If being creative, creating brands, and utilizing your artistic skills to make businesses successful is where your passions lie, then graphic design is for you!
To some, working in a field that allows them to innovate and flex their creative muscles is the most important aspect of any job, but luckily those with a degree in graphic design don’t have to sacrifice good pay for their passions. Our top 25 accredited online colleges for graphic design will give you the tools and experience necessary to turn your passion for art and design into a rewarding career. For those out there who are new to graphic design or who don’t really know what the field entails, keep reading to learn all you need to know!
What Will You Learn With a Graphic Design Degree?
According to Dictionary.com, graphic design is “the art or profession of visual communication that combines images, words, and ideas to convey information to an audience, especially to produce a specific effect.” You can tell by this definition that graphic design is a creative pursuit often used to persuade people to purchase a service or item offered by a business.
During the process of earning a graphic design degree, students will learn a wide variety of topics including but not limited to web design, user interface and interactive design, motion graphics and animation, digital photography and imaging, illustration, digital filmmaking, advertising, and publication and typographic design.
Some of the programs listed below are concentrated in web design, general communication techniques, or business aspects of graphic design. One thing in common among the programs listed below is that they focus on harnessing and fostering their students’ artistic ability while giving them the skills necessary to earn a living.
What Are the Best Accredited Online Colleges for Graphic Design Degrees?
Accredited Online College uses the most recent data from the Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics. Each program is scored individually. It’s then compared to all other universities offering that degree to determine the final score you see by each ranking. Accredited Online College considers the affordability, student-to-faculty ratio, and the number of programs offered on-campus and online. For more information, see our methodology page.
Affordability and world-renowned quality education are what separate Penn State World Campus’s Bachelor of Design in Digital Multimedia Design from its competition. This is an interdisciplinary program that will give students the skills needed for digital media design, marketing, and technological proficiency, among other skillsets. Students will use their newly obtained knowledge from this program to design processes to solve real-world design issues.
This program consists of 120 credit hours of coursework, with tuition rates ranging from $576 to $617 per credit hour. Through Penn State’s project-based curriculum, students will develop a portfolio consisting of relevant digital multimedia design content to showcase their skill set to future employers when it’s time to apply to jobs. Students will take 75 credit hours of major-specific coursework while working toward their degree, which provides ample opportunity to explore various digital multimedia design areas.
While you may have a natural talent for creating art, the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design at Liberty University focuses on honing your natural abilities in a career in which you get paid to do what you love. It’s also important to know your future career inside and out, which is why this university allows students to dive deep into the history of art and how this field has progressed over time. While pursuing this degree, you’ll be working in a collaborative environment where both peers and instructors will assess your work and provide constructive feedback on how you can take your art to the next level.
The BFA in Graphic Design from this university teaches students to work with Adobe Creative Suite, which will include programs like Photoshop and InDesign. Students enrolled in this program will be required to complete a 30-credit-hour practicum experience and an 80-credit-hour internship experience before graduating with their diploma.
National University realizes that art and the people who create it influence how people see the world, so faculty here take their job to teach students digital media design seriously. The Bachelor of Arts in Digital Media Design from National University gives students the experience necessary to work with a variety of creative design tools within the field to step into jobs ranging from marketing to education, to entertainment.
Choosing National University may be the best financial investment you can make, as currently, the school is offering more than $30 million in new scholarships to students as a way to celebrate them. The classes offered through this university are held in four-week modules, so those who tend to get bored with subjects fast may find their ideal degree program at National.
A complete, well-rounded education in graphic information is what you’ll be receiving if you choose the Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design from Bellevue University. This program combines the creative aspects of design with the technical skills needed to implement design for businesses. The program has a specific focus on teaching its students how to effectively utilize graphic design for print and web mediums.
The BA in Graphic Design from this university is composed of 127 credit hours of work, 49 credit hours of which are dedicated to the graphic design major. All students enrolled at Bellevue University are required to complete the Kirkpatrick Signature Series, which consists of three courses: American Vision and Values, Tradition and Change, and Freedom and Responsibility. This program leads students to explore the role they have as citizens in the United States.
Rasmussen College has a unique design program that allows students to earn their Associate’s in Graphic Design, which they can then transfer toward their Bachelor’s in Graphic Design. To complete the associate’s degree, students will take 25 courses for a total of 91 credits. Examples of classes you may take in the associate’s program are Digital Photography and Image Editing, Web Design Fundamentals, and Graphic Design Portfolio.
The Associate’s in Graphic Design from this college gives its students the skills needed to get into the graphic design field and start utilizing graphic design information learned. The bachelor’s degree is a continuation of this graphic design information and consists of 180 credit hours. Rasmussen College also allows transfer students from other colleges, with the average student transferring 26 credit hours into the Associate’s in Graphic Design program.
Students searching for a graphic design program with a curriculum laser-focused on the applicable skills necessary for working in the graphic design field will find a program that exceeds their expectations at the University of Maryland Global Campus. The curriculum in this Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Communication is organized around creating a portfolio of projects that can be shown to future employers.
This is a 120-credit-hour program with 33 credit hours of major-specific coursework. Students can also select a minor, which can be completed through the program’s 46 credit hours of minor and elective coursework. Whether you decide to work for yourself or for a communications company following graduation, this degree will prepare you for success. You’ll also be taught by professors who have experience working for design groups, which can be an excellent resource for focusing your skillset on precisely what employers are looking for in applicants.
Arizona State University is known for its innovations, and the same can be said for the school’s Bachelor of Science in Graphic Information Technology program, which focuses on web design. After completing this program, students will be prepared for employment as both graphic designers and web designers. Graduates of this program have gone on to work for large companies such as Boeing and Shutterfly, among many others.
Online classes at ASU are held in 7.5-week blocks, with the BS in Graphic Information Technology comprising 120 credit hours. Some classes you may take while pursuing this degree include Introduction to Web Authoring, Graphic Communications, and Digital Video Techniques, to name a few. To gain unconditional admission to this program as a transfer student, you’ll be expected to have completed an associate’s degree with at least a 2.0 cumulative GPA, for Arizona residents, or a 2.5 GPA, for non-Arizona residents.
The Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design from Full Sail University can be completed in as little as 29 months of full-time, online study. The program promises to hone a student’s practical skills in integration, advertising, and branding. Full Sail makes it easy for students to know exactly what each month of their degree program will look like, with its online program overview, which can be found on the school’s website.
The courses in the BS in Graphic Design program are held in one-month blocks, with many of the months requiring students to take only one class at a time. What’s more, the school allows online students to apply to the Momentum Scholarship, which awards up to $25,000 toward tuition, so if you’re interested in this program, be sure to fill out a scholarship application!
Doesn’t it make sense that if you’re going to a university to learn graphic design then the information should be taught utilizing beautiful layouts and design techniques? This is what the Academy of Art University thinks, which is why its online graphic design program is presented using the very methods that are taught. Students review the materials presented through videos, powerpoints, and live streams, and they submit coursework in ways that are open to instructors and classmates for feedback.
Students can even attach audio files or videos of themselves explaining their submitted coursework, making for a more interactive and collaborative learning environment. This university points out that its online students will be learning the same content as its on-campus students, with the major difference being the flexible schedule that comes with the online degree.
Hodges University offers both an Associate of Arts in Digital Design & Graphics and a Bachelor’s in Interdisciplinary Studies with the Digital Design & Graphics Track to its prospective graphic design students. The associate’s program instills in students essential concepts and skills required to start working in the graphic design field, while the bachelor’s program aims to further develop that graphic design knowledge and teach students soft skills that will set them apart from other candidates to future employers.
The AA in Digital Design & Graphics has monthly start dates and carries additional certification from the American Digital Design Association (ADDA). Students enrolled in the AA program are able to explore subjects such as 2D and 3D graphics, video game design, print and media design, photography, and marketing graphics.
The Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design and Media Arts from Southern New Hampshire University gives its students the ability to concentrate their degree in 3D Modeling and Animation or Web Design. Examples of courses you may take while enrolled in the 3D Modeling and Animation concentration include Intro to Digital Sculpting, 3D Modeling and Animation, and Interactive Animation.
SNHU’s Bachelor’s in Graphic Design aims at creating foundational skills in design thinking, digital media, brand identity, and professional practice. Students can transfer up to 90 credit hours of the required 120 credit hours from another university. Tuition is also set at a reasonable rate, with students spending $320 per credit hour, and the degree’s net price at just over $39,000.
The Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design and Digital Media from California Baptist University is an excellent option for individuals either wanting to start their journey in graphic design or wishing to build upon their knowledge to move up in their current company. This is another program that designs its curriculum around applicable job skills and the creation of a professional portfolio. The digital media and graphic design major consists of 48 credit hours of coursework.
CBU Online reports that the average student enrolled in this program is able to complete their degree in only 16 months. Students enrolled in the BA in Graphic Design and Digital Media program can expect to take classes such as Fundamental Design, Fundamental Typology, and Fundamental Image before moving on to more advanced courses. Students at this university are also required to take an Overview of the Bible and Foundations of Christian Thought before graduating with their degree.
Individuals looking to break into a new web design career should take a minute to look at Herzing University’s Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design with a concentration in Web Design. This program is 124 credit hours in duration, with the core graphic design curriculum based upon 13 courses. What’s more, while other graphic design programs may not spend a significant amount of time laying a business foundation, this university incorporates a course in the curriculum to do just that.
The Web Design concentration consists of 24 credit hours of coursework spread over eight classes, which gives students exposure to all aspects of the specialty. Herzing University does require students pursuing their Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design with a concentration in Web Design to complete a capstone course and internship in graphic design in their final semester.
Students needing a program that starts by teaching the very basics of art theory before diving deeper into graphic design specifics will find the Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design from Kentucky Wesleyan College exactly what they have been looking for. With this program, everyone in your cohort starts at the same level, giving those with less experience in art and design time to catch up with their peers.
In this 120-credit-hour BA in Graphic Design program, the graphic design major’s core curriculum requires 42 credit hours. It should be pointed out that the major’s core curriculum includes a senior seminar class and two internship classes, totaling nine credit hours. This program specifies that students also complete nine credit hours of art history electives consisting of three classes, which include Art History; Prehistoric and Neoclassic; Art History: American Art; and Art History: Modern Arts.
Pushing the creative edge of artistic innovation is what the Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design degree from the LA Film School is designed to do. Who better to teach how to push the envelope of creativity than a school dedicated to the arts? The school outfits its students with the tools needed to be successful in the program, including a DSLR camera and a Macbook computer with all the required software.
The students enrolled in this program will be trained in subjects such as digital image-making, photography, experiential design, web design, brand development, and portfolio development, among others. The school’s website touts that its graduates have gone on to work for companies such as Disney, Marvel, news stations, and many others. Plus, since the school is located in Hollywood, you’ll be taught by world-class entertainers and artists who have worked in the art industry!
If you choose to pursue Upper Iowa University Bachelor’s in Graphic Design, you’ll start learning graphic design in your first year as a freshman. This university focuses on teaching students problem-solving skills, which is an often under-advertised skill by other schools. If you find that your interest lies more in communications or marketing, then you may want to choose the Digital Design minor, which consists of 24 credit hours of coursework.
The Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design degree is a 120-credit-hour program in which students will take 42 credit hours specific to the Graphic Design major. Examples of courses you may end up taking in this major include Advertising Design, Web Publishing and Social Media, and Publication Design. The minor’s core curriculum in graphic design includes the three classes listed above as well as Introduction to Graphic Design, Typology, a photography or video-editing class, and a digital imaging or digital illustration class.
The University of Massachusetts Lowell’s certificate program in Graphic Design and Digital Imaging may be the ideal program for someone who wants to learn the skills necessary to work in the graphic design field but doesn’t want to earn another degree. This certificate program includes 11 courses for a total of 33 credit hours. Through this curriculum, students will take classes such as Introduction to Graphic Design, Fundamentals of Typology, and Photographic Imaging. Students admitted into the program will also participate in the Portfolio Production Seminar, which takes place in the spring and summer semesters.
If you complete this certificate program and then decide you want to go back and complete a bachelor’s degree, rest assured that all the work you put into the certificate won’t go to waste. Some of the coursework completed in the certificate program will be accepted to count toward the school’s Bachelor of Science in Information Technology’s credit requirement.
Students enrolled in the online Bachelor’s in Marketing Communications from Midway University are able to concentrate their studies in either Writing or Graphic Design. As the name of the degree suggests, a major focus of the program is in marketing communication and advertising, which is a perfect complement to graphic design. The school maintains small class sizes, with a 16:1 student-to-faculty ratio, so you’re sure to get the attention and help you need when encountering difficult topics.
Those who select the Graphic Design concentration will be introduced to topics such as digital storytelling, animation, photoshop, social media management, and brand management. The program takes students four years to complete, and classes are held in accelerated eight-week modules.
The BA/BS in Graphic Design offered by the Department of Visual Arts at South Eastern University was created to teach, guide, and inspire generation after generation of visual artists. The university also holds to the servant-leadership model, which the school expects its students to adopt through participation in their local communities. Students in the graphic design program become proficient in programs like Adobe InDesign, Photoshop, and Illustrator to create graphic designs.
South Eastern University also offers various other programs for those not committed to completing a bachelor’s degree in this subject, such as the minor in graphic design, the Associate of Arts in Graphic Design, and the Associate of Arts in Graphic Design with an emphasis in Web Design. You’ll also want to check out some of the scholarships that this university has to offer its online students, which could end up saving you thousands in student loans.
Rocky Mountain College believes that a well-rounded, thorough education requires multiple sources and perspectives on a particular topic, which is exactly what you’ll get with the school’s Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design. Students in this program will be exposed to a liberal arts education while learning the technical knowledge and skills required to effectively utilize design software. If you’re curious about the kind of knowledge you’ll obtain in this program, you can visit the college’s website and check out the examples of work past students have completed.
With the BFA in Graphic design, students will become proficient in subjects such as typography, UI/UX, visual storytelling, creating written and verbal presentations, and operating design software. What’s more, some of the professors in the program are still working in the design field, so you’ll be exposed to the latest and most applicable knowledge.
Berkeley College’s Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design is a program designed to teach students how to think critically and creatively about solving problems. This program also offers students small class sizes, access to the most current design technology, and numerous networking opportunities. Berkeley College also promises to expose students to past media artforms and cutting-edge graphic design theories.
Students in this program will learn about a broad range of topics including web design, user interface and interactive design, motion graphics and animation, illustration, and much more. Students admitted into this program have the ability to submit their work to the school’s web department so that, if chosen, the entire school can admire your newly acquired graphic design skills.
The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design at Boston University is a degree program that starts by easing students into the basics of visual concepts. Year two is defined by students taking a deep dive into graphic design courses, giving them the basic foundation of their future career. Year three of the program will focus on students’ attention to audience and how to formulate and deliver effective graphic design products.
The final year of the program is when students combine all they have learned into an applied-thesis project to showcase their skills and ability to implement completed projects. Through these four years, the university incrementally introduces students to new skills that they are able to build over time, culminating in a graphic design graduate ready to change the world through visual communication.
Learn more about Accredited Online Programs For Graphic Design at Boston University here.
Lesley University knows the importance of being able to apply the knowledge learned to the kinds of problems you’ll face after graduation, which is why an internship is a core requirement for graduating with the school’s Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design degree. The school has developed relationships with big companies like Hasbro, New Balance, Puma, and others, and landing an internship with one of these companies can give you experience working on mega national brands that students elsewhere just won’t have the opportunity to work with.
Lesley University gives students the ability to customize their degree around what interests them, which becomes particularly valuable when you’re interested in graphic design and another subject such as political science or sports marketing and management. Enroll in this program, and you can combine your graphic design major with one of more than three dozen minors for an educational experience tailored to you and what you love.
For someone who wants to complete their degree quickly without the unnecessary and often uninteresting elective courses that other universities require students to take, the Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design at Independence University is ideal. The program is able to be completed, start to finish, in just 37 months, which is nearly a year quicker than other bachelor’s degrees!
Students in the graphic design major at Independence University are also given educational tools to succeed, with a tablet, keyboard, and laptop with all the software you’ll need for the program provided. Courses are held in one-month modules, which means you can give intense focus to each class and move on to another after mastery without becoming bored.
The Master of Science in Biomedicine and Digital Media program from Drexel University is a program that combines digital art design with science and technology, creating graduates uniquely qualified to create media designs for the health and science fields. Students in this program are taught by professors at Drexel University’s College of Medicine as well as by those in its College of Media Arts and Design, so students learn from experts in their specific field.
The MS in Biomedicine and Digital Media is a 36-credit-hour program that can be completed in as little as one year of full-time study. If you decide to enroll in this program, you won’t have to worry about completing a thesis, and the school works with students to ensure that they complete an internship that works for them on their schedules.
What Requirements Will You Need to Meet to Apply to a Graphic Design Degree Program?
What you’ll need to be a competitive applicant and gain admission to your chosen program will depend on a few factors, including the program you want to obtain admission into, the type of degree you wish to pursue, and whether you are entering the program as a freshman or transferring from another university.
It’s important to note that each program may have specific requirements that can differ from others, so always check the admission requirements for your desired program, which you can find on the school’s website. That being said, there are a few requirements that most schools are going to want their applicants to meet before admission.
Freshmen without previous college experience or completed coursework will need to submit proof that they completed high school or a GED program. Additionally, many schools will require that freshmen submit their ACT or SAT scores. Sometimes schools have programs that will waive the SAT or ACT requirements if applicants complete a sequence of prerequisite courses.
Students transferring from another university or who have completed college coursework in the past will be asked to submit their official transcripts from each school they previously attended. Many programs will require that students with previous college experience have maintained at least a 2.5 cumulative GPA. Individuals who don’t meet this minimum GPA requirement may be asked to take specific classes to prove to the school that they can be successful in the program.
While the above general requirements often apply to a BS or BA degree, those wanting admission to a BFA degree may also have to submit artwork or have specific experience working in the arts to gain admission. Because a BFA program emphasizes applied skills, some programs want to make sure you have the ability and talent to be successful in your studies.
What Are the Differences Between Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, and Bachelor of Fine Arts Degrees?
The decision to pursue a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, or Bachelor of Fine Arts degree comes down to what you want to learn throughout your coursework.
A Bachelor of Arts degree will have more of an emphasis on a liberal arts education, which will develop a broad knowledge base of critical thinking and complex problem-solving. Students in a Bachelor of Arts program take science-related courses, art courses, and courses in psychology and sociology.
A Bachelor of Science degree has more of a focus on a particular subject matter than does the Bachelor of Arts degree. Typically those enrolled in a BS program plan on pursuing graduate or professional education after graduation. As the name suggests, those in a Bachelor of Science program are likely to study more science-related topics such as mathematics or natural sciences, such as biology or chemistry.
A Bachelor of Fine Arts degree is designed for undergraduate students wanting a focused, practical education in the arts. The emphasis of this degree is on teaching students how to create art through classes that allow the theories’ hands-on implementation.
What Kind of Job Can I Get With a Graphic Design Degree?
Those who earn a graphic design degree are able to work in a large variety of fields because of the wide range of skills and knowledge obtained in their education. Many graduates of these programs will go on to careers in graphic design that will earn a median income of $52,110 per year.
Others may have a passion for advertising, web design, creative direction, or video editing. Advertising and promotion managers earn an excellent annual salary of $125,510, web designers bring in $73,760, creative directors can expect $94,220, and video editors make $63,780.
These are just a few examples of common careers that those with graphic design degrees enter, but remember that the skills taught in these degrees, namely the ability to recognize and create art, can be utilized in many different kinds of businesses. The ability to see opportunity and your motivation to pursue the exact niche that excites you are the limiting factors in what you can do with a graphic design degree.