Online Graphic Design Degree Guide

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Online Graphic Design Degree GuideIn this guide, we present an overview of the 44 accredited colleges and universities offering online graphic design degree programs.

A career in graphic design is for the creative individual who enjoys mixing art and technology to communicate ideas and insights. The field of graphic design has transitioned and transformed through the years, with its roots in print publication. Today’s graphic designers and artists combine medias and platforms, whether print-based or web-based, to capture the attention of consumers and specific audiences. Graphic designers must remain current in their education and techniques to successfully stand out among competition.

Online graphic design degree programs are found in accredited universities, colleges, and institutions across the nation. These programs provide students with the contemporary skills and techniques needed to pursue effectively a career as a graphic designer, or to advance in a current professional role.

A comprehensive list of 44 accredited colleges and universities defined by NCES College Navigator, offering online graphic design degree programs and certificates, is listed below. The net cost from each school is derived from NCES Navigator, and may not include additional fees. The actual cost listed within each school may vary from program to program, and should be looked at as an average, not a total cost of attendance. Be sure to contact the institution of your choice to obtain the most recent information and projected cost of the program.
Quick Links to Schools with Graphic Design Degree Online Programs:
Schools A-C
Schools D-G
Schools H-L
Schools M-Q
Schools R-V
Schools W-Z

Online Graphic Design Degree Reference

Online Graphic Design Degree Overview
Online Associate’s Degree in Graphic Design
Online Bachelor’s in Graphic Design
Online Graphic Design Master’s Degree
Online Graphic Design Certificate Programs
Graphic Design Classes Online
Your Career in Graphic Design

Programs:

Academy of Art University

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Net Cost/yr (Undergrad): $26,905

Full and part time courses at Academy of Art University give students the opportunity to complete their degree or certificate in graphic design. Graduate and undergraduate programs are complex in design and encourage innovation, critical thinking, and conceptual problem solving. Students receive a liberal arts education that transitions into corporations, private art facilities, and educational institutions.

Online Graphic Design Degree Areas

: Associate of Arts in Graphic Design, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Master of Fine Arts, Certificate in Graphic Design

Graphic Design Classes Online (examples)

: Branding Principles, History of Graphic Design, Principles of Graphic Design, Typography – Hierarchy and Form

Aims Community College

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Net Cost/yr (Undergrad): $8,456

The Aims Community College Graphic Design and Rich Media program shows students how to communicate using their creativity in typography, photography, color, illustration, print, and web design. Graduates earn employment credentials in fields such as graphic design, art, web design, animation (both 2D and 3D), and page layout. Associate degrees and certificates in specialized areas are available.

Online Graphic Design Degree Areas

: Associate of Applied Science in Graphic Design and Rich Media, Graphic Application Certificate, Graphic Software and Applications Certificate

Graphic Design Classes Online (examples)

: Adobe Photoshop, Business for Creatives, Design and Color, Typography and Layout, Web Presentation Software

Akron Institute of Herzing University

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Net Cost/yr (Undergrad): $20,539

The curriculum offered at Akron Institute of Herzing University’s Graphic Design program focuses on design and production of work for print, exhibitions, and interactive web. The program provides foundational principles of design that are required for employment in the field of study. Professional development courses are required, even at the associate’s degree level, which prepare for an internship option.

Online Graphic Design Degree Areas

: Associate of Science and Associate of Applied Science in Graphic Design, Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design

Graphic Design Classes Online (examples)

: Color Theory in Design, Diagrammatic Design, Introduction to Typography, Web Design Fundamentals, Web In Motion

Antonelli College – Cincinnati

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Net Cost/yr (Undergrad): $21,579

Focusing on the projected employment growth of 7 percent within the graphic design industry, the unique graphic design program at Antonelli College combines business with art. Hands-on training, artistic skill development, and real world design exercises provide students with the necessary skillset to enter employment as a graphic designer in a variety of fields.

Online Graphic Design Degree Areas

: Associate of Applied Business in Graphic Design

Graphic Design Classes Online (examples)

: Brand and Advertising Design, Corporate and Personal Identity Design, Digital Illustration and Publishing, Interactive Design, Web Design

Arapahoe Community College

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Net Cost/yr (Undergrad): $8,508

Hybrid coursework, available online or in the classroom, enriches students by offering personal and hands-on approaches to the study of graphic design. State-of-the-art software and web design programs provide contemporary training and exposure to cutting edge design techniques. Internship opportunities are available for students enrolled in the program. A portfolio of student work is maintained online.

Online Graphic Design Degree Areas

: Associate of Applied Science in Multimedia, Graphic Design, and Illustration; Certificate in Computer Graphics and Web Design

Graphic Design Classes Online (examples)

: Art Appreciation, Art History Ancient to Medieval, Graphic Design Production, Introduction to Production Design, Principles of Advertising

Arizona State University – Polytechnic

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Net Cost/yr (Undergrad): $12,611

Herberger Institute For Design and Arts through Arizona State’s Polytechnic Campus combines visual and graphic design communications that make up the bachelor’s degree program. The program is recognized by the American Institute of Graphic Arts and plays a critical role in the creation and facilitation of many national and regional initiatives. Students integrate theory and design with hands-on approaches to visual communication.

Online Graphic Design Degree Areas

: Bachelor of Science in Design in Graphic Design (Visual Communication), Master of Visual Communication Design

Graphic Design Classes Online (examples)

: Digital Design Strategies, Digital Media, Visual Communication Design Principles

Art Institute of Pittsburgh – Online

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Net Cost/yr (Undergrad): $26,307

The courses offered by the Art Institute of Pittsburgh’s Graphic Design program prepare students to pursue a career in their chosen area of graphic design, whether as an artist or designer. Engaging courses develop the student’s ability to use animation, video, text, and chat while learning techniques and skills necessary to succeed in the area of graphic design.

Online Graphic Design Degree Areas

: Associate’s in Graphic Design, Bachelor’s in Graphic Design

Graphic Design Classes Online (examples)

: Digital Illustration, Electronic Design, Graphic Illustration, Interactive Portfolio Design, Observational Drawing

Ashworth College

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Net Cost/yr (Undergrad): Not Available

The Graphic Design program at Ashworth College exposes students to a variety of design work skills and techniques, readying them for entry-level employment as a graphic designer. Students are able to learn at their own pace and move as quickly through the program as desired. Students may graduate with a diploma in graphic design in as early as four months.

Online Graphic Design Degree Areas

: Graphic Design Diploma

Graphic Design Classes Online (examples)

: Defining the Language of Design, Designing with Color, Managing Effective Design, Vector Drawing with Illustrator

Baker College – Multiple Campuses, Online

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Net Cost/yr (Undergrad): $13,090

Digital Media Design program at Baker College is available at a variety of campuses as well as through the online campus. The program readies students for a career in marketing, advertising, publishing, or public relations as a digital media or graphic designer. Graduates go on to find careers as graphic artists, digital media designers, or art directors.

Online Graphic Design Degree Areas

: Associate of Applied Science in Digital Medical Design, Bachelor of Digital Media Technology

Graphic Design Classes Online (examples)

: Advanced Graphic Imaging, Digital Marketing, Digital Media Production Methods, Graphic Presentation, Web Multi Media

Bellevue University

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Net Cost/yr (Undergrad): $9,370

The Graphic Design program at Bellevue University is multidisciplinary, exposing students to a variety of problem solving, visualization principles, and critical thinking techniques applicable to the field. Students build diverse portfolios with extensive web projects and print design work. At each stage of the design program, students explore ethical, global, and social issues impacted by art and design.

Online Graphic Design Degree Areas

: Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design

Graphic Design Classes Online (examples)

: Design Basics, Fundamentals of Print Design, History of Contemporary Graphic Design, Identity Design, Publication Design

Berkeley College – Woodland Park

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Net Cost/yr (Undergrad): $19,542

The Graphic Design program at Berkeley College provides a strong foundation in the theory and language of art and design. Hands-on approaches to learning offer students experience with graphic arts and design applications that are useful in today’s competitive business and advertising world. Practical experience is emphasized, and students work on program-related projects and job-related assignments. Most projects are faculty-monitored.

Online Graphic Design Degree Areas

: Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design

Graphic Design Classes Online (examples)

: Graphic Design in Visual Culture, Graphic Design Principles, Introduction to Painting, Publication Design, Raster and Vector Graphics

Bowling Green State University

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Net Cost/yr (Undergrad): $17,409

The Graphic Design Division at Bowling Green State University is a BFA degree-awarding program in graphic design. The program encourages students to problem solve, collaborate as teams, and analyze design for the public good. Curriculum focuses on social and professional change in contemporary design and remains at the cutting edge of the evolution of art and design.

Online Graphic Design Degree Areas

: Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design,

Graphic Design Classes Online (examples)

: Color Design, Design Basics and Fundamentals, Principles of Graphic Design, Typography Layout and Form

Bryant & Stratton College – Online

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Net Cost/yr (Undergrad): $11,616

The two-year online associate’s degree in Graphic Design from Bryant & Stratton College prepares students for careers in advertising, marketing, or publishing as graphic designers. All courses are taught by professional graphic designers with years of experience working on real-world projects. Curriculum explores “secrets” to the art of good graphic design.

Online Graphic Design Degree Areas

: Associate of Applied Science in Graphic Design

Graphic Design Classes Online (examples)

: Marketing and Advertising Design, Portfolio Creation, Principles of Design, Web Site Design and Layout

Burlington College

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Net Cost/yr (Undergrad): $24,968

The coursework at Burlington College’s School of Graphic Design incorporates art history, media production, and techniques to provide a well-balanced skill set in the area of graphic design. The BFA degree in graphic design requires all students complete an internship at settings such as museums, galleries, schools, local art businesses, or apprenticeships with graphic designers.

Online Graphic Design Degree Areas

: Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design, Associate of Arts in Graphic Design

Graphic Design Classes Online (examples)

: Branding and Corporate Identity, Color and Composition, Drawing as Communication, History of Graphic Design, Motion Graphics

California College San Diego

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Net Cost/yr (Undergrad): $23,315

Whether earning an associate’s degree or bachelor’s in Graphic Arts and Design from California College, the program is comprehensive and the outcome is purposed. Highly specialized skills are acquired through the program that translates into a valuable skill set as a graphic artist and designer. Students learn principles through image, photograph, or media design, while gaining hands-on experience in a variety of media types.

Online Graphic Design Degree Areas

: Associate of Applied Science in Graphic Arts, Bachelor of Science in Graphic Arts, Bachelor of Science in Graphic Arts with an Information Design emphasis

Graphic Design Classes Online (examples)

: Graphic Design Business Management, Layout Design, Logo and Identity Design, Package Design, Web Portfolio Design

Charleston Southern University

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Net Cost/yr (Undergrad): $17,058

Charleston Southern University offers a Graphic Design program that lays the foundation for knowledge and a unique skill set in graphic design. Studio art skills are taught at the onset of the program, followed by upper level Mac Labs courses, where students perform activities within the Adobe platform. Students gather portfolio material that can later be used in employment pursuits.

Online Graphic Design Degree Areas

: Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design

Graphic Design Classes Online (examples)

: Business of Design, Digital Image Editing, Graphic Design Internship, Graphic Design Portfolio, History of Design

Columbus State Community College

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Net Cost/yr (Undergrad): $5,513

The Digital Design and Graphics program prepares students to work and thrive within the field of digital design. The curriculum cross-blends skill sets that converge with digital design and media. The program integrates web design, photography, and audio and video production. Students learn to communicate effectively and create innovative visual design concepts that appeal to the public.

Online Graphic Design Degree Areas

: Digital Design and Graphics Associate of Applied Science

Graphic Design Classes Online (examples)

: Color Management and Business of Design, Effective Visual Communications, Interactive Adobe InDesign, Storyboarding

Community College of Vermont

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Net Cost/yr (Undergrad): $9,708

The Graphic Design program at Community College of Vermont (CCV) offers a unique curriculum that prepares students for careers in the creative field of commercial arts. From the study of art to illustration and typography to color, students learn valuable skills for work within the context of a technical design environment.

Online Graphic Design Degree Areas

: Associate of Arts in Graphic Design

Graphic Design Classes Online (examples)

: Digital Image Manipulation, Introduction to Adobe Creative Cloud, Introduction to Visual Communication, Multimedia and Graphic Design Project Management

DeVry University – Multiple Online Campuses

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Net Cost/yr (Undergrad): $14,909

Students earning their associate’s degree in Graphic Design from DeVry University learn fundamental design principles accompanied with web content management and animation. The program prepares students with the skills needed to transfer into employment as a graphic designer. Students create samples for their professional portfolio, which may be used at graduation time to assist with building a resume and CV.

Online Graphic Design Degree Areas

: Associate in Web Graphic Design

Graphic Design Classes Online (examples)

: Digital Imaging Fundamentals, Information Design, Instructional Design for Multimedia, Web Animation and Design

Fayetteville Technical Community College

Net Cost/yr (Undergrad): $4,595

The five-semester Advertising and Graphic Design program at Fayetteville Technical Community College blends skills of advertising with graphic design. Students learn multimedia design with digital print production, alongside curriculum found in advertising and computers. The broad scope of study helps prepare students for employment in the highly specialized field.

Online Graphic Design Degree Areas

: Associate Degree in Advertising and Graphic Design

Graphic Design Classes Online (examples)

: Computer Design Tech, Digital Print Production, Graphic Design, Portfolio Design, Two-Dimensional Design

Full Sail University

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Net Cost/yr (Undergrad): $29,790

Full Sail University offers a comprehensive and fully online Bachelor of Science degree in Graphic Design. Students learn how to effectively meet tight deadlines and work on high-end graphic design work using a variety of formats and techniques. Areas of focus include print and 2D design, motion graphics, publishing, and product design.

Online Graphic Design Degree Areas

: Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design

Graphic Design Classes Online (examples)

: Color Theory, Concepts in Photography, Interactive Media Design and Usability, Psychology of Play, Typography and Page Layout

Gateway Technical College

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Net Cost/yr (Undergrad): $7,637

Graphic Communications at Gateway Technical College prepares students in the practice of design and illustration processes that are directly connected to print and audio and visual media. Aspects of commercial art and computer graphics are taught, while specific skills in graphic design in the workplace are honed. A focus on contemporary design and graphics is seen in the program’s curriculum.

Online Graphic Design Degree Areas

: Associate of Applied Science in Graphic Communications

Graphic Design Classes Online (examples)

: Advanced Problems in Graphic Design, Illustration Media Concepts, Introduction to Digital Photography, Multimedia Survey

Independence University

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Net Cost/yr (Undergrad): $21,885

The Graphic Arts program at Independence University is a fast-track program that allows students to complete coursework quickly and conveniently, working at their own pace. The Bachelor of Science degree in Graphic Arts may be completed in 30 months, but on average takes 36 months. The Associate’s degree in Graphic Arts may be completed in as little as 15 months.

Online Graphic Design Degree Areas

: Associate of Applied Science in Graphic Arts, Bachelor of Science in Graphic Arts

Graphic Design Classes Online (examples)

: Advertising Design, Animation Scripting, Branding and Identity, Logo and Identity Design, Intermediate Image Editing

ITT Technical Institute

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Net Cost/yr (Undergrad): $23,245

The Graphic Design program at ITT Technical Institute focuses on creating, analyzing, and solving communications problems through design and graphic art in both print and electronic media. Graduates of the program move on to secure entry-level employment in publishing areas, entertainment, and interactive design fields. Classes are team-oriented, even when instructed online.

Online Graphic Design Degree Areas

: Bachelor of Graphic Communications and Design

Graphic Design Classes Online (examples)

: Advertising Graphics and Design, Multimedia Design, Principles of Graphic Design

Liberty University

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Net Cost/yr (Undergrad): $23,191

The study of Studio and Digital Arts at Liberty University includes graphic design degree options. Students are prepared for a career in graphic design through theoretical and historical knowledge of both graphic design art and studio design art. Practical skills are honed through hands-on learning exercises and required projects. Liberty is the largest Christian university in the world.

Online Graphic Design Degree Areas

: Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design, Master of Fine Arts in Studio and Digital Arts

Graphic Design Classes Online (examples)

: Advanced Graphics, Digital Illustration, Desktop Publishing, Digital Imaging, Introduction to Design

Lindsey Wilson College

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Net Cost/yr (Undergrad): $15,442

The online Graphic Design and Interactive Design program at Lindsey Wilson College is geared toward working professionals who are looking for a holistic approach to interactive graphic design. The program is unique in that it hones a diverse skill set with emphasis on user-centered design and operation. Three elements of focus include human, technical, and aesthetic.

Online Graphic Design Degree Areas

: Bachelor of Arts in User Experience Design, Master of Arts Interactive Design

Graphic Design Classes Online (examples)

: Fundamental Computer Graphics, Information and Interface Design, Media History and Theory, Theories of Interactive Design, Visualizing the Human Experience

Mohave Community College

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Net Cost/yr (Undergrad): $11,356

Mohave’s Graphic Design program focuses on preparing students with the skill set required to build web sites and implement graphic software for publication, whether print or online. Students learn how to create and use digital professional images. Courses are offered in a traditional classroom setting, but the entire program may be completed online.

Online Graphic Design Degree Areas

: Associate Applied Science in Computer Graphics and Web Design, Certificate of Proficiency in Computer Graphics and Web Design

Mt. Sierra College

Net Cost/yr (Undergrad): $22,665

Graduates of Mt. Sierra College’s Graphic Design School are skilled with the ability to synthesize and create contemporary graphics and design work in the workplace. Students learn how to create unique looks for promotion, branding, and advertisement through all forms of media, including print and online. Students learn how to train their artistic eye for creative and strategic visions of marketing.

Online Graphic Design Degree Areas

: Bachelor of Arts in Media Arts and Design with a Concentration in Graphic Design

Graphic Design Classes Online (examples)

: Information Design, Packaging Design, Pre-Press Design, Publication Design

Northwest Vista College

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Net Cost/yr (Undergrad): $4,271

The unique blend of study in Northwest Vista College’s Digital Media program focuses on three specific areas of concentration – graphic design, interactive media design, and instructional design. Classes are taught both online and in the classroom by industry leaders and professionals who are experts in the field of graphic design and communication.

Online Graphic Design Degree Areas

: Associate of Applied Science in Digital Media

Graphic Design Classes Online (examples)

: Digital Media Programming, Interactive Digital Media, Interactive Web Elements, Portfolio Development, Writing for Digital Media

Penn Foster College

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Net Cost/yr (Undergrad): Not available

The Penn Foster College Graphic Design program is designed for students with a passion for working with technology and an eye for design and graphics. The program enhances the student’s ability to creatively design projects that stand out among competition. Animation and Adobe editing software are main areas of focus in the curriculum used online. The program is nationally accredited, and many of the classes are self-paced.

Online Graphic Design Degree Areas

: Associate in Graphic Design, Undergraduate Certificate in Graphic Design

Graphic Design Classes Online (examples)

: Electronic Publishing Projects, Graphic Design and Production (Illustrator), Photo Image Editing, Streaming Technology for Multimedia Development and Animation

Pennsylvania State University – Main Campus Online

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Net Cost/yr (Undergrad): $23,161

Online courses mixed with traditional classroom seminars in graphic design make up the four-year Bachelor of Design at Pennsylvania State University. Students must be accepted into the program by first gaining admission to the pre-design program of the College of Arts and Architecture. A creative portfolio, academic credentials, and written statement are some of the prerequisites of the program.

Online Graphic Design Degree Areas

: Bachelor of Design, Undergraduate Certificate in Digital Arts

Graphic Design Classes Online (examples)

: Advanced Typographic Systems, First Year Seminar in Graphic Design, Graphic Design Studio, History of Graphic Design, Introduction to Graphic Storytelling

Purdue University – Main Campus

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Net Cost/yr (Undergrad): $13,541

Purdue University offers hybrid studies in Design Studies that incorporate communication strategies to form superior visual products. Housed within the auspices of Visual Communications Design, the program has a student chapter of the American Institute of Graphic Arts. A portfolio is not required to begin the major, but students must pass a highly selective portfolio review in order to move into upper-level courses within the program.

Online Graphic Design Degree Areas

: Bachelor of Arts Design Studies

Graphic Design Classes Online (examples)

: Interactive Multimedia Design, Studio in VCD, Web Design for Visual Communication

Rio Salado College

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Net Cost/yr (Undergrad): $8,164

A Certificate of Completion in Digital Design from Rio Salado College prepares students for employment in professional graphic imagery and design. Students learn the principles of design and how to effectively apply the skills learned in an online classroom format to specific areas of design in the workplace. An emphasis on publishing, multimedia platforms, and project management is seen in the curriculum.

Online Graphic Design Degree Areas

: Digital Design Certificate

Graphic Design Classes Online (examples)

: Computer Graphics Using Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop, Desktop Design and Publishing Using Adobe InDesign, Digital Design Portfolio, Project Management Software, Survey of Multimedia Technology

Rochester Institute of Technology

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Net Cost/yr (Undergrad): $27,639

The BFA degree in graphic design from Rochester Institute of Technology combines a variety of discipline coursework, including graphic design, aspects of business and marketing, professional practices, computer-based skills, art history, and liberal arts. The program balances history of art and theory with conceptual exploration and problem solving. Students enrolled in the program gain access to RIT’s world-renowned Vignelli Center for Design Studies and the Cary Library.

Online Graphic Design Degree Areas

: Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design

Graphic Design Classes Online (examples)

: 2D Graphic Design, Design Systems and Methodology, Environmental Graphic Design, Time Based Design, Web and User Interface Design

Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design

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Net Cost/yr (Undergrad): $28,378

Graphic design at Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design is a highly specialized program that focuses on art with a message. Focused curriculum allows students to hone graphic art skills that may be used throughout the career of the artist and designer. The program highlights research ability and technique, real-world clients, storytelling, and written and verbal presentations.

Online Graphic Design Degree Areas

: Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design

Graphic Design Classes Online (examples)

: Design Systems, Graphic Design Graduation Portfolio, Rapid Visualization and Prototyping, Storytelling and Video, Vector Illustration

Sanford Brown College Online

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Net Cost/yr (Undergrad): $17,022

Online coursework in Sanford-Brown’s Graphic Design program focuses on honing skills required as a graphic designer. With less focus on theory and more emphasis on practical application, the program prepares students for long-term careers in graphic design. Courses include everything from exposure to basic drawing techniques to digital imaging. Print publications and web design are also emphasized in the program.

Online Graphic Design Degree Areas

: Associate of Science in Graphic Design, Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design

Graphic Design Classes Online (examples)

: Presentation of Print Publications, Principles of Design, Typography and Format, Web Applications and Graphic Design Implication

Savannah College of Art and Design

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Net Cost/yr (Undergrad): $35,307

The accredited Graphic Design program at Savannah College of Art and Design offers a wide variety of online degrees that provide fluency in visual language and graphic design. The program is holistic in its approach, offering insight and research into product packaging, mobile technology, interface design, and entrepreneurship. More than simple foundational design, the program delves deep into the ever-changing landscape of visual design.

Online Graphic Design Degree Areas

: Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design, Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design, Master of Arts in Graphic Design, Master of Fine Arts in Graphic Design

Graphic Design Classes Online (examples)

: Advanced Survey of Computer Art Applications, Graphic Design Entrepreneurship, Graphic Design Media Management, History of Graphic Design, Typography – Anatomy, Form, and Space

Sessions College for Professional Design

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Net Cost/yr (Undergrad): $8,000

The two-year, fully online Associate of Occupational Studies in Graphic Design program from Sessions College immerses students in color, layout, and graphic design techniques unique to the field of study. Students are able to hone skills and emphasize their strengths through building a portfolio as they work with professional designers and faculty. Classes prepare students for a rewarding career in graphic design.

Online Graphic Design Degree Areas

: Associate of Occupational Studies in Graphic Design, Graphic Design Undergraduate Certificate, Graphic Design Professional Certificate

Graphic Design Classes Online (examples)

: Branding and Identity, History of Art, Digital Photography, Print Production, The Study of Graphic Design

Southern New Hampshire University Online

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Net Cost/yr (Undergrad): $28,095

Accomplished faculty with years of experience working in graphic design positions teach the graphic design courses at Southern New Hampshire University. Students learn from experts in one of the most affordable online programs in the United States. Students learn to translate their own unique ideas through the concept of design, digital, and print media.

Online Graphic Design Degree Areas

: Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design

Graphic Design Classes Online (examples)

: Digital Graphic Design for the Web, Graphics and Layout in Print Media, Introduction to Graphic Design Technologies, Language and Practice of Media Arts, Typography

Southern Polytechnic State University

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Net Cost/yr (Undergrad): $10,562

The graduate certificate in visual communications and graphics design from Southern Polytechnic is designs for working professionals who want advanced certification in an area of expertise. The program is open to those who already possess a bachelor’s degree and want to hone graphic design and communication skills. Dynamic business models that blend communications and design are followed.

Online Graphic Design Degree Areas

: Graduate Certificate in Visual Communications and Graphics Design

Graphic Design Classes Online (examples)

: Computer Graphics and Multimedia, Foundations of Graphics, Foundations of Graphics for the Web, Visual Design Strategy

Stevens Henager College

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Net Cost/yr (Undergrad): $26,600

Online graphic arts and design programs at Stevens Henager College are offered online or in the classroom. The Associate’s degree in Graphic Arts may be completed in as little as fifteen to twenty months, and the bachelor’s degree in graphic arts and design may be completed in thirty to thirty-six months. The program is self-paced and accredited. Emphasis is on a career portfolio and skills easily translated into the workplace as a graphic design artist.

Online Graphic Design Degree Areas

: Associate of Applied Science in Graphic Arts, Bachelor of Science in Graphic Arts, Bachelor of Science in Graphic Arts with an Information Design emphasis

Graphic Design Classes Online (examples)

: Beginning Image Editing, Graphic Design Business Management, Logo and Identity Design, Organizational Design and Change, Print Production and Color Theory

The New School

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Net Cost/yr (Undergrad): $42,644

Recognized as one of the premier arts and design schools in the country, The New School offers an accelerated and fast track schedule for students of graphic design. The online program may be completed anywhere in the world with self-paced curriculum and requirements. The program is well suited for working professionals who are seeking advancement or career changes. The program is rigorous, requiring knowledge that extends beyond the basic technical skills of graphic design. Professional portfolios are required prior to graduation.

Online Graphic Design Degree Areas

: Associate of Applied Science in Graphic Design, Graphic and Digital Design Certificate

Graphic Design Classes Online (examples)

: Color Theory, Digital Layout, History of Graphic Design, Interactive Web Design, Portfolio and Process

University of Maryland – University College

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Net Cost/yr (Undergrad): $9,489

University of Maryland – University College offers a digital media and web technology bachelor’s degree that combines digital design with technology and graphic communication. The major prepares students to work in highly specialized areas of web design, motion graphics, graphic design, and animation. The program is hands-on and requires a professional portfolio that may be used for career pursuits following graduation.

Online Graphic Design Degree Areas

: Bachelor of Science in Digital Media and Web Technology

Graphic Design Classes Online (examples)

: Digital Media, Graphic Communication Portfolio, Motion Graphics, Typography and Layout, Workplace Learning in Graphic Communication

University of Massachusetts – Lowell

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Net Cost/yr (Undergrad): $15,215

UMass Lowell offers an online certificate program in Graphic Design and Digital Imaging. Required courses and electives may be pursued at the student’s own pace and are offered during the Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters. The program combines a mix of print design and interactive media used on the Web and all other forms of media. Numerous design projects are required for the building of a professional portfolio.

Online Graphic Design Degree Areas

: Certificate Program in Graphic Design and Digital Imaging

Graphic Design Classes Online (examples)

: Advanced Graphic Design, Design for Advertising, Desktop Publishing – Print Production, Graphics for Multimedia and the World Wide Web, Photographic Imaging

Westwood College – Los Angeles

Net Cost/yr (Undergrad): $24,538

Students preparing for careers in print and media find the Westwood College Graphic Design program useful to hone skills needed to succeed in the field. Courses are taught online and designed to train students in a wide range of topics, including page layout, web design, and packing and publication design. A final portfolio is required and may be used to emphasize learned skills to potential employers. Portfolios must include print, digital, and web format pieces.

Online Graphic Design Degree Areas

: Associate in Graphic Design, Bachelor in Graphic Design with Major in Visual Communications

Graphic Design Classes Online (examples)

: Digital Photography, Drawing and Perspective, Fundamentals of Digital Illustration, Fundamentals of Web Design, Image Editing

Online Graphic Design Degree Overview

Graphic designers mix art and technology and create visual concepts that communicate ideas through images, whether on the printed page or via website layout. The goal of the graphic designer is to inform, captivate, and inspire consumers through production design, color, and layout. But, in order to acquire this unique skill set that combines art and technology, a graphic design degree is needed.

Online graphic design degrees are offered from accredited institutions, colleges, and universities, in a variety of educational levels. Online graphic design degrees may consist of a two-year associate’s degree, a four-year bachelor’s degree, or a master’s degree. For most mid-level and advanced professional jobs in graphic design, a bachelor’s degree is required when experience is lacking. Many programs provide students with the skills necessary to fulfill a professional portfolio requirement, which assists in showcasing work to potential employers.

Some schools offer certification programs in graphic design, which allow students to hone artistic ability and analytical skills required for advancement in their graphic design career path. No matter what level of schooling you desire, online options provide you with the types of programs needed to move into the field of graphic design.

Online Associate’s Degree in Graphic Design

An online associate’s degree in graphic design typically consists of a two-year program that may be completed in as little as fifteen months, depending on the school and program design. Earning an associate’s degree in graphic design means the student has developed skills and acquired techniques that enable them to work with computer graphics, electronic imaging, and production types while utilizing contemporary technology. Students hone their business skills and develop core technical skills required of the field.

An associate’s degree in graphic design provides entry into the world as a working graphic designer in a variety of organizations. Students are able to secure entry-level employment as a graphic designer once an associate’s degree is acquired. Beginning graphic designers and artists need approximately one to three years of work experience before advancing to higher positions, which makes the associate’s degree in graphic design the first step in gaining employment as a working designer.

Many online associate’s degree programs in graphic design require the knowledge of basic skills with the addition of a professional portfolio. Students begin preparing a portfolio early on in their education. Some online programs require that a professional portfolio be completed prior to graduation. Classes, designed to assist with portfolio creation and design, are available, and sometimes required, by the program.

Students graduating with an online associate’s degree in graphic design may be eligible to move into a bachelor’s degree program in graphic design, or pursue career options. Entry-level positions, including production artists, photo re-touchers, gallery assistants, and print buyers are some of the jobs available for students who earn an associate’s degree in graphic design.

Online Bachelor’s in Graphic Design

An online bachelor’s in graphic design consists of three to four years of study, delving deep into the world of graphic arts and design. A bachelor’s degree in graphic design helps demonstrate the degree-holder’s creativity and skill set to employers and admission boards of graduate schools. The National Association of Schools of Art and Design accredits over 300 colleges and universities, as well as independent institutions, offering programs in graphic design.

Admission requirements to an online bachelor’s program in graphic design vary, depending on the program and school. Some programs require applicants to submit a portfolio, along with a written statement, showcasing their best visual arts material. Once enrolled, online students take basic skills courses that lay the foundation for art and design in the field of study. Such courses include color theory, art history, introduction to drawing, and graphic design principles.

The bachelor’s degree program in graphic design generally requires the completion of a professional portfolio. Students are encouraged to keep their work readily available in their portfolio, even during their early years of study. Professional portfolio development classes are often a requirement for graduation. The higher the quality of work presented in the portfolio, the more likely the student is to land employment following graduation.

Online Graphic Design Master’s Degree

Online graphic design master’s degree programs from accredited schools and institutions provide deep level insight and a heavy-hitting skill set to students who want to lead, advance, and innovate within the world of graphic design. The graduate degree in graphic arts is typically offered as a Master of Arts or Science in Graphic Arts, or as a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Graphic Design and Arts. Both program objectives and expectations are generally the same.

Program goals for graduate education in graphic design are different than undergraduate education in a variety of ways. An online graphic design master’s degree delves deeper into research, theory, and professional practice. Students learn more than the general skills and basic knowledge of an undergraduate degree in graphic design. Upon completion of the master’s degree in graphic design, students may enter the professional world as a designer, researcher, or creator, rather than as an assistant or subordinate to the graphic design director.

Most online graphic design master’s degree programs require a variety of courses and electives, along with a special research project or thesis. Thesis preparation courses and seminars are required. Students work alongside a faculty mentor or with a professional in the graphic design world. Upon graduation, students may showcase their professional portfolio and real-life experience as a graphic designer.

Online Graphic Design Certificate Programs

Online graphic design certificate programs are available from a variety of accredited colleges and universities and provide basic skills and knowledge in graphic design. Basic and advanced certificates allow students to expand their skill set or learn the foundational principles of graphic design. Most programs require that a certain number of classes be taken through instructor or self-directed studies.

Most online graphic design certificate programs provide insight into contemporary software applications, as well as standards and practices taught by professionals in the field. Students are able to expand skills in computer software used by graphic designers to create professional-grade print and media collateral. Most programs are taught by certified instructors in Adobe or by faculty with years of experience teaching graphic design or working in a professional art and design environment.

Fundamental courses typically offered in an online graphic design certificate program include Foundations or Principles of Graphic Design and Production. This entry-level course, or variations of it, is open to those interested in learning how to create professional projects such as advertising campaigns, publications, brand books, or direct mail pieces. The program courses, like the foundational one, address the basics of updating career skills in graphic design. Students learn how to manage client projects, improve the artistic and creative eye, and bring to life skills required of a graphic designer.

Graphic Design Classes Online

Taking graphic design classes online can be as effective, and more efficient, than taking traditional classroom courses. Experienced faculty and professionals, who are experts in the field, teach online classes in graphic design that provide students with a thorough understanding of skills and techniques useful in the world of graphic design.

The difference between graphic design and other disciplines, such as fine arts or computer science, is that graphic design combines the best of both worlds – art and design through multiple landscapes. Graphic design programs offer more than textbook study. Most online programs require hands-on activities that prepare students with professional skills seen in the workplace. An immense volume of the work is comprised of visual material production, as well as digital media and design. Very little bookwork, apart from art history and theory, is required.

A professional portfolio is typically a requirement in the graphic design classes online, as well as in the classroom. The portfolio consists of the activities and creative work of the student. The portfolio may be used to show potential employers how creative and skilled the student is in the area of graphic design. Few disciplines require the professional portfolio that a graphic design program requires.

Your Career in Graphic Design

Careers in graphic arts and design can be rewarding and fulfilling. Graphic arts careers are found in a variety of organizations and institutions. Graphic designers work in private studios, large organizations and publishing firms, or enjoy work as a freelance graphic designer. Freelance graphic artists and designers create their own schedule and work with individual clients. There is a certain degree of flexibility for graphic designers on the job, especially when working freelance projects. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, within the last three years, approximately 24 percent of all graphic designers were self-employed.

Below is a graphic design careers list, complete with job title and description. The list is comprised of the more common jobs found within the graphic design field.

Art or Creative Director

The art, or creative, director is the head of any graphic design team. This Don Draper type usually sits in an office and manages a full workload of projects. Creative directors often have graduate-level degrees in fine arts or graphic design and ten-plus years of experience. Many art or creative directors have worked their way up the graphic design ladder to reach their current role as director. They are often the highest paid member of the graphic design team and sometimes the owner of the organization.

Creative Services Manager

With at least three years of experience and a bachelor’s degree in graphic design, a creative services manager position is among the top graphic designer careers. These positions are available in a variety of organizations with creative departments and require leadership skills and budget acumen.

Freelance Graphic Designer

Freelance graphic design jobs allow freedom to choose which type of designer you want to be. This career path also allows you to choose what type of project you want to work on day to day. Perhaps you want to specialize in logo design and company branding, or hone your skills as a print publication specialist. As a freelance graphic designer, you may do so. Freelance graphic design rates vary depending on expertise and experience.

Logo and Branding Designer

Logo and branding designers are needed in the contemporary world of marketing, advertising, and publication services. Logo specialists who focus entirely on crafting the perfect logo for company branding or individual purposes find employment opportunities in a variety of fields. While logo design stems from the print world, today’s designers work in the digital realm, as well as print.

Print Publication Designer

Historically, the publication industry was among the heaviest hitters when it came to the employment rate of graphic designers. Today, print publication has given rise to web-based publications. However, there is still a need in print publication materials. While the publishing landscape continues evolving, print publication designers remain in demand, but their skill set is modified. Graphic design career paths in print publication now include web expertise and application expertise. Print publication designers utilize all forms of media, with print as just one of many types of publication.

Senior Designer

A senior graphic designer is more a level of experience than an actual job title; however, senior designers are among the most important roles in any graphic design organization or team. The senior designer is the voice that less experienced team members listen to when handling projects. The senior designer usually reports directly to the creative director or manager concerning direction and ideas.

Sources

American Institute of Graphic Arts
Graphic Artist Guild
• Institute of Education Sciences – National Center for Education Statistics – College Navigator
National Association of Schools of Art and Design
• United States Department of Labor – Bureau of Labor Statistics

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