|1||Morehead State University||Morehead|
|2||University of Louisville||Louisville|
|3||Northern Kentucky University||Highland Heights|
Our 2019 rankings of the top graphic design school programs in Kentucky. For an explanation of the ranking criteria, click here.
1. Morehead State University, Morehead, Kentucky
Morehead State University (MSU) opened its doors in 1887 as Morehead Normal School. The school, which serves more than 10,500 students from 115 Kentucky counties, 46 states and 28 countries, offers more than 260 degree programs through four colleges and dozens of departments. Caudill College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences houses the Art and Design Department, which offers a BA and BFA degrees in Studio Art, an MA with a Concentration in Graphic Design, and Minors in Studio Art and Visual Communication.
Per the school, both the BA and BFA programs provide students with “opportunities to learn to apply various media, techniques and technology in the production and presentation of artwork, while learning to make connections between the visual arts and other disciplines.” The BFA, which is considered “the most prestigious bachelor’s degree one can receive in the visual arts and design,” prepares graduates for a career in art and design or for entry into an MFA program, where designers may continue their study in areas such as drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, graphic design, digital art, animation, ceramics and sculpture.
Undergraduate students are encouraged to work across art disciplines and pursue an interdisciplinary approach. Course highlights include Art History, Design and Color Foundation, Digital Foundations, Drawing, Fundamentals of Speech Communication, Intaglio Print, Lithographic Print, Painting, Sculpture, World Arts, and Writing. A Visual Art Capstone and BA or BFA Senior Exhibition are also part of the programs, and all students have the opportunity to earn certification as an Adobe Certified Associate.
The 30-hour MA in Art with a Concentration in Graphic Design exposes students “to a variety of artistic media, disciplines, techniques and technology” as they pursue their interests. “Advanced levels of coursework in typography, web design, illustration and computer art” allow students to customize the program to their specific focus. Before completing the program, students will present a thesis statement relating to their artwork and participate in a graduate art exhibition.
Graduates of the MA program are prepared to pursue further study in the MFA and PhD programs or pursue careers in Graphic Design (digital, print, multimedia, type, web, illustration, advertising) or Independent Studio Practice (sales, promotion, design, development, freelance).
2. University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky
Founded in 1798, the University of Louisville (UofL) serves more than 22,450 students enrolled in over 200 degree programs through 12 academic schools and colleges. The College of Arts and Sciences houses the Hite Art Institute, home to the Department of Fine Arts. Here students can earn a BFA in Graphic Design and an MFA in Studio Art and Design.
The BFA in Graphic Design prepares students for leadership positions in the field of Graphic Design. The program focuses on conceptual development, compositional eloquence, and technical proficiency through both hand and computer-based work. The Graphic Design Core consists of Design for Public Issues, History and Issues in Graphic Design, Identity Systems, Introduction to Graphic Design, The Book Form, Typography I and II, and Website Design. elective highlights include courses such as Adventures in Design: Methods + Process, Design for Interaction, Lettering and Font Design, and Wayfinding & Environmental Graphic Design.
Although an internship is not a requirement for the program, BFA most students complete one or more semesters of an internship experience. The internship option is open to both full and part-time students. The BFA in Graphic Design typically accepts a maximum of 22 students a year.
Also “highly selective,” the 60-credit MFA program provides “generous access to faculty and studios,” per the school. Students receive individual attention and “are challenged aesthetically and conceptually.” MFA students may choose to focus in one medium or explore and combine a variety of media. Courses are offered in ceramics, drawing, fibers, glass, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture, mixed media, book arts, and new media. In addition to focus the degree, students will have the opportunity to work on joint projects and complete internships through the school’s collaborations with local and regional museums and cultural institutions.
All MFA students receive a scholarship or a teaching assistantship.
3. Northern Kentucky University, Highland Heights, Kentucky
Founded in 1968, Northern Kentucky University (NKU) serves nearly 14,500 students enrolled in 90 bachelor's degrees, two associate degrees, 24 graduate programs, one Juris Doctor, a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership and a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree. Programs are offered through eight colleges and schools. The College of Arts and Sciences houses the School of the Arts, which offers BA and BFA degrees with a Visual Communication Design Track.
The BA is a general studies degree that the school says, “teaches the student about design from a broad point of view.” The program requires a minor or an area of concentration outside of the visual arts. The BFA is a professional degree comprising advanced, specialized coursework, in-depth portfolio development, the senior capstone project and exhibition, and a design internship requirement.
Course highlights for Track include Computer Graphics for Design, Information Design, Interaction Design for Visual Communication Design, Motion Design, Printmaking, Screen Printing, Techniques in Visual Communication Design and Typography I-III.
Students in both programs have access to the Visual Communication Design computer labs and studio spaces located in the Fine Arts Center. Facilities are equipped with “high quality input and output devices, including digital projectors, flatbed and slide scanners, and color and black-and-white laser printers,” and “the latest versions of industry-standard software.” A letterpress facility “honors historical processes where students can work out ideas for artist bookmaking, design and printmaking.”
NKU Visual Arts graduates are prepared to seek careers in Graphic Design (Advertising, Corporate), Digital Imaging, Book Illustration, Multi-Media Design, Publishing, Exhibition Design, Font Design, Package Design, Technical Illustration, User Interface Design, Urban Graphics Design, Web Design, and many others.