Top 13 Best Affordable Graphic Design Degree Programs 2019

GDDH-Most AffordableBy Jennifer W. Eisenberg
March 2019

The expectations of those trained in graphic design have altered. Designers have ridden many waves of technological advancement and now have to compete with experienced technicians and the tendency for firms to use interns. If you feel you have the guts and talent, this list of the top 13 affordable online bachelor’s degrees in graphic design for 2019 can help you get your undergraduate degree in graphic design and beat the odds.

This list was arrived at by considering the tuition rate per credit hour, accreditation status, and the national ranking of salaries reported by graduates to payscale.com. Hopefully, this will assist you in selecting the program at the right price point with the right focus for you. We scored this list of the top 13 affordable bachelor’s degrees in graphic design available online for 2018 according to the scheme outlined below.

Ranking Schematic

Hourly tuition rate

  • Under $250 – 5 points
  • Under $400 – 4 points
  • Under $550 – 3 points
  • Under $700 – 2 points
  • Under $850 – 1 point

Payscale.com Salary Report Ranking

  • Top 100 – 5 points
  • Top 350 – 4 points
  • Top 600 – 3 points
  • Top 800 – 2 points
  • Top 1200 – 1 point

Special Awards

  • Regional accreditation – 5 points
  • Digital students charged a lower rate than traditional students – 3 points

#13 – Academy of Art University

San Francisco, California

BFA in Graphic Design Online

Academy of Art University has a graduation rate of 33%.

Points:5

Payscale Ranking: not ranked

Website

The Academy of Art University’s bachelor of fine arts in graphic design online clocks in at 132 units, two courses of which are composition for the artist and digital photography. Online tuition for this digitally delivered program is $917 per unit. In presenting its BFA in graphic design online, the Academy of Art University utilizes the Learning Management System (LMS). This site provides a hub of information whether you need news, classes, grades, support for non-natives, as well as the courses themselves.

#12 – Savannah College of Art and Design

Savannah, Georgia

Online BFA in Graphic Design

Savannah College of Art and Design is also known as “SCAD.”

Points:6

Payscale Ranking: 1213th

Website

Savannah College of Art and Design offers an online bachelor of fine arts in graphic design that encompasses 180 quarter units. The online tuition rate is $814 per quarter credit. You can choose among the diverse available coursework like visual design systems, the 3-D form in space, and color theory and application. The online BFA in graphic design at the Savannah College of Art and Design proffers a focus on communication and critical thinking skills. This school receives regional accreditation through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges.

#11 – California Baptist University

Riverside, California

BA in Graphic Design and Digital Media Online

California Baptist University was founded in 1950.

Points:8

Payscale Ranking: 1111th

Website

To get your bachelor of arts in graphic design and digital media online at California Baptist University, it will cost you $589 per unit of instruction. The school is affiliated with the California Southern Baptist Convention. To complete the 120 credit program, 48 of which must be in the major, you will take courses such as the history of graphic design and advanced typography. California Baptist University states that their online BA in graphic design and digital media takes sixteen months to complete, on average.

#10 – Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design

Lakewood, Colorado

Online BFA in Graphic Design

Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design has a graduation rate of 48%.

Points:8

Payscale Ranking: not ranked

Website

Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design’s online bachelor of fine arts in graphic design is 123 credits long, six of which are accomplished with studies in typography and user interface. $502 per credit is the tuition rate for the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design’s BFA in graphic design online. The school is accredited by both the National Association of Schools of Art and Design and the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association.

#9 – Kentucky Wesleyan College

Owensboro, Kentucky

Online BA in Graphic Design

Kentucky Wesleyan College is affiliated with the Wesleyan Church.

Points:8

Payscale Ranking: not ranked

Website

Kentucky Wesleyan College features an online bachelor of arts in graphic design that can be completed in 120 credit hours. Digital painting and graphic design topics are two of the required courses in this program which retails for $440 per credit. Kentucky Wesleyan College’s online BA in graphic design is set up for a modern career in this tech-savvy field. The school is affiliated with the United Methodist Church and regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges.

#8 – Upper Iowa University

Fayette, Iowa

BA in Graphic Design Online

Upper Iowa University has the unusual mascot of the Peacock.

Points:9

Payscale Ranking: 1125th

Website

Upper Iowa University’s bachelor of arts in graphic design is 100% online. The private non-profit charges just $454 per credit in the 120 unit degree. The major requires at least 39 hours. Digital illustration and advertising design are among the likely courses you will take when at Upper Iowa University getting your online BA in graphic design online. The school is a private university in the Christian tradition but unaffiliated with any particular denomination. The school sports the unusual school mascot of the Peacock.

#7 – Lesley University

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Online BS in Design for User Experience

Lesley University has an acceptance rate of 67%.

Points:9

Payscale Ranking: 839th

Website

The online bachelor of science in design for user experience at Lesley University is a reasonable degree at just $430 per credit. Interface design and web development are two of the courses in this 120 credit program. Lesley University has a BS in design for user experience online that prepares you for jobs that don’t even exist yet. The school was begun as a Normal School for the training of kindergarten teachers in 1909, and it became coeducational in 2005.

#6 – Midway University

Midway, Kentucky

Bachelor’s of Marketing Communications – Graphic Design Online

Midway University’s school mascot is the Eagle.

Points:9

Payscale Ranking: not ranked

Website

Midway University supplies a Bachelor’s of marketing communications – graphic design online that can be completed with a minimum of 120 credits. Principles of marketing and global brand management are two of the courses required for the program whose tuition comes in at $395 per instructional hour. The bachelor’s of marketing communications – graphic design online at Midway University involves an eight-week course schedule. The school is part of the storied tradition of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

#5 – Great Basin College

Elko, Nevada

Bachelor of Applied Science Degree in Graphic Communications Online

Great Basin College was established in 1967.

Points:9

Payscale Ranking: not ranked

Website

Great Basin College’s 120 credit online bachelor of applied science in graphic communications requires coursework in publication design and human resource management. $142.50 per lower division credit, out of state, $233.25 per credit upper division is the tuition rate. Great Basin College’s online bachelor of applied science degree in graphic communications requires a minimum 2.0 overall GPA on college coursework for graduation. The school is part of the University of Nevada system. It was started with a seed grant from billionaire Howard Hughes.

#4 – Arizona State University

Tempe, Arizona

Online BS in Digital Audiences

arizona-state-university
Arizona State University’s mascot is Sparky the Sun Devil.

Points:11

Payscale Ranking: 285th

Website

The online bachelor of science in digital audiences at Arizona State University spans the traditional 120 hours but does so at a pace of 7.5 weeks per class. Out of state students are charged $695 per credit. Among the most attractive feature of the program is its being part of Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, which has produced Pulitzer-level reporting. You will take courses in the digital audience and fundamentals of coding to prepare you for graduation from Arizona State University’s online BS in digital audiences.

#3 – Penn State University

University Park, Pennsylvania

Bachelor of Design in Digital Multimedia Design Online

Penn State University was established in 1855.

Points: 11

Payscale Ranking: 144th

Website

Penn State University, one of the largest undergraduate programs in the country, offers an online bachelor of design in digital multimedia design that takes 120 units of instruction to complete. Courses cost $555 per credit for part-time students with fewer than 59 credits. The cost is $596 per credit for part-time with 60 or more credits. Writing for media and basic photography for communications are two of the courses in the program. Pennsylvania State University uses its DMD Program Hub to help students navigate their educational and advisory routes in the bachelor of design in digital multimedia design online.

#2 – University of Maryland University College

Adelphi, Maryland

Online BA in Graphic Communication

university-of-maryland-university-college
UMUC was established to serve returning service members from WWII.

Points:13

Payscale Ranking: 76th

Website

The 120 credit hour online bachelor of arts in graphic communications at the University of Maryland University College allows students to transfer in up to 90 existing college credits. The program is described as “portfolio intensive” and also covers developing a business plan for a creatively focused enterprise. At $499 per unit of credit, the BA in graphic communication offered by the University of Maryland University College is a reasonable option for students who have a lot of college credit “in the bank.”

#1 – Southern New Hampshire University

Manchester, New Hampshire

Online BA in Graphic Design and Media Arts

Southern New Hampshire University was established in 1932.

Points:12

Payscale Ranking: 421st

Website

The online bachelor of arts in graphic design and media arts delivered by Southern New Hampshire University is 120 credits in length. At $320 per credit, one can see why this school has become a leader in online education. Desktop publishing and advanced digital imaging are two available courses in Southern New Hampshire University’s online BA in graphic design and media arts. This school is expanding enrollment more rapidly than many other institutions of higher learning in the US.

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