|1||Maryland Institute College of Art||Baltimore|
|3||University of Maryland Baltimore County||Baltimore|
Our 2019 rankings of the top graphic design school programs in Maryland. For an explanation of the ranking criteria, click here.
1. Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, Maryland
Founded in 1826, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) is the oldest degree-granting college of art in the nation. The school serves nearly 3,500 undergraduate, graduate, and continuing studies students from 45 states and 52 countries in fine arts, design, electronic media, art education, liberal arts, and professional studies degree and non-credit programs. MICA’s more than 80 art and design programs lead to either a BFA, MA, MFA, MPS or Certificate.
Programs for aspiring graphic designers include a BFA in Graphic Design with three Concentrations including Graphic Design Studio, Book Arts Studio, and Graphic Design + Humanistic Studies, an MA in Graphic Design (GDMA) and an MFA in Graphic Design (GD MFA).
The undergraduate graphic design curriculum at MICA features a three-year sequence of core design courses, while the 60-credit MFA program features two years of full-time study that combines “critical seminars, guided studio courses, and independent work.” Per the school, students in the MFA program may choose a concentration in Critical Studies or Curatorial Practices or “take advantage of electives in many MICA departments, including video, printmaking, and digital media.”
The MA program prepares students for advancing their careers and/or for applying to the competitive MFA. Program highlights include an “intensive introduction to design,” provided by the GDMA Studio, “taught with a strong emphasis on design fundamentals, process, visual research, and working across media,” a Design Theory and Practice Seminar, and the GDMA Workshop. Through the workshop, GDMA students will have the opportunity to create and exhibit a self-directed design project and a professional portfolio.
2. Towson University, Towson, Maryland
Founded in 1866 and serving nearly 23,000 students, Towson University is the second-largest university in the University System of Maryland and the 12th-largest public university system in the United States. The school offers more than 135 programs across seven colleges. The College of Fine Arts & Communication (COFAC) houses the Department of Art + Design, Art History, Art Education, which offers a BFA in Art + Design with a Graphic Design Concentration.
Per the school, the Graphic Design Concentration offers a “comprehensive study of graphic design applied to a variety of media, including print and web/interactive. Graphic design courses help you develop skills in conceptual and critical thinking, typography, design theory and design technologies.” Course highlights for the 122 credit hour program include Digital Concepts: Motion, Digital Object Design, Exhibit Design, Graphic Design Social Issues, Illustration Principles for Designers and Illustrators, Interactive Media: Experimental, Letterpress and Bookbinding, Package Design, Programming for Designers, Screen Process and Typography.
Students will also complete a BFA project in Art and an Internship in Art. The internship provides opportunities to work at a graphic design studio, advertising agency or company with an in-house graphic design department. Other program highlights include small class sizes, access to state-of-the art facilities, and networking opportunities such as attendance at AIGA chapter events in the Baltimore-Washington area.
3. University of Maryland Baltimore County, Baltimore, Maryland
Founded in 1966, University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) serves approximately 13,767 students enrolled in more than 200 majors, minors, certificate, master’s and doctoral programs across seven colleges and schools. The College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences (CAHSS) houses the Department of Visual Arts, which offers a BA in Visual Arts with a Graphic Design Concentration.
Per the school, the graphic design concentration consists of “a combination of required studio offerings in design and an elected group of technology-based courses in photography and/or computer-generated imagery.” Course highlights include Design and Technology I and II, Graphic Design I-IV, Origins and Issues in Design, Seminar in Art History & Visual Culture Typography I-III, and Visual Concepts IV/Time-Based Media.
Other program highlights include the opportunity to enhance the concentration with two approved studio electives, visiting artists and designers, and study abroad opportunities the University of Applied Sciences (Germany), Polytechnic University of Valencia (Spain) and in Asia and Italy.
4. Salisbury University, Salisbury, Maryland
Founded in 1925, Salisbury University (SU) serves nearly 9,000 students enrolled in around 125 majors, minors, master’s and doctoral programs through four schools including the Fulton School of Liberal Arts, Henson School of Science & Technology, Perdue School of Business, and Seidel School of Education & Professional Studies. Fulton School of Liberal Arts offers a BA with a Visual Communication Track and a BFA with a Graphic Design Track.
The BA is a Liberal Arts degree that requires 56 credit hours in art and a minimum of 16 in the Visual Communication Track. Course highlights include Advanced New Media, Alternative Processes in Film Photography, Design Principles, Digital Design and Layout, Illustration, Interactive Animation, Special Topics in Art and WWW Design. BA majors may also minor in an area outside of art and Independent Study is also part of the program.
The BFA is a professional degree that requires 78 credit hours in art. Track requirements for the program include Graphic Design, Graphic Design Agency, and Independent Study. Students in both programs benefit from "intense" studio experiences, one-on-one interaction with faculty, access to the Integrated Media Center, visiting professionals every semester, and video, animation, sound art and other new, electronic media exhibitions on campus.
Students will have the opportunity to study abroad and complete an internship at one of more than 100 local and regional businesses and study abroad. Study abroad opportunities include the Venetian Art and Venice Biennale in Italy, Creative Arts in Bologna, and Global Seminar in Photography: London and Paris.
Graduates of the BA and BFA programs at SU go on to land positions as Animators, Art Directors, Graphic Designers, Illustrators, Photographers, Set Designers, Web Designers, and many others.