Top Online Bachelor’s in Graphic Design Programs

| Thomas Broderick

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Earning an online bachelor's in graphic design trains learners to communicate ideas through various design elements. Degree-seekers study topics such as typography and advanced digital imaging. Some programs offer concentrations, such as 3D modeling and web design. Applicants need a high school or GED diploma. Other admission requirements vary by college.

Graduates with an online graphic design degree may work as art directors, fine artists, or special effects artists. Some careers require professional experience.

See below for a list of the top online bachelor's in graphic design programs. This page also includes information on costs and common classes.

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Questions About Graphic Design Degrees

true Q. What jobs can I get with a graphic design degree?

Graduates can explore many graphic design careers within the artistic field. They may work for themselves or for publishers or advertising agencies. A bachelor's degree also conveys transferable skills graduates can use in any job requiring a college education.

true Q. Are graphic designers in demand?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects jobs for graphic designers to grow 3% from 2020-2030, which is slower than the average for all occupations.

true Q. Can I get a graphic design degree online?

Many top colleges offer online bachelor's in graphic design degrees. Some programs require in-person components like internships.

Featured Online Graphic Design Programs

Find a program that meets your affordability, flexibility, and education needs through an accredited, online school.

Why Get a Degree in Graphic Design?

A graphic design degree prepares students to turn creative ideas into conceptual designs and logos. While earning a degree in graphic design, students learn how to use software, communicate ideas, and create advertising or client-based projects.

In graphic design programs, learners develop design thinking, brand identity, and digital media skills. Career advisors can help students explore jobs in various industries. Enrolling in a graphic design program lets students meet other creatives and grow their professional networks.

Online learning provides flexibility. Many programs offer monthly start dates or asynchronous curricula. Learners can often complete online degrees while working full time or raising children. An online format means students can attend top programs without relocating.

How Much Does a Graphic Design Degree Cost?

Online bachelor's degrees cost an average of $51,091, according to The Education Data Initiative. However, tuition varies by program. Learners attending in-state public schools usually pay the most affordable tuition. These learners spend an average of $38,496 to earn a bachelor's. Out-of-state students spend an average of $54,183. Degree-seekers attending private colleges spend an average of $60,593.

Students can save money by earning an associate degree from a community college and transferring to a bachelor's-completion program. Degree-seekers can also apply for financial aid such as scholarships and grants.

Additional Online Student Fees

Online learners should budget for extra expenses, such as books and drawing tablets. They may also need to buy a new laptop and design software. Many software developers offer student discounts. Other possible expenses include technology or graduation fees.

Graphic design graduates should also budget for fees to earn industry certifications. Certifications show mastery of one or more skills. Career advisors can help students select the right certifications.

How Much Do Graphic Design Graduates Make?

Graphic designers earn an annual median salary of $53,380, according to the BLS. Professionals working for advertising or public relations agencies make about $2,000 more per year. Locations with top-paying positions include the District of Columbia, Washington, and Massachusetts. Workers in these states make $70,180-$83,070.

Professionals can increase their earning potential by pursuing industry certifications. They can also attract clients by developing a website and a digital portfolio to showcase their skills.

Courses in Graphic Design

Online bachelor's in graphic design programs include major and general education classes. Some programs let students choose a specialization, minor, or second major. Learners complete about 120 credits over four years. Degree-seekers graduate with a graphic design portfolio.

Students pursuing a graphic design degree often take the core classes below. However, classes vary by school. Learners can contact their prospective schools for information on class offerings.

  • Design Thinking

    This class introduces learners to design's different elements, such as composition and design thinking. Students write essays and complete labs. Professors grade students on their art and presentation skills. Degree-seekers also develop their technology skills by using different graphic design software.
  • Designing With Type

    Much of modern design involves choosing the right font for text. This course teaches typography basics and how graphic designers create vector designs. Students analyze and critique ads. They also develop products using different fonts. Top examples go into learners' digital portfolios.
  • Web Design I

    Many graphic designers create websites for clients. This class includes coursework in visual design, presentation, and structure. Learners practice using HTML and CSS. These coding skills help graphic designers troubleshoot problems. Degree-seekers planning for a career in this field take additional web design classes. Some programs require prerequisites, such as advertising fundamentals.

Featured Online Web Design Programs

Find a program that meets your affordability, flexibility, and education needs through an accredited, online school.

How to Become a Graphic Designer

Graphic designers need a bachelor's degree. Top online bachelor's in graphic design programs hold accreditation from the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. Degree-seekers with an unrelated bachelor's degree can learn graphic design skills in a certificate program. Graphic designers develop a professional portfolio during their time in school.

On the job, graphic designers often discuss projects with clients, use different software, and create original products. They also make presentations and apply client feedback. Successful professionals show strong analytical, artistic, and communication skills.

Careers with a Degree in Graphic Design

A degree in graphic design prepares learners for many careers besides a graphic designer. Graduates interested in creative roles can pursue art director jobs. Graphic design degree-holders can also become industrial designers and focus on technical skills. Students can build a skillset and create a portfolio to help transition into technical or creative jobs. 

  • Art Director: Working as an art director can provide many creative opportunities. Art directors typically oversee a certain department's work and help make creative decisions. They can work in film, print media, advertising, and fashion. These professionals usually need a bachelor's degree. 
  • Industrial Designer: This role may suit students interested in the technical side of design. Industrial designers use creativity and engineering knowledge to create products. These designers can work in various parts of the production process, from consulting with clients to selecting materials. 
  • Digital Designer: Digital designers work with the technical aspects of website creation and maintenance. Responsibilities may include updating websites and creating graphics and visual effects for a website. They may also translate a client's ideas into a website. 
CareerMedian Annual SalaryProjected Growth Rate (2020-2030)
Art Director$97,27011%
Industrial Designer$71,6406%
Digital Designer$77,20013%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Top Online Bachelor's in Graphic Design Programs 2022

#10 – Academy of Art University

Online Bachelor’s in Graphic Design

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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

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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

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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

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(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

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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


Featured Online Graphic Design Programs

Find a program that meets your affordability, flexibility, and education needs through an accredited, online school.

#5– Liberty University

Online Bachelor’s in Graphic Design

POINTS - 12

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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