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best bachelor's in graphic design

Key Infor­ma­tion:

  • Carnegie Mel­lon Uni­ver­si­ty is the #1 top graph­ic design bach­e­lor’s degree pro­gram.
  • Top graph­ic design pro­grams are rec­og­nized for their excel­lent cur­ricu­lum and indus­try con­nec­tions, enhanc­ing grad­u­ate success.
  • Graph­ic design pro­grams empha­size both tra­di­tion­al artis­tic skills and mod­ern dig­i­tal tech­niques.
  • Stu­dents gain hands-on expe­ri­ence with indus­try-stan­dard soft­ware and tools.
  • Grad­u­ates are pre­pared for var­i­ous roles in design, from cor­po­rate brand­ing to inde­pen­dent artis­tic production.

The Pew Research Center’s Inter­net & Amer­i­can Life Project found that cell phone own­er­ship among adults now exceeds 90 per­cent. Our modes of com­mu­ni­ca­tion are rapid­ly chang­ing before our very eyes, and the trans­for­ma­tion from print to visu­al com­mu­ni­ca­tion is alter­ing soci­ety and rela­tion­ships. This com­mu­ni­ca­tion rev­o­lu­tion is affect­ing the way graph­ic design­ers con­ceive, pro­duce, and eval­u­ate their work, and a graph­ic design bach­e­lor’s degree will teach you what you need to succeed.

Orig­i­nal­ly pub­lished: July 2018
Last updat­ed: Jan­u­ary 2024

Methodology: The 15 Best Bachelor’s in Graphic Design Programs

The fol­low­ing list was com­piled to help you, the stu­dent, find the best graph­ic arts degree to fit your needs. Rec­og­niz­ing that each stu­dent has indi­vid­ual pri­or­i­ties, we fac­tored in a vari­ety of data points to cre­ate this ranking. 

Sta­tis­tics were com­piled from the Nation­al Cen­ter for Edu­ca­tion Sta­tis­tics, Payscale.com, and school web­sites. Data include grad­u­a­tion and reten­tion rates, aver­age year­ly salary, fac­ul­ty-to-stu­dent ratio, and cost per cred­it hour for a graph­ic design bach­e­lor’s degree. Cal­cu­la­tions were made based on the fol­low­ing percentages:

  • Tuition – 30%
  • Stu­dent-to-fac­ul­ty ratio – 15%
  • Admis­sions rate – 15%
  • Grad­u­a­tion rate – 10%
  • Aver­age ear­ly career salary – 30%

Of course, prospec­tive full-time graph­ic design stu­dents should con­sid­er their finan­cial aid options.

1. Carnegie Mellon University

  • Loca­tion: Pitts­burgh, PAgraphic art
  • Total Under­grad­u­ate Stu­dents: 7,509
  • Stu­dent to Fac­ul­ty Ratio: 10 to 1
  • Degree Offered: Bach­e­lor of Design — BDes
  • Accred­i­ta­tion: Mid­dle States Com­mis­sion on High­er Education
  • Tuition: $62,660

Carnegie Mellon’s Bach­e­lor of Design degree four-year pro­gram comes with options. Stu­dents choose one of three tracks: indus­tri­al, graph­ic, or physical/digital design. The CMU track record in design demon­strates the pro­gram’s effec­tive­ness with grad­u­ates employed across the coun­try in lead­ing com­pa­nies, design firms, star­tups, and nonprofits. 

In addi­tion to the pre­vi­ous three options, CMU’s Inte­gra­tive Design, Arts, and Tech­nol­o­gy (IDeATe) pro­gram is anoth­er unique option. The IDeATe pro­gram fea­tures tra­di­tion­al design degree ele­ments fused with game design, ani­ma­tion and spe­cial effects, inno­va­tion and entre­pre­neur­ship, intel­li­gent envi­ron­ments, and learn­ing media design. 

Appli­ca­tions for CMU are due Jan­u­ary 1st. Last but not least, the tuition at Carnegie is on the high­er end. When superb qual­i­ty and cus­tomiz­able degrees are con­sid­ered it’s clear why CMU land­ed at #1.


  • Loca­tion: Los Ange­les, CAdesign and media arts
  • Total Under­grad­u­ate Stu­dents: 32,423
  • Stu­dent to Fac­ul­ty Ratio: 18 to 1
  • Degree Offered: Bach­e­lor of Arts in Design Media Arts
  • Accred­i­ta­tion: West­ern Asso­ci­a­tion of Schools and Col­leges, Senior Col­lege and Uni­ver­si­ty Com­mis­sion as well as numer­ous oth­er accred­it­ing bodies.
  • Tuition: $13,225

The Bach­e­lor of Arts in Design Media Arts at UCLA is offered at an afford­able cost and is of the high­est qual­i­ty. UCLA is known for its arts, and the DMA degree illus­trates this fact. If you choose it, you will be guid­ed by expert fac­ul­ty and be encour­aged to be creative. 

The Depart­ment of Design Media Arts fac­ul­ty pro­motes exper­i­men­ta­tion, process, and per­son­al growth. If you are cur­rent­ly in high school, you may want to check out the DMA Sum­mer Insti­tute to expe­ri­ence what the depart­ment is like first-hand. The cur­ricu­lum of the DMA degree builds off the UCLA gen­er­al core and includes fun­da­men­tal cours­es, lec­tures, stu­dio class­es, spe­cial top­ics (which you choose from), and a Senior Project.

Appli­ca­tions at UCLA are accept­ed from Novem­ber 1–30. Eas­i­ly one of the best as well as the most afford­able pro­grams, UCLA belongs at #2.

3. University of Florida

  • Loca­tion: Gainesville, FLdesign and media arts
  • Total Under­grad­u­ate Stu­dents: 34,552
  • Stu­dent to Fac­ul­ty Ratio: 18 to 1
  • Degree Offered: BFA in Graph­ic Design/Design & Visu­al Communications
  • Accred­i­ta­tion: South­ern Asso­ci­a­tion of Col­leges and Schools, Com­mis­sion on Col­leges as well as numer­ous oth­er accred­it­ing bodies.
  • Tuition: $6,381

The first thing to know about the Uni­ver­si­ty of Florida’s graph­ic design degree is that the School has been train­ing young men and women for over 50 years in the field. With this rich expe­ri­ence, you can count on the qual­i­ty of the BFA in Graph­ic Design pro­gram, UF’s focus is broad and aimed at cul­ti­vat­ing cre­ativ­i­ty and a think-out­side-the-box mentality. 

With the over­all empha­sis on studio/classroom col­lab­o­ra­tion, you take cours­es in devel­op­ment, design process, design sys­tems, strat­e­gy, and pro­fes­sion­al devel­op­ment. You are also required to pro­duce a senior cap­stone, and a pro­fes­sion­al port­fo­lio, which cer­tain­ly helps you in your job search or grad­u­ate applications. 

With afford­able tuition and a his­to­ry of qual­i­ty, not to men­tion the tes­ti­mo­ny of alum­ni work­ing for Apple, Microsoft, Via­com, Jet­Blue, Face­book, Inter­brand, Twit­ter, Tam­pa Bay Light­ning, IDEO, Walt Dis­ney Imag­i­neer­ing, and more, at UF you are in good hands.

4. Midway University

  • Loca­tion: Mid­way, KYdesign and media arts
  • Total Under­grad­u­ate Stu­dents: 1,663
  • Stu­dent to Fac­ul­ty Ratio: 15 to 1
  • Degree Offered: Graph­ic Design (Mar­ket­ing Communications)
  • Accred­i­ta­tion: South­ern Asso­ci­a­tion of Col­leges and Schools, Com­mis­sion on Colleges
  • Tuition: $24,500

Mid­way Uni­ver­si­ty offers a Bach­e­lor’s in Mar­ket­ing and Graph­ic Design. The degree works excep­tion­al­ly well for those inter­est­ed in busi­ness appli­ca­tions. The util­i­ty of the degree applies in many dif­fer­ent areas, such as cor­po­rate com­mu­ni­ca­tion, inte­grat­ed mar­ket­ing man­age­ment, adver­tis­ing, brand man­age­ment, pub­lic rela­tions, and cre­ative design management. 

With this com­bi­na­tion of knowl­edge and skills in our com­pet­i­tive world, you will be pre­pared to make an impact. This degree is 100 per­cent online. The graph­ic design bach­e­lor’s degree con­cen­tra­tion includes cours­es in Pho­to­shop, Dig­i­tal Sto­ry­telling, Dig­i­tal Ani­ma­tion, Applied Graph­ic Design, and more. MU is afford­able and offers a small cam­pus and a close-knit envi­ron­ment.

If Mid­ways seems like a fit, you might also exam­ine their three dis­tinct study abroad pro­grams: Study Aboard, Ser­vice Learn­ing Abroad, and Fac­ul­ty-led Programs.

5. Liberty University

  • Loca­tion: Lynch­burg, VAdesign and media arts
  • Total Under­grad­u­ate Stu­dents: 48,906
  • Stu­dent to Fac­ul­ty Ratio: 18 to 1
  • Degree Offered: Graph­ic Design Degree Online – Bach­e­lor of Fine Arts
  • Accred­i­ta­tion: South­ern Asso­ci­a­tion of Col­leges and Schools, Com­mis­sion on Col­leges as well as sev­er­al oth­er accred­it­ing bodies.
  • Tuition: $22,511

Lib­er­ty Uni­ver­si­ty offers a 100-per­cent online Graph­ic Design Degree. The degree focus­es on dig­i­tal appli­ca­tions such as 2D and 3D design, pub­li­ca­tion design, dig­i­tal pho­tog­ra­phy, and more. You are trained to excel in our rapid­ly chang­ing marketplace. 

The cur­ricu­lum cov­ers all the fun­da­men­tals of graph­ic design with some art his­to­ry. Cours­es for this graph­ic design bach­e­lor’s degree include Vec­tor Illus­tra­tion, Advanced Typol­o­gy, and 20th-21st Cen­tu­ry Art, to name just some. Housed in, and taught by the School for Visu­al and Per­form­ing Arts, you will be get­ting the same qual­i­ty of instruc­tion as tra­di­tion­al brick-and-mortar. 

There is a 180-hour intern­ship as well as a 30-hour practicum. Com­bined with course knowl­edge, these expe­ri­ences form a port­fo­lio that serves you in your job search. Not only is the online degree offered at an afford­able price, but there are also no text­books to buy, and out­stand­ing mil­i­tary and ser­vice dis­counts, a $250 per cred­it hour rate for veterans.

6. Champlain College

The Bachelor’s in Fine Arts in Graph­ic Design & Dig­i­tal Media at Cham­plain is inno­v­a­tive and afford­able. With an “upside-down” cur­ricu­lum you begin by jump­ing right into prac­ti­cal expe­ri­ences; this mod­el focus­es on hands-on learn­ing in con­junc­tion with course­work and effec­tive­ly pre­pares grad­u­ates for careers. 

The school’s web­site reports that 87 per­cent of grad­u­ates were employed with­in six months of their grad­u­a­tion. With the Cham­plain glob­al focus, you also get the oppor­tu­ni­ty to study abroad in Ire­land or Cana­da among oth­er choic­es. Stu­dents can even com­plete their intern­ships in anoth­er country. 

In addi­tion to the BFA, there is a com­bined bachelor’s/master’s option. With such a vibrant and inno­v­a­tive learn­ing mod­el it may be nat­ur­al to think there is a high tuition rate.

7. West Texas A&M University

  • Loca­tion: Canyon, TXdesign and media arts
  • Total Under­grad­u­ate Stu­dents: 6,898
  • Stu­dent to Fac­ul­ty Ratio: 17 to 1
  • Degree Offered: B.F.A. Graph­ic Design Major
  • Accred­i­ta­tion: South­ern Asso­ci­a­tion of Col­leges and Schools, Com­mis­sion on Colleges
  • Tuition: $9,101

WTAMU offers a Bach­e­lor of Fine Arts in Graph­ic Design through the Depart­ment of Art, The­atre, and Dance. Priced at the sec­ond low­est on our list, the degree is both afford­able and of high qual­i­ty. The cur­ricu­lum builds on the uni­ver­si­ty core and moves from gen­er­al and fun­da­men­tal cours­es in art and design to advanced class­es and a senior project. 

In step with the times, and help­ful to get a job in today’s world, WTAMU requires nine hours of com­put­er art class­es. For those inter­est­ed in going above and beyond, the Depart­ment of Art, The­atre, and Dance also offers an option to earn a Graph­ic Design Hon­ors. Stu­dents earn Hon­ors by com­plet­ing an addi­tion­al Eng­lish, His­to­ry, Com­put­er, and The­atre class. 

8. Kentucky Wesleyan College

  • Loca­tion: Owens­boro, KYdesign and media arts
  • Total Under­grad­u­ate Stu­dents: 780
  • Stu­dent to Fac­ul­ty Ratio: 13 to 1
  • Degree Offered: Graph­ic Design
  • Accred­i­ta­tion: South­ern Asso­ci­a­tion of Col­leges and Schools, Com­mis­sion on Colleges
  • Tuition: $29,660

At KWC, you can earn your graph­ic design bach­e­lor’s degree entire­ly online. With today’s econ­o­my ever mov­ing and chang­ing, the demand for high­ly skilled design­ers is con­stant. You may be look­ing for an online pro­gram so that you can con­tin­ue work­ing while earn­ing your degree. 

The Graph­ic Design pro­gram pre­pares stu­dents for work in a vari­ety of fields from pub­lic, pri­vate, non-prof­it, and busi­ness­es from small to large. Build­ing on KWC’s 39-cred­it lib­er­al edu­ca­tion core, the spe­cif­ic art cur­ricu­lum trains you in draw­ing and design, typog­ra­phy, brand­ing design, pub­li­ca­tion, web design, ani­ma­tion, and more. 

The degree is 120 total cred­its with six hours of intern­ship required for grad­u­a­tion. Admis­sion is entire­ly online.

9. Upper Iowa University

  • Loca­tion: Fayette, IAdesign and media arts
  • Total Under­grad­u­ate Stu­dents: 2,510
  • Stu­dent to Fac­ul­ty Ratio: 11 to 1
  • Degree Offered: Bachelor’s Degree in Graph­ic Design
  • Accred­i­ta­tion: High­er Learn­ing Commission
  • Tuition: $19,475

A dis­tin­guish­ing char­ac­ter­is­tic of UIU’s Graph­ic Design pro­gram is its cur­ricu­lum. Rather than take spec­i­fied cours­es and com­plete pre­scribed projects, stu­dents cre­ate their own projects in every class. This “port­fo­lio-dri­ven” cur­ricu­lum cul­ti­vates orig­i­nal­i­ty, and cre­ativ­i­ty, and pre­pares you for a suc­cess­ful tran­si­tion into the workplace. 

The course­work at UI increas­es in com­plex­i­ty as you progress through the pro­gram as well. This method­ol­o­gy forms lead­ers in prob­lem-solv­ing, a char­ac­ter­is­tic that employ­ers look for in every appli­ca­tion and inter­view. Anoth­er fea­ture worth not­ing of the pro­gram is the flex­i­bil­i­ty of com­plet­ing the degree online or on cam­pus. If you hap­pen to be a trans­fer stu­dent, UI’s gen­er­ous pol­i­cy may allow you to receive cred­it for many low­er-divi­sion courses. 

When all is said and done, and you’ve com­plet­ed cours­es in pho­tog­ra­phy, web design, typog­ra­phy, dig­i­tal illus­tra­tion, and more, you will be con­fi­dent on day one of your new career.

10. California State University, San Bernardino

  • Loca­tion: San Bernardi­no, CAdesign and media arts
  • Total Under­grad­u­ate Stu­dents: 16,813
  • Stu­dent to Fac­ul­ty Ratio: 25 to 1
  • Degree Offered: Bach­e­lor of Fine Arts in Design
  • Accred­i­ta­tion: West­ern Asso­ci­a­tion of Schools and Col­leges, Senior Col­lege and Uni­ver­si­ty Com­mis­sion, Nation­al Asso­ci­a­tion of Schools of Art and Design as well as sev­er­al oth­er accred­it­ing bodies.
  • Tuition: $7,679

CSUSB’s Bach­e­lor of Arts in Graph­ic Design is the least inex­pen­sive on our list at $214 per cred­it. With this afford­able price and high qual­i­ty, it’s easy to see why the school made our list. Whether you’re inter­est­ed in elec­tron­ic, dig­i­tal, or print media, the BA in Graph­ic Design delivers. 

The 96-cred­it pro­gram includes cours­es in art his­to­ry, web design, stu­dio art elec­tives, and mar­ket­ing. If you want to com­bine more busi­ness cours­es with graph­ic design, you may be pleased to know that CSUSB offers a BA in Graph­ic Design and Mar­ket­ing. Noth­ing is left out in com­plete prepa­ra­tion for our dynam­ic economy. 

The pro­gram (and the whole Depart­ment of Art) is accred­it­ed by the Nation­al Asso­ci­a­tion of Schools of Art and Design, and whether online or face-to-face, is taught by the same rec­og­nized faculty.

11. Rhode Island School of Design

  • Loca­tion: Prov­i­dence, RIdesign and media arts
  • Total Under­grad­u­ate Stu­dents: 2,044
  • Stu­dent to Fac­ul­ty Ratio: 9 to 1
  • Degree Offered: BFA in Graph­ic Design
  • Accred­i­ta­tion: Nation­al Asso­ci­a­tion of Schools of Art and Design, Com­mis­sion on Accred­i­ta­tion and New Eng­land Asso­ci­a­tion of Schools and Col­leges, Com­mis­sion on Insti­tu­tions of High­er Education
  • Tuition: $57,505

Like all RISD pro­grams, the BFA in Graph­ic Design is of superb qual­i­ty. It is this fact that under­scores the dis­tinc­tive of the pro­gram. The pro­gram is well-struc­tured. It moves from basic ana­lyt­i­cal, sen­so­ry, and tech­ni­cal design expe­ri­ences into advanced knowl­edge and skills such as com­mu­ni­ca­tion, prob­lem-solv­ing, and visu­al and infor­ma­tion sys­tems, all lead­ing to a nar­row­ing of inter­ests through senior elec­tives and a cap­stone project. 

RISD also offers sum­mer cours­es and projects to enhance learn­ing for juniors and seniors. An intan­gi­ble, often over­looked area to note is the incred­i­ble facil­i­ties and resources at RISD, includ­ing a unique part­ner­ship with Brown Uni­ver­si­ty. Admis­sion require­ments include (besides test scores and tran­scripts) a port­fo­lio with 12–20 sam­ples, a writ­ing sam­ple, and an essay.

12. Southeastern University

  • Loca­tion: Lake­land, FLdesign and media arts
  • Total Under­grad­u­ate Stu­dents: 8,840
  • Stu­dent to Fac­ul­ty Ratio: 18 to 1
  • Degree Offered: BS in Dig­i­tal Media & Design
  • Accred­i­ta­tion: South­ern Asso­ci­a­tion of Col­leges and Schools, Com­mis­sion on Colleges
  • Tuition: $30,148

SU offers a Bach­e­lor of Sci­ence in Dig­i­tal Media and Design. The pro­gram’s focus is graph­ic and web design, dig­i­tal media, ana­lyt­ics, and com­mu­ni­ca­tions. This com­bi­na­tion of knowl­edge and skills trans­fers to an imme­di­ate real-world impact in today’s econ­o­my. The degree can be com­plet­ed online (the only pri­vate Chris­t­ian school in Flori­da offer­ing a ful­ly online graph­ic design pro­gram) or face-to-face. 

The BS includes 40 hours of core cours­es, 55 hours of gen­er­al edu­ca­tion, and 25 hours of elec­tives. Cours­es such as Dig­i­tal Mar­ket­ing and Ana­lyt­ics and Mass Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Law make the degree broad in appli­ca­tions. Poten­tial jobs include Dig­i­tal ana­lyt­ics spe­cial­ist, Dig­i­tal Mar­keter, Graph­ic design­er, Pho­to­jour­nal­ist, or Web design­er, to name a few.

13. Virginia Commonwealth University

  • Loca­tion: Rich­mond, VAdesign and media arts
  • Total Under­grad­u­ate Stu­dents: 20,958
  • Stu­dent to Fac­ul­ty Ratio: 16 to 1
  • Degree Offered: Graph­ic Design, Bach­e­lor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.)
  • Accred­i­ta­tion: South­ern Asso­ci­a­tion of Col­leges and Schools, Com­mis­sion on Col­leges as well as numer­ous oth­er accred­it­ing bodies.
  • Tuition: $15,828

Mul­ti­ple fine arts pro­grams are ranked and rec­og­nized at VCU. The BFA in Graph­ic Design is #2 and #7 in U.S. News and World Report’s rank­ings for fine arts and graph­ic design, respec­tive­ly. Five out­comes form the heart of the train­ing through the Depart­ment of Graph­ic Design: com­mu­ni­ca­tion, client and audi­ence needs, ethics, tech­nol­o­gy as a vehi­cle of com­mu­ni­ca­tion, and design as a dynam­ic process. 

The scope and sequence are rig­or­ous, with admis­sion only in the fall to main­tain their dis­ci­plined struc­ture. Poten­tial stu­dents must com­plete the Art Foun­da­tions Pro­gram and pass an eval­u­a­tion to enter the Graph­ic Design Program. 

Assum­ing you main­tain a GPA above 2.5 and com­plete spe­cif­ic class­es, you then have your pro­fes­sion­al port­fo­lio assessed at the end of your sopho­more and junior years. With this cur­ricu­lum pro­gres­sion, you can be assured you will be pre­pared for suc­cess on day one in the field.

14. Herzing University

You have three options for a Bachelor’s in Graph­ic Design at Herz­ing. You can choose a gen­er­al BS or hone in on either Print or Web Design as a con­cen­tra­tion. The gen­er­al BS in Graph­ic Design is intend­ed for those inter­est­ed in careers in print, tele­vi­sion, cin­e­ma, mul­ti­me­dia, and dig­i­tal entertainment. 

Poten­tial jobs/titles include graph­ic design­er, graph­ic artist, design­er, cre­ative direc­tor, artist, design direc­tor, cre­ative man­ag­er, desk­top pub­lish­er, and graph­ic designer/production. The 124-cred­it cur­ricu­lum (for all three options) requires an intern­ship and a senior cap­stone project. 

All the options fol­low the same gen­er­al core, but instead of the 48 cred­it gen­er­al graph­ic art option, the print or web design focus requires 39 cred­its and 24 cred­its in the concentration.

15. California Baptist University

  • Loca­tion: River­side, CAdesign and media arts
  • Total Under­grad­u­ate Stu­dents: 8,223
  • Stu­dent to Fac­ul­ty Ratio: 18 to 1
  • Degree Offered: Graph­ic Design and Dig­i­tal Media, B.A. (Online)
  • Accred­i­ta­tion: West­ern Asso­ci­a­tion of Schools and Col­leges, Senior Col­lege and Uni­ver­si­ty Commission
  • Tuition: $38,058

CBU offers an online BA in Graph­ic Design and Dig­i­tal Media. The online degree pre­pares you through the same course­work as the school’s tra­di­tion­al brick-and-mor­tar pro­grams. Instruc­tion is per­son­al with the Chris­t­ian world­view infused in every class. For exam­ple, you will be able to think about eth­i­cal prob­lems in the graph­ic design indus­try in light of your Chris­t­ian faith. 

Cours­es cov­er Pho­to­shop, Illus­tra­tor, InDe­sign, Dreamweaver, design his­to­ry, col­or the­o­ry, typog­ra­phy, and more. You also cre­ate a pro­fes­sion­al port­fo­lio and are required to com­plete an intern­ship. Admis­sion require­ments include 24 trans­fer­able units and a min­i­mum GPA of 2.0.

With the abil­i­ty to apply every eight weeks, you can essen­tial­ly start any time of the year. Per­fect for work­ing adults, trans­fers, or true first-year stu­dents, the degree takes an aver­age of 16 months to com­plete.

What is graphic design and what do graphic designers do?

The Nation­al Asso­ci­a­tion of Schools of Art and Design says, “Graph­ic Design is the pro­fes­sion that plans and exe­cutes the design of visu­al com­mu­ni­ca­tion accord­ing to the needs of audi­ences and con­texts for which com­mu­ni­ca­tion is intended.” 

Fur­ther, “Graph­ic design­ers apply what they have learned about phys­i­cal, cog­ni­tive, social and cul­tur­al human fac­tors to com­mu­ni­ca­tion plan­ning and the cre­ation of an appro­pri­ate form that inter­prets informs, instructs, or per­suades. Graph­ic design­ers use var­i­ous tech­nolo­gies as a means for cre­at­ing visu­al form and as an envi­ron­ment through which com­mu­ni­ca­tion takes place.”

Our nation’s insti­tu­tions of high­er learn­ing are lead­ing the way in train­ing the next gen­er­a­tion of graph­ic design­ers. Graph­ic design is one of the most influ­en­tial art forms of our time. Visu­al design art is com­mer­cial, social, pub­lic, and polit­i­cal touch­ing the lives of peo­ple every­where they go on mobile devices, bill­boards, print, web­sites, logos, on the big screen, and com­put­ers. Images and words seek to cap­ti­vate our atten­tion every­where we go. 

What do you study in the graphic design bachelor’s degree program?

Under­grad­u­ate degrees in graph­ic design come in mul­ti­ple forms. Online graph­ic design bach­e­lor’s degree pro­grams are pop­ping up more and more and are catered to fit our busy lifestyles. Tra­di­tion­al brick-and-mor­tar, with com­mu­ni­ty resources, art facil­i­ties, and stu­dio art also remains a sol­id choice. 

Degree types vary with a BA, BS, and BFA in Graph­ic Design most com­mon. Some graph­ic design schools offer a BFA in Art with con­cen­tra­tions in spe­cif­ic forms of graph­ic art like Web Design, 3D Ani­ma­tion, and Mod­el­ing, or Media Arts to name a few. There are also a few unique com­bi­na­tions like Graph­ic Art and Mar­ket­ing and even Graph­ic Design and Philosophy.

Most graph­ic design schools offer a sim­i­lar cur­ricu­lum: a gen­er­al edu­ca­tion core, fun­da­men­tals of art core, advanced cours­es in graph­ic design, and most include a pro­fes­sion­al port­fo­lio and intern­ship. A sam­pling of cours­es includes:

  • Graph­ic Design
  • Typog­ra­phy
  • Art His­to­ry
  • Brand­ing Design
  • Pub­li­ca­tion
  • Web Design
  • Ani­ma­tion
  • Vec­tor illustration
  • Stu­dio Art
  • User Inter­face

Accred­i­ta­tion for a graph­ic design bach­e­lor’s degree pro­gram does mat­ter to some employ­ers. Look for pro­grams that are accred­it­ed by the Nation­al Asso­ci­a­tion of Schools of Art and Design.

What are some graphic art careers?

The most impor­tant fact to know about becom­ing a graph­ic design­er is that you are enter­ing a very com­pet­i­tive, and rapid­ly chang­ing indus­try with high demands that judge every­thing by results. 

The Bureau of Labor Sta­tis­tics pre­dicts a slow­er-than-aver­age job growth at three per­cent for a graph­ic design major. The aver­age salary of a graph­ic artist is $57,990 per year. Graph­ic design­ers work in cor­po­rate, gov­ern­ment, non-prof­its, cul­tur­al orga­ni­za­tions, and self-employ­ment set­tings. Accord­ing to the BLS, one in five design­ers is self-employed.

As for job specifics, it depends on the degree, title, and loca­tion. List­ed below is just a selec­tion of some career paths with a bach­e­lor’s degree in graph­ic design:

  • Art Direc­tor
  • Cre­ative Director
  • Film and Video Editor
  • Graph­ic Designer
  • Industrial/Product Design­er
  • Mar­ket­ing Manager
  • Mul­ti­me­dia Artist/Animator
  • Pho­tog­ra­ph­er
  • Web Design­er
  • Dig­i­tal Ana­lyt­ics Specialist
  • Dig­i­tal Marketer
  • Pho­to­jour­nal­ist


While the need for graph­ic artists isn’t grow­ing at the same rate as oth­er careers, there is no doubt that there is a demand for artists in our visu­al cul­ture. Whether your goals are to attend one of the top art schools in the nation or to earn your graph­ic arts degree online from the com­fort of your own home, we hope you have gained valu­able infor­ma­tion from this rank­ing. We strive to pro­vide the most rel­e­vant, up-to-date infor­ma­tion about the var­i­ous graph­ic arts degrees available.