Best Master’s In Graphic Design Degrees 2022

A ranking of the best master's in graphic design programs. Programs ranked by affordability, flexibility, and academic quality.

Best Master’s In Graphic Design Degrees 2022

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Master's in graphic design degrees prepare learners for a competitive job market. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects jobs for graphic designers to grow only 3% from 2020-2030. Graduates may also work as user experience designers or product developers. These and other jobs pay more than the U.S. median salary.

Applicants to master's in graphic design programs usually submit a portfolio, personal statement, and resume. Some programs recommend recommendation letters. Classes vary by program but may cover topics like typographic voice and design research.

This page lists some of the best master's in graphic design degrees. Read on to learn about costs, common classes, and how to become a graphic designer.

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Questions About Graphic Design

Which degree is best for graphic design?

Many employers require at least a bachelor's degree for entry-level positions. Prospective graphic designers with a bachelor's in another field can apply to a master's or graduate certificate program.

What jobs can I get with a graphic design degree?

Graduates may work as industrial designers, multimedia artists, or web developers. Their specialization determines their career options.

How long does a graphic design degree take?

Master's in graphic design programs take 2-3 years to complete. Students with a background in the field can enter a two-year program. Learners switching careers need more time, as they take additional foundation classes.

Why Get a Degree in Graphic Design?

Master's in graphic design degrees let students develop their skills and build professional portfolios. Degree-seekers network with peers and make connections at internships. Both may lead to a job after graduation.

Many online master's in graphic design programs let students continue working while in school. Asynchronous programs let degree-seekers listen to lectures when convenient. Many students choose online learning to enroll in a top out-of-state program.

How Much Does a Graphic Design Degree Cost?

A master's degree in the arts costs an average of $72,800, according to EducationData.org. This figure does not include fees, textbooks, and other education-related expenses. Learners can save money by enrolling in a public, in-state university. Prospective degree-seekers exploring the best master's in graphic design degrees can compare schools' tuition rates.

Learners can reduce their need for student loans by entering contests and applying for private scholarships. They can also apply to schools with institutional scholarships and grants. The federal government awards grants to degree-seekers with financial need. Learners qualify by submitting the FAFSA.

How Much Do Graphic Design Majors Make?

Graphic designers earn a median annual salary of $53,380, according to the BLS. Professionals can make more by working in the advertising or public relations field. Locations with the best-paying jobs include the District of Columbia, Washington, and Massachusetts. Workers there earn $70,180-$83,070.

Graphic designers may increase their salary potential with additional education. Options include enrolling in a degree or certificate program. Professionals can also earn an industry certification. Graphic design software companies award certifications to designers who pass an exam and meet other requirements.

Courses in Graphic Design

A two-year master's in graphic design program offers a core curriculum and lets students select electives. Options may include typography, graphic design history, and film production. Degree-seekers complete a final-semester capstone project. They put what they produce in the capstone into their professional portfolio.

See below for three common classes in master's in graphic design programs. Please note that offerings and graduate outcomes vary by school. Students should compare programs closely and consider their career goals before applying. Programs' websites and schools' admissions advisors can provide more information.

  • Research Seminar

    Students in this first-year class start planning their final-semester research project. Degree-seekers examine historical and current graphic design examples. These and other exercises help learners identify their interests. Students also discuss their preferences with a professor. This class may include a lecture and laboratory component.
  • Advanced Graphic Design

    Most programs require at least two advanced graphic design classes. The first class helps students master specific skills and learn new ones, such as typography fundamentals. Degree-seekers complete many small projects showing what they learned. Some of these examples go into learners' professional portfolios. Students complete more complex projects in advanced graphic design II.
  • Combined Studio

    This third-semester class requires many projects learners complete in groups or individually. Students experiment in different graphic design mediums. This helps them discover professional interests and potential careers. Degree-seekers create art in a virtual or on-campus lab.

How to Become a Graphic Designer

Aspiring graphic designers need at least a bachelor's to enter the profession. A college education helps learners develop a portfolio. Many open positions require a portfolio. Prospective degree-seekers should consider schools with National Association of Schools of Art and Design accreditation.

A graphic designer's typical day involves meeting with clients, using different software, and creating original art. They also select layouts and present different concepts to managers. Graphic designers use their clients' feedback to improve their work. Many graphic designers work for themselves. Others work for specialized design services agencies or advertising firms.

Best Master's in Graphic Design Degrees

#1

Savannah College of Art and Design

School Information
Location Savannah, Georgia
Admission Rate 96%
Graduation Rate 70%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 20% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Without significantly interrupting their lives, graduate students can earn degrees at Savannah College of Art and Design, an institution that emphasizes flexibility and accessibility. A master of arts in graphic design and visual experience is among the 13 online master's degrees delivered from the Savannah, Georgia, campus. This adaptable degree is ideal for full-time workers, caregivers, and others who want to pursue graduate education but need flexibility to do it.

Application requirements include a bachelor’s degree in the same field or other criteria as stipulated on the program website. A master’s degree, such as the master of arts in graphic design and visual experience program, is a worthy undertaking for many people because the investment often pays off with advanced job opportunities and potentially higher pay. Degree recipients can also apply to terminal programs in their field, such as a Ph.D.

The tuition rate stands at $38,475 per year at the school. If they qualify, learners can use grants and scholarships to help fund their education. Many students use loans to help pay for the program's tuition.

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#2

ArtCenter College of Design

School Information
Location Pasadena, California
Admission Rate 71%
Graduation Rate 69%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 5% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

ArtCenter College of Design provides students with an online graphic design program that ranks highly among similar degree offerings. The master of design in brand design and strategy prepares learners for high-level career opportunities not always available to those who hold a bachelor’s alone. Graduates of the graphic design master's can also choose to pursue a terminal degree, such as a Ph.D.

The program offers a format conducive to effective time-management that many learners need. Students may want an advanced degree but have other concerns, such as caregiving and employment, and this flexible degree supports those endeavors. Enrollees tend to do better in educational environments such as this, where personalized learning is emphasized and faculty support is available to all.

It is to be expected that master's degree-seekers will need a bachelor’s to apply to this program. About 71% of applicants get accepted to this school on average, but you may find that programs have different averages. Students can use financial aid, such as loans and grants, to pay the annual tuition, which is approximately $46,788 for California residents.

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#3

Academy of Art University

School Information
Location San Francisco, California
Graduation Rate 45%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 69% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Academy of Art University’s academic catalog includes rigorous graduate education available online. The master of arts in graphic design and digital media is one of those programs, designed for degree-holders with a bachelor’s in graphic design or a related field. The graduate program provides advanced training in a format friendly to those who work or have to manage other obligations.

The 14-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio is a big draw for people who want more individualized attention and faculty mentorship opportunities. The curriculum is steeped in advanced theoretical concepts and practices in graphic design. The training learners receive is an important step for career advancement or a doctoral degree in this field and related ones.

Students enrolled in the program pay a yearly average of $25,992 in tuition. The financial aid department can explore funding opportunities with degree-seekers, and the options may include scholarships and grants. Another method to fund education is through student loans, and about 47% of enrollees use them to finance all or part of their degree.

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