The best graphic design degrees train you in the art of conveying ideas through visual content.

Best Bachelors in Graphic Design Degrees 1

This includes the way type (style of lettering) and images are used to make statements in advertising, digital and print media. Graphic design students deal with state-of-the-art technology and creative studio processes.

What kind of graphic design degree should I get?

Do you have a trained eye for color, font, and imagery? Are you ready to put in long hours in the studio, prepare a portfolio, and complete an internship? Communication has to be efficient because a graphic designer’s communication happens instantaneously: the exact moment the audience looks at the work.

It’s for those who can channel a mood and convey feeling through art. If you’re interested in the flexibility and affordability of an online degree, check out our ranking of the Best Online Graphic Design Degrees too!

How much money do people make with a graphic design degree?

The future is bright—societal demand for advertising and web design is rapidly increasing. In specialty design fields, like computer systems design, one can expect an employee increase of over 60% in the next ten years! The national average for graphic designer salaries sits at $46,817 per year, though if you’d be willing to relocate to a tech and design center like the San Francisco Bay Area, that average jumps up to $64,547. 

Clearly, you can make a living at graphic design. So if this is your passion, what are you waiting for? You could get paid to make art!

What are the requirements for a graphic design degree?

Many people are drawn to Graphic design because it allows for a flexible work schedule and promotes a creative lifestyle. Graphic designers often benefit from an increased dependence upon a remote workforce. This allows many graphic designers the freedom to work from home and to set their own hours. One in four people in the emerging field of graphic design are self-employed.

This figure is far above average and, in fact, is only expected to grow. Have you always wanted to be your own boss, or have the option to work from your laptop? If you have the drive and organization skill set to build your own brand and business, a career in Graphic design could be perfect for you. 

Though a bachelor’s degree is not required to begin a career in graphic design, earning one from the right school can significantly increase your career prospects.The return on investment in a degree program is high. Strong graphic design degrees share several commonalities: a well-rounded variety of required foundational courses in different art media, the building of a portfolio, and an internship component to prepare students for real-world career demands.

The best bachelor degree programs in Graphic design require students to take courses in arts such as photography, printmaking, and typography. They offer skilled and experienced faculty who guide students in the process of making a professional portfolio during their years in the program, that they can share after graduation with potential clients. Finally, the best programs offer the valuable opportunity of an internship experience where students can learn the skills of the trade that can only come from practice in the real-world workforce. Look for these hallmarks as you complete your research on potential degree programs.

What are the best bachelor’s degrees in graphic design?

To aid you in discerning which Graphic Design program is the right fit for you, we have compiled our 2016 Rankings of the Best Bachelors in Graphic Design, which takes into account several key factors to ensure that you get the best rate of return on your educational investment. These factors include academic ranking, cost of tuition, and average first year salary. Our data came from the National Center for Educational Statistics, from the websites of the universities themselves, and publications like U.S. News and World Report and Payscale.com.

1

Maryland Institute College of Art

College Choice Score: 100

Average Net Price: $39,718

School Website

Overview

Located in Baltimore, MD, Maryland Institute College of Art was founded in 1886 and currently enrolls 725 students. The average class size is less than 20 students, the student teacher ratio is 13:1, and 80.7 percent of first-year students return for their second year.

Program Details

Students who earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Graphic Design at Maryland Institute College of Art will master visual composition of digital and print design while working directly with real clients from concept to delivery. Sample courses include:

  • Studio
  • Art history
  • Junior Review

Notables

Approximate undergraduate tuition: $1,178 per credit. The program strives to promote curiosity and process, encouraging students to develop and produce their own original work. The MCAD program includes a Junior review and an internship requirement.

2

Yale University

College Choice Score: 98.48

Average Net Price: $18,164

School Website

Overview

Located in New Haven, CT, Yale University was founded in 1864 and currently enrolls 5,477 students. The average class size is less than 20 students, the student teacher ratio is 6:1, and 98.75 percent of first year students return for their second year.

Program Details

Yale University gives undergraduate students a chance to emphasize their graphic design work under an Art Major. Students who are exceptionally talented in graphic design can take graduate level course, with permission of the instructor and director of undergraduate studies, to further their craft. Sample courses include:

  • Communicating with time, motion, and sound
  • Interactive design and the internet
  • Art of printed word

Notables

The graphic design program at Yale is known for its rigorous coursework and wide range of art electives. Yale’s Academic Score: 97. Approximate undergraduate tuition: $1,587 per credit.

3

Carnegie Mellon University

College Choice Score: 96.97

Average Net Price: $33,657

School Website

Overview

Located in Pittsburgh , PA, Carnegie Mellon University was founded in 1900 and currently enrolls 6,309 students. The average class size is less than 20 students, the student teacher ratio is 13:1, and 95 percent of first year students return for their second year.

Program Details

Carnegie Mellon University recognizes the distinction of design disciplines from the fine arts, and encourages their students to focus in on one of three areas of concentration: Product (Industrial) Design, Communication (Graphic) Design and design of physical and digital Environments. Sample courses include:

  • Design for service
  • Social innovation
  • Communication and environment

Notables

Carnegie Mellon allows students to customize their degree- to make your vision a reality, check out the options at CM! Carnegie Melon’s Academic Score: 74. The approximate undergraduate tuition: $1,680 per credit.

4

Rhode Island School of Design

College Choice Score: 92.42

Average Net Price: $37,949

School Website

Overview

Located in Providence, RI, Rhode Island School of Design was founded in 1877 and currently enrolls 2,014 students. The average class size is less than 20 students, the student teacher ratio is 10:1, and 94.5 percent of first year students return for their second year.

Program Details

The undergraduate program in Graphic Design at Rhode Island School of Design allows students to fully absorb an informed design process that provides lifelong support as they go on to engage in real-world design opportunities. Students gain a thorough understanding of the principles of design, theories of communication and strategies for problem solving. Sample courses include:

  • Designing with color
  • Forms and systems
  • Collaborative study

Notables

RSID’s Academic Score: 20. The approximate undergraduate tuition: $1,518 per credit. Their program offers unique support after graduation, providing lifelong support and guidance as alumni go on to engage in career design opportunities.

5

Virginia Commonwealth University

College Choice Score: 90.91

Average Net Price: $19,898

School Website

Overview

Located in Richmond, VA, Virginia Commonwealth University was founded in 1838 and currently enrolls 31163 students. The average class size is 20-49 students, the student teacher ratio is 17:1, and 86.3 percent of first year students return for their second year.

Program Details

Virginia Commonwealth University’s program in graphic design has the goal of educating students to be capable of effective form and communication in the visual medium. The program explores diverse methods of problem solving to foster professionals. Sample courses include:

  • Publication and print design
  • Sequential and motion design
  • Interaction design

Notables

VCU’s Academic Score: 30. The approximate undergraduate tuition: $1,028 per credit. The graphic design program is a 122 credit hour program that actively contributes to the school, university, local, state, national and international communities.

6

Ohio State University

College Choice Score: 90.13

Average Net Price: $18,502

School Website

Overview

Located in Columbus, OH, Ohio State University was founded in 1870 and currently enrolls 44,741 students. The average class size is 20-49 students, the student teacher ratio is 18:1, and 92.8 percent of first year students return for their second year.

Program Details

Ohio State University has a Bachelors of Science in Design degree that emphasizes a research-based approach. As such the undergraduate is required to take a design research class each year. At the end of the program the student must display his independence in completing a final project. Sample courses include:

  • Design Fundamentals
  • Visualization Principles
  • Design History

Notables

OSU’s Academic Score: 58. The approximate undergraduate tuition: $885 per credit. For an excellent education, at a price that can’t be beat, OSU is your best bet! The program is well known for its internship and career opportunities.

7

California Institute of the Arts

College Choice Score: 89.39

Average Net Price: $47,362

School Website

Overview

Located in Valencia, CA, California Institute of the Arts is a private institution that is home to roughly just 1,000 students. CalArts is a complex of 6 professional schools, and is a tight-knight community that fosters creativity and collaboration. The student-faculty ratio at California Institute of the Arts is 7:1.

Program Details

At CalArts, classes in Graphic Design are intimate and critique-based, focusing on  debate and discussion. The program goals include conveying formal and practical knowledge. All students work in residence in communal studios that are open 24 hours. Sample courses include:

  • Skills for visualize
  • Design lab
  • Image making

Notables

The Graphic design track includes core courses supported by a number of required and elective classes, allowing both structure and flexibility within the curriculum, covering all aspects of graphic design practice. Students can further specialize their degree with a minor or interdisciplinary studies. Tuition at CalArts is approximately $45,000 per year.

8

Otis College of Art and Design

College Choice Score: 87.88

Average Net Price: $38,141

School Website

Overview

Located in Los Angeles, CA, Otis College of Art and Design was founded in 1918 and currently enrolls 1,093 students. The average class size is less than 20 students, the student teacher ratio is 8:1, and 78.7 percent of first year students return for their second year.

Program Details

Otis College of Art and Design challenges students to research and refine projects to create meaning. Throughout the program there is a focus on presentation skills and a refining of craft to achieve a high level of excellence. Sample courses include:

  • Principles of design
  • Writing in the digital age
  • Connections through color and design

Notables

Otis College of Art and Design’s Academic Score: 20. The approximate undergraduate tuition: $1,395 per credit. The Graphic Design program challenges students to research and develop projects that mix meaning with image-making and typographic form.

9

Boston University

College Choice Score: 86.49

Average Net Price: $32,732

School Website

Overview

Located in Boston, MA, Boston University was founded in 1839 and currently enrolls 18,017 students. The average class size is less than 20 students, the student teacher ratio is 13:1, and 92.5 percent of first year students return for their second year.

Program Details

In Boston University’s BFA in Graphic Design program the faculty work to strengthen students’ technical abilities through open-ended projects. These projects also serve as a starter into the professional-level work. Students are also expected to engage in the design communities through various professional organizations. Sample courses include:

  • Art History
  • Photography
  • Foundation Sculpture

Notables

The Graphic Design program provides a unique sequenced studio approach to design thinking and problem solving for visual communication. Boston University’s Academic Score: 61. The approximate undergraduate tuition: $1,615 per credit.

10

Alfred University

College Choice Score: 85.42

Average Net Price: $20,903

School Website

Overview

Located in Alfred, NY, Alfred University was founded in 1836 and currently enrolls 1,920 students. The average class size is less than 20 students, the student teacher ratio is 13:1, and 73.5 percent of first year students return for their second year.

Program Details

Alfred University’s School of Design uses state-of-the-art computer labs to support its program. The program has roots in Swiss design and classical typography but has openly embraced emerging digital technology in the design process and teaches students according to those ideals. Sample courses include:

  • Print media
  • Digital drawing
  • Interactive media art

Notables

If you’re looking for a place that will foster your creativity, you’ll be impressed with the myriad of elective options for graphic design majors. Alfred’s Academic Score: 50. The approximate undergraduate tuition: $1,007 per credit.

11

Cleveland Institute of Art

College Choice Score: 83.33

Average Net Price: $33,037

School Website

Overview

Located in Cleveland, OH, Cleveland Institute of Art was founded in 1882 and currently enrolls 559 students. The average class size is less than 20 students, the student teacher ratio is 9:1, and 79.3 percent of first year students return for their second year.

Program Details

A graphic design major at Cleveland Institute of Art will learn traditional and emerging methods of graphic design. In order to cultivate communication skills, graphic design majors will collaborate with other students to create project to exhibit in the classroom. Sample courses include:

  • Design for communication
  • Advanced studio
  • Typography

Notables

Cleveland Institute of Art’s Academic Score: 20. The approximate undergraduate tuition: $1,283 per credit. For renowned faculty with real-world experience, look into Cleveland institute of Art.

12

University of Georgia

College Choice Score: 82.48

Average Net Price: $13,280

School Website

Overview

Located in Athens, GA, University of Georgia was founded in 1785 and currently enrolls 26,882 students. The average class size is 20-49 students, the student teacher ratio is 18:1, and 94 percent of first year students return for their second year.

Program Details

With a broad course of study, the University of Georgia Lamar Dodd School of Art provides a firm foundation in design and communication fundamentals. The program prepares students for becoming a creative by encouraging an interdisciplinary approach to design. Sample courses include:

  • Art history
  • Interior design
  • Communications and media

Notables

University of Georgia’s Academic Score: 55. The approximate undergraduate tuition: $994 per credit. UGA Graphic Design graduates go on to prestigious positions in a variety of creative firms ranging from boutique design studios, to the entertainment and publishing industries, to creative departments for museums.

13

Indiana University—​Bloomington

College Choice Score: 82.17

Average Net Price: $13,289

School Website

Overview

Located in Bloomington, IN, Indiana University—Bloomington was founded in 1820 and currently enrolls 36,419 students. The average class size is 20-49 students, the student teacher ratio is 17:1, and 89 percent of first year students return for their second year. Sample courses include:

Program Details

Indiana University, Bloomington has both a BFA and MFA in Graphic Design. Entrance into any graphic design course is competitive ensuring top-level students. The program also encourages students to become proficient in communication without a medium. Sample courses include:

  • Digital communication
  • Art history
  • Studio design

Notables

IU Bloomington’s Academic Score: 49. The approximate undergraduate tuition: $1,125 per credit. IU is known for flexible scheduling and supportive staff members.

14

California State University—​Los Angeles

College Choice Score: 82.14

Average Net Price: $3,160

School Website

Overview

Located in Los Angeles, CA, California State University—Los Angeles was founded in 1947 and currently enrolls 20,668 students. The average class size is 20-49 students, the student teacher ratio is 26:1, and 82.3 percent of first year students return for their second year.

Program Details

California State University, Los Angeles’s Graphic Design ensures that its students have acquired sufficient practice in the field to hone their visual communication skills. Cal State LA is also home to an AIGA student group who encourage students to take their first steps as a professional graphic designer. Sample courses include:

  • World art
  • Concept development
  • History of design

Notables

CSU Los Angeles’ Academic Score: 35. The approximate undergraduate tuition: $584 per credit. The program at CS Los Angeles is a launching pad, giving students the practice necessary for careers or further study in fields of visual communication.

15

Arizona State University

College Choice Score: 81.29

Average Net Price: $13,175

School Website

Overview

Located in Tempe, AZ, Arizona State University was founded in 1885 and currently enrolls 39,968 students. The average class size is 20-49 students, the student teacher ratio is 22:1, and 83.5 percent of first year students return for their second year.

Program Details

Arizona State University has a Bachelor of Science in Design program that helps students in developing effective design strategies so that the students can effectively inform, educate, direct, and communicate effectively. ASU’s program is actively involved with the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA). Sample courses include:

  • Designing life
  • Letterform
  • Visual communication

Notables

The Visual Communication Design program is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), with the maximum 10 year accreditation. ASU’s Academic Score: 36. The approximate undergraduate tuition: $817 per credit.

16

George Mason University

College Choice Score: 80.13

Average Net Price: $17,316

School Website

Overview

Located in Fairfax, VA, George Mason University was founded in 1957 and currently enrolls 22,343 students. The average class size is 20-49 students, the student teacher ratio is 16:1, and 87 percent of first year students return for their second year.

Program Details

Students at George Mason University’s School of Art become accustomed to the demands of the profession through work on various theoretical projects and work with real clients. Students are encouraged to partner with other artists, writer, and others realize the possibilities of the profession. Sample courses include:

  • Design and color
  • New media in the creative arts
  • Printmaking

Notables

George Mason’s Academic Score: 35. The approximate undergraduate tuition: $1,053 per credit. Using a combination of theoretical projects and real client interaction, students are encouraged to personalize their education to their unique career goals.

17

Columbia College

College Choice Score: 78.98

Average Net Price: $17,891

School Website

Overview

Located in Chicago, IL, Columbia College was founded in 1890 and currently enrolls 9,500 students. The average class size is less than 20 students, the student teacher ratio is 11:1, and 67 percent of first year students return for their second year.

Program Details

Columbia College, Chicago aims to give students some proficiency in many domains of visual communications in their Graphic Design program. While experiencing other creative fields, students will develop visual responses to issues in communication. Sample courses include:

  • Typography
  • Information design
  • Visual communications

Notables

Columbia’s Academic Score: 20. The approximate undergraduate tuition: $785 per credit. Of interest is the fact that students may choose to focus on Publication Design or Web Design, generating visual solutions to web-based design problems. For a school with affordable tuition, in the heart of the city, check out Columbia!

18

Art Center College of Design

College Choice Score: 78.79

Average Net Price: $43,775

School Website

Overview

Located in Pasadena, CA, Art Center College of Design was founded in 1930 and currently enrolls 1,824 students. The average class size is less than 20 students, the student teacher ratio is N/A, and 79.3 percent of first year students return for their second year.

Program Details

Guided by professional teachers in their field students will become proficient typography and image-making skills. Throughout their study, students will work with both traditional and emerging media to be able to communicate effectively and with emotion. Sample courses include:

  • Narrative sketching
  • Letterform
  • Communication design

Notables

Art Center College of Design’s Academic Score: 20. The approximate undergraduate tuition: $1,261 per credit. Expand your horizons! Students have a wide range of learning experiences including: transdisciplinary studios that focus on collaboration among faculty and students from various majors, and studios abroad, where students experience the world outside the classroom.

19

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey—​New Brunswick

College Choice Score: 77.53

Average Net Price: $15,869

School Website

Overview

Located in Piscataway, NJ, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey—New Brunswick was founded in 1766 and currently enrolls 34,544 students. The average class size is 20-49 students, the student teacher ratio is 12:1, and 91.5 percent of first year students return for their second year.

Program Details

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey in New Brunswick has a BFA program in Design that began in 2015. It focuses on the acquisition of skills such as typography and data visualization and while fostering creative problem solving within the context of contemporary culture. Sample courses include:

  • Drawing fundamentals
  • Visual thinking
  • Studio elective

Notables

Rutgers’ Academic Score: 51. The approximate undergraduate tuition: $984 per credit. Get a quality education and the attention you deserve at Rutgers!

20

University of Wisconsin--Madison

College Choice Score: 77.08

Average Net Price: $16,060

School Website

Overview

Located in Madison, WI, University of Wisconsin was founded in 1848 and currently enrolls 31,289 students. The average class size is less than 20 students, the student teacher ratio is 17:1, and 94.8 percent of first year students return for their second year.

Program Details

Students who want not only to earn a degree in fine arts but also the opportunity to expand that knowledge through certificate programs should consider the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The program recognizes the complexities of the integration of technology and art and provides courses to augment. Sample courses include:

  • Typography
  • Visual design
  • Art history

Notables

UW Madison boasts an Academic Score: 61. Their approximate undergraduate tuition: $989 per credit. For individual attention and small classes, consider UW Madison.

21

University of California—​Berkeley

College Choice Score: 76.15

Average Net Price: $16,601

School Website

Overview

Located in Berkeley, CA, University of California—Berkeley was founded in 1868 and currently enrolls 27,126 students. The average class size is less than 20 students, the student teacher ratio is 17:1, and 96.8 percent of first year students return for their second year.

Program Details

UC Berkeley Extension offers a Professional Program in Graphic Design to students who wish to quickly advance their portfolio. There are no prerequisites but a bachelor’s degree is recommended. Industry experts are closely involved with the program to help advance student’s abilities. Sample courses include:

  • Branding
  • Visual design principles
  • Typography fundamentals

Notables

UC Berkley’s Academic Score: 77. The approximate undergraduate tuition: $1,271 per credit. If you’re seeking a program with a great reputation and an individualized experience, US Berkley could be for you.

22

University of California—Los Angeles

College Choice Score: 75.34

Average Net Price: $13,816

School Website

Overview

Located in Los Angeles, CA, University of California—Los Angeles was founded in 1919 and currently enrolls 43,301 students. The average class size is less than 20 students, the student teacher ratio is 17:1, and 97 percent of first year students return for their second year.

Program Details

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) BA in Design Media Arts designed to focus on innovation of digital and mass media content. UCLA boats strong foundations and seeks have the artists experiment with different media to give the student a diverse experience. Sample courses include:

  • Three-Dimensional Modeling and Motion
  • Design media arts
  • Game design

Notables

UCLA’s Academic Score: 74. Their approximate undergraduate tuition: $1,188 per credit. You’ll be impressed with the opportunities to explore special interests through electives in the graphic design program.

23

Temple University

College Choice Score: 74.87

Average Net Price: $20,236

School Website

Overview

Located in Philadelphia, PA, Temple University was founded in 1884 and currently enrolls 28,287 students. The average class size is 20-49 students, the student teacher ratio is 14:1, and 88 percent of first year students return for their second year.

Program Details

Temple University’s Tyler school of Art is an internationally recognized Graphic and Interactive design program. Students learn each phase of the design process to ensure that the student is prepared for all outcomes in the professional world, while cultivating creative thinking and discipline. Sample courses include:

  • Publication design
  • Digital narrative
  • Design for print

Notables

Temple’s Academic Score: 40. The approximate undergraduate tuition: $837 per credit. Temple offers a unique educational experience at an affordable price. Graphic & Interactive Design students create a required portfolio that express their unique viewpoints.

24

Rochester Institute of Technology

College Choice Score: 73.91

Average Net Price: $28,779

School Website

Overview

Located in Rochester, NY, Rochester Institute of Technology was founded in 1829 and currently enrolls 13,460 students. The average class size is 20-49 students, the student teacher ratio is 12:1, and 87 percent of first year students return for their second year.

Program Details

Providing a wide range of Graphic Design related courses, Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) offers a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Graphic Design. RIT prides itself having a balance in all topics from history and theory of graphic design to applied problem solving and integration of technology. Sample courses include:

  • Ethics in computing
  • Artistic perspectives
  • Immersion

Notables

RIT has an impressive Academic Score: 75. Their approximate undergraduate tuition: $1,237 per credit. For a well rounded, liberal arts education, Rochester Institute of Technology is a perfect fit.

25

University of Florida

College Choice Score: 73.43

Average Net Price: $14,610

School Website

Overview

Located in Gainesville, FL, University of Florida was founded in 1853 and currently enrolls 33,720 students. The average class size is less than 20 students, the student teacher ratio is 21:1, and 95.8 percent of first year students return for their second year.

Program Details

University of Florida’s School of Art and Art History offers a bachelor’s degree in graphic design whose program focuses on a “uniquely collaborative studio/classroom environment”. The bachelor’s program focuses on working with clients and professional development. Sample courses include:

  • Studio art
  • Printmaking
  • Sculpture

Notables

University of Florida’s Academic Score: 60. The approximate undergraduate tuition: $953 per credit. For sun, challenging courses and well-priced tuition, consider University of Florida. The program includes a capstone course with a professional portfolio and promotional materials.

26

Louisiana State University

College Choice Score: 73.15

Average Net Price: $13,552

School Website

Overview

Located in Baton Rouge, LA, Louisiana State University was founded in 1860 and currently enrolls 25,572 students. The average class size is 20-49 students, the student teacher ratio is 22:1, and 83.3 percent of first year students return for their second year.

Program Details

Louisiana State University School of Art touts the region’s largest design programs in the region. The program prepares students for the various paths of graphic design by giving the student a broad range of challenges to develop typography, identity design, and branding. Sample courses include:

  • Drawing and composition
  • Color design
  • Graphic abstraction

Notables

LSU’s Academic Score: 36. The approximate undergraduate tuition: $882 per credit. With multiple options and choices in how to earn your degree, LSU offers value and flexibility. LSU School of Art’s graphic design program is among the largest and most comprehensive in the region, renowned for quality faculty.

27

University of Michigan

College Choice Score: 73.05

Average Net Price: $15,757

School Website

Overview

Located in Ann Arbor, MI, University of Michigan was founded in 1817 and currently enrolls 28,395 students. The average class size is less than 20 students, the student teacher ratio is 15:1, and 96.8 percent of first year students return for their second year.

Program Details

Praising critical thinking, project development, and mastery the craft, University of Michigan’s Stamps School of Art offers a BFA in Graphic Design. Beginning with studio classes, undergrads will conclude the program with the mastery to take on a project of their own choosing for their senior year. Sample courses include:

  • Art & design in context
  • Integrative project
  • Methods of inquiry

Notables

Michigan University’s Academic Score: 71. The approximate undergraduate tuition: $1,446 per credit. Enjoy small class sizes and excellent faculty at Michigan- Go Blue!

28

Syracuse University

College Choice Score: 72.59

Average Net Price: $30,727

School Website

Overview

Located in Syracuse, NY, Syracuse University was founded in 1870 and currently enrolls 15,224 students. The average class size is less than 20 students, the student teacher ratio is 16:1, and 92 percent of first year students return for their second year.

Program Details

By teaching both traditional storytelling and the newest technology Syracuse University’s graphic design program prepares students for fulfilling creative careers. Students will become competent visual problem solvers and communicators becoming able to work on all levels of production. Sample courses include:

  • Multimedia storytelling
  • Typographic design
  • Photography for graphic design

Notables

Syracuse’s Academic Score: 55. Their approximate undergraduate tuition: $1,444 per credit. To be admitted to Newhouse’s graphic design program, candidates will be asked to submit a portfolio of photos, graphics work and communications writing.

29

Ohio University

College Choice Score: 70.93

Average Net Price: $20,560

School Website

Overview

Located in Athens, OH, Ohio University was founded in 1804 and currently enrolls 23,571 students. The average class size is 20-49 students, the student teacher ratio is 18:1, and 79.5 percent of first year students return for their second year.

Program Details

Ohio University’s graphic design program particularly focuses on sustainability and social impact and develops innovative, critical thinking students who are interested in these causes. Students take an interdisciplinary approach taking classes in various mediums to assist in their understanding of their own medium. Sample courses include:

  • Typography
  • Visual systems
  • Printmaking

Notables

Ohio University’s Academic Score: 35. Their approximate undergraduate tuition: $684 per credit. Experience high-quality coursework and supportive faculty at OU!

30

University of California—​Davis

College Choice Score: 70.46

Average Net Price: $16,841

School Website

Overview

Located in Davis, CA, University of California—Davis was founded in 1905 and currently enrolls 27,728 students. The average class size is 20-49 students, the student teacher ratio is 18:1, and 92.8 percent of first year students return for their second year.

Program Details

University of California, Davis is proud to have the only comprehensive academic design unit in the UC system. Faculty of the program strongly encourage students to study abroad to get a more vast experience in design. Sample courses include:

  • Design drawing
  • Form and color
  • Coding for designers

Notables

UC Davis’ Academic Score: 61. The approximate undergraduate tuition: $1,289 per credit. Enjoy lecture, discussion, critical analysis, collaboration- all a part of the educational experience at UC Davis.

31

Washington University in St. Louis

College Choice Score: 69.99

Average Net Price: $33,261

School Website

Overview

Located in Seattle, WA, University of Washington was founded in 1861 and currently enrolls 30,672 students. The average class size is 20-49 students, the student teacher ratio is 11:1, and 93.3 percent of first year students return for their second year.

Program Details

The University of Washington’s Visual Communication Design program prepares the student to meet immediate industry needs. The program emphasizes creative and critical problem solving skills to contemporary cultural problems. Meanwhile the faculty focuses on the objectives of design rather than the process. Sample courses include:

  • Interaction Design: User-Centered Applications
  • Illustration Concepts & Media/Visual Journalism
  • Design for Social Impact

Notables

WU in St. Louis has  an Academic Score: 58. The approximate undergraduate tuition: $1,117 per credit. Graphic design seniors complete a  final project that  is displayed in a public exhibition.

32

Massachusetts College of Art and Design

College Choice Score: 68.63

Average Net Price: $21,277

School Website

Overview

Located in Boston, MA, Massachusetts College of Art and Design was founded in 1873 and currently enrolls 1965 students. The average class size is less than 20 students, the student teacher ratio is 10:1, and 87.8 percent of first year students return for their second year.

Program Details

At Massachusetts College of Art and Design students are taught to value clients, their audience, and contemporary culture. At the heart of the Graphic Design program is a the teaching of fundamentals. When a student masters these basic skills they can easily transfer them to other media. Sample courses include:

  • Letterpress printing
  • Typography
  • Community partnership design

Notables

Massachusetts College of Art and Design’s Academic Score: 20.The approximate undergraduate tuition: $1,041 per credit. At MCAD, Graphic design majors share studio space with Illustration majors. This shared space for communication design invites discussion and collaboration across disciplines.

33

School of the Art Institute of Chicago

College Choice Score: 68.18

Average Net Price: $44,378

School Website

Overview

Located in Chicago, IL, School of the Art Institute of Chicago was founded in 1866 and currently enrolls 3,519 students. The average class size is less than 20 students, the student teacher ratio is 9:1, and 79 percent of first year students return for their second year.

Program Details

The program in Visual Communication Design at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago cultivates a sense of social responsibility and inquiry in student designers while encouraging them to actively engage their world as contributing designers by developing their critical and analytical skills, personal voice, and visual language. Sample courses include:

  • Visual communication
  • Illustration technologies lab
  • Type and image in motion

Notables

Art Institute of Chicago’s Academic Score: 20. The approximate undergraduate tuition: $1,465 per credit. Get involved! The department has an active AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Arts) student chapter.

34

University of Texas--Austin

College Choice Score: 68.06

Average Net Price: $17,366

School Website

Overview

Based in Austin, TX, University of Texas–Austin was founded in 1883 and currently enrolls 39,523 students. The average class size is 20-49 students, the student teacher ratio is 18:1, and 93.5 percent of first year students return for their second year.

Program Details

If individual instruction is a need, the University of Texas at Austin provides instruction from its expert faculty and local professionals. The BFA in Design program encourages professional development by mandating a professional internship for graduation. Sample courses include:

  • Letterpress
  • Printing
  • Typography

Notables

If you are seeking a program that is focused on real-world experience and career readiness, UT Austin is for you. UT Austin’s Academic Score: 58. The approximate undergraduate tuition: $1,161 per credit.

35

University of Minnesota—​Twin Cities

College Choice Score: 67.46

Average Net Price: $15,371

School Website

Overview

Located in Minneapolis, MN, University of Minnesota—Twin Cities was founded in 1851 and currently enrolls 34,351 students. The average class size is 20-49 students, the student teacher ratio is 17:1, and 90.8 percent of first year students return for their second year.

Program Details

University of Minnesota—Twin Cities College of Design awards Bachelor of fine arts in graphic design to graduates. The program sets a broad foundation for the graphic design student and places emphasis on “how humans communicate, perceive, interpret, and understand visual information.” Sample courses include:

  • Text and image
  • Graphic design portfolio
  • Web design

Notables

University of Minnesota—​Twin Cities’ Academic Score: 53. The graphic design program is one of the most comprehensive design colleges in the country. The approximate undergraduate tuition: $694 per credit.

36

University of Washington

College Choice Score: 65.48

Average Net Price: $9,744

School Website

Overview

Located in Seattle, WA, University of Washington was founded in 1861 and currently enrolls 30,672 students. The average class size is 20-49 students, the student teacher ratio is 11:1, and 93.3 percent of first year students return for their second year.

Program Details

The University of Washington’s Visual Communication Design program prepares the student to meet immediate industry needs. The program emphasizes creative and critical problem solving skills to contemporary cultural problems. Meanwhile the faculty focuses on the objectives of design rather than the process. Sample courses included:

  • Design drawing
  • Design internship
  • Typography

Notables

UW’s Academic Score: 58. Their approximate undergraduate tuition: $1,117 per credit. If you want the flexibility to choose and customize your degree to pursue a specific form of graphic design, UW could be a great fit for you.

37

West Virginia University

College Choice Score: 64.65

Average Net Price: $10,405

School Website

Overview

Located in Morgantown, WV, West Virginia University was founded in 1867 and currently enrolls 22,563 students. The average class size is 20-49 students, the student teacher ratio is 21:1, and 77.3 percent of first year students return for their second year.

Program Details

Realizing the emerging importance of design, West Virginia University offers its graphic design students a comprehensive program that focuses on social change and emerging technologies. The program is proud of its alumni, who have worked from Coca Cola to NBC. Sample courses include:

  • Visual foundations
  • Figure drawing
  • Photo design

Notables

WVU’s Academic Score: 26. The approximate undergraduate tuition: $681 per credit. If value and return on investment are your top priorities, check out WVU.

38

University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign

College Choice Score: 64.08

Average Net Price: $16,841

School Website

Overview

Located in Champaign, IL, University of Illinois—Urbana-Champaign was founded in 1867 and currently enrolls 32,959 students. The average class size is less than 20 students, the student teacher ratio is 18:1, and 93.8 percent of first year students return for their second year.

Program Details

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Bachelor of fine arts degree as at the intersection of traditional craft and technology. The program touts problem solving skill development. The program also gives undergraduates the chance to expand interests through a wide-array of electives. Sample courses include:

  • Typography
  • Intro to design
  • Art history

Notables

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Academic Score: 61. The approximate undergraduate tuition: $1,026 per credit.With small classes and excellent advising, you’ll stay on the right track at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

39

University of Arizona

College Choice Score: 63.68

Average Net Price: $15,591

School Website

Overview

Located in Tucson, AZ, University of Arizona was founded in 1885 and currently enrolls 32,987 students. The average class size is 20-49 students, the student teacher ratio is 22:1, and 80.3 percent of first year students return for their second year.

Program Details

The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio art, Visual Communication Emphasis program fuses artistic expression and effective visual communication to develop Graphic Design professionals. The program often hosts internationally renowned designers to participate in workshops with the students. Sample courses include:

  • Visual communication
  • Typography
  • Printmaking

Notables

University of Arizona’s Academic Score: 39. The approximate undergraduate tuition: $1,001 per credit. For a global perspective and experience, check out UA’s graphic design degree program.

40

University of Iowa

College Choice Score: 61.50

Average Net Price: $14,558

School Website

Overview

Located in Iowa City, IA, University of Iowa was founded in 1847 and currently enrolls 22,354 students. The average class size is less than 20 students, the student teacher ratio is 16:1, and 86 percent of first year students return for their second year.

Program Details

As one of the first universities in the nation to unite studio art and art history in one school, University of Iowa pioneered the notion of artist as teacher. Students at Iowa can earn their BA or BFA with a concentration in graphic design. Sample courses include:

  • Intermedia
  • Ceramics
  • Photography

Notables

University of Iowa’s Academic Score: 48. The approximate undergraduate tuition: $930 per credit. Learn from the best! At IU you’ll work with faculty members who are nationally and internationally recognized and whose art and publications are included in collections all over the world.

41

University of Nebraska—​Lincoln

College Choice Score: 61.16

Average Net Price: $15,648

School Website

Overview

Located in Lincoln, NE, University of Nebraska—Lincoln was founded in 1869 and currently enrolls 19,979 students. The average class size is 20-49 students, the student teacher ratio is 21:1, and 84 percent of first year students return for their second year.

Program Details

University of Nebraska, Lincoln has a BFA in studio art that allows the undergraduate to choose an area of focus. A focus in graphic design would give the student the opportunity to develop a strong portfolio and will lead students to various professional fields. Sample courses:

  • Photography
  • Printmaking
  • Ceramics

Notables

University of Nebraska’s Academic Score: 42. The approximate undergraduate tuition: $760 per credit. The program is structured to help candidates develop a strong portfolio that can lead to either professional work or graduate school.

42

University at Buffalo—​SUNY

College Choice Score: 59.29

Average Net Price: $11,464

School Website

Overview

Located in Buffalo, NY, University at Buffalo—SUNY was founded in 1846 and currently enrolls 19,829 students. The average class size is 20-49 students, the student teacher ratio is 13:1, and 87.8 percent of first year students return for their second year.

Program Details

The Graphic Design Bachelor of Art’s program of the University at Buffalo, SUNY focuses on the broad nature of design and has therefore allowed space for undergraduates to minor or double major in another program. Sample courses include:

  • Sculpture
  • Print media
  • Photography

Notables

With an very high Academic Score: 44, and an approximate undergraduate tuition: $743 per credit, University at Buffalo—​SUNY is an incredible value! With a number of graphic design tracks to choose from, you can specialize your education.

43

Purchase College--SUNY

College Choice Score: 57.54

Average Net Price: $17,336

School Website

Overview

Located in Purchase, NY, Purchase College–SUNY was founded in 1967 and currently enrolls 4,188 students. The average class size is less than 20 students, the student teacher ratio is 15:1, and 81.5 percent of first year students return for their second year.

Program Details

Purchase University, State University of New York focuses on both digital and print-based design. The program prepares students for the professional world by focusing on both formal and conceptual skills and how they intersect. Courses include:

  • Letterpress workshop
  • Book structures
  • Digital media for designers

Notables

Purchase College– SUNY’s Academic Score: 39. The approximate undergraduate tuition: $603 per credit. For a rigorous program and a great value, Purchase College can’t be beat.

44

University of Cincinnati

College Choice Score: 57.42

Average Net Price: $20,141

School Website

Overview

Located in Cincinnati, OH, University of Cincinnati was founded in 1819 and currently enrolls 24,407 students. The average class size is less than 20 students, the student teacher ratio is 18:1, and 85.5 percent of first year students return for their second year.

Program Details

With a Bachelor of Science in Communication Design students at the University of Cincinnati receive a firm foundation in visual problem solving. The program is a sequence of design studios that help students develop critical and visual thinking. Sample courses:

  • Visual communication
  • Print based design
  • Design history

Notables

UC’s Academic Score: 34. Their approximate undergraduate tuition: $878 per credit. Renowned for their internship and co-op opportunities, UC students are career ready upon graduation.

45

School of Visual Arts

College Choice Score: 57.12

Average Net Price: $41,261

School Website

Overview

Located in New York, NY, School of Visual Arts was founded in 1947 and currently enrolls 4,408 students. The average class size is less than 20 students, the student teacher ratio is 9:1, and 83 percent of first year students return for their second year.

Program Details

Aiming for fostering conceptual thinkers, the School of Visual Arts program in Design focuses on producing professional-grade work. As such last-year students’ portfolios will be carefully examined by industry professionals who will provide feedback. Possible courses:

  • Typography
  • Interaction design
  • Advanced advertising

Notables

School of Visual Arts Academic Score: 20. The approximate undergraduate tuition: $1,217 per credit. If you’re up for a challenge and want to take your creativity to the next level, the School of Visual Arts can help you meet your goals.

46

University of Illinois--Chicago

College Choice Score: 56.11

Average Net Price: $11,494

School Website

Overview

Located in Chicago, IL, University of Illinois–Chicago was founded in 1858 and currently enrolls 16,707 students. The average class size is 20-49 students, the student teacher ratio is 17:1, and 79.3 percent of first year students return for their second year.

Program Details

University of Illinois, Chicago School of Design offers a Bachelor of Design degree in Graphic Design that is focused on practical knowledge. This approach gets students prepared to respond to problems as a professional would. Sample courses:

  • Interactivity and motion
  • Form and systems
  • Art history

Notables

University of Illinois’ Academic Score: 36. The approximate undergraduate tuition: $884 per credit. Steeped in traditions of studio-based instruction, UIC Design programs are structured to reflect and advance rapid developments in the field.

47

University of Kansas

College Choice Score: 55.18

Average Net Price: $18,485

School Website

Overview

Located in Lawrence, KS, University of Kansas was founded in 1865 and currently enrolls 19,343 students. The average class size is less than 20 students, the student teacher ratio is 17:1, and 79.8 percent of first year students return for their second year.

Program Details

The University of Kansas fosters thoughtful and creative design that aims to serve people’s needs. As such Students will be trained to be problem solvers who not only understand the surface of a problem but its underlying function as well. Possible courses include:

  • Typography
  • Printmaking
  • Photography

Notables

University of Kansas’ Academic Score: 40. The approximate undergraduate tuition: $858 per credit. With small class sizes and excellent guidance counseling, University of Kansas supports its students from start to finish.

48

San Francisco Art Institute

College Choice Score: 54.22

Average Net Price: $44,999

School Website

Overview

Located in San Francisco, CA, San Francisco Art Institute was founded in 1871 and currently enrolls 467 students. The average class size is less than 20 students, the student teacher ratio is 11:1, and 62.5 percent of first year students return for their second year.

Program Details

Challenge conventions, embrace risk, and push students to discover uncharted artistic terrains, San Francisco Art Institute provides its students the opportunity to learn how to express themselves creatively through visual communication without losing sight of the end user. Possible courses include:

  • Sculpture
  • Printmaking
  • Art and technology

Notables

San Francisco Art Institute’s Academic Score: 20. The approximate undergraduate tuition: $1,376 per credit.

49

Southern Illinois University—​Carbondale

College Choice Score: 53.03

Average Net Price: $15,595

School Website

Overview

Located in Carbondale, IL, Southern Illinois University—Carbondale was founded in 1869 and currently enrolls 13,461 students. The average class size is less than 20 students, the student teacher ratio is 15:1, and 64.3 percent of first year students return for their second year.

Program Details

Graphic Design students at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale have access to access to the Design Research Studio. This hybrid teaching, research, and client-meeting space is equipped with scanning and printing capabilities as well as an interactive smart board to ensure interaction among students and clients. Sample courses:

  • Art history
  • Intro to design
  • Visual communication

Notables

Southern Illinois University—​Carbondale’s Academic Score: 31. The approximate undergraduate tuition: $880 per credit. By focusing on message content and theory in print, web, and interactive/multimedia design, the program prepares students to work in many fields.

50

University of North Texas

College Choice Score: 51.52

Average Net Price: $10,202

School Website

Overview

Located in Denton, TX, University of North Texas was founded in 1890 and currently enrolls 29,723 students. The average class size is 20-49 students, the student teacher ratio is 24:1, and 77.3 percent of first year students return for their second year.

Program Details

University of North Texas seeks to develop a student’s conceptual thinking and creative problem solving skills within in their BFA in Communication Design program. This program is not solely interested in advanced technology but the principles and disciplines of graphic design. Sample courses:

  • Illustration
  • Typography
  • Printmaking

Notables

UNT’s Academic Score: 20. The approximate undergraduate tuition: $726 per credit. Participants of the program will learn to be effective conceptual thinkers and, most importantly, creative problem solvers.

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