Graphic Design Schools

The Best Graphic Design Schools in the U.S. 2018

Graphic design schools are centers of learning that teach students how to create effective mechanisms for visual communication for a vast array of industries and purposes. Graphic designers use words and pictures to present ideas, concepts, instruction, marketing, and direction; examples of design are everywhere. From cereal boxes to billboards, graphic designers create communicative art which carries a specific message to a target group.

Graphic designers develop, plan, and produce materials in print and digital formats. Either solo, if self-employed, or in a team they meet and ask questions to establish clients’ needs and goals, budget, and timeframe for the project, then make recommendations based on their knowledge of design. Sometimes, like in larger design firms, graphic designers won’t meet with clients but will get the whole story from an art director or account manager. Using this information, a designer or designers will prepare initial concepts using digital illustration or photo-editing software, an estimate of costs and a schedule for completion. Upon client approval, the designer will draw up layouts, including text, graphics, photographs, illustrations, etc., and present to other’s on the design team, account managers, and copywriters.

During the design process, designers will meet with other staff to discuss progress, changes to the design, and any other major issues regarding the final layouts. Although there may be a number of people involved in the project, including copywriters, printers, photographers, and web developers, the graphic artist often coordinates the work of these professionals to ensure they meet all of the requirements of the project, the budget, and timeline. If a project is to be printed, they will also prepare materials and check proofs prior to press run.

Graphic designers create logos, original artwork and illustrations, select colors, images, and fonts, plus any other elements necessary to deliver the desired message. If working with copywriters, a designer will often collaborate closely to help decide how words will be used; in paragraphs as lists or tables, making sometimes complex ideas more accessible. Some graphic designers will specialize in a specific category or type of client. For instance, some designers only create graphics used in product packaging, still others will design websites or book jackets. But most designers are generalists, creating designs for a variety of clients and projects. In order to do their job and remain competitive, graphic designers must keep up-to-date with the latest software and computer technologies. Just one of the many reasons why an education is so important. On this page, we provide a list of the nation’s best graphic design schools, along with guides and links to additional resources for students seeking education or training in a specific area of focus.

  • 01

    Rhode Island School of Design

    2 College St, Providence, RI 02903

    Nestled amidst the picturesque New England seaboard, Rhode Island School of Design has long been one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious colleges offering rigorous art programs at both an undergraduate and graduate level.

    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 2,481
    • img Visit School Website
  • 02

    The New School's Parsons School of Design

    66 West 12th Street, New York, NY 10011

    Unique in its educational approach, Parsons prioritizes humanity and culture; ever-seeking a connection to global urban centers with project-based learning. Founded in 1896, Parsons confers both undergraduate and graduate degrees at 5

    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 10,344
    • img Visit School Website
  • 03

    Pratt Institute

    200 Willoughby Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11205

    Pratt Institute utilizes the city of New York as a literal classroom by engaging students in real life experiences including public critiques and internships with top design companies like Ralph Lauren, Donna Karan and more.

    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 4,784
    • img Visit School Website
  • 04

    Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts

    Pollak Bldg, 325 N Harrison St #201, Richmond, VA 23284

    The recipient of a multitude of awards and recognition from across the globe; VCUART demonstrates it student support by having one of the lowest tuition rates of the nation’s Top 10 Art Institutions.

    • imgSchool Type : Public
    • imgEnrollment : 30,918
    • img Visit School Website
  • 05

    ArtCenter College of Design

    1700 Lida Street #2319, Pasadena, CA 91103

    With a tradition of learning to create and influence change; the Center impacts its community as well as global society. Its visionary methodology regarding art and design reflects the conservatory approach it embraces.

    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 2,133
    • img Visit School Website
  • 06

    Carnegie Mellon University School of Design

    5000 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213

    The School of Design is one of the nation's only institutions to offer degrees at 3 levels: BA, MA and PhD, within a multi-disciplinary research context.

    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 12,963
    • img Visit School Website
  • 07

    Savannah College of Art & Design

    342 Bull St, Savannah, GA 31401

    Embracing a forward-looking approach to artistic academia, SCAD is a student-centered institution determined to provide educational excellence within the context of a positive learning environment. Students learn to create art, as well as live creatively artistic lives.

    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 11,861
    • img Visit School Website
  • 08

    School of Visual Arts

    209 East 23rd Street, New York, NY 10010

    Founded in 197, SVA is a for-profit art and design educational institution located in New York offering 11 bachelor’s programs & 22 graduate options. SVA emphasizes excellence in expression and responsible industry participation.

    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 4,408
    • img Visit School Website
  • 09

    Maryland Institute College of Art

    1300 W Mount Royal Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21217

    Founded in Baltimore in 1826, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) is one of the oldest art colleges in the U.S. For undergraduate education in the fine arts and its MFA programs, U.S. News & World Report has ranked MICA as one of the top colleges in the nation. Parade Magazine has ranked it in the Top 2 Studio Arts Programs in the U.S.; and The Princeton Review consistently names it a “Best Northeastern College.”

    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 2,197
    • img Visit School Website
  • 10

    Minneapolis College of Art & Design

    2501 Stevens Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55404

    Established in 1886, MCAD is a not-for-profit, private college conferring both 4 year and postgraduate degrees. A preeminent art and design educational institution, MCAD offers certificate programs, continuing education and hosts numerous exhibitions.

    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 796
    • img Visit School Website
  • 11

    CalArts (California Institute of the Arts)

    24700 McBean Pkwy, Valencia, CA 91355

    Educating students since 1970, Newsweek Magazine and The Daily Beast have ranked CalArts as the nation’s top college of the arts. Its six schools offer rigorous graduate and undergraduate degree programs.

    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 1,448
    • img Visit School Website
  • 12

    Yale University - School of Art

    1156 Chapel Street, New Haven, CT 06520

    Founded in 1864, Yale School of Art is one of the nation’s oldest and prestigious of educational institutions. Iconic faculty & distinguished alumni continue to define artistic evolvement on a global scale.

    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 12,385
    • img Visit School Website
  • 13

    Otis College of Art & Design

    9045 Lincoln Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045

    Established in 1918, Otis is recognized as Los Angeles’ first independent professional school of art and design. With locations in the heart of cultural, entrepreneurial and artistic developments; students learn from and become masters of artistry.

    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 1,160
    • img Visit School Website
  • 14

    University Of Cincinnati

    2600 Clifton Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45220

    A world-class research university, UC utilizes an interdisciplinary approach; complete with an international, prestigious faculty; a variety of workshop facilities, photography and computer graphics center and an experimental technology laboratory.

    • imgSchool Type : Public
    • imgEnrollment : 36,042
    • img Visit School Website
  • 15

    California College of the Arts

    5212 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94618

    With 22 undergraduate degree programs, 12 graduate programs and international study options; California College of the Arts successfully balances tradition with innovation and theory with practice. Students enjoy an 8:1 student/teacher ratio and class sizes averaging 13 students.

    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 1,975
    • img Visit School Website
  • 16

    College for Creative Studies

    201 East Kirby, Detroit, MI 48202

    Established in 1906, the College for Creative Studies is a small, private, fully-accredited institution of higher learning. Diversity and inclusion characterize the student body: undergraduates hail from 35 states and 24 countries; while the graduate population is comprised of 81% international enrollees from 8 countries. Located in Midtown Detroit, students enjoy the long-established, rich culture of the city. From the Detroit Film Theatre and the Detroit Institute of Arts; to the libraries, galleries and famous restaurants; both college and students can leverage the educational opportunities provided by the urban community.

    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 1,487
    • img Visit School Website
  • 17

    School of the Art Institute of Chicago

    36 S. Wabash Ave. Chicago, IL 60603

    Since 1866, School of the Art Institute of Chicago has been committed to academic excellence, interdisciplinary exploration and the enrichment of each student’s artistic inquiry and experimentation.

    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 3,591
    • img Visit School Website
  • 18

    Massachusetts College of Art & Design

    621 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115

    With its legacy beginning in 1873, Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt), is public, independent, and one of the nation’s oldest art schools. Stressing diversity and inclusiveness, MassArt fosters and encourages community-building, within and outside the college. Challenging students to transcend traditional boundaries, MassArt addresses the learning process within each student from a holistic standpoint. Valuing art as a life-enhancing force, there is an emphasis on academic excellence as a foundation for greatness.

    • imgSchool Type : Public
    • imgEnrollment : 1,990
    • img Visit School Website
  • 19

    Ringling College of Art and Design

    2700 N Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34234

    Founded in 1931, Ringling College excels in propelling students into the real world of art through substantive internships, national competitions, cutting-edge technology, and client projects (to name a few).

    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 1262
    • img Visit School Website
  • 20

    University of the Arts - College of Art, Media & Design

    320 Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102

    CAMD is one of the nation’s leading educational institutions. For almost 140 years, the college has been focused on the development of passionate young artists by encouraging bold statements and innovative creativity.

    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 1,876
    • img Visit School Website
  • 21

    Academy of Art University (San Francisco)

    79 New Montgomery St, San Francisco, CA 94105

    With 30 distinct areas of study, Academy of Art University is America's largest private accredited art university. Markedly exceptional is their “No-Barrier to Admissions” policy. Applicants need only possess passion coupled with the ability to concretize it.

    • imgSchool Type : Private, For Profit
    • imgEnrollment : 13,800
    • img Visit School Website
  • 22

    Rochester Institute of Technology - School of Film & Animation

    70 Lomb Memorial Drive, Rochester, NY 14623

    RIT is a private college whose fine arts programs are consistently ranked in the “Top 10” by US News. Conferring associates, undergraduate and graduate degrees, it has 4 galleries and a Center for Design.

    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 16,639
    • img Visit School Website
  • 23

    Cranbrook Academy of Art

    39221 Woodward Ave, Bloomfield Hills, MI 48303

    An exclusive graduate degree granting institution unlike any other in the United States; the 2-year Academy confers MA degrees in 10 areas. All studies are studio-based & students are mentored by 10 Artists-in-Residence.

    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 152
    • img Visit School Website
  • 24

    University of North Texas

    1155 Union Cir, Denton, TX 76203

    CVAD offers 30 undergraduate and graduate art programs, heralding it as one of nation’s most comprehensive visual arts schools within a public university. CVAD hasTexas’ 1st and only Ph.D. program in art education.

    • imgSchool Type : Public
    • imgEnrollment : 37,299
    • img Visit School Website
  • 25

    Kent State University

    800 E Summit St, Kent, OH 44240

    With a tradition of excellence in arts education, art history and a comprehensive array of studio disciplines; KSU offers the only MFA program in northeast Ohio. Since 1910, opportunities abound, including graphic design, industrial design, and film studies.

    • imgSchool Type : Private
    • imgEnrollment : 30,067
    • img Visit School Website
  • 26

    Portland State University

    1825 SW Broadway, Portland, OR 97232

    The Art College is unique in its strategic partnership approach to education. Utilizing the expertise of the rich artistic community in which it is located; it blends experience with an interdisciplinary approach.

    • imgSchool Type : Public
    • imgEnrollment : 6,512
    • img Visit School Website

SEARCH OUR PROGRAM DATABASE

Explore art and design programes with our comprehensive list of NASAD accredited colleges and universities. Search by degree level, program type, or state location.

School Name Program Name Details
Academy of Art University 79 New Montgomery Street, 6th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105 Certificate in Graphic Design Request Information
Academy of Art University 79 New Montgomery Street, 6th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105 Associate of Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Academy of Art University 79 New Montgomery Street, 6th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Academy of Art University 79 New Montgomery Street, 6th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105 Master of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Academy of Art University 79 New Montgomery Street, 6th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105 Master of Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Alabama State University 915 S. Jackson Street, Montgomery, AL 36101 Bachelor's of Art - Graphic Design Request Information
Anderson University (South Carolina) 318 Boulevard, Anderson, SC 29621 Bachelor's of Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Appalachian State University 287 Rivers St, Boone, NC 28608 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Arizona State University (SPPA) 810 S. Forest Ave, Tempe, AZ 85287 Bachelor of Design - Graphic Design Request Information
Arkansas State University 2412 Quapaw Way, Jonesboro, AR 72401 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Art Academy of Cincinnati 1212 Jackson Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202-7106 Associate of Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Art Center College of Design 1700 Lida Street, Pasadena, CA 91107 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Art Center College of Design 1700 Lida Street, Pasadena, CA 91107 Master of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Auburn University 351 W. Thach Concourse, Auburn, AL 36849 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Austin Peay State University 681 Summer Street, Clarksville, TN 37044 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Azusa Pacific University 901 East Alosta Avenue, Azusa, CA 91702 Bachelor's of Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Belhaven University 1500 Peachtree Street, Jackson, MS 39202 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Boise State University 1910 University Drive, Boise, ID 83725 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Boston University 855 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 2215 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Boston University 855 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 2215 Master of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Boston University 855 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 2215 Certificate in Graphic Design Request Information
Bowling Green State University 1000 Fine Arts Center, Bowling Green, OH 43403 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Brigham Young University Harris Fine Arts Center, A 501, Provo, UT 84602 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Broward College - Willis Holcombre Center 111 E Las Olas Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301 Associate of Graphic Design Request Information
Bucks County Community College 275 Swamp Road, Newtown, PA 18940 Associate of Arts (Transfer Program) - Graphic Design Request Information
California College of the Arts 5212 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94618 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
California Institute of the Arts 24700 McBean Parkway, Valencia, CA 91355 Certificate in Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
California Institute of the Arts 24700 McBean Parkway, Valencia, CA 91355 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
California Institute of the Arts 24700 McBean Parkway, Valencia, CA 91355 Certificate in Advanced Art - Graphic Design Request Information
California Institute of the Arts 24700 McBean Parkway, Valencia, CA 91355 Master of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona 3801 West Temple Avenue, Pomona, CA 91768 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
California State University, Long Beach 1250 Bellflower Boulevard, Long Beach, CA 90840 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
California State University, Long Beach 1250 Bellflower Boulevard, Long Beach, CA 90840 Master of Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
California State University, Long Beach 1250 Bellflower Boulevard, Long Beach, CA 90840 Master of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
California State University, Sacramento 6000 J. Street, Sacremanto, CA 95819 Bachelor of Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
California University of Pennsylvania 250 University Avenue, California, PA 15419 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Casper College 125 College Drive, Casper, WY 82601 Associate of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Central State University 1400 Brush Row Road, Wilberforce, OH 45384 Bachelor's of Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Chabot College 25555 Hesperian Boulevard, Hayward, CA 94545 Associate of Arts - Graphic Design/Digital Media Request Information
Champlain College (SPPA) 163 South Willard Street, Burlington, VT 5401 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design and Digital Media Request Information
Cleveland Institute of Art 11610 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44106 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Coastal Carolina University 100 Chanticleer Dr E, Conway, SC 29528 Bachelor's of Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
College for Creative Studies 201 East Kirby Street, Detroit, MI 48202-4034 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
College of DuPage 425 Fawell Boulevard, Glen Ellyn, IL 60137 Associate of Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Columbus College of Art and Design 60 Cleveland Avenue, Columbus, OH 43215 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Advertising Design and Graphic Design Request Information
Delaware College of Art and Design 600 North Market Street, Wilmington, DE 19801 Associate of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Delaware County Community College 901 South Media Line Road, Media, PA 19603 Associate of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Dominican University of California 50 Acacia Avenue, San Rafael, CA 94901 Bachelor's of Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Dominican University of California 50 Acacia Avenue, San Rafael, CA 94901 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Drake University 25th and University, De Moines, IN 50311 Bachelor's of Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Drake University 25th and University, De Moines, IN 50311 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design, Studio Arts Request Information
Drexel University 3141 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
East Tennessee State University 1276 Gilbreath Dr, Jefferson City, TN 37614 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Endicott College 376 Hale Street, Beverly, MA 1915 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising - Los Angeles 919 South Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90015 Associate of Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising - Los Angeles 919 South Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90015 Associate of Arts (Professional Designation) - Graphic Design Request Information
Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising - Los Angeles 919 South Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90015 Bachelor's of Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising - Orange County 17590 Gillette Avenue, Irvine, CA 92614 Associate of Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising - San Diego 350 Tenth Avenue, Third Floor, San Diego, CA 92101 Associate of Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising - San Francisco 55 Stockton Street, San Francisco, CA 94108 Associate of Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising - San Francisco 55 Stockton Street, San Francisco, CA 94108 Associate of Arts (Professional Designation) - Graphic Design Request Information
Fashion Institute of Technology Seventh Avenue at 27th Street, New York, NY 10001 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Florida State University 125 Convocation Way, Tallahassee, FL 32306 Bachelor of Arts - Graphic Design/Digital Arts Request Information
Georgia Southern University 1334 Southern Dr, Statesboro, GA 30458 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Georgia Southern University 1335 Southern Dr, Statesboro, GA 30458 Master of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Georgia State University P.O. Box 4107, Atlanta, GA 30302-3965 Master of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Harrisburg Area Community College One HACC Drive, Harrisburg, PA 17110 Certificate in Graphic Design Request Information
Harrisburg Area Community College One HACC Drive, Harrisburg, PA 17110 Associate of Applied Graphic Design Request Information
Iowa State University 100 Enrollment Services Center, Ames, IA 50011-2014 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Iowa State University 100 Enrollment Services Center, Ames, IA 50011-2018 Master of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana, Columbus 4475 Central Avenue, Columbus, IN 47203 Certificate in Graphic Design Request Information
James Madison University 800 South Main Street, Harrisonburg, VA 22807 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Kansas City Art Institute 4415 Warwick Boulevard, Kansas City, MO 64111-1874 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Kean University 1000 Morris Avenue, Union, NJ 7866 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University 17 Fountain Street Northwest, Grand Rapids, MI 49503-3002 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
La Roche College 9000 Babcock Boulevard, Pittsburgh, PA 15237 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Laguna College of Art and Design 2222 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, CA 92651-1136 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Laguna College of Art and Design 2222 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, CA 92651-1136 Certificate in Graphic Design Request Information
Laguna College of Art and Design 2222 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, CA 92651-1136 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Lamar University 4400 S M L King Jr Pkwy, Beaumont, TX 77705 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Lamar University 4400 S M L King Jr Pkwy, Beaumont, TX 77705 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Lawrence Technological University 21000 West Ten Mile Road, Southfield, MI 48075 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Lesley University College of Art and Design 29 Everett Street, Cambridge, MA 2138 Advanced Professional - Graphic Design Request Information
Lesley University College of Art and Design 29 Everett Street, Cambridge, MA 2138 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Lesley University College of Art and Design 29 Everett Street, Cambridge, MA 2138 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design and Illustration Request Information
Lorain County Community College 1005 North Abbe Road, Elyria, OH 44035 Certificate in Graphic Design Request Information
Louisiana Tech University 102 Design Building, Baton Rouge, LA 70803 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Louisiana Tech University 102 Design Building, Baton Rouge, LA 70803 Master of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Maine College of Art 522 Congress Street, Portland, ME 4101 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Maryland Institute College of Art 1300 West Mount Royal Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21217 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Maryland Institute College of Art 1300 West Mount Royal Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21217 Certificate in Graphic Design Request Information
Maryland Institute College of Art 1300 West Mount Royal Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21217 Master of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Maryland Institute College of Art 1300 West Mount Royal Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21217 Master of Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Maryville University of Saint Louis 650 Maryville University Drive, Saint Louis, MO 63141 Bachelor's of Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Maryville University of Saint Louis 650 Maryville University Drive, Saint Louis, MO 63141 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Massachusetts College of Art and Design 621 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115-5882 Certificate in Graphic Design Request Information
Massachusetts College of Art and Design 621 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115-5882 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Memphis College of Art Overton Park 1930 Poplar Avenue, Memphis, TN 38104-5101 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Millersville University of Pennsylvania 46 East Frederick Street, Millersville, PA 17551 Bachelor of Design - Interactive and Graphic Design Request Information
Minneapolis College of Art and Design 2501 Stevens Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55404 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Minneapolis College of Art and Design 2501 Stevens Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55404 Certificate in Graphic Design Request Information
Minnesota State University Moorhead 1104 Seventh Avenue South, Moorhead, MN 56563 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Mississippi State University 75 B.S. Hood Dr., Mississippi State University, MS 39762 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Montana State University - Bozeman Campus 211 Montana Hall, Bozeman, MT 59717 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Montclair State University 1 Normal Ave, Montclair, NJ 7043 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Moore College of Art and Design 20th and The Parkway, Philadelphia, PA 19103-1179 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Mount Ida College 777 Dedham Street, Newton Centre, MA 02459-3323 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
New England School of Art and Design at Suffolk University 8 Ashburton Place, Sawyer Building, Boston, MA 2108 Certificate in Graphic Design Request Information
New England School of Art and Design at Suffolk University 8 Ashburton Place, Sawyer Building, Boston, MA 2108 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
New England School of Art and Design at Suffolk University 8 Ashburton Place, Sawyer Building, Boston, MA 2108 Master of Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
New World School of the Arts 300 Northeast Second Avenue, Miami, FL 33132 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
New York Film Academy - Los Angeles 3300 West Riverside Drive, Burbank, CA 91505 Certificate in Graphic Design Request Information
New York Film Academy - Los Angeles 3300 West Riverside Drive, Burbank, CA 91505 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
New York Film Academy - Los Angeles Campus 3300 West Riverside Drive, Burbank, CA 91505 Certificate in Graphic Design Request Information
New York Film Academy - Los Angeles Campus 3300 West Riverside Drive, Burbank, CA 91505 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
New York Film Academy - Los Angeles Campus 3300 West Riverside Drive, Burbank, CA 91505 Certificate in Graphic Design Request Information
New York Film Academy - Los Angeles Campus 3300 West Riverside Drive, Burbank, CA 91505 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
New York Film Academy - New York 17 Battery Place, New York, NY 10004 Certificate in Graphic Design Request Information
New York Film Academy - New York Campus 17 Battery Place, New York, NY 10004 Certificate in Graphic Design Request Information
New York Film Academy - New York Campus 17 Battery Place, New York, NY 10004 Certificate in Graphic Design Request Information
North Carolina State University (Program of Graphic Design) (SPPA) 203 Peele Hall, Campus Box 7103, Raleigh, NC 27695 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
North Carolina State University (Program of Graphic Design) (SPPA) 203 Peele Hall, Campus Box 7103, Raleigh, NC 27695 Master of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Northeastern Illinois University 5500 North Saint Louis Avenue, Chicago, IL 60625 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Northwest College 231 West Sixth Street, Powell, WY 82435 Associate of Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Northwest College 231 West Sixth Street, Powell, WY 82435 Associate of Applied Graphic Design Request Information
Parsons School of Design, The New School - New York Campus 66 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10011 Associate of Graphic Design Request Information
Pennsylvania College of Art and Design 204 North Prince Street, Lancaster, PA 17608-0059 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Pennsylvania State University - University Park Campus Old Main, State College, PA 16801 Bachelor of Design - Graphic Design Request Information
Pratt Institute 200 Willoughby Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11205 Associate of Applied Graphic Design/Illustration Request Information
Pratt Institute 200 Willoughby Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11205 Associate of Occupational Studies - Graphic Design Request Information
Rhode Island School of Design Two College Street, Providence, RI 02903-2784 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Rhode Island School of Design Two College Street, Providence, RI 02903-2784 Master of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Rhode Island School of Design Two College Street, Providence, RI 02903-2784 Master of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Ringling College of Art and Design 2700 North Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34234-5895 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Rochester Institute of Technology 1 Lomb Memorial Drive, Rochester, NY 14623-5603 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design 1600 Pierce Street, Denver, CO 80214 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Saint Cloud State University 720 Fourth Avenue, South, Saint Cloud, MN 56301 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Saint John's University 8000 Utopia Parkway, Queens, NY 11439 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Saint Louis Community College at Florissant Valley 3400 Pershall Road, Saint Louis, MO 63135 Associate of Applied Graphic Communications Request Information
Saint Louis Community College at Florissant Valley 3400 Pershall Road, Saint Louis, MO 63135 Associate of Fine Arts - Graphic Communications Request Information
Saint Louis Community College at Meramec 11333 Big Bend Boulevard, Saint Louis, MO 63122 Associate of Applied Graphic Communications Request Information
Saint Louis Community College at Meramec 11333 Big Bend Boulevard, Saint Louis, MO 63122 Associate of Fine Arts - Graphic Communications Request Information
Sam Houston State University 1905 University Ave, Huntsville, TX 77340 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
San Diego State University 5500 Campanile Drive, San Diego, CA 92182 Master of Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
San Diego State University 5500 Campanile Drive, San Diego, CA 92182 Master of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
San Diego State University 5500 Campanile Drive, San Diego, CA 92182 Master of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
San Jose State University One Washington Square, San Jose, CA 95192 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University 230 The Fenway, Boston, MA 02115-9975 Certificate in Graphic Design in Continuing Education Request Information
Shintaro Akatsu School of Design at University of Bridgeport 84 Iranistan Avenue, Bridgeport, CT 6604 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Shintaro Akatsu School of Design at University of Bridgeport 84 Iranistan Avenue, Bridgeport, CT 6604 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Siena Heights University 1247 East Siena Heights Drive, Adrian, MI 49221 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Southern Utah University 351 West University Boulevard, Cedar City, UT 84720 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
State University of New York, Fredonia 280 Central Ave, Fredonia, NY 14063 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
State University of New York, New Paltz One Hawk Drive, New Paltz, NY 12561-2443 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
State University of New York, Oswego 7060 New York 104, Oswego, NY 13126 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Texas Christian University 2800 South University Drive, Fort Worth, TX 76129 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
The College of Saint Rose 432 Western Avenue, Albany, NY 12203 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
The Sage Colleges, Sage College of Albany 140 New Scotland Avenue, Albany, NY 12208 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic and Media Design Request Information
Tyler School of Art - Philadelphia Campus 2001 North 13th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19122 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic and Interactive Design Request Information
Tyler School of Art - Philadelphia Campus 2001 North 13th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19122 Master of Fine Arts - Graphic and Interactive Design Request Information
University of Alabama in Huntsville 301 Sparkman Drive, Huntsville, AL 35899 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
University of Arkansas 116 FNAR Center, Fayetteville, AR 72701 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
University of Central Missouri 108 W South St, Warrensburg, MO 64093 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
University of Central Oklahoma 100 North University Drive, Edmond, OH 73034 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
University of Cincinnati - Blue Ash Campus 9555 Plainfield Road, Blue Ash, OH 45236 Associate of Arts in Applied Graphic Communication Request Information
University of Dayton 300 College Park, Dayton, OH 45469-2923 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
University of Florida 101 Fine Arts Bldg A, Gainesville, FL 32611 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
University of Florida 101 Fine Arts Bldg A, Gainesville, FL 32611 Master of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 601 East John Street, Champaign, IL 61820 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 601 East John Street, Champaign, IL 61820 Master of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
University of Mary Hardin-Baylor 900 College Street, Belton, TX 76513 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
University of Massachusetts, Lowell 870 Broadway St., Suite 1, Lowell, MA 01854-3088 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
University of Minnesota, Duluth 1201 Ordean Court, Duluth, MN 55812 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
University of Minnesota, Duluth 1201 Ordean Court, Duluth, MN 55812 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
University of Nebraska - Lincoln 1400 R St, Lincoln, NE 68588 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
University of New Haven 300 Boston Post Road, West Haven, CT 6516 Bachelor of Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
University of North Dakota 3350 Campus Rd, Stop 7099, Grand Forks, ND 58202 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design and New Art Media Request Information
University of Northern Colorado 501 20th St, Greeley, CO 80639 Bachelor of Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
University of Oregon 511 Northwest Broadway, Portland, OR 97209 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
University of Saint Francis 2701 Spring Street, Fort Wayne, IN 46808 Associate of Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
University of Saint Francis 2701 Spring Street, Fort Wayne, IN 46808 Bachelor's of Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
University of South Dakota 414 East Clark Street, Vermillion, SD 57069 Master of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
University of Tennessee 1715 Volunteer Boulevard, Knoxville, TN 37996 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
University of the Arts 320 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
University of the Pacific 3601 Pacific Avenue, Stockton, CA 95211 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
University of Wisconsin - Stout 712 South Broadway Street, Menomonie, WI 54751 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design/Interactive Media Request Information
Utah State University 4000 Old Main Hall, Logan, UT 84322 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Vermont College of Fine Arts 36 College Street, Montpelier, VT 5602 Master of Fine Arts - Graphic Design (Low Residency) Request Information
Vincennes University 1002 North First Street, Vincennes, IN 47591 Associate of Arts in Graphic Design Request Information
Virginia Commonwealth University - Richmond Campus 325 North Harrison Street, Richmond, VA 23284 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Watkins College of Art, Design and Film 2298 Rosa L. Parks Boulevard, Nashville, TN 37228 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Watkins College of Art, Design and Film 2298 Rosa L. Parks Boulevard, Nashville, TN 37228 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Waubonsee Community College Route 47 at Woubonsee Drive, Sugar Grove, IL 60554 Certificate in Achievement in Graphic Design Request Information
Waubonsee Community College Route 47 at Woubonsee Drive, Sugar Grove, IL 60554 Associate of Arts - Graphic Art Request Information
Waubonsee Community College Route 47 at Woubonsee Drive, Sugar Grove, IL 60554 Associate of Arts - Applied Graphic Design Request Information
West Chester University of Pennsylvania 700 S High St, West Chester, PA 19382 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic and Interactive Design Request Information
West Virginia University 1 Fine Arts Dr, Morgantown, WV 26506 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
West Virginia University 1 Fine Arts Dr, Morgantown, WV 26506 Master of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Western Kentucky University 1906 College Heights Blvd, Bowling Green, KY 42101 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Western Michigan University 1903 West Michigan Avenue, Kalamazoo, MI 49008 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Wichita State University 1845 Fairmount Street, Wichita, KS 67260 Bachelor of Arts - Graphic Design Request Information
Woodbury University 7500 North Glenoaks Boulevard, Burbank, CA 91510-7846 Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design Request Information

How to Choose a Graphic Design School

Graphic design allows individuals to communicate through graphics, rather than through words (although typefaces and fonts are also a part of graphic design). Graphic designs done by artists can be found virtually everywhere, from online advertising and websites, to video games and magazines. Students entering this industry can specialize in graphic design for digital media, publishing, packaging, branding and corporate identities, marketing communications, and more, and they can creatively express their ideas through visual communications for business and advertising purposes.

Many college-level programs also provide students with the opportunity to build an up-to-date and professional portfolio of their latest and greatest work. For most graphic designers, creating a portfolio is essential as employers rely heavily on a designer’s portfolio when deciding between one job candidate and another. Another thing to keep in mind is the importance of staying up-to-date with computer graphics and design software; either on your own or through training programs. There are a number of professional associations, like the AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Arts), that offer courses intended to keep graphic designers’ skills current.

Degree Programs

Graphic design is taught in traditional colleges and universities and in private art schools. Degrees range from undergraduate certificates to postgraduate level, but most graphic designers will earn either an associate or bachelor’s degree in graphic design, or a closely-related field. However, individuals holding a bachelor’s degree in another field can typically pursue technical training in graphic design to meet hiring qualifications.

There are several two-year degrees available for aspiring graphic designers to pursue, such as an Associate of Science, Associate of Arts, Associate of Fine Arts, or Associate of Applied Science. All provide students to move on to a bachelor program upon completion, but the Associate of Applied Science is recommended for those who want to enter the workforce in the area of graphic design immediately upon graduation.

Students who choose to further their education and apply to a bachelor program can choose from a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Bachelor of Arts, or a Bachelor of Science degree. The bachelor of fine arts degree is the most common degree for those who wish to enter a career as a graphic artist as it is much more technical and geared toward graphic design, whereas the other two degrees offer a liberal arts education with some graphic design coursework. Master’s degrees in graphic design are also offered, but most designers do not need to obtain a post-graduate degree to further their career in graphic design. However, for those who wish to teach at the college level, a master’s degree is typically required.

For individuals who need or want to earn their degree online, there are a number of accredited programs that offer both an associate level degree and bachelor’s level degree. Studying online provides an advantage to individuals who wish to earn a living while studying, those with family obligations, people who want the flexibility online classes offer, or want to earn a degree with less associated costs than attending class on-campus.

College graphic design program content can vary depending on the school, but usually includes courses like design principles, lettering, branding, graphic design, mastery of software, such as Adobe Creative Suite, motion graphics, typography, CSS, fundamentals of photography, drawing, color theory, modern web design, logo design, pattern design, infographics, social media design, and business essentials – just to name a few. With such an expanse of opportunities in the field of graphic design, it is imperative that the school you choose prepares you for a lifelong career no matter where your goals lead you. On this page, we provide a list of the nation’s best graphic design schools, along with guides and links to additional resources for students seeking education or training in a specific area of focus.

Private School vs. Public University

There are about 320 postsecondary colleges, universities, and private schools that are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. Most of these schools include programs in studio art, principles of design, commercial graphics production, computerized design, printing techniques, and website design. But, are there advantages to attending a private college over a public university? Comparing differences, similarities, pros and cons can help students choose the right school for a career in graphic design. Most students and their families are concerned about the growing costs of a college education; and rightfully so. However, the graphic design field, like many other career fields, demands a college education. So, considering costs is vital when choosing a school.

Private college tuition is about 3-times more expensive than in-state tuition at most universities. The differences are due to the fact that public colleges are funded by the state and private colleges are either for-profit or non-profit, thus receive no state funding. That said, there are some spectacular private colleges that teach graphic design, and some employers will take ‘school name and reputation’ into consideration when comparing candidates. If you are willing to move out of state, can you pay out-of-state tuition which is usually much more than in-state tuition, unless there is a tuition reciprocity program between states?

Class size is also a consideration when deciding between private and public schools. Typically, class sizes and teacher-to-student ratios are smaller at private schools, thereby allowing professors to have closer relationships with students. Smaller class size also allows easier access to professors for students. Private colleges are often more intimate allowing students to form close-knit relationships with classmates too. But, if you want the extracurricular activities that larger universities offer, you want to join a fraternity or sorority, or take part in athletics, than a public university should be your choice, as private colleges have few, if any, on-campus activities outside of class.

Graduation rates are also another thing to take into consideration. If you’re committed to graduating on time and getting a job, then private school may serve you best. Compared to public universities, 53 percent of private school students graduate on-time, whereas only 33 percent of students who attend a public school graduate on-time. This is due in part because at a larger university it is sometimes more difficult to enroll in all the classes you need for your major.

School Location

Far ahead of sending out applications for college, students should decide if they want to move away from home, stay close to home, spend more on out-of-state tuition, or attend a school with a great reputation for graphic design no matter the cost or location. Many students don’t want the commotion, long commute times, traffic, and excitement of a large city, while other’s thrive in this environment. Sometimes it’s necessary to attend college out-of-state simply for job opportunities post-graduation. Larger cities also offer many more opportunities to visit museums and galleries that may display samples of graphic art, and usually offer greater access to cultural experiences than found in smaller cities. But, smaller cities offer a more intimate environment and home-town feel. Ask yourself, do you crave the hustle and bustle of a big city, or prefer the less anxious small town environment?

Faculty & Academic Reputation

No doubt, the overall college experience is based on a lot more than taking design classes and meeting new people. And, while important, thousands of students register for classes every year based on faculty and school reputation. In fact, in Fall, 2013, more than 165,000 students took a survey by the American Freshman: National Norms Fall 2013 that showed 64 percent of respondents said a very good academic reputation was the most important factor in college choice. Other factors, such as location, cost, and course offerings are also vitally important, but knowing the college you attend has a strong reputation is paramount in most student’s minds.

In the same way, your college experience will be shaped by your professors. Just as they are paramount to a school’s success, professors become mentors and advisors to their students, and help them feel a sense of belonging and worth. And, because they are experts in the field of graphic design, they can advise students on the various career options after graduation and beyond as connections to the industry. And, although a positive professor-student relationship alone doesn’t’ translate into good grades or academic success, it is a fact that students who form bonds with their professors typically perform better in school. Does the college have a good reputation and strong faculty? Are the faculty established in the industry? Are they current on the latest technology and software used in graphic design? What do recent grads say about the school and their time on campus? Asking alumni can shed light on a school’s reputation, as can asking professionals in the field who have hired graduates of the graphic design program.

What to Expect from a Graphic Design Program

What You Will Study

Whether pursuing an associate degree, bachelor’s degree or furthering your education and earning your master’s degree in graphic design, the goal of any program is to prepare you for a career in the many areas of graphic design. Courses offer both foundational and upper-level skill development and knowledge of the graphic design field and provide a solid foundation for professional and personal development and educational growth. In class, students learn about art and about computer technology, typography, the various kinds of media, composition, design principles, CGI and animation, and photography. And because technology changes with the wind, much of what you learn in school will be outdated in a few years, so staying up-to-date is imperative in this field.

Skills You Will Learn

College will also give you professional skills needed to succeed in the graphic design industry. You’ll have the opportunity to work alongside other student designers and professors and learn skills you can only master by doing the work. You’ll learn how to work in a team environment and how to work under pressure. You’ll learn about timelines, budgets, and business practices. All of these hands-on skills will help make you ready to enter the job market as a professional graphic designer.

Typically, graphic designers will have a number of skills, either learned or inherent, which include artistic ability in order to produce illustrations of design ideas, either by hand or with computer software. They must have analytical skills to look at their work from another person’s (usually the client) point of view to ensure the design conveys the client’s message. Graphic designers must be good communicators, be able to communicate ideas in new and innovative ways, and have strong computer skills. They must also have time-management skills in order to produce great work on deadline.

Graphic designers do not produce art for art’s sake, but instead must convey a specific message, call to action, or emotion based on a client’s intent. For example, a graphic designer might be tasked with creating a logo for a client by incorporating a new shape or color scheme. The client may intend for the new logo to convey a certain emotion but leave the same lasting impression previously expressed in their old logo. With creativity, vision, and imagination, the graphic artist will then design a logo to meet these criteria.

Additional Benefits

Although must of graphic design work is performed on a computer, it can also employ motion graphics, animation, or 3D images, and must often be optimized for viewing on a range of digital platforms. Most graphic artists are generalist; able to perform all types of printed or digital work, but some choose to specialize in only one or two areas, such as typography, branding and advertising, desktop publishing, interface or user experience design, web design, book design, product packaging, logos, print and publications, web production, newsletters, etc. That said, most designers enjoy working with a variety of clients which leads to more flexibility, as well as expand overall opportunities for employment.

The ability to land your dream job in the graphic design industry relies greatly on your portfolio. Some employers will choose one candidate over another simply by looking through their portfolios. A portfolio, which can be in print or online, or in the form of a personal website, is a personal record of growth and progress and is used to showcase skills and knowledge within the field of graphic design. That’s why employers commonly use a portfolio to assess a candidate’s strengths and abilities; to see who they are and what they can do. And, that’s why it’s important to compile a professional-looking portfolio whether you attend college or not.

Helpful Resources