There are a number of graphic design degrees in Illinois, and choosing which of them is the best fit for any individual person can be difficult. The information below is offered in an attempt to make that choice easier.
North Central College
North Central College is an independent liberal arts and sciences college affiliated with the United Methodist Church, founded in 1861 and currently enrolling more than 3,000 students. It occupies some 65 acres in Naperville and competes in NCAA Division III sports. The institution is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, and it is lauded by US News & World Report and the Princeton Review, among others. Estimated cost of attendance in the 2013-2014 academic year approached $42,000; tuition exceeded $32,000, with room and board adding approximately $9,300 and activity fees another $180.
Bachelor of Arts in Interactive Media Studies- Graphic Design
North Central College offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in Interactive Media Studies with a Graphic Design track meant to equip students with knowledge and skills that will allow them to conceive and execute their artistic visions while remaining marketable and skilled in computer applications. All Interactive Media Studies students, regardless of track, take a set of core courses in addition to the college-required general education selection: Introduction to Visual Literacy, Image Processing, Web Page Development, Computer Animation with Flash, Designing Graphics, either Story or Writing across Media, Design, Introduction to New Media, Communications Law, a portfolio workshop and two media production classes and/or internships. Students on the Graphic Design track also take 3-Dimensional Design, Beginning Typography, Digital Photography, Digital Illustration and Prepress Production, 2-Dimensional Computer Graphics/Animation and 3-Dimensional Computer Graphics/Animation as well as electives at the sophomore and junior level or higher; the electives are meant to broaden curricular offerings.
30 North Brainard Street
Naperville, IL 60540
Oakton Community College
Oakton Community College, founded in 1969, serves the northern end of the Chicago suburban area by offering some 80 associate’s degree programs and more than 1,5000 continuing education courses at two main campuses, 240 satellite locations and online. Some 46,000 students are taught by 700 full- and part-time faculty. The institution is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and is recognized by the Illinois Community College Board. Recently, it added a 59,000 square foot Art, Science and Technology Pavilion, designed by award-winning architect Ross Barney, at its Skokie location.
Associate in Applied Science in Graphic Design
Oakton Community College offers an Associate in Applied Science degree in Graphic Design meant to equip students with the knowledge and skills to enter successfully into careers in visual fields and with a portfolio of work suited to earning them admission to four-year programs or art schools. Three tracks are available: Print, Web and Animation and Multimedia. The degree requires 67 semester credit hours that include 18 in a general education sequence (covering communication, mathematics, natural science, social and behavioral science, humanities and fine arts and contemporary global studies). The remaining 49 include either Fundamentals of Two-Dimensional Art I or Introduction to Visual Communication, either Beginning Photography or Digital Photography, Drawing I, Digital Imaging, Graphic Design I, Layout Design and Typography, Computer Art, Web Graphic Page Design, 3-D Animation and Multimedia, Prepress and Press, Computer Graphics Using the Macintosh Platform, Web Design Layout and Typography, Advanced Web Animation and Multimedia I, Portfolio Development, Graphic Design Practicum and 6 credit hours of electives in the selected track.
1600 East Golf Road
Des Plaines, IL 60016
Founded in 1967, Parkland College serves the needs of the third largest community college district in Illinois. It occupies some 225 acres in Champaign that include over 85 classrooms, 60 labs, a library with more than 120,000 volumes, FM and TV stations, tutoring offices, child care and other facilities. More than 100 associate degree and certificate programs are offered to the over 18,000 students enrolled annually, and most classes are taught by full-time faculty. The institution has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools since 1972.
Parkland College offers both an Associate in Fine Arts degree and an Associate in Applied Science degree in Graphic Design.* The former seeks to equip students to transfer to four-year institutions, and an articulating agreement is in place with Illinois State University to facilitate the transfer. The latter seeks to equip students to enter into graphic design professions quickly, and it offers design and illustration concentrations to facilitate that entry. The AFA degree requires 32 hours in general education courses, 22 in studio art courses and 9 in graphic design courses: Graphic Design History and Graphic Design I and II. The AAS requires only 18 hours of general education coursework but 27 of program courses (Graphic Design History, Typography I, Graphic Design I, Graphic Design for Web, Motion Design, Illustration I, either Graphic Design Studio or Internship and Seminar, Portfolio Seminar and 2D Animation) and either 18 or 19 for concentration requirements.
Fine & Applied Arts
2400 West Bradley Avenue
Champaign, IL 61821
A coeducational Catholic university (that welcomes students of all faith traditions) founded by Franciscan friars in 1860, Quincy University is primarily a liberal arts school located in Quincy, near Iowa and Missouri. It is affiliated with the Catholic University of America and is a consultant member of the National Catholic Association of American Colleges. It is also accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. The institution fields some fifteen teams in the NCAA Division II Great Lakes Valley Conference and, consonant with its Franciscan heritage, religious services and activities feature prominently.
Quincy University offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Graphic Design meant to equip students for success in graphic design and related careers. To that end, several minors are offered as part of the degree, serving to prepare students for specialized applications of graphic design knowledge and skills: Art History, Art Studio, Three-Dimensional Art, Two-Dimensional Art, Graphic Design and Advertising Production. The degree requires, in addition to general education requirements, 18 hours in Communication, Business and/or Computer Science courses, 42 semester hours of art studio courses (Introduction to Ceramics, Introduction to Watercolor, Introduction to Photography, Introduction to Printmaking, Commercial Illustration, either Introduction to Fiber Arts or Mixed Media Painting, Introduction to Computer Graphics, Intermediate Drawing, Electronic Imagemaking, Computer Illustration, Graphic Design for Desktop Publishing, Practicum in Art-Business and Web Design), 12 of art history, support courses Aesthetics and Fundamentals of Pubic Speaking, minor coursework and a senior portfolio that must be exhibited and approved by the art faculty.
800 College Ave.
Quincy, IL 62301
Robert Morris University Illinois
Robert Morris University Illinois describes itself as a private, non-profit university that awards degrees at the associate’s, baccalaureate, and master’s levels at its main campus in Chicago and satellite campuses throughout Illinois. The school has been praised by the US News & World Report and the Chronicle of Higher Education, among others. 2013-2014 tuition for full-time undergraduates (12-24 quarter hours) is $7,600 per quarter, with housing in Chicago costing an additional $3,625 and various programs charging additional materials and facilities fees. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
Bachelor of Applied Science Degree – Graphic Design
Robert Morris University Illinois offers a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Graphic Design meant to equip students with the knowledge and skills needed to enter successfully into professional graphic design roles. The degree requires 188 quarter hours, including a 72-hour general education sequence, an 8-hour career management sequence (Personal Narrative & Branding and Life-Long Career Strategy, Intermediate ICenter Project or Advanced ICenter Project), 8 hours of free electives, 20 of foundational courses (Design, Color and Composition; Illustrator; Introduction to Digital Photography; Digital Imaging and Storyboarding), 24 of design courses (Introduction to Digital Video Production, Design for the Web, Graphic Design I and II, Typography and Multimedia Web Design), 32 of studio design courses (Web Development for Designers, Digital Video Production, Publication Design, History of Graphic Design, Senior Internship, Sign & Symbol, Interactive Digital Publication and Professional Portfolio Development) and 24 of prescribed electives that equip students for diverse graphic design situations.
401 S. State Street
Chicago, IL 60605
School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Founded in 1866, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago offers undergraduate and graduate degrees and other education programs to more than 3,300 students and has been repeatedly praised by the US News & World Report and others. Nearly 160 full-time faculty and 540 part-time faculty teach in the more than 40 areas of instruction. Part of a private, nonprofit corporation, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools since 1936; it is also a charter member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design.
Master of Design in Designed Objects
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago offers a Master of Design degree in Designed Objects as a way for students to engage intimately in in detail with the relationships between designer and consumer, citizen and society, who need immersion in the critical and technical skills and knowledge needed to enter successfully into object design. The degree proceeds from a tightly sequenced curriculum of 66 total credit hours that must be completed within four years of beginning the program. Among them are a 6-hour summer intensive course; Studio 1 and 2; Research Methods Lab; Global Reset Studio Seminar; Survey of Modern and Contemporary Architecture and Design; Prototyping Methods Lab; Material Intelligence Studio Seminar; Critical Issues in Designed Objects; Thesis Studio 1 and 2; Material Futures Studio Seminar; Positioning Methods Lab; Leadership Matters Studio Seminar; The Condition of Things: Art, Design and Objecthood; either 15 credits of electives or 12 and an 3-credit internship; participation in 4 graduate critiques and participation in a graduate design exhibition.
36 S. Wabash Ave.
Chicago, IL 60603
Spoon River College
Founded in 1959 in response to nationwide efforts to expand access to higher education and professional skills training, Spoon River College is a public community college in Illinois that serves more than 4,000 students annually. Estimated cost of attendance for the 2014-2015 academic year is $135/semester hour for residents of the community college’s district, $288/semester hour for Illinois residents outside the district, $324/semester hour for out-of-state students, and $175/semester hour for online students; all figures include tuition and fees. The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools has reaffirmed the institution’s accreditation until 2022.
Associate in Applied Science in Digital Design and Information Technology
Spoon River College offers an Associate in Applied Science degree in Digital Design and Information Technology that seeks to equip students to perform well in multiple aspects of electronic design for online and offline business activities. The degree requires 61 credit hours, of which 49 are prescribed: Composition I, Two-Dimensional Design, Foundations of Electronic Design, Project Management, Photography I, Speech Communication, Digital Imagery, Computer Illustration, Applied Math, Web Design I and II, Graphic Design I and II, Digital Media Production , Graduation Portfolio Seminar and 3 hours each in a humanities and a health science course. The remaining 12 come from four courses among the following: Three-Dimensional Design; Drawing I and II; Figure Drawing; Internship; Aqueous Media I; Painting I and II; Photography II; Special Topics; Small Business Development; Digital Media Production II; Web Servers, Security and Maintenance and Introduction to Web Scripting & Databases.
23235 N. Co 22
Canton, IL 61520
Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy
Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy was founded by Howard A. Tullman in 2007 as a private for-profit college in Chicago. Existing in a strategic partnership with Tribeca enterprises, the holding company of the Tribeca Film Festival, the school offers curricula that straddle the traditional divide between formal collegiate instruction and apprenticeships, providing an accelerated and blended introduction to the media professions; applied experience is obligatory in addition to classroom coursework. Tribeca Flashpoint also partners with investment company Sterling Partners. The institution has been accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools since April 2011.
Associate in Applied Science in Graphic Design + Visual Communication
Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy offers an Associate in Applied Science degree in Graphic Design + Visual Communication meant to prepare students to conduct professional work in visual media. Theoretical underpinnings inform the first year of the curriculum; practical applications inform the second. Thus, students acquire not only technical knowledge and skills for the professions, but the interpersonal and aesthetic understandings that inform professional success. The degree requires some 69 credit hours of coursework, including general education classes. Students can expect to take Composition I and II, Humanities I and II, General Math, Oral Communication, Production-in-Action, Principles of Design I and II, Digital Image Manipulation, Motion Graphics I and II, Interactive Design I and II, Brand Identity, Career Development I and II, Design Studio, Design Workflow, Package Design, Designing for the Client, Social Media Design, Focused Study I and II: Advanced Design and Flashpoint Academy Studios.
28 North Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60602
University of Illinois at Chicago
The University of Illinois at Chicago formed in 1982 as the integration of the Medical Center and Chicago Circle campuses of the University of Illinois system. The university enrolls nearly 27,600 students in 82 baccalaureate, 93 master’s, 66 doctoral and a number of professional programs across 15 colleges, serving them with nearly 2,000 faculty and nearly 8,000 administrative, professional and support staff. The university’s accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools was reaffirmed in the 2007-2008 academic year and persists until the 2017-2018. Tuition ranges from approximately $6,600 to approximately $15,300 per term.
Bachelor of Design in Graphic Design
The School of Design at the University of Illinois at Chicago offers a Bachelor of Design degree in Graphic Design meant to equip students to communicate ideas in visual media successfully at a professional level. Emphasized are interdisciplinary collaboration and connections to local industry. The degree requires 133 hours of coursework, of which 25 are in the university’s first-year program, 34 in general education and foundations courses, 60 in major requirements, 13-14 in electives outside the School of Design and one in a first-ear seminar required only of new freshmen. Courses in major include Typography I through IV; Form and Image Studio; Digital Media Design II through IV; Senior Design Colloquium I and II; Graphic Design Thesis I and II; one pair from among Professional Practice Project I and II, Interdisciplinary Project Development I and II, Design Thinking and Leadership I and II and Informational Aesthetics I and II; either Social Media Design or Interaction Design and History of Design I and II.
123 JH MC 036
929 West Harrison St.
Chicago, IL 60607
Waubonsee Community College
Waubonsee Community College was established in 1966 to meet the needs of Community College District 516, which covers parts of Kane, Kendall, DeKalb, LaSalle and Will Counties. Based just outside Sugar Grove, the college has locations in Aurora and Plano, as well as some 40 extension sites; it also offers programs online. In the 2011-2012 academic year, the college enrolled more than 31,000 students and taught them with nearly 120 full-time and 550 adjunct faculty, supported by 35 administrators and more than 480 staff. The institution is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
Associate in Applied Science in Graphic Design
Waubonsee Community College offers an Associate in Applied Science degree in Graphic Design that seeks to equip students combine design theory and visual communication principles to succeed in the graphic design industry; emphasis is on easing entry into the profession, but many courses exist in articulating agreements with four-year schools for students seeking to continue their education. The degree requires 64 semester hours, including 15 in general education classes. The remaining 46 are program requirements and include Design I, Basic Drawing I, History of Graphic Design, Desktop Publishing, Computer Illustration, Typography, Digital Image, Graphic Design I and II, Print Production, Graphic Design for the World Wide Web, Digital Photography, 2-D and 3-D Animation and Multimedia, Graphic Design Portfolio, Web Development with HTML/XHTML and 3 hours of electives selected from among Graphic Design Studio Art, a graphic design internship or Advanced Website Design.
Route 47 at Waubonsee Drive
Sugar Grove, IL 60554-9454
There are other programs available, of course; other states have other systems of schools, and those doubtlessly offer similar programs. The key is in selecting which program is the best fit, to which end it is hoped that the above information on graphic design degrees in Illinois will be helpful.
For more information on Graphic Design Degrees in Illinois, please see:
For information on earning your graphic design degree online, take a look at Top 10 Online Graphic Design Degree Programs.