Best Online Graphic Design Degrees 2022

Updated September 7, 2022

Best Online Graphic Design Degrees 2022

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Graphic designers use text and imagery to convey ideas and information to audiences. Taking inspiration from fine art, graphic design can factor into any form of visual media, including websites, magazines, infographics, software interfaces, and corporate logos.

Today, most graphic design work occurs on computers, making the field ideal for online study. Online graphic design programs enable students to work remotely, mimicking the online environment in which many freelance graphic designers find employment. The flexibility of online learning also makes it easier for students to maintain a job while pursuing their degree.

This page ranks the best online graphic design programs. It also covers important information for prospective students, including common courses, career and salary information, and scholarships for graphic design students.

FAQ on Online Graphic Designs Degrees

Q. What is graphic design?

Graphic design visually communicates information, conveying ideas through text and images. Graphic designers may work with a variety of media, such as websites, magazines, and software interfaces.

Q. How long does it take to earn a graphic design degree?

Most graphic design bachelor's degree programs take four years of full-time study to complete. Master's in graphic design programs typically take 1-2 years to complete.

Q. What kind of graphic design degree can I get?

Many schools offer graphic design degrees at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Many schools also offer graphic design associate degrees and certificates.

Q. What is the difference between graphic design and fine art?

Graphic design focuses on visual communication, typically for commercial purposes. Fine art focuses on various artistic mediums, such as painting and sculpture.

Career and Salary Outlook for Graphic Design

Graphic designers may work with any type of media that involves a visual element. In print media, designers may create layouts and designs for book covers, magazines, catalogs, posters, and brochures. In digital media, they may create websites, user interfaces, and various other forms of digital imagery. Graphic designers may also create logos and other images for organizations.

Graphic designers often work as freelancers, but they can also find salaried work. After building significant professional experience, graphic designers may progress to roles such as art director, overseeing the visual direction of websites, print publications, or other media.

Salary levels vary widely in the field. For instance, graphic designers earn an annual median wage of $52,110, while art directors earn an annual median wage of $94,220. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects job openings for graphic designers to decrease from 2019-2029, but graphic designers with a bachelor's or master's degree can distinguish themselves in an increasingly competitive field.

Career and Salary Outlook
Career Lowest 10% Median Annual Salary Highest 10%
Graphic Designers Less than $30,810 $52,110 More than $89,210

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Accreditation for Graphic Design

When researching online graphic design programs, students should always make sure a school holds accreditation. Accreditation indicates that a school meets high standards with respect to factors like faculty qualifications, student learning outcomes, and academic rigor. Schools may receive regional or national accreditation, with regional accreditation generally considered the more prestigious of the two. Learn more about accreditation through our accreditation guide.

Programs within a school may also hold accreditation. Art and design schools may hold accreditation from the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools with NASAD accreditation typically maintain strong reputations for art education.

Courses in a Graphic Design Program

Graphic design programs cover a variety of theoretical and technical topics related to the concepts, history, and practice of art and visual communication. Graphic design students typically complete both art and design courses, exploring diverse topics such as the history of painting, typography, and modern desktop publishing. Many courses also focus on software such as Photoshop and Illustrator.

Courses vary by program, but this list highlights five courses commonly found in graphic design programs.

  • Digital Imaging

    Digital imaging and the use of digital software play a major role in graphic design. This course introduces key digital imaging concepts, theories, and processes. Learners study topics including image construction, printing, scanning, color correction, and image manipulation.
  • Typography

    The use of text figures heavily into graphic design and visual communication. This course examines the role of typographic information and its relationship with images. Students may explore topics including letterform, spacing, composition, and mechanical processes. Many courses also highlight the history of typography in visual communication.
  • Color Theory

    This course examines the role of color in design and visual communication. Learners study topics like color interactions, pictorial composition, light, and expressive uses of color in various media. Different color theory courses may focus on different mediums, such as painting, printmaking, or digital composition.
  • Intro. to Art History

    Most graphic design programs offer a curriculum rooted in the humanities. This course offers an overview of the history of art. Learners study the various impacts of art and artists throughout history, particularly within social, cultural, and economic contests.
  • Desktop Publishing

    This course focuses on desktop publishing applications such as Adobe Photoshop and InDesign. Students learn how to use these applications in the creation of visual works such as magazine covers, flyers, and brochures.

Scholarships for Graphic Design

Graphic design students can take advantage of scholarship opportunities to finance their education. Some scholarships serve candidates pursuing any type of art degree, while others award students specifically enrolled in graphic design programs. This list outlines three popular scholarships for graphic design students.

CBC Spouses Visual Arts Scholarship

Who Can Apply: The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation offers this scholarship to any Black student pursuing a degree in the visual arts, including graphic design. Applicants must include a personal statement and a sample of their visual work.

Amount: $3,000

Find My Frame Future Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Framing company Churchill Classics offers this scholarship to visual arts majors, including graphic design majors. Applicants must sustrongmit an original work demonstrating how they frame their future.

Amount: $5,000

Graphic Design Degree Hustrong Creativity Scholarship

Who Can Apply: GraphicDesignDegreeHustrong.com offers this scholarship to any college student majoring in graphic design, animation, multimedia design, or visual art. Applicants must sustrongmit a sample of their visual work.

Amount: $1,500

Best Online Graphic Designs Degrees

See our rankings methodology page.

This guide ranks the best graphic design degrees in the country. These programs combine comprehensive professional preparation with a flexible online format, preparing graduates for a variety of freelance and salaried positions in graphic design.

#1 Best Online Graphic Design Degrees 2022

Pennsylvania State University-World Campus

  • University Park, PA
  • 4 years
  • Online

A public institution, Pennsylvania State University World Campus offers educational opportunities with great flexibility to suit degree-seekers from all walks of life. Many people looking to start a graphic design-related career choose the top-ranking bachelor of design in digital multimedia design.

Connecting with premier faculty members and a supportive learning community benefits digital multimedia design students. Degree-seekers advance their personal and professional goals by completing coursework and projects in a remote learning space. Faculty-driven research, internships, and externships are some of the opportunities learners can get involved with. Enrollees work with advisors to tailor the program to their needs and interests with individualized coursework and hand-picked electives.

Many different internal and external opportunities for financial assistance help with the high price of an education at the college. Students who qualify benefit from fellowships, scholarships, and other types of aid.

Average Tuition
In-state
$13,484
Out-of-state
$13,484
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
76%
Students Enrolled
Not provided
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
Not provided
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#2 Best Online Graphic Design Degrees 2022

Arizona State University

  • Tempe, AZ
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

People seeking a flexible online education in should consider the bachelor of science in design in graphic design at Arizona State University. The public institution offers 54 online bachelor’s programs, providing industry-relevant education to 44,167 remote students. From its campus in Tempe, the college provides institutional resources to benefit its online learners, such as a supportive remote community.

Students in the bachelor of science in design in graphic design program learn industry knowledge in engaging classes. The degree curriculum consists of general educational and advanced coursework, with the option to modify classes and select electives. Experiential learning opportunities allow enrollees to supplement their education. Degree-seekers get first-hand experience of what it's like to work in the graphic design field through internships, externships, and research projects.

The admissions office can tell applicants more about enrollment requirements. Learners can also meet with the financial aid office to explore eligibility criteria for funding opportunities, as 86% of all students receive some form of financial assistance. Eligible learners can lower the price of their degree with scholarships, fellowships, and other aid opportunities.

Average Tuition
In-state
$8,867
Out-of-state
$19,282
Retention Rate
74%
Admission Rate
64%
Students Enrolled
45,073
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
98% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#3 Best Online Graphic Design Degrees 2022

Liberty University

  • Lynchburg, VA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Liberty University's bachelor of fine arts in graphic design suits individuals seeking a flexible remote education in graphic design. The private institution provides industry-relevant education to 78,511 remote degree-seekers, offering 30 of its bachelor's programs online. Distance learners benefit from a supportive online learning community and institutional resources, supported by the college through its main campus in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Graphic design students learn industry knowledge through hands-on classes. The curriculum for the graphic design degree includes courses on general education and advanced topics, with the option to individualize classes and choose electives. Enrollees supplement their education with hands-on learning experiences. Internships, externships, and research projects give degree-seekers first-hand knowledge of working in the graphic design field.

Prospective students should meet with the admissions office to discuss enrollment requirements. Of all learners, 99% receive some kind of financial assistance, so students should check with the financial aid office to see if they meet the eligibility criteria for any funding opportunities. Enrollees meeting the proper qualifications use scholarships, fellowships, and other types of aid to bring down the price of their degree.

Average Tuition
In-state
$15,417
Out-of-state
$15,417
Retention Rate
81%
Admission Rate
51%
Students Enrolled
85,586
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
92% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#4 Best Online Graphic Design Degrees 2022

Southern New Hampshire University

  • Manchester, NH
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Southern New Hampshire University's bachelor of arts in graphic design and media arts suits individuals seeking a flexible remote education in graphic design. The private institution features an online enrollment of 106,762 online degree-seekers and 35 industry-relevant virtual bachelor's programs. Institutional resources provided from the Manchester, New Hampshire, campus, such as a supportive online community, benefit the college's distance learners.

Students in the graphic design program gain industry knowledge through interactive classes. Courses in the graphic design curriculum cover general education and advanced topics and can be customized. Enrollees supplement their education with hands-on learning opportunities. Degree-seekers get first-hand experience of what it's like to work in the graphic design field through internships, externships, and research projects.

Prospective applicants should meet with the admissions office to discuss enrollment requirements. Students can check with the financial aid office to see if they qualify for any funding opportunities, since 77% of enrollees receive some kind of financial assistance. Lowering the cost of a degree is possible for learners who qualify for scholarships, fellowships, and other aid opportunities.

Average Tuition
In-state
$30,756
Out-of-state
$30,756
Retention Rate
65%
Admission Rate
88%
Students Enrolled
113,514
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
94% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes New England Commission on Higher Education

#5 Best Online Graphic Design Degrees 2022

Bellevue University

  • Bellevue, NE
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The premier online programs at Nebraska-based Bellevue University suit students seeking competitive study. The private institution's 54 online bachelor's programs enroll 11,008 remote learners. The bachelor of arts in graphic design provides a rigorous, industry-related education to degree-seekers interested in graphic design.

Graphic design program participants benefit from a supportive online community, connecting with peers and professors in a remote classroom space. Foundational and advanced topics in graphic design are covered in the program's classes, giving enrollees the relevant knowledge to prepare them for their future careers in the field. The hands-on practice learners get in internships, research projects, and other experiential learning opportunities builds their competency for a future profession in graphic design. Degree-seekers enjoy access to institution resources focused on student success, such as career and academic advising, throughout the course of the program.

Learners should meet with a financial aid officer to discuss funding opportunities to help with the costs of a graphic design degree. Students at the college enjoy many options for funding, including scholarships, fellowships, and federal financial aid. At the institution, 84% of enrollees receive some form of financial assistance.

Average Tuition
In-state
$7,176
Out-of-state
$7,176
Retention Rate
78%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
11,637
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
95% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

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