Top Online Graphic Design Programs

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Online Graphic Design Degree

Graphic designers work in nearly every industry to create logos, illustrations, and other visuals that advertise companies’ goods and services. Students earning a bachelor’s degree in graphic design hone communication, leadership, and artistic skills. Typical admission requirements for bachelor’s in graphic design programs include a high school diploma or equivalent and transcripts.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects demand for graphic designers to decrease 4% between 2019 and 2029. However, graphic designers earn healthy wages, making a median annual salary of $52,110.

This guide ranks the top online bachelor’s in graphic design programs. It also covers important information for prospective students, such as common courses and scholarship opportunities.

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Featured Online Graphic Design Programs

What Can I Do With a Graphic Design Degree?

Not every graphic designer possesses a degree. However, a bachelor’s program offers a structured curriculum that allows enrollees to explore a variety of graphic design techniques and network with peers and potential employers. Some employers also only grant promotions to graphic designers with a college education.

Many graphic design programs offer concentrations that allow learners to develop specialized skills. Common concentrations include 3D modeling, animation, and web design. Career and academic advisors can help degree-seekers select a concentration that aligns with their interests and goals.

Typical job titles for graphic designers include communication designer and graphic artist. Graphic designers with additional education may transition to work as architects or interior designers. Some experienced professionals also return to the classroom, working as postsecondary teachers.

Questions Student Ask ABout Graphic Design Programs

true Q. How much money does a graphic designer make?

The BLS reports that the median salary for graphic designers is just over $52,000 per year.

true Q. Is graphic design in demand?

The BLS projects jobs for graphic designers to decrease by 4% between 2019 and 2029. This figure signifies a highly competitive job market.

true Q. Do you need a bachelor’s degree to be a graphic designer?

Some graphic designers do not possess a bachelor’s degree, but a college education gives learners in-demand skills and makes them more competitive in the job market.

true Q. What is taught in a bachelor’s in graphic design program?

Learners in graphic design programs study topics like 2D/3D design, art history, and digital photography.

What Are the Requirements for a Graphic Design Program?

Bachelor’s in graphic design programs typically require a high school diploma or equivalent. Applicants may also need to submit transcripts, recommendation letters, and standardized test scores. Schools may also require that applicants meet a minimum GPA requirement.

Once admitted, graphic design students must meet course requirements, which typically include general education, major, and elective courses. Students may also need to complete a practicum or internship to gain hands-on field experience.

Top Online Bachelor’s in Graphic Design Programs

#10 – Academy of Art University

Online Bachelor’s in Graphic Design

POINTS – 10

Website

The Academy of Art University’s online bachelor’s degree program in graphic design prepares students to work in any of the eight areas of graphic design: communication design, editorial design, environmental design, branding, packaging, typography, experience design, and innovation. Students in this 132 unit program develop the skills necessary to work with all kinds of visual media.

The Academy of Art University program focuses heavily on preparing students for industry positions. In addition to making sure all students have the skills they’ll use in the field before graduation, it also looks at current issues within graphic design and gives students the frameworks necessary to confront them. Current work includes an emphasis on green strategies and sustainability, with an eye toward using graphic design to address social and cultural challenges.

The online platform the Academy of Art University uses for its graphic design program enables clear, concise feedback and encourages skill development. This customized Learning Management System allows students in online courses to share their work with the class, and instructors can leave feedback as markups, video, audio, or text. This makes it easy for students to receive clear, actionable feedback on where they can improve their work.

Tuition Fee: $917 per credit hour


#9– Arizona State University

Online Bachelor’s in Graphic Design

POINTS – 10

Website

Arizona State University Online platform offers an online Bachelor of Science in Graphic Information Technology. This degree program emphasizes key aspects of professional graphic design, along with artistic skills and techniques and professional skills necessary to enter the market. Therefore, this online curriculum is a perfect blend of design principles with technical know-how. The online Bachelor of Science in Graphic Information Technology program requires 120 credit hours and includes the following core courses like Creative Thinking and Design Visualization, digital illustration, video techniques, and commercial photography.

While mastering these topics, students will become familiarized with the field’s cutting-edge web-based software, graphical programming tools, and all relevant protocols for web-based graphic design. Students must also complete a portfolio and senior project. Arizona State University Online degree integrates diverse applications of digital communication and information as used in industry, commerce, education, and government thus making possible for students to find employment in government, corporate, non-profit, and cultural organizations.

Tuition Fee: $627 per credit hour


#8– Bellevue University

Online Bachelor’s in Graphic Design

POINTS – 11

Website

The Bellevue University Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design is a multidisciplinary online graphic design degree. The chief goal of graphic design is to communicate a specific message to a specific audience, which is aesthetically pleasing and inspirational which is what this online degree in Graphic Design aims at. The curriculum weaves together fundamentals of design and creative visualization along with critical thinking and problem-solving. The program takes students from the initial phase of learning about the building blocks of design to a final capstone project in which students prepare a portfolio that spans a range of assignments in both print and graphics enabling students to have a foundation in whichever specialization they choose or foray into the evolving industry.

For this 127 credit hour program students can choose from, Design Basics, History of Contemporary Graphic Design, Branding, Identity Design, Publication Design, Web Page Design and Website Development to name a few. In addition to these classes, all students are required to complete the Kirkpatrick Signature Series, which is the “intellectual linchpin” of the Bellevue curriculum. Courses like American Vision and Values, Tradition and Change, and Freedom and Responsibility are part of it. Thus this online Bachelors of Art in Graphic Design helps students not only to have a great understanding of graphic design principles but also develop consciousness of how their work fits into larger society. This fully online degree in graphic design is also popular due to its use of industry standard graphic design software and hardware. The Bellevue University Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design students enters the workforce with an edge.

Tuition Fee: $415 per credit hour


#7– University of Maryland University College (UMUC)

Online Bachelor’s in Graphic Design

POINTS – 11

Website

(UMUC) is considered one of the largest distance learning institutions in the world. Its uniquely designed online graphic communication degree program trains students in graphic art and design, computer graphics, business-oriented writing and communication, typography and layout, motion graphics, and publication. Along with these students will be well versed in the language of design and adept at the Adobe Suite of software, including Flash, Photoshop, Premiere, Illustrator, InDesign and After Effects.

The University of Maryland’s graphic communication bachelor’s degree curriculum is designed with contribution from employers, industry experts, and scholars. Students will learn theories combined with real-world applications and practical skills that can be applied on the job right away. This fully online program also offers certification tracks and a wide selection of related minor’s degree options to help students pursue personal interests along with building concentrated experience for actual fieldwork. The online bachelor’s in graphic communication is a 120-credit hour program that emphasizes the importance of building a marketable portfolio to make one ready to foray into the working world and compete in the rapidly changing visual arts and communication environment.

Tuition Fee: $499 per credit hour


#6– Savannah College of Art and Design

Online Bachelor’s in Graphic Design

POINTS – 11

Website

Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD)offers multiple graphic design degree options to aspiring artistically inclined students. Among these is the Bachelor of Fine Art in Graphic Design, which is a part of SCAD’s award-winning eLearning Program. Its high popularity and effectiveness are due to the fact that it engages the community and international professional resources to supplement coursework. The online graphic design degree holistically prepares students for a balanced foundation incorporating both theoretical and practical elements.

The curriculum lays equal emphasis on all aspects, be it History of Graphic Design, interface design and user experience, Production for Print and Digital Environments, Graphic Design Entrepreneurship to name a few. SCAD online degree enables students to build their professional portfolios by facilitating interaction with industry leaders to gain real-time advice and information on the evolving field of graphic design thus giving them an opportunity to make a lasting mark on the global visual landscape all before they graduate. The online Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design program requires 180 quarter-credit hours through which students artistic passion are converted into a lifelong profession and a variety of career options, such as publication designer, graphic designer, exhibit designer, brand designer, typeface designer, and art director become possible.

Tuition Fee: $782 per credit hour


#5– Liberty University

Online Bachelor’s in Graphic Design

POINTS – 12

Website

Liberty University’s Bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design online is designed to challenge and prepare students with the knowledge, understanding, and skills needed to thrive in the industry. This online Graphic Design degree takes students through the core elements by a fascinating exploration of color, images, and design. Further courses are constructed to train students in 2D and 3D design, publication design, image manipulation, digital photography, and many more exciting areas of graphic design. Liberty’s hands-on approach to learning greatly benefits students as they delve into advanced design training with pioneering software programs like Adobe’s Creative Cloud.

Liberty’s graphic design online degree program requires students to complete a 180-hour internship and a one-credit hour practicum totaling 30 hours. Internships are done under the supervision of a professional working in the field of graphic design and are instrumental in bridging the gap between earning a college degree and finding a job. Achieving Liberty University’s Bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design online also helps in developing a professional network, which is beneficial to aspiring job seekers. Whether one’s goal is to work in publishing, design or communications Liberty’s Graphic Design online degree can help to succeed in this fast-paced industry.

Tuition Fee: $390 per credit hour


#4 – Full Sail University

Online Bachelor’s in Graphic Design

POINTS – 12

Website

Full Sail University offers a fully online Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design where the central focus is to familiarize students with the software, technology, and strategies used by top-end professionals in the field today. It is uniquely set up into 29 different month-long classes, making it possible for students to graduate in just over two years. Another advantage is that the same faculty teaches both on campus and online students thus assuring the same quality learning experience all around.

The core objective of this Graphic Design Bachelor’s Degree Program is to provide a comprehensive understanding of the field of design – from print publishing to interface design and more. Various courses undertaken in the period of study helps students be ready to step into the ever-evolving world of visual arts and communication environment.

Course highlights include, Design and Art Theory where students gain an understanding of composition, design, art, basic color, and graphics through a study of varied artistic styles, Digital Publishing where students develop their understanding of form, function, and structure through context and technique and Typography and Page Layout which enable students to learn how to use typography and further understand how the printed or viewed page looks as an integrated graphics element. The Momentum Scholarship at Full Sail University offers qualified online students up to $20,000 in tuition making this one of its kind.

Tuition Fee: $475 per credit hour


#3– Art Institute of Pittsburgh

Online Bachelor’s in Graphic Design

POINTS – 13

Website

In the ever-evolving world of visual communication, the online Bachelor in Graphic & Web Design from is the place to start. The 180-quarter credit hour online bachelor’s is a comprehensive program. To start with, students learn the basics of both in areas like color, illustration, and image manipulation, then explore concept development and implementation courses. After completing their first year, students can choose a concentration either in Graphic design or Web design which in turn can be focused through interactive or print media.

A variety of courses like introduction to graphic design, graphic illustration, art direction, packaging design, web scripting, and design and technology are available. Graduates exit the program as creative warriors in the field of graphic design. All classes are delivered online and students can work at their own pace to acquire the necessary skills. The online classroom is led by faculty members who are experienced and know what it takes to succeed in the real world.

Tuition Fee: $17,016 (per semester)


#2– Penn State World Campus

Online Bachelor’s in Graphic Design

POINTS – 13

Website

Penn State World Campus online Bachelor of Design in Digital Multimedia Design prepares students to meet the challenges of today’s complex world. In this interdisciplinary program, students use information and technology to discover, define, develop, and deliver compelling designs. The 120-credit program merges courses in visual arts and design, information sciences and technology, communications, and General Education electives. The renowned faculty teaches the courses offered in the Digital Multimedia Design program.

Over the duration of this course, students have the opportunity to develop a robust portfolio of design work as well as create a self-directed project in the capstone semester using leading multimedia applications and programming languages. Graduating students become adept at designing processes to solve contemporary, real-world issues. Career options may include working as a digital designer in brand, public relations specialist, web developer, art director, advertising manager, media relations professional to name a few.

Tuition Fee: $596 per credit hours

#1– Southern New Hampshire University

Online Bachelor’s in Graphic Design

POINTS – 14

Website

Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design at Southern New Hampshire University strikes the perfect balance between traditional graphic arts foundation with digital-oriented core courses. Whether students plan on foraying into a design firm, a fast-paced agency, or independent graphic design, this curriculum will prepare them for the rigors of the field. Moreover, the web design degree online program blends artistic interests with practical web design to give students a unique experience. This specialized graphic design online degree is divided equally between theory and practice and stresses upon critical thinking skills and hands-on technical proficiency.

This coursework is well-suited to many different individuals as it is efficient and flexible. Students have access 24/7 to courses and can complete their degree at their own pace, over six 8-week terms per year. The curriculum offers two exciting and unique concentrations, 3D Modeling and Animation and Web Design, that allow students to focus their coursework in an area of their choosing, while still receiving a strong foundational education in graphic design. Courses are taught by award-winning faculty who make use of the most advanced technology available. Moreover, feedback comes directly from instructors due to small class size. The online Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design and Media Arts program requires 120 credit hours.

Tuition Fee: $320 per credit hour


Methodology:

  • Affordability (1/3): The average out-of-state tuition per credit hour.
  • Flexibility (1/3): Whether the program offers specialized tracks, flexible hours, or personalized course loads.
  • Academic Reputation (1/3): The rank of the school’s parent institution according to other prominent rankings such as US News

Courses in a Graphic Design Program



Although courses in graphic design programs vary by school, they all expose students to different types of graphic design and how designers help employers influence consumer behavior. The following list outlines common courses in bachelor’s in graphic design programs. However, not all programs offer these courses or offer them under different names.

  • Fundamentals of Print Design

    This course introduces learners to the print design process. Topics include typography, layout, and color. Degree-seekers analyze how grid implementation determines how printed products influence consumers. Learners may synthesize their knowledge and skills by completing a print design project. The final project may involve collaborating with peers or working independently.
  • Typography

    Typography refers to the different fonts that graphic designers use when creating products. A typography course examines the relationship between fonts and how people interact with the printed word. Coursework involves multiple projects that allow degree-seekers to create print and web-based products. Learning outcomes include the ability to select fonts based upon the tone the final product must set.
  • Website Development

    Website development courses teach students how to build websites using the latest technological standards and practices. Students often build their own websites in these courses, allowing them to showcase their graphic design skills. Learners can include their website designs in a professional portfolio to attract employers.
  • Packaging Design

    Companies that produce consumer goods hire graphic designers to make attractive packaging that draws people to their products. Learners study advertising topics like appeal, motivation, and excitement. Students learn how to apply these principles by creating practice designs for real-world products. These projects allow learners to hone their skills while bolstering their portfolio.
  • Capstone Project

    The final semester capstone project requires degree-seekers to develop and implement an original graphic design project. Students work with a faculty advisor to select a topic and define goals. Project elements include researching topics, drafting design parameters, responding to feedback, and presenting the final product or products.

Accreditation for a Graphic Design Program

Before applying to any school, students should research its accreditation status. Schools may receive regional or national accreditation, with regional accreditation generally considered the more prestigious of the two.

Accreditation affects students in important ways. For instance, only students at accredited schools qualify for federal financial aid, and many schools only accept degrees and transfer credits from accredited institutions. Programs within a school may also hold accreditation. However,no accrediting body currently exists for graphic design programs.

Prospective students can verify a school or program’s accreditation status through the U.S. Department of Education‘s database.

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