Graphic designers use visual concepts and creative art to promote ideas and attract consumers.

Best graphic design bachelors

Through a variety of technology outlets, professionals can work in marketing and public relations, design services, or publishing. Graphic designers often choose to become self-employed or work remotely for larger corporations. For the best career opportunities, students generally need at least a bachelor of graphic design degree to obtain training in the latest design software. Through these programs, learners can begin to compile their portfolios to present to future employers and decide which graphic design outlet best suits their area of interest. The graphic design industry remains competitive, making the quality of a student’s education even more important. To help narrow down the options, we have ranked the best graphic design bachelor’s degrees available for students interested in a fine arts education that will get them on the path toward a lucrative career with flexible scheduling.

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

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.

3

Rhode Island School of Design

College Choice Score: 92.42

Average Net Price: $37,949

School Website

Overview

Students earning their bachelor of graphic design education at Rhode Island School of Design gain a thorough understanding of design processes and communication theories. With classes taking place at the Design Center, learners cover a wide variety of topics, including film, media posters, and print publishing. Each year, design critics join the students to offer constructive criticism on work and provide further expertise on subject matter. The core curriculum includes formal, analytical, technical design, and sensory experiences, offering students a hands-on approach to learning. RISD’s graphic design program culminates in a special project that demonstrates the student’s skill set.

4

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.

5

California Institute of the Arts

College Choice Score: 89.39

Average Net Price: $47,362

School Website

Overview

California’s Institute of the Arts offers a bachelor of fine arts degree in graphic design with smaller class sizes to provide each student with more one-on-one attention. Coursework covers web design, broadcast and film graphics, branding, publication design, and design history. Students gain 24-hour access to labs and live in close quarters with other BFA graphic design students to encourage collaboration. Admissions remain competitive, often based on the student’s creativity and commitment levels, and requires submitting an audition or portfolio with the application. The California Institute of Arts boasts many art-centered clubs for students to join, including Masterpeace, GameMakers, and CalArts Eye, the campus multimedia publication.

6

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.

7

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.

8

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.

9

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.

10

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.

11

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.

12

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.

13

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.

14

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!

15

Art Center College of Design

College Choice Score: 78.79

Average Net Price: $43,775

School Website

Overview

The Art Center College of Design began in 1930 as a way for students to gain practical experience in various design industries. Within the Art Center, students can earn their bachelor’s degree in graphic design using multiple forms of media to create apps, branding, and digital magazines. Students receive access to many internship and mentoring opportunities through alumni and faculty connections. For consideration to the program, students must submit a detailed portfolio of previous work that includes a designed self-portrait. This helps the admissions staff determine the student’s skill levels and area of interests. Full-time programs consist of 12-19 units, and students can expect to graduate in four years.

16

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!

17

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.

18

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.

19

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.

20

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.

21

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.

22

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.

23

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!

24

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.

25

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!

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