, meetups, and internship opportunities through the Texas State’s relationships with local and national businesses. Students have also interned at companies in Europe. 

Courses for the program are taught in a studio environment with access to the Mitte Complex, which houses state-of-the-art production facilities and equipment. Coursework explores corporate identity, brand experience, typography, environmental graphics, human-centered design, interactive design, art direction, sustainable packaging, and design research. Specific course examples include Branding Systems, Interactive Media, Trademark Design, Introduction to Printmaking: Intaglio and Lithography, Expanded Media, and Typography. The ComDes BFA Program culminates with the Senior Portfolio Presentation and Self-Promotion Capstone.

Before graduating from the program, many ComDes students have already earned publishing credits in journals such as PRINT, Communication Arts, Graphis New Talent Annual, Step Inside Design, CMYK, and Logo Lounge. Students in the program have also received recognition competitions such as the Austin Addy Awards, the San Antonio Addy Awards, AIGA Flux, Creative Summit, the American Advertising Federation Awards, Art The National Show, Director's Club of Houston, and The One Show.

Graduates of the Texas State University ComDes BFA Program have been placed at companies such as  Microsoft, Disney, Verizon, IBM, Google, Indeed, DDB, Spotify, Vrbo, H-E-B Digital, Helm’s Workshop, GSD&M, and USAA, among others.

The Texas State University ComDes MFA (or MFA/CD) is a 60 credit hour program that can be completed online with one on-campus residency each year. During the residency, students will participate in workshops, critiques, and visiting designer lectures. Graduate assistantships are also offered in the School of Art and Design, and allow students to gain teaching experience through the ComDes BFA Program. Graduate assistantships are paid positions that require 20 hours of work per week.

The Texas State MFA/CD Program explores design history, visual communication, typography, and digital design. Course examples include Imaging, Alternative Printing Methods, Kinetic Typography, Design for Motion, Generative Design, Experience Design, Design for Motion, Corporate Identity Systems, Professional Practice, Design Futures, Entrepreneurial Design, Exhibitions, Corporate Marketing Materials, The Experimental Book, and Research Through Making. In the Professional Practice course, MFA students will work with regional and national advertising agencies, graphic design firms, or digital media studios to gain professional experience.

Potential careers for graduates of the Texas State University MFA/CD Program include, but are not limited to, Art Director, Senior Graphic Designer, Visual Designer, Creative Director, Design Manager, Typographer, Senior Interaction Designer, UI/UX Designer, and Professor.

Texas State University was established in 1899 as a teacher’s college known as Southwest Texas Normal School. With Lyndon B. Johnson as the school’s most famous alumni—and the only president to graduate from a Texas college—Texas State serves 38,000 students enrolled in more than 200 bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs. Located on the banks of the San Marcos River, Texas State University has been a part of the Texas State University System since 1911.

20. Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa (Top 7% of colleges considered)
Iowa State University

The College of Design at Iowa State University (Iowa State or ISU) houses the Department of Graphic Design (GD), which offers the only public BFA in Graphic Design in the State of Iowa. At the graduate level, ISU offers MA and MFA degrees in Graphic Design. In partnership with the Iowa State Virtual Reality Applications Center, the ISU College of Design also offers a dual GD MFA/Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) MS degree. This interdisciplinary program allows students to study HCI, Graphic Design, and other disciplines such as Virtual Reality and Game-Based Learning.

Course examples for the GD MFA/HCI MS include Graphic Design and Behavioral Change, User engagement, Visual Design for HCI, Virtual Worlds and applications, Evaluating Digital Learning Environments, Python Application Development in HCI, Change by Design: Disruptive Innovation, Foundations in Game Based Learning, Computer Graphics and Geometric Modeling, and Emerging Practices in HCI. Dual degree students will also complete Graphic Design Studio, Thesis Preparation, and Graduate Thesis Studio I-II.

Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), all ISU Graphic Design pathways provide access to internships and other opportunities to gain work experience prior to graduation. BFA students also have access to study abroad experiences in the College of Design’s Rome Program or Graphic Design in Europe.

To qualify for admittance into the BFA Program, students must complete College of Design’s one-year Core Design Program. This program allows students to experiment with interdisciplinary work, while preparing for entry into the BFA. The curriculum for the Graphic Design BFA explores digital media, print, environmental graphics, and motion. Throughout the program, students will have the opportunity to travel to design centers across the U.S. and engage in studios in design applications such as 3D animation, publications, web and e-commerce, branding and logo design, motion graphics, multimedia, and more.

All BFA students will complete Graphic Design I-V and Professional Practices to graduate. Within six months of graduating, 95% of ISU’s BFA graduates are employed or continuing their education.

The MA in Graphic Design is an Experiential Graphic Design (MAxGD) Program that requires 30 credit hours to graduate. The program is designed for students with little to no experience in graphic design. The MAxGD explores areas such as interaction, information design, wayfinding, placemaking, and exhibition design. Course examples include Audience & Perception, Seminar: Design Humanics: Sensory Perception & Ergonomic Factors, and Design & Cultural Semiotics. Students will also complete two Graphic Design Graduate Studios.

The ISU Graphic Design MFA is a terminal degree that requires a minimum of 60 credits to graduate. Students in the program may choose an elective focus area outside of graphic design and they will work closely with faculty to complete the MFA Graduate Thesis. Seminars and studios are also part of the program.

For graduates receiving degrees from August 2020 to May 2021, 100% were employed or continuing their education within six months of graduation.

Iowa State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Founded in 1858, the school is the nation’s first designated land-grant institution. Iowa State serves just over 30,700 students enrolled in more than 100 undergraduate majors and over 200 fields of study leading a graduate or professional degree. Programs at Iowa State University are housed in eight colleges, two schools, and around 150 academic departments.

21. Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston, Massachusetts (Top 7% of colleges considered)
Massachusetts College of Art and Design

Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt) has a Communication Design Program with BFA and Certificate options. The Communication Design Certificate has three levels of certification. Level 1 consists of four courses and covers visual communication for print and screen-based mediums. Level 2 consists of three courses and a non-credit workshop. Building on skills learned in Level 1, Level 2 includes advanced coursework in brand design, interactive design for web and mobile interfaces, typography, and UX design. Level 2 students will complete a professional portfolio.

Level 3 consists of four courses and one non-credit workshop. The most advanced level of the three, this option consists of advanced courses in design systems. Level 3 graduates are prepared to pursue immediate employment in the industry.

The MassArt Communication Design BFA explores advertising, branding and package design, interactive communication, information design, web and app design, user experience design, and publication design. Course examples include Advertising and Art Direction, Disobedient Design: From Activist Posters to Augmented Reality, Letterpress Printing, Programming for Designers, Graphic Design I-IV, Experimental Book Arts, Poster Design, Advanced Web Projects, Typography I-III, Identity Systems, Type Design, and Information Architecture.

BFA students will complete several design studio courses, Professional Practice, Independent Study, Advanced Projects I-II, the Graphic Design Portfolio course and the Senior Degree Project. Though optional, the MassArt Graphic Design Internship, worth three credits, is highly recommended.

Graduates of the Communications Design Programs at Massachusetts College of Art and Design work in advertising, book publishing, public relations, marketing, print media, entertainment, web development, social media, and animation and multimedia, among others. Some program alumni have established successful freelance careers, while others have gone on to launch their own creative studios and design firms.

Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt) is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE). The school, which opened as Massachusetts Normal School in 1873, serves nearly 2,000 undergraduate, graduate, and continuing education students. Known as the Commonwealth’s Art and Design School, MassArt offers 24 programs leading to the BFA, MFA, MDES, MAT, or March.

22. University of Houston, Houston, Texas (Top 8% of schools considered)
University of Houston

The University of Houston (UH) is home the Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts. Within the McGovern College is the School of Art, which offers a BFA in Graphic Design and an MFA in Studio Art. The graduate program has a Concentration in Graphic Design.

The UH Graphic Design BFA provides learning and networking opportunities through visiting artist and speaker events, and the option to add the Minor in Graphic Communications Technology. Consisting of 18 semester hours, the minor helps students master the technology used to produce print media. Course examples include Graphic Communication Output Lab, Graphics for Digital Media, Information Technology Applications for Digital Media, and Page Layout and Design. The UH Minor is part of the College of Technology’s Department of Information and Logistics Technology.

Other Graphic Design BFA benefits include participation in workshops, site-specific projects, lectures, and critiques, and access to internship opportunities. At the end of the program, students will participate in a senior exhibition that showcases their best work.

The MFA in Studio Art with a Concentration in Graphic Design consists of 60 semester hours including 24 hours in related arts, 18 hours in the concentration, 12 hours in art history, and six hours in graduate seminars. Course examples include Graphic Design Studio and Writing Seminar. Upon completion of all coursework and projects for the program, MFA students will present their work in a thesis exhibition at Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston.

The University of Houston is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Established in 1927, this public research university houses an interdisciplinary Honors College, and 16 colleges and schools that offer more than 400 degree programs to more than 47,000 students.

23. University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Knoxville, Tennessee (Top 8% of colleges considered)
University of Tennessee

The College of Architecture and Design at University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UT Knoxville or UTK) houses the School of Design, which offers a BFA Graphic Design and a 15 credit hour Graphic Studies Minor that takes two years to complete. Graphic Design Program features include small class sizes, collaborative Design Studios, 24/7 access to state-of-the-art labs and equipment, and participation in the Annual Senior Show.

Course examples across programs include Advertising Principles, The Art of Presentation Design, Principles, Processes and Applications of Design, Design as Visual Message-Making, User-Centered Design, Writing, Layout, and Production of Technical Documents, Expanded Principles of Typography, Interactive & Screen-Based Design, Advanced Design Investigations, The Idea of Design. BFA students have the option to complete the Practicum (45 working hours), Undergraduate Research (course) and/ or a study abroad experience.

Over the past five years, graduates of the UTK Graphic Design Program have enjoyed an impressive 90% employment rate. Alumni work at leading companies such as Apple, GAP, Google, HGTV, Instagram, Meta (formerly Facebook), and Zillow. Some have started their own companies including Matchstic Media, Morris Creative, Nathanna Design, Old City Mailroom, Robin Easter Design, and many others. All students must complete a Capstone Project to graduate.

Graduates of the UT Knoxville Graphic Design Programs are prepared to pursue positions at advertising agencies, publishing companies, magazines, design studios, public relations firms, marketing firms, film studios, web design companies, game studios, and museums, among others.

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, has been continuously accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) since 1897. Founded in 1794 as Knoxville as Blount College, UT Knoxville serves 31,700 students enrolled in more than 900 programs of study in 11 colleges.

24. University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia (Top 8% of colleges considered)
University of Georgia

The Franklin College of Arts & Sciences at University of Georgia (UGA) houses the Lamar Dodd School of Art, which has both undergraduate and graduate programs for designers. The BFA in Fine Arts has Graphic Design, Photography & Expanded Media, Printmaking & Book Arts, and Scientific Illustration Concentrations. All concentrations require successful completion of the Franklin College Core and Area VI coursework. Course examples include Art History, Color and Composition, Drawing, Professional Seminar, and Three-Dimensional Design.

Students in the Graphic Design Concentration have opportunities to study in other associated subject areas through design focus tracks and electives. To create a track, BFA students may choose nine credit hours from the following courses: Art, Design & Architectural History, Communications & Media, Cultural Studies, Interaction & Computing, Marketing & Strategy, and Studio Art & Design. Elective examples include Data Visualization, Graphic Design Field Study, Internship in Art, and Topics in Digital Platforms & Dynamic Media I.

For students interested in a design minor, the UGA Dodd School offers a Digital Design + Media Minor consisting of 15 credit hours. With nine hours of upper division coursework, the program focuses on Graphic Design, Photography, and Time-Based Media.

Another option for designers is the Interdisciplinary Art & Design AB (BA). Program features include the Area VI coursework, experiential learning (study abroad in Cortona, Costa Rica, Ghana or field study), and the option to complete a minor, certificate program or double major in a field outside of the Dodd School of Art. The Interdisciplinary Art & Design AB requires 122 credit hours to graduate.

For graduate students, the Lamar Dodd School of Art at University of Georgia offers an MFA in Printmaking and Book Arts. Students in this program can take Area VI coursework, and study graphic design through electives. Other program features include private MFA studios with natural lighting and large windows, access to state-of-the-art equipment to produce print, paper and book arts media, and the multifunctional Project Space for installing, staging, critiquing, and exhibiting work. The Printmaking and Book Arts Program is also offered at the undergraduate level. The program leads to a BFA.

Graduates of the Art and Design Programs at University of Georgia work in a variety of positions at creative firms, retailers, broadcasting companies, magazines, museums, publishers, and more. Examples of companies that have hired UGA graduates include IBM Design, Meta (formerly Facebook), the Metropolitan Museum of Art, CNN & Turner Broadcasting, Bustle, Gensler, Free People, and Aveda.

University of Georgia is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Established in 1785 and the state’s flagship institution, UGA serves more than 40,000 students enrolled in 379 degree programs across 17 colleges and schools. Established in 1910, the Graduate School houses 250 of UGA’s 379 degree programs.

25. Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), Indianapolis, Indiana (Top 9% of colleges considered)
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

The Herron School of Art + Design (Herron) at Indiana University-Purdue University (IUPUI) houses eight visual communication design studios, the Think It Make It Lab, and research and studio spaces such as the book arts studio, woodshops, photo lighting studios, and the Herron Art Library. Students in the Herron Visual Communication Design (VCD) Program have access to all Herron facilities as well as dedicated individual spaces within larger studios for undergraduates, and private studios for graduate students. Graduate students also have access to a separate conference room for seminars.

Leading to a BFA, the undergraduate VCD Program at IUPUI consists of 125 credit hours. Course examples include Type and Image, Production: Print Digital Design Outcomes, Image & 4D Studio, Designing for People-Centered Experiences, Visual Communication II: Design Methodology, Studio Art & Technology, Typography, and Making Meaning. Students in this professional degree program will complete six design labs (including two advanced labs) and a Professional Practice Internship. To enhance the degree, students can add a Book Arts, Art History or Studio Art & Technology Minor.  

The graduate VCD Program at IUPUI was established in 2007. Leading to an MFA, this intensive program consists of collaborative external projects with the City of Indianapolis and other entities, and on-campus research projects in collaboration with professors and peers. During the course of the program, which takes two years to complete, students will take Collaborative Action Research in Design 1-6 (two courses each semester).

Other course examples include Intro Design Thinking for Tackling Wicked Problems and Sensemaking, Design for Ideating, Leadership in Design Practice, Introduction to Human Factors in Design, and Design Methods for Prototyping. VCD MFA students will have the opportunity to complete several interdisciplinary electives.

In the final year of the IUPUI VCD MFA Program, students will complete four courses leading to a final project/thesis.

Graduates of the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis Visual Communication Design Programs are Graphic Designers, Art Directors, Interactive Designers, Package Designers, User Experience Designers, Creative Directors, Brand Managers and Strategists, Mobile App Designers, and Exhibit Designers, among others. They work at Mayo Clinic, Amazon Web Services, ExxonMobil, Chase Bank, Airbnb, Humana, Google, Salesforce, Texas Tech University, OurHealth, and many others.

Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Indiana University (est. 1820) and Purdue University (est. 1869) merged in 1969 to create what is known today as Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). The school serves 27,690 students enrolled in more than 550 degrees and majors in 17 degree-granting schools.

26. Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina (Top 9% of colleges considered)
Appalachian State University

Appalachian State University (Appalachian State or ASU) houses the College of Fine and Applied Arts (CFAA). In the CFAA Department of Art, students can earn a BFA in Graphic Design. Program benefits faculty-led regional and national trips, study abroad experiences in places such as Austria, Italy, Panama, and South Africa, and internships with companies and organizations such as Discovery Communications (Chicago, Illinois), Publicis (Bangkok, Thailand), and Appalachian Voices (Boone, North Carolina). Students in this four-year professional program also have access to clubs and organizations such as AIGA ASU, the Art History Club and Student Art League, and the Arts Management Organization (AMO).

The Appalachian State Graphic Design BFA consists of 120 credit hours. Although it is not required, many students add a minor such as Studio Art with Portfolio Review, Studio Art without Portfolio Review, or Art History. Course examples for the program include Digital Imaging, Interaction Design, Idea Lab, Technical Writing, Video Production and Story, Typography I-III, Creativity: Methods & Practice, Motion Graphics, Hand-Lettering, and Sign, Symbol, Image.

The ASU Graphic Design curriculum includes an internship opportunity and Graphic Design Professional Practice. In this course, students will participate in lectures, create self-promotional packages, engage in research and writing related to job search preparedness, and develop and refine their portfolios. Students may also visit local or regional design studios and printing facilities.

Graduates of the Appalachian State University Graphic Design BFA Program can pursue careers such as Advertising Director, Computer Graphic Artist, Book Designer, Communications Specialist, Creative Director, Editorial Artist, Graphic Designer, Art Director, Multimedia Designer, and Cartoonist or Illustrator. Program alumni have been hired at Gap, McCall Publishing, Red hat, Oculus Studios, Amazon.com, COCG, Footbridge Media, Fifty&Fifty, and Raizlabs, among others.

Appalachian State University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC). Founded in 1899 as Watauga Academy, Appalachian State is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. The school serves more than 20,600 students enrolled in more than 200 degree programs in eight colleges and schools.

27. Kent State University, Kent, Ohio (Top 9% of colleges considered)
Kent State University

The Visual Communication Design (VCD) Program at Kent State University (Kent State or KSU) requires students to complete an internship. Many internships are paid and provide the opportunity to work at companies and design studios in Cleveland, Chicago, New York, and San Francisco. Housed in the College of Communication and Information’s  School of Visual Communication Design, the program has BA, BFA, MA, and MFA options. Minors include Design and Information Design.

Students in all undergraduate programs will complete the Kent State University Core. Consisting of 36-37 credit hours, the Core covers six areas: Composition, Mathematics and Critical Reasoning, Humanities and Fine Arts, Social Sciences, Basic Sciences, and Additional Options. All undergraduate options explore illustration and design, 2D and 3D forms, print, interactive design, motion, exhibition design, package design, video, and environmental design. Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), the BA and BFA Programs also require a minor or secondary area of study. Examples include Advertising, Marketing, Health Communication, Visual Journalism, Public Relations, and Management or Entrepreneurship for Non-Business Majors. International study experiences, portfolio development, and an exhibition are also part of the programs.

The Graduate VCD Program at Kent State is one of only three programs in Ohio to offer an MA in Visual Communication Design. The graduate program was also the first to offer the terminal degree in the field, the MFA. The MA is a 32 credit hour program that consists of just three semesters of study. Course examples include Graphic Design Advanced, Concept Development and Implementation, Typographic Structures and Systems, User Experience Design Principles and Concepts, and Design Research Methods. Master of Arts students will complete the MA Project in Graphic Design and Illustration and a portfolio.

The Kent State VCD MFA is a 60 credit hour, five semester program that combines design, research, and theory coursework with hands-on teaching experiences at the freshman and sophomore level. MFA graduates are prepared for leadership roles in design and design education. MA graduates can pursue careers in Branding, User Experience Design, Social Media, and Digital Media, among others.

Kent State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Established in 1910 as a teacher-training school, KSU consists of an eight-campus system that serves around 35,000 students from across the U.S. and 116 countries. Kent State University offers more than 300 programs in more than 40 colleges, departments, and schools.

28. University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah (Top 10% of colleges considered)
University of Utah

The College of Fine Arts at University of Utah (U of U or The U) houses the Department of Art & Art History, home to the new BFA in Graphic Design. Formerly the BFA in Studio Art–Graphic Design Emphasis, the program consists of 122 credit  hours, with a minimum of 79 in the major. Students may declare the Graphic Design major in the first year of study. To advance the second year, students must successfully complete all first year coursework and submit a portfolio. A second year review is required to advance to the third year of the program.

Course examples for the U of U Graphic Design BFA include six Studio Foundations courses that explore areas such as action, mapping, and touch, Typography 1-2, Communication Design 1-5, Design Strategy, History of Graphic Design, Visual Rhetoric, Digital Drawing, Writing for New Media, and Digital Imaging for Visual Artists. Upper division courses include Design Theory And Practice, Visiting Designer Studio: Design Co-op, Professional Practices Seminar, Graphic Design Capstone 1: Research And Inquiry, and Graphic Design Capstone 2: Development And Presentation.

The Visiting Designer Studio course is a requirement for all BFA Graphic Design majors. The course consists of workshops led by guest lecturers and studio driven projects. In the Professional Practices Seminar, students will complete a portfolio and professional resume. The Capstone courses are required to complete the Final BFA Project. Graduates are prepares to pursue positions in all areas of Graphic Design.

University of Utah is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). Founded in 1850, The U is Utah’s public flagship institution. This top-tier research institution serves around 34,425 students enrolled in more than 200 programs in 17 colleges and schools.

29. University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida (Top 10% of schools considered)
University of Central Florida

The College of Arts and Humanities at University of Central Florida (UCF) houses the School of Visual Arts & Design (SVAD), which offers an Emerging Media BFA with a Graphic Design Track. At the graduate level, SVAD offers an interdisciplinary Emerging Media MFA with a Studio Art and Design Track.

The Emerging Media BFA Program explores interactive and web design, typography, branding and packaging, UI/UX design, poster creation, publication design, film and broadcast graphics, and identity systems. Consisting of 120 credit hours, the program requires 63 credit hours in the major. Course examples include Type & Design, Intermediate Graphic Design I-II, Advanced Computer Graphic Design, Computer Art, Art in the Last 25 Years, and Special Problems in Graphic Design. In addition, Emerging BFA students will work on building a professional portfolio during the entire four years of the program.

With a focus on Electronic Media, SVAD Emerging Media MFA is a rigorous, 60 credit hour program that consists of individual and group critiques, experimentation with emerging and traditional media, and mentoring. The program requires 18 credit hours of electives and 18 in Thesis courses. Elective examples include Design Theory and Methods, Time Arts, Art, Design and Human Interactions, Serial Content, and The Professional Practice of Art. The UCF Emerging Media MFA Program culminates with a Thesis Exhibition.

University of Central Florida alumni work at Amazon, Google, Lockheed Martin, Walt Disney World, Microsoft, The Walt Disney Company, Universal Orlando Resort, AdventHealth, Salesforce, Meta (formerly Facebook), Orlando Health, and TEKsystems, among others.

University of Central Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Founded in 1963, University of Central Florida opened in 1968 as Florida Technological University. When it opened, the school had less than 2,000 students. Today, UCF serves more than 70,000 students making it the largest university by enrollment in the State of Florida, and one of the nation’s largest universities. Program offerings include 106 bachelor’s degrees, 95 master’s degrees, 31 research doctorates, three professional doctorates, and three specialist degrees.

30. Indiana University, Bloomington, Bloomington, Indiana (Top 10% of colleges considered)
Indiana University, Bloomington

The Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design (SOAAD) at Indiana University Bloomington (IU Bloomington) houses a Studio Art Program with BA, BFA, and MFA pathways that allow students to concentrate in Graphic Design. Students in all pathways have access to state-of-the-art facilities such as Student Technology Centers, the Digital Printing Lab, and The Letterpress Studio.

Part of SOAAD since the 1960s, The Letterpress Studio houses resources such as Vandercook presses, a bookbinding press, foil stamper, guillotine paper cutter, and wood and metal fonts. BFA and MFA students also have access to individual workspaces, with separate shared studio spaces. All SOAAD students benefit from the McKinney Visiting Artist Series, which consists of lectures, workshops, and individual critiques; one-on-one faculty mentorship; interdisciplinary collaborations and cross-disciplinary workshops; five overseas study programs in Florence, Guatemala, Italy, Japan, and Barcelona; and internships at places such as Amazon, BlueLine Media Productions, Interbrand, Macy’s, Mediaworks Advertising, Morningstar, Inc., PwC, Universal Studios, and Urban Outfitters. Students may also work with independent artists (apprenticeship), departments on campus, or local businesses.

BA students will complete a final portfolio of their best work. The BFA Program culminates with a BFA Thesis Exhibition in Grunwald Gallery of Art at IU Bloomington. During the final semester of the SOADD MFA Program, graduate students will complete a Thesis. Like the BFA Thesis, the MFA Thesis will be displayed in the Grunwald Gallery. The graduate event opens with a reception that allows students to present a summary of their work to the public.

Indiana University Bloomington is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Established in 1820, IU Bloomington is the flagship campus of Indiana University’s seven campus system. The school serves more than 43,000 students enrolled in more than 550 academic programs across 16 degree-granting colleges and schools.

31. Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana (Top 10% of schools considered)
Ball State University

The College of Fine Arts at Ball State University (BSU) houses the School of Art, which has six programs leading to a bachelor’s degree and one leading to an MFA. At the undergraduate level, the BSU School of Art offers Visual Communication Design (VCD) Concentration within the BFA in Art Program. Consisting of 145 credit hours, VCD requires 60 credits in Visual Communications.

Course examples include Web Design: Coding for Designers, Printmaking: Introduction, Design: Computer for Visual Communication/Graphic Design, Web Design: Frameworks, Libraries and Interactivity, Design: Advanced Practices 1-2, Intermedia: Experimental Video, Digital Fabrication, Printmaking: Serigraphy 1, and Design: Research and Professional Practices.

During the final year of the BSU VCD Program, students have the option to complete the Design: Practicum course, the School of Art Internship or Design: Senior Thesis. The Practicum provides the opportunity to work on group or individual projects for clients within and/or outside the university community. The internship provides paid professional work experiences that take place during the summer for ten or more weeks.

Ball State University graduates enjoy a 90% career placement rate. Potential careers for VCD graduates include, but are not limited to, Graphic Designer, Web Designer, User Experience Designer, Video Editor, Book Designer, Advertising Designer, Art Director, Visual Designer, and Communications Manager.

Ball State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Founded in 1918 as the Indiana State Normal School Eastern Division, BSU serves more than 20,000 students enrolled in 110 majors and 12 preprofessional option in seven colleges. Ball State University also houses 357 student organizations and more than 150 study abroad programs.

32. University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, Texas (Top 15% of schools considered)
University of Texas at Arlington

The University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) houses the College of Liberal Arts (CoLA), home to the Department of Art and Art History, which offers BA and BFA degrees in Art and Art in Studio Art, and an MFA in Visual Communication Design (VCD). The 120 credit hour BA includes an 18 credit hour Minor in Film/Video-Animation/Gaming), 55 credit hours in art, advanced studio classes, and the opportunity to concentrate in Visual Communication Design. The BFA Program requires 124 credit hours of study, with 79 in art. Students in this program may also concentrate in VCD.

Course examples across programs include Digital Media, 3D Studio, Advanced Drawing, 2D and 3D Design, Web Typography, Art History Foundation, Sign and Symbol, Printmaking, Water Media, Advanced Typography, Digital Imaging, and History of Graphic Design. Both the BA and BFA culminate with a Portfolio and Presentation.

The MFA Program at University of Texas at Arlington consists of 60 credit hours, with 39 in Visual Communication Design. Course examples include Research in Visual Communication, Topics in the History of Art & Design, and Creative Strategies. The VCD MFA culminates with the Thesis Exhibition.

Students in all CoLA Department of Art and Art History Programs have access to advanced digital studios and printing labs, the Corrugated Prototype Design and CAD Production Lab, over 40 Mac Computers, and the Studio Createc Gaming Studio. All VCD studios are equipped with Adobe Suite and other industry programs. The Art Programs at University of Texas at Arlington are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art & Design (NASAD).

Graduates of the Visual Communication Design programs at UTA have career opportunities such as Graphic Designer, Printmaker, Book Designer, App Designer, Art Director, Exhibition Designer, Brand Manager, Packaging Designer, Animator, Exhibit Designer, Illustrator, and Web Designer, among others.

The University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Founded in 1895, UTA is a Carnegie Research 1 institution that serves around 45,950 students. The largest university in North Texas and the second largest in the University of Texas System, University of Texas at Arlington offers more than 180 degree programs across nine colleges.

33. University of Colorado Denver, Denver, Colorado (Top 15% of schools considered)
University of Colorado Denver

The College of Arts & Media (CAM) at University of Colorado Denver (CU Denver) houses the Digital Media Program, which has BFA and Minor pathways. Both pathways are interdisciplinary and hands-on, and explore branding design, interactive media, graphic design, motion graphics, and user experience design. Course examples across pathways include 3D Motion Design, Typography, Fostering Creativity, 3D Design, Digital Design, Interactive Media, and Design Studio. The Digital Media BFA culminates with the Design Thesis Project.

Graduates of the University of Colorado Denver Digital Media Program work as Graphic Designers, Creative Directors, UI/UX Designers, Video Editors, Motion Graphic Artists, and Game Designers. Digital Program alumni work at major companies, advertising agencies, and with startups such as Craftsy, JILA, Hewlett Packard, IBM, Crispin Porter + Bogusky, Unity, Mozilla, Fruition, Mercedes-Benz, and Dire Wolf.

University of Colorado Denver is accredited by Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The school opened in 1912 as an extension of the University of Colorado Boulder and became CU Denver in 1973, making it an independent campus. Organized into eight colleges and schools, University of Colorado Denver serves 15,000 students enrolled in more than 110 academic degrees.

34. Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma (Top 15% of colleges considered)
Oklahoma State University

The College of Arts and Sciences at Oklahoma State University (OSU) houses the Department of Art, Graphic Design and Art History, which offers a BFA in Art with a Graphic Design Option and an MFA in Graphic Design. Students in both programs have access to the Visual Resource Center (3D Printing Lab), and 24/7 access to design studios and computer labs in the Bartlett Center for the Visual Arts.

The OSU Graphic Design BFA Program consists of 120 credit hours with both upper- and lower-division sequences. Course examples at the lower level include Graphic Design, Typography, Drawing, Printmaking,  Photography, and Studio Art Digital Survey. Upper division course examples Digital Imaging, Motion Design, Interaction Design, Advanced Drawing, Marketing Design Essentials, Alternative Photography, Interaction Design Studio, Directed Study in Art, Advertising Media and Markets, Brand Marketing, Field Production, and Promotional Strategy. A Professional Internship and Portfolio Capstone are also part of the program.

Graduates of the Oklahoma State University BFA Program go on to enroll in graduate programs across the country or to positions at design studios, creative agencies, advertising agencies, marketing firms, and in-house design departments. Potential job titles include Graphic Designer, Creative Director, Environmental Designer, Interactive Designer, UI/UX Designer, Exhibit Designer, Art Director, Motion Graphics Designer, Package Designer, Advertising Designer, Web Designer, Publications Designer, and Typographer, among others.

Recent OSU BFA graduates have been hired at the Museum of East Texas, Matchfire, the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition, and Masterwork Artistry, to name a few.

The Oklahoma State University Graphic Design MFA is a three-year, sixty credit hour terminal degree. The program has three focus areas: Visual Communication, Motion Design, and Interaction Design. Students in all areas will complete 27-30 credit hours of graduate level studio courses, 9-12 hours of electives within and outside the department, a Teaching Practicum, off-campus Internship, and Thesis.  

Course examples for the MFA include Graduate Seminar, Graphic Design Graduate Studio, Interaction Design Graduate Studio, Motion Design Graduate Studio, and Teaching Practicum. A Thesis and off-campus summer internship are also part of the program.

Recent Oklahoma State University graduates have been hired by Amazon.com, ConocoPhillips, Dell, Merck, Halliburton Industries, Dallas Morning News/Belo Corporation, JPMorgan Chase, IBM, Lockheed Martin, Tyco, FDIC, Walmart, and Merck. 

Oklahoma State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Established in 1890 on Christmas Day, OSU consists of a five-campus system that houses seven academic colleges, a veterinary school, an osteopathic medical school, and several centers and institutes. Serving around 26,650 students enrolled in 200 undergraduate majors and options, 79 master’s programs, and 45 doctoral programs. The programs at OSU are offered in seven academic colleges, a veterinary school, and an osteopathic medical school.

35. Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana (Top 15% of schools considered)
Purdue University

The College of Liberal Arts at Purdue University houses the Patti & Rusty Rueff School of Dance, Art, and Performance. Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), the School is home to the Department of Design, which has a Visual Communications Design (VCD) Program with undergraduate and graduate options.

The BFA in VCD is a 126 credit hour program with 78 credits in the major. Course examples include Visual Communication Design I-IV, Etching And Intaglio Printmaking, Digital Media I: Photography And Digital Imaging, Electronic Media Studio, Studio in Visual Communication Design, Visual Communication Design Computing I-II, Design I-III, Advertising Media Strategies, and Video Art. An internship is also part of the program.

Graduates of the Purdue University VCD BFA Program are prepared to pursue positions and careers such as Graphic Designer, Design Consultant, UX Designer, Data Visualization, Package Designer, Advertising, Marketing, and Web Designer.

The MFA in VCD is an interdisciplinary program that consists of 60-66 credit hours of study completed over three years. The 66 credit hour program requires a thesis. The 60 credit hour pathway does not require a thesis. The VCD MFA program explores information design, typography, critical theory, poster design, web communications, advanced color design, design methodology, research methods, and design history. The program also consists of immersive studios, elective coursework, and interdisciplinary seminars. During the final year of the VCD MFA, students will work on their MFA Thesis and Exhibition, where they will present a public gallery talk about their final projects.

Graduates of the Purdue University VCD MFA Program are prepared for junior, senior, and leadership roles such as Art Director, Brand Manager, Design Educator, Graphic Artist, Senior Graphic Design, Graphic Design Consultant, Senior Packaging Designer, Web Designer, Multimedia Designer, and Creative Director.

Purdue University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Established in 1869, this public research university opened with six instructors and 39 students on September 16, 1874. Today, Purdue employs 2,000 full-time faculty members that serve more than 50,000 students from every state in the nation and 130 countries. Purdue University offers more than 400 programs in 11 colleges and schools.

36. Texas A&M University-Commerce, Commerce, Texas (Top 15% of schools considered)

The College of Humanities, Social Sciences, and Arts at Texas A&M University-Commerce (TAMU-C) houses the Department of Art-home to the Visual Communication (VisCom) Program. Leading to a BFA, MA, and MFA, the VisCom Program has three concentrations: Art Direction, Design, and New Media.

Students in all VisCom BFA concentrations must complete the 42-semester hour University Studies curriculum and a common core of freshman and sophomore-level art courses. Upon completion of all first year and second year requirements, students must submit a portfolio for entry into the junior year of the program. During the last year of the program, students will complete an internship and a portfolio of their best work.

Students in both the MA and MFA VisCom Programs will work with adjunct instructors, design professionals, and graduate faculty at the Visual Communication Graduate Facilities located at the Universities Center at Dallas (UCD) near the Dallas Arts District (DAD). Located in Downtown Dallas, DAD spans 118 acres, making it is the largest contiguous urban arts district in the U.S.

The TAMU-C VisCom MA is a two-year program that requires 30 credit hours to graduate. Course examples for the program include Creative Promotion and Innovation, User-Centered Design Experience, Creative Methodologies, Ideation, Process and Product, Cross-Cultural Marketing, and Design teaching Methods. The VisCom MA culminates with a Capstone Project.

The VisCom MFA at Texas A&M University-Commerce requires 60 credit hours to graduate. Designed for working professionals or individuals with experience in Visual Communication, the MFA is a terminal degree consisting of interdisciplinary coursework and 11 studios. Studio examples include Creative Method, Design Writing, Design Studio Processes, User-Centered Design Experience, and Design Technology. Examples of support courses include Research Literature & Techniques, Design Teaching Environment, Special Topics, History of American Typography, Design Teaching Methods, and History of Graphic Design. 

The VisCom MFA Program culminates with the Written Thesis and Thesis Exhibition. The Master of Fine Arts Exhibition in Visual Communication consists of four credit hours.

Texas A&M University-Commerce is fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). TAMU-C opened in 1889 as East Texas Normal College in Cooper, Texas. The fifth oldest state university, the school serves nearly 11,000 students making it the second largest university in the Texas A&M University System. TAMU-C offers more than 140 areas of study at the undergraduate, master's and doctoral levels. Programs are housed in six colleges, two schools, and dozens of departments.

37. Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana (Top 15% of schools considered)
Louisiana State University

The College of Art & Design at Louisiana State University (LSU) houses the School of Art, which has a Graphic Design Program with BFA and MFA pathways. Students in all School of Art programs have access to the Arts, Visualization, Advanced Technologies and Research (AVATAR) Initiative and the Art Building, which houses classrooms, studio spaces, the Design Shop, Fabrication Factory, IDEA Hub, and teaching labs. Students may also join the Digital Art and Design Association (DADA), participate in design competitions and join the Graphic Design Student Organization (GDSA), which hosts field trips to local design firms and lectures.

The curriculum for both programs explores graphic design, packaging design, branding, print and editorial design, information design, environmental design, motion graphics, typography, illustration/digital imaging, and identity design. Specific course examples for the 120 credit hour BFA include Letter Forms, Graphic Design I-III, Color Design, Graphic Abstraction, Prepress Production Techniques, Interactive Multimedia Design, Applied Typography, and Digital Imaging Techniques.

The LSU Graphic Design MFA is a 60 credit hour program that combines workshops and lectures by visiting artists with graduate studio courses, studio art electives, and art history. A Teaching Seminar is part of the program as well as two Thesis Research courses worth six credits. The Grap[hic Design MFA culminates with the MFA Thesis Report and Exhibition. 

LSU graduates have been hired at companies such as Disney, Pixar Animation Studios, Travel + Leisure, The Washington Post, DreamWorks, Lucasfilm, Sony Picture Entertainment, Leftfield Entertainment, New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation, Hunter Museum of American Art, Nissan North America, Halliburton, Modern Art Museum (Fort Worth, Texas), Bluebonnet, Baltimore Museum of Art, SVAD-NYC, KPMG LLP., Modern Media, and Trace Labs.

Louisiana State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The three areas of concentration in the School of Art are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Louisiana State University was founded in 1860 as the Louisiana State Seminary of Learning and Military Academy. The flagship institution of the Louisiana State University System, LSU serves nearly 36,000 students enrolled in more than 330 programs across 18 colleges, schools, and centers, and LSU Online. 

38. Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Top 15% of colleges considered)
Temple University

The Tyler School of Art and Architecture at Temple University (Temple) houses the Graphic & Interactive Design (GAID) Department. Two options are available for designers: the GAID BFA and MFA. The Tyler School GAID BFA has an option with Entreperneurial Studies. The BFA explores emerging and traditional media, illustration, virtual reality, iteration, typography, packaging, Imagemaking, craft and technology, social media, prototyping, and web design.

Program benefits for this 126 credit hour program include small class sizes, mentorship, and access to state-of-the-art labs, studios, and equipment. GAID BFA students also have the opportunity to complete the Collaborative Design Workshop in Rome, which last six weeks. Course examples for the program include Advanced Typography, Interactive Design, The Business of Design, Advertising Design, Illustration, Advanced Graphic Design, Computers for Design, Digital Narratives, and the Senior Graphic Design: Brand Identity, Packaging, Art Direction, Hybrid Design and Publishing.

The Entrepreneurial Studies option is offered in partnership with Temple University’s Fox School of Business. In addition to GAID requirements, this program explores innovation, how to start a business, and entrepreneurship. Course examples for this program include Ready, Fire, Aim: Launching a Profitable Micro-venture in 100 Days, Be Your Own Boss: Planning to Start Your Own Business, and Entrepreneurial and Innovative Thinking. Entrepreneurial Studies students have at least five different internship options. Examples include the Field Internship, New Venture Internship: Learning to be a High-Value Employee, Manager, or Founder, and the Rome Internship.

Both GAID BFA Programs culminate with the Senior Portfolio Capstone and Senior Graphic Design: Projects in Authorship.

The Temple University Graphic & Interactive Design MFA requires 60 credit hours to graduate. This interdisciplinary, research-driven program consists of electives, seminars, project courses, and art history courses. Project and seminar courses include Graduate Professional Practices (three credits), Visual Design Graduate Seminar (12 credits/four terms), Graphic Design Graduate Projects (nine credits/three terms), and Visual Design Thesis (12 credits/four terms).

Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), the GAID MFA culminates with the Thesis Exhibition with Slide Show.

Graduates of the Temple University GAID Programs work at design studios, in film and television, the music industry, in design education, at advertising agencies, for publishing companies, web design firms, and in their own start-ups or freelance businesses.

Temple University is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSA-CESS). Founded in 1884 as a night school, Temple serves 37,365 students, making it the largest university in Philadelphia. Temple University offers more than 500 academic programs in 17 colleges and schools, including five professional schools.

39. Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida (Top 15% of colleges considered)
Florida State University

Florida State University (FSU) has a Studio Art Program with BA, BFA, and MFA pathways. Housed in the Department of Art in the College of Fine Arts, the Studio Art Program provides opportunities to concentrate or focus in areas related to Graphic Design. All pathways offer access to studio spaces in the Carnaghi Arts Building (CAB) and labs and other facilities in The Facility For Arts Research (FAR). Part of FSU’s College of Fine Arts, FAR houses REBOOT Laboratory, collab, Small Craft Advisory Press, and comma.

Other facilities include the Digital Media Lab, Photo Labs, Printmaking Labs, and FabLab Digital Fabrication Lab. Additional project and installation spaces are available for MFA students in the 400-square-feet MFA Gallery. MFA students also have access to individual 235-square-feet studios, a graduate seminar room, common spaces, FSU’s Innovation Hub, Lightbox, and FAR&AWAY—the visiting artist program. Both BFA and MFA students have 24/7 access to CAB art studios.

The interdisciplinary Studio Art BA has a Digital Media Concentration, which covers areas such as Text+Media and Interactive. Text+Media explores typography, printmaking, and photography. Interactive explores exhibition design, interface design, experience design, web design, animation, and contemporary art. Students in this program may add another major, minor or certificate. In addition to access to dedicated computer and media labs, FSU Studio Art students (including BFA students) have internship and study abroad opportunities, as well as opportunities for gallery exhibition at the FSU Phyllis Straus Gallery.

The Florida State University Studio Art BFA consists of 120 credit hours. Students may concentrate in Digital Media. The BFA Program culminates with a Thesis Project which will be displayed at FSU’s Museum of Fine Arts.

The Studio MFA at FSU is a three-year, fully funded residency program that provides professional teacher training, teaching opportunities at the college level, study trips, studio visits, and curatorial and exhibition opportunities locally and on campus. The Studio Art MFA culminates with an Exhibition event in Florida State University’s Museum of Fine Art (MoFA).

Florida State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Founded in 1851, FSU serves nearly 44,000 students enrolled in 276 degree programs at all levels. One of the largest and oldest universities in Florida, FSU houses 16 colleges and schools at campuses across the state.

40. Fashion Institute of Technology, New York, New York (Top 15% of colleges considered)
Fashion Institute of Technology

The School of Art and Design at Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) has two program options for Graphic Designers—an AAS in Communication Design and a BFA in Graphic Design. Both programs provide hands-on learning, collaborative and experimental design projects, courses taught by experienced design professionals, and access to 36 minors. Examples that complement the AAS and BFA Programs include 3D Design, Color Studies, Design Thinking, Communication Studies, Creative Entrepreneurship, International Trade and Marketing, Ethics and Sustainability, and Creative Technology.

Part of the Communication Design Pathways Department, the FIT Communication Design AAS is an introductory program that explores topics such as color theory, design process, typography, digital design, and visual communication tools. Graduates of the program AAS graduates are prepared for Entry-level positions in Graphic Design or entry into an FIT BFA Program such as Graphic Design, Packaging Design, Advertising and Digital Design, or Spatial Experience Design.

The Graphic Design BFA at FIT consists of a curriculum that prepares students for immediate employment, participation industry-sponsored competitions, and a mandatory internship. By exploring topics from editorial and web design to corporate identity systems and kinetic typography, students will develop skills in branding and identity systems, experiential design, advanced and kinetic typography, UI/UX and motion graphics, and editorial design.

Graduates of the Fashion Institute of Technology Graphic Design BFA Program work for nonprofit organizations and cultural institutions, advertising agencies and design studios, branding and interactive agencies, and music producers. FIT alumni have been hired at Atlantic Records, The Jewish Museum, BBDO, MoMA, Nike, Sony Music, R/GA, New York Public Library, Hyperkat, Landor Brand Consulting and Design, and ThinkBrands, among others.

Fashion Institute of Technology is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), and the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA). Part of the State University of New York (SUNY) System, FIT opened in 1944 inside the High School of Needles Trades. On the first day of class, the school had 100 students. Today, FIT spans an entire city block and serves 8,150 students, according to the most recent available figures. Programs are offered at the undergraduate and graduate levels in five academic divisions.

41. Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon (Top 15% of schools considered)
Oregon State University

Oregon State University (OSU or Oregon State) houses the College of Liberal Arts, home to the School of Arts and Communication, which offers a BFA in Graphic Design (GD). The program includes of a nine-month, seven credit hour Senior Capstone Project that will be presented at the Year-End Capstone Showcase. Consisting of 180 credit hours, the OSU GD BFA prepares students for positions in package design, information design, exhibition design, branding and visual design, interactive design (web and video), and publication design (newspapers, magazines, catalogs).

Course examples for the program include Interactive Graphic Design Technology and Production 1-2, History of Design, Typography 1-3,  Brand Identity Systems, Design 1-2, Graphic Design: Professional Development, History of Graphic Design, Graphic Design: Collaborative Process, and Professional Practices. Graduates will leave the Oregon State University Graphic Design Program with a professional portfolio of their best work.

Oregon State University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). Founded in 1856 as Corvallis Academy, Oregon State University is one of just three land, sea, space and sun grant universities in the U.S. Serving around 34,100 students, OSU 12 experiment stations and campuses in Corvallis, Bend, Portland, Newport, and LaGrande. Students at Oregon State can also earn a degree online through the Ecampus Program. OSU offers more than 200 academic programs in 11 colleges, and over 36 Extension Programs across all 36 Oregon counties.

42. University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, Honolulu, Hawaii (Top 15% of colleges considered)
University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

The Department of Art and Art History at University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa (UH Mānoa) has BFA and MFA Programs that offer specialization options such as Graphic Design, Electronic Art, and Printmaking. Housed in the College of Arts, Languages, and Letters, the programs provide access to digital imaging equipment, multimedia workstations, papermaking studios, darkrooms, presses, and shooting studios.

The BFA Program requires a 21 credit hour minor, 21 credits of studio courses in a chosen media-specific program, 15 credits of art electives, 12 credits of Studio and Art History core courses, and 12 credits of upper level Art History courses. Typography, Design: Studio I Lab, Electronic Arts Studio, Printmaking, and Design: Production Techniques are just a few course examples. During the final year of the program, students will complete the BFA Capstone Seminar, where they will produce works and help organize the annual BFA Exhibition. To graduate from the UH Mānoa BFA Program, students will also complete the BFA Graduation Portfolio including 10-12 digital images of artwork, a paper, resume, and image inventory.

The MFA Program at University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa is the only program of its kind in Hawaiʻi. Consisting of 60 credit hours completed over three years, the MFA requires 24 Graduate Studio Seminar credits, 15 elective credits, 12 Thesis credits (Thesis), six Art History credits, and a three-credit Interdisciplinary Seminar. The UH Mānoa MFA Program culminates with a Thesis Exhibition, Thesis Paper, and Oral Defense.

The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa is accredited by the Senior College and University Commission of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WSCUC). Established in 1907 and serving close to 19,100 students, UH Mānoa is the oldest and largest of the 10 University of Hawaiʻi campuses. Nearly 250 academic programs and areas are available at the bachelor’s, master’s, professional, and doctoral levels. Academic programs at University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa are housed in 15 colleges and schools.

43. Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado (Top 15% of colleges considered)
Colorado State University

Colorado State University (CSU) houses the College of Liberal Arts, home to the Department of Art and Art History. One of the largest academic departments at CSU, the Department of Art and Art History has programs leading to a BFA or MFA. The undergraduate program has a Graphic Design Concentration that explores typography, illustration, electronic art, printmaking, and design systems. Consisting of 120 credit hours, the Studio BFA provides access to 4,000 square feet of studio space, a dedicated computer lab, and the Digital Fabrication Lab, all housed in the Visual Arts Building.

In addition to internship opportunities, a major component of the CSU BFA Program is the biennial Colorado International Invitational Poster Exhibition (CIIPE) where students will help organize and participate in the event. Graduates will leave the program with a portfolio of their best work.

The MFA has a Specialization in Graphic Design. Students in this program benefit from a wide variety of elective options, group critiques, open-studio tours, faculty mentorship, and the Masters of Visual Arts Association (MoVAA), which provides access to exhibition opportunities, workshops, and artist talks.

During the final year of the CSU MFA Program, students will complete a Thesis for inclusion in the Spring Graduate Exhibition at the Gregory Allicar Museum of Art.

Graduates of the Graphic Design Programs at Colorado State University work as designers and with arts organizations. They contribute to arts publications and conferences, curate exhibitions, teach at colleges and universities, and exhibit their work locally, nationally, and internationally.

Colorado State University (CSU) is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Founded in 1870 as the Colorado Agricultural College, CSU is an RI, land grant university, and part of the three-school Colorado State University System. Colorado State University serves close to 33,000 students enrolled in more than 250 programs in eight colleges and the Graduate School.

44. Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina (Top 15% of colleges considered)
Clemson University

The Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business at Clemson University houses the Department of Graphic Communications, which has BS and MS pathways. Consisting of 400 students, the  Graphics Communications BS provides access to a 14,000-square-foot laboratory and two additional state-of-the-art labs equipped with packaging and printing equipment.

Students also benefit from interactions with students in the Packaging Science Department through the Sonoco Institute, which hosts workshops, classes, and seminars. A mandatory internship part of the program a as well as the opportunity to add a Business Administration or Packaging Science Minor.

Graduates of the Graphics Communications BS Program at Clemson University have been hired at R.R. Donnelley, Boston Beer Company, Newell Brands, The Hughes Agency, and Horizon Investments. Some program alumni have gone on to pursue graduate study at Clemson, Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD), and Wake Forest University.

The Clemson University Graphic Communications MS Program has both Thesis and Non-Thesis options. Students in the Thesis option will complete 33 credit hours to graduate. Non-Thesis students will complete 30 credit hours. Core courses for both options include Current Developments and Trends in Graphic Communications, Package and Specialty Printing, Commercial Printing, and Graphic Communications Graduate Seminar.

The Thesis option requires the Master’s Thesis Research course. The Non-Thesis option requires Graphic Communications Research Problems I-II. For students without relevant work experience, an industrial internship is a required component of the MS Program—both options.

Graduates of the Graphic Communications MS at Clemson University are placed in creative, technical, and scientific positions; sales, marketing, and customer service; packaging, printing, and publishing; and academic and management.

For students seeking a program that provides a foundation in Art, Clemson University has a Fine Arts Program with BA and BFA pathways. Housed in the College of Architecture, Arts, and Humanities’ Department of Art, both programs are accredited by National Association for Schools of Art & Design (NASAD).

The Art BA is a Liberal Arts program that allows students to customize their studies with a double major or a minor in any area. Students in may also choose an emphasis such as Digital Art and Design Media. The Visual Arts BFA offers emphasis areas such as New Media, Drawing, Printmaking or Photography, with complementary coursework in Graphic Design and Animation.

Program benefits for both pathways include the visiting artist series, access to Lee Gallery, the annual field trip to art centers such as New York City, the four-week summer school in Orvieto, Italy, and the opportunity to exhibit works in the Lee Art Gallery in the senior year or the programs. In addition, Clemson Art students regularly display their work in national and regional venues, as well as locally in the Pendleton and Greenville arts districts.

Graduates of the Clemson University Art and Visual Arts Programs work at art museums and galleries, for publications, and in public relations, exhibit design, graphic design, illustration, art therapy, media, retail, animation and cartoons, and art journalism. Recent employers include Anthropologie, GDC Home, Museum of the Cherokee, Kaleidoscope Design Factory, and Greenville County Schools. 

Some program alumni have gone on to pursue graduate study at Sotheby’s Institute of Art, Northwestern University, Christie’s Education, Columbus College of Art and Design (CCAD), and University of Georgia.

Clemson University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The school opened as Clemson Agricultural College in 1893 with 446 students. Today, Clemson University serves 26,400 students enrolled in more than 200 degree programs and 90+ minor options.

45. University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Fayetteville, Arkansas (Top 15% of schools considered)
University of Arkansas

The Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences at University of Arkansas, Fayetteville (U of A) houses the School of Art, home to the Graphic Design BFA Program. Launched in 2016, the program explores areas such as design processes, typography, web design and web apps, experience design, print, and interactive design. BFA students will also learn how to work with the latest industry software and techniques used to create designs.

Course examples for the BFA Program include Typographic Systems, Digital Tools and Concepts, Identity Design, User Experience, Interactive Language, Human Centered Design, Identity Systems, and Technology in Context. Students will complete the Professional Development and Seminar course, the Graphic Design Internship, and BFA Degree Project (Capstone).

Graduates of the University of Arkansas Graphic Design BFA Program have completed an internship with or currently work for companies and organizations such as Saatchi & Saatchi X, Rockfish, Walmart Corporate, Sam’s Club Corporate, Acumen Brands, J.B. Hunt, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Olivet, Hayseed Ventures, Elkins Design, Collective Bias, Field Agent, Archetype, RevUnit, DOXA, and BLKBox Labs.

Beginning Fall 2022, the School of Art at University of Arkansas, Fayetteville will offer a new MDes with a Focus in Graphic and Communication Design. The program will be the first of its kind in Arkansas. Through a gift from the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation, the fully accredited, two-year residency MDes Program will provide funding support for all accepted students. Other program benefits will include participation in the Design Clinic, collaborative learning experiences, special topics, studio projects, and research opportunities.  

Examples of special topics include Design and Sustainability, Design and Consumer Experience, and Design and Entrepreneurship. The program will also require a Thesis.

University of Arkansas, Fayetteville is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Established in 1871 as the first public university in Arkansas, U of A serves just under 29,075 students, making it the state’s largest university. University of Arkansas offers more than 200 academic programs in 10 colleges and schools.

46. California State University, Los Angeles, California (Top 15% of schools considered)
California State University

California State university, Los Angeles (Cal State LA) houses the College of Arts and Letters, home to the  Department of Art, which offers programs leading to a BA, MA or MFA, minor or certificate. Each semester, the Fine Arts Gallery of the Department of Art hosts several events that allow students to present their work to professional artists and faculty. MFA students present at the Graduate Thesis Exhibition and undergraduates present at the BA Capstone Show in the campus-based Ronald H. Silverman Fine Arts Gallery.

All Cal State LA Department of Art students may present their work through weekly rotating exhibitions in the student-run exhibition space COMA Gallery. Additional opportunities to present to the public are also available. Other Department of Art benefits include access to state-of-the-art labs and studio spaces, internship opportunities, and study abroad experiences.

Program options for designers include BA, MA, and MFA degrees with a Graphic Design/Visual Communication Option. Course examples and elective options across programs include Graphic Design, Typography, 3D Design, Photographic Processes, Illustration, Advertising Art Direction,  Interactive Design, Visual Arts in Urban Contexts, Digital Design Tools, Graduate Interactive Design, Research in Art Education, Seminar: Visual Arts, and MA/MFA Practice in Studio Art.

Graduates of the Graphic Design/Visual Communication Program at Cal State LA are prepared to pursue positions in advertising and marketing, packaging and branding, public relations, film, game design, exhibit design, book design, publication design, and many other areas. Department of Art alumni have been hired at Young & Rubicam, Twentieth Century Fox Japan, Marvel Studios, Catalina Communications, Harding Marketing Communications, Graphic Ink, Column Five Media, Strategic Materials, Graphic Design Services, Prologue Films, Consolidated Design West, and Dynamic Dezign, among others.

California State University, Los Angeles is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC). Programs in the Cal State LA Department of Art are accredited by National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Established in 1947, California State University, Los Angeles serves more than 27,800 students enrolled in more than 150 degree, certificate, and minor programs. Part of the 23 campus, California State University System, Cal State LA is comprised of nine colleges and the University Library.

47. University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona (Top 20% of schools considered)
University of Arizona

The College of Fine Arts at University of Arizona (UA) houses the School of Art, which has a Studio Art Program with BFA and MFA options in Studio Art with an Illustration and Design (I+D) Emphasis. Undergraduates may choose between the Illustration and Design Tracks. University of Arizona Online (in partnership with the School of Art) has an additional program for designers—the BA in Design Arts & Practices, which explores design history, theory and, practice. Students in the program will also build skills such as design thinking, problem solving, teamwork/collaboration, visual communication, computational thinking, data analysis, and project management.

Course examples for the UA Design Arts & Practices BA include Typography, Experience, Illustration Studio, Design Thinking, Surface, Design Studio, Propaganda, Design for Web and Devices, and Animation. The program culminates with a Senior Capstone.

The University of Arizona I+D Program features field trips, study abroad experiences, team projects with local clients, internship opportunities, and participation in the Annual Spring Portfolio Review. The BFA requires 125 units, including 42 in upper division coursework, and 24 in the emphasis area. Mapping, Photography, Printmaking, Typography, Design, Illustration, and Contemporary Art are just a few course examples.

The MFA consists of 60 units, with 30 units in studio art courses. Graduate students participate in interdisciplinary coursework, seminars, and independent studies. Teaching opportunities are also part of the program.

All School of Art students have access to external resources such as the University Museum of Art and the Poetry Center, a state-of-the-art library, and the Center for Creative Photography. Internal resources include studio spaces, letterpress equipment, darkrooms, computer labs with Wacom Cintiq Touch screens and animation stations, a digital imaging lab with large format printing, and mounting services.

University of Arizona Design Arts & Practices and I+D graduates are prepared to pursue positions such as Graphic Designer, Illustrator, UI/UX Designer, Visual Designer, Art Director, Creative Director, Visual Designer, and Motion Designer, among others.

University of Arizona is accredited by the by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Established in 1885, UA opened with just a few students. Today, the school serves more than 47,300 students making it one of the state’s largest post-secondary institutions. University of Arizona offers more than 300 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in more than 150 areas of study. Programs are offered in 20 colleges and nearly two dozen specialized schools.

48. University of North Florida, Jacksonville, Florida (Top 20% of schools considered)
University of North Florida

The College of Arts & Sciences (COAS) at University of North Florida (UNF) has a BFA Program that offers an interdisciplinary major in Graphic Design & Digital Media. Housed in the COAS Department of Art, Art History, and Design, the program features internship opportunities, study abroad experiences in Brazil, Italy, and others, visiting artists, and participation in two Senior Showcases in UNF Gallery Spaces.

The Graphic Design & Digital Media BFA is a limited access program that requires a review before taking restricted classes. Areas explored include motion graphics, advertising design, poster design, web design, visual identities, and packaging, among others. With 24 major and free electives, BFA students have opportunities to explore other areas of art and design. Course examples for this 120 credit hour  program include Creativity and Critique, Visual Systems, Process and Methods, UI and Interaction Design, Graphic Symbols and Semiotics Type Communication, Visual Identity, and Time-Based Media.

In the final year of the UNF Graphic Design & Digital Media BFA Program, COAS students will complete the Professional Practices course and a Graphic Design Portfolio. Graduates are prepared to pursue positions at advertising agencies, creative firms, design studios, marketing companies, production studios, web design firms, public relations firms, and in-house design departments at companies in just about every industry.

University of North Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Chartered in 1965, UNF is one of 12 public universities in the State University System of Florida (SUSF). The school serves 17,000 students across six colleges and Hicks Honors College. University of North Florida offers 60 bachelor's degree with 75 areas of concentration, 36 master's degrees with 72 areas of concentration, five doctoral degrees with three areas of concentration, and one specialist degree.

49. University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Chattanooga, Tennessee (Top 20% of schools considered)
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) houses the College of Arts and Sciences, home to the Department of Art (UTC Art), which has a BFA Program with a Graphic Design Concentration. As part of UTC, students in the program have access to internships at local and national companies, cooperative education assignments with partner companies, and experiential learning opportunities.

Course examples for this 120 credit hour program include Space and Sequence, Visual Literacy for Graphic Design, Processes and Materials for Graphic Design, Typography I-II, Studio Processes, Design History, Expanded Drawing, Interactive Media, and Survey of Time-Based Art.

UTC Graphic Design BFA students will also complete two Graphic Design Workshops, a Portfolio Review, and the Professional Practices in Graphic Design and Professional Preparation for the Visual Artist courses.

UTC Graphic Design graduates are prepared to pursue positions at advertising agencies, creative agencies and studios, marketing firms, web design studios, public relations firms, production studios, publishing companies, newspapers and magazines, and technology firms, among others.

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Founded in 1886, UTC serves more than 10,000 students enrolled in 97 undergraduate programs, 88 graduate programs, and 50 minors in six colleges and schools. 

50. Utah State University, Logan, Utah (Top 20% of schools considered)
Utah State University

Utah State University (USU) houses Caine College of the Arts (CCA), home to the Department of Art + Design, which has Graphic Design options at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Across programs, students benefit from the internship and co-op opportunities, the weekly Hashimoto Communication Arts Seminar, which features local and regional professional designers, and annual study trips in places such as Scotland, Korea, Switzerland, and Germany.

The BFA with a Graphic Design Emphasis requires acceptance as an Art + Design BS major. Students may apply to the BFA in Graphic Design Emphasis in October and February and application is by portfolio review. Course examples for the program include Graphic Interface Design, Type, Image and Visual Continuity, Brand Identity Design, Typography, Illustration Concepts, and Motion Design. A Senior Capstone is also part of the program. BFA graduates will leave the program with a professional portfolio of their best work.

The USU Art MFA with a Specialization in Graphic Design is a three-year, 60 credit hour program that explores print and publication design, digital imaging, layout, trademarks, symbols, motion graphics, interactive design, animation, and motion graphics at the graduate level. The USU MFA Program culminates with a Thesis Exhibition and Professional Portfolio.

Utah State University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). Founded March 8, 1888 as the Agricultural College of Utah, USU is the state’s only land grant institution. Utah State University has more than 25 statewide locations that serve nearly 27,500 students enrolled in more than around 400 undergraduate, graduate, and minor programs in eight academic colleges.

Locations