Officially known as the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the state is the sixth most populous and ninth most densely populated in the United States. Bordering six states and Canada, Pennsylvania was granted to William Penn by Charles II in 1681 for payment of a debt. King Charles named the colony Pennsylvania, although William Penn wanted it called New Wales or Sylvania. The Founding Fathers met in Philadelphia Pennsylvania in 1774, which is why many call Philadelphia the birthplace of the United States. The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education is the state’s public university system, and as part of that system, the state offers a wide range of graphic design degrees.
Penn State University Media Arts Department
Pennsylvania State University, commonly called Penn State, consists of 24 campuses, a teaching hospital and an online world campus that allows students to gain further education regardless of their location globally. Penn State is Pennsylvania’s only land-grant university, and was originally created in 1855 to apply scientific principles to farming. It was not until after the 1880s that the college expanded curriculum to include engineering, sciences and liberal arts, eventually including a renowned graphic arts department.
With their internationally renowned design facility, Penn State University Media Arts Department, every aspect of the Graphic Design program at Penn State focuses on the success of the students who are learning in that department. Students are given assignments very similar to what they will find in the real world, helping them build a diverse portfolio that will draw the attention of potential employers. Internships are available between the student’s junior and senior year to help build experience, network and develop a resume that will get noticed by future employers.
Bachelor of Design Degree in Graphic Design
Students are expected to complete the degree in four years if they enter pre-design as freshmen. Those who enter later may take longer to complete the degree requirements. The degree requirement is in two parts. Freshmen and Sophomores are entered in the pre-design program, while juniors and seniors enter the graphic design program. Program outcomes include advanced problem-solving skills, improvements to drawing talent and strengthening the ability to develop solid concepts in graphic design.
Ronda Markley, Administrative Assistant
State College, PA 16801
Philadelphia University, located in the East Falls section of Philadelphia, consists of 100-acres with more than 50 buildings. Buildings range from historic Victorian mansions to modern classroom spaces and residential facilities. The Main Campus is located in a beautiful residential area just 15 minutes from downtown Philadelphia, surrounded by tree-lined Fairmount Park. Despite the quaint look of the campus, technology abounds with a sophisticated network that is available to students and faculty.
The college was founded in 1884 as the Philadelphia Textile School, created by Theodore Search who saw a need for better textile workers in the area. In 1941, after being authorized to offer Baccalaureate degrees, the college changed its name to the Philadelphia Textile Institute. In 1999, the college was granted university status, and the name was officially changed to Philadelphia University.
Graphic Design Communications
The curriculum for a Graphic Design Communications Bachelor’s Degree focuses on helping students think as design strategists. Problem-solving, innovation and collaboration are the main focus as students collaborate with other disciplines for well-known companies. Students may choose from three different graphic design programs:
•Animation – students develop a fundamental understanding of cutting-edge tools and techniques. Graduates have obtained positions in film, television, video effects and video game industries.
•Interactive Design and Media – Formerly known as Digital Design, students learn about the rapidly advancing field of digital technology. Students develop a diverse combination of skills, including basic design, planning, developing strategy and working in an interdisciplinary environment.
•Industrial Design – Students enrolled in industrial design learn how to design things that will transform the lives of others. Students have created interactive car systems, human-powered washing machines and MP3 players created from bamboo in previous courses.
4201 Henry Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19144
Saint Vincent College
Saint Vincent College is a small, liberal arts college, with a 200-acre picturesque campus that houses less than 1,800 students. Students enjoy the personal attention from faculty, and since its inception, the college has tried to embody the Benedictine principles that existed when it was founded by Boniface Wimmer, a monk from the Benedictine Abbey of Metten in Bavaria in 1846.
With the help of friends and benefactors in Europe, Father Wimmer established the first Benadictine College in the country, and on April 18, 1870, the state of Pennsylvania incorporated the school. In 1963, fire destroyed part of the campus, but the campus grew stronger out of the ashes. In 1983, the college became coeducational.
School of Humanities and Fine Art Graphic Design Program
The proximity to Pittsburgh allows students to network with nationally-recognized artistic institutions and organizations. Learning objectives for the Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design and Studio Arts require students to know and use a discipline based vocabulary, critique their work and that of others, as well as identify style characteristics. Students learn a broad range of media and are required to develop an advanced level in one medium. Students also submit work in local and regional exhibitions, giving them a combination of coursework and studio experience that prepares them well for a career in graphic art.
Saint Vincent College
300 Fraser Purchase Road
Latrobe, PA 15650-2690
Susquehanna University is located in the scenic Susquehanna River Valley town of Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania. It is about one hour from Harrisburg, the state capital, three hours from New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington DC, and four hours from Pittsburgh. The university is a liberal arts college that integrates liberal arts with professional requirements. The campus consists of Georgian architecture, some of which dates back 150 years, and offers a comfortable walk to shopping and other services in downtown Selinsgrove.
Graphic design students learn theory, critical thinking and problem solving required for success in the graphic design workplace. The focus of the education at Susquehanna University’s graphic design program is to develop a complete designer by focusing on the real world needs of the design world. The program is challenging, intense, but very rewarding, and many graduates find work in high-profile jobs after completing their degree. The university also provides guest speakers, field trips, portfolio reviews, workshops, juried competitions and internships for students.
Department of Art
514 University Avenue
Selinsgrove, PA 17970
Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology
Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology is Pennsylvania’s top two-year college, offering two-year degrees in technology related subjects. It is located in southeastern Pennsylvania in Lancaster, approximately 38 miles from Harrisburg. The college sits on just over 32 acres of land, and is surrounded by the many cultural, athletic and social activities available in the Lancaster area. There are approximately 900 students enrolled at Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology, with residence halls that house approximately 400 students. Priority residence space is given to Stevens Legacy Award or Grant students with remaining residences made available to non-scholarship students.
Graphic Communications and Printing Tech
Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology does not offer Baccalaureate degrees, but they do offer a two-year degree in Graphic Communications and Printing Tech. Students develop a comprehensive understanding of the printing process and design layout. Graduates have obtained employment in desktop publishing, presswork and bindery operations. Students learn to recognize major printing processes and demonstrate skills for both entry-level and advanced positions in layout, design, copy preparation, film assembly and more.
Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology
750 East King Street
Lancaster, PA 17602
In 1884, after tutoring a working young man who had to study at night, Reverend Russell Conwell began tutoring tutoring others dealing with similar circumstances, eventually convincing his congregation to create an education institution for working men. In 1888, the Temple College was founded and is now one of the premiere institutes of higher learning in the United States.
Temple is located in Philadelphia and the area surrounding the institution is full of history, culture and a bustling urban life. The university works closely with the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance in an effort to support the arts and culture of the area surrounding the school. There are nine on-campus residence halls and a variety of dining options for students throughout the campus.
Graphic & Interactive Design
Students learn to use creative combinations of art, technology and unique ideas to influence target audiences using a practice-based program. Students explore image making, craft and technology-essential components of the graphic art industry, which are critical to visual communication. The focus of the program is on client-driven projects and design authorship, including identity and branding, publishing, poster design and other aspects related to graphic design positions after graduation. Practicing artists and designers lead the classes, further providing real-world examples to students of the issues and requirements that will face them in the graphic design industry.
1801 North Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122
University of the Arts
The University of the Arts, established in 1876, is one of the only universities in the United States that focuses on design, visual and performing arts. The university is in downtown historic Philadelphia, the birthplace of the nation, so that students have access to museums, art galleries, world-renowned theaters and the benefits of one of the most culturally vibrant cities in the country.
University of the Arts, or UArt as it is often called, developed from two institutions – The Philadelphia College of Art and the Philadelphia College of the Performing Arts. The Philadelphia College of Art was developed in 1876 as part of the Philadelphia Museum of Art as interest grew in art education after the country’s Centennial Exposition. In 1949, the college changed their name to the Philadelphia Museum School of Art and was accredited in 1959. The Philadelphia College of Performing Arts began in 1870 when three graduates of Germany’s Leipzig Conservatory began the Philadelphia Musical Academy. In 1950, the academy became an independent college and was one of only eight institutions offering Bachelor of Music degrees. In 1976, the name changed to Philadelphia College of Performing Arts, and the School of Theater was created in 1983. Philadelphia College of Art and Philadelphia College of Performing Arts merged in 1985 in order to create the nation’s first comprehensive arts university.
The Graphic Design degree at UArt has been nationally recognized for over 50 years, using new technologies and developing messages that speak to the electronically engaged world. Students not only explore cutting-edge technology, but learn old world methods as well. Students may create digital video one day and create hand-sewn books the next. Students are exposed to real-world projects, such as creating parking signage for the City of Philadelphia, one of the most recent student projects. Post-graduate employment is high, with graduates working for major companies, including Sony Music, MTV and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
The University of the Arts in Philadelphia
320 South Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102
University of Pennsylvania
University of Pennsylvania’s expansive college greens and recreational spaces in an urban setting provide a beautiful backdrop to the long, proud tradition of the pursuit of innovative knowledge that began with Benjamin Franklin in 1740. The Ivy League school offers one of the most powerful research and teaching institutions with a student body of over 10,000, consisting of students from every US state and countries around the world. The school was founded by evangelist George Whitefield as a charity school at the corner of Fourth and Arch Streets in Philadelphia. In 1749, Benjamin Franklin published his famous essay “Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth,” which led 24 trustees in the area to purchase the property proposed for the charity school, assuming the responsibility for creating an educational facility. In 1751, The Academy and Charitable School in the Province of Pennsylvania” opened, educating both children of gentry and poverty in the Philadelphia area.
Digital Media Design
The Digital Media Design at the University of Pennsylvania is an interdisciplinary major in the School of Engineering and Applied Science. Students learn a combination of computer science and fine arts, both necessary tools for those interested in pursuing a career in computer graphics, animation and virtual reality environments.
For those interested in the study of images that relay information, a degree in Visual Studies at University of Penn allows students to explore areas of visual art and how seeing affects human behavior. The courses combine art history, philosophy, psychology with art, design and architecture to provide a well-rounded understanding of graphic design in the visual world.
University of Pennsylvania
3451 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
For those considering a graphic design degree, these Pennsylvania colleges offer a wide variety of courses and degrees that are designed to help students develop the skills necessary to work in the graphic design industry.