What are the top graphic design school programs in Massachusetts for 2020?

Top Massachusetts Graphic Design School Programs - 2020 College Rankings
1Massachusetts College of Art and DesignBoston
2Boston UniversityBoston
3Northeastern UniversityBoston

Our 2020 ranking of the top graphic design school programs in Massachusetts. For an explanation of the ranking criteria, click here.

1. Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston, Massachusetts
Massachusetts College of Art and Design

Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt) was founded in 1873 as a training institution for aspiring drawing teachers, architects, artists, and designers. Today, the school offers more than 20 undergraduate art programs, nearly a dozen graduate programs, and around seven certificate programs to a population of nearly 2,100 students. Options for aspiring graphic designers include a BFA in Communication Design and a Graphic Design Certificate (GDC).

Students in the Communication Design BFA Program “gain a robust working knowledge of print design, information design, branding, and dynamic media (user experience design),” says the school. Program highlights include hands-on studio classes led by practicing designers and design educators, and internship opportunities. “Throughout the program, students are challenged to develop design solutions in the areas of package design, publication design, web and app design, interactive communication, and advertising, as well as the creation of graphic identities and brand systems.”

The 38 credit hour GDC is designed for working adults who are interested in advancing into a career in graphic design. Areas covered include branding, print and digital publication, interactive media, environmental graphics, and more. Graduates will leave the program with a portfolio of professional quality work.

Graduates of the Communications Design BFA and GDC work for ad agencies, in-house corporate design departments, design studios, and as freelance designers. Some graduates even go on to launch their own start-ups.

2. Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts
Boston University

Founded in 1839, Boston University (BU) serves more than With over 35,000 students from more than 130 countries, enrolled in 17 schools and colleges, and more than 300 programs of study. With three campuses and over 10,000 faculty and staff, BU is Boston’s largest employer. Programs for aspiring graphic designers are offered in the College of Fine Arts. Options include BFA, MFA, and Certificate Programs in Graphic Design.

The BFA program “provides a sequenced studio approach, preparing students to thrive in a dynamic, creative professional environment,” says the school. The program begins with Foundations, which introduces “visual concepts in two and three dimensions, with an emphasis on drawing from observation.” In the Sophomore year, students specialize in graphic design coursework, with yearlong graphic design and typography studios that emphasize form and communication. Third year students participate in graphic design and typography studios that “address authorship, audience, and medium.” The program culminates in the thesis project and end of year exhibition, where students “articulate a personally driven design methodology through an installation of their work in the Boston University Art Galleries.”

The MFA in Graphic Design “provides a sequenced studio approach to advanced design thinking and problem solving for visual communication, preparing students to thrive in a dynamic professional environment.” Graphic Design Studios form the programs core and electives complement the studios, providing the opportunity to specialize in areas of interest. Elective courses currently include Information Design, Design for the Web, Interactive Design, Experience Design, Motion Graphics, Design Theory, History of Graphic Design, Editorial Design and Exhibition Design.

MFA students also benefit from lectures by nationally and internationally distinguished designers and direct contact with the industry. The program culminates in a master’s thesis, which is presented in an exhibition format at the Boston University Art Galleries.

An ideal step towards an MFA in Graphic Design, the Graphic Design Graduate Certificate Program is a one-year, full-time rigorous and intensive study in graphic design. The program includes core studio and typography requirements and allows students to choose elective courses based on their specific interests and career goals. Students in this program will complete 30 credit hours of study.

3. Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts
Northeastern University

Founded in 1898, Northeastern University (NU) serves more than 20,000 students enrolled in  hundreds of programs across nine colleges and schools. The school also offers select advanced degrees at graduate campuses in Charlotte, North Carolina, Seattle, Silicon Valley, and Toronto. The College of Arts, Media and Design (CAMD) offers a range of programs for aspiring graphic Designers. Options include a BFA in Design with a Concentration in Graphic and Information Design, Interaction Design, or Experience Design, a BA in Art with a Concentration in Visual Studies, and a BA in Communication Studies and Graphic and Information Design.

Half majors in Graphic and Information Design, Interaction Design, and Visual Studies, and Minors in Graphic and Information Design, Experience Design, and Interaction Design are also available. Graduate offerings include MFA degrees in Information Design and Visualization, Studio Art, and Interdisciplinary Arts.

All CAMD students have the opportunity to study abroad in places such as Ireland, Venice, Rome, Berlin and Cuba.