Best Bachelor’s in Graphic Design Programs

ASO Staff Writers
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Updated May 14, 2024
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Graphic designers use typography, illustration, and photography to create visually engaging content that communicates ideas to a target audience. Branding, logo design, and print newspapers and magazines all use graphic design.

A graphic design program will teach you about the design process in different kinds of media and the role of graphic design in business and branding. It will also help you develop a professional portfolio and become proficient in commonly used industry software.

Why Get a Graphic Design Degree?

  • Graphic design is a great way to apply your artistic skills to a career.
  • You can become proficient in web development, software, and other transferable tech skills.
  • You can use graphic design coursework as an opportunity to develop your portfolio.
  • A degree in graphic design can increase your employability and earning potential.
  • You’ll be able to get regular feedback from your instructors, allowing you to hone your artistic eye.

Did You Know?


  • chevron-rightBook designer William Addison Dwiggins coined the term “graphic design” in 1922.
  • chevron-rightSome graphic designers are experiential graphic designers — they work with architects, industrial designers, and interior designers to create museum exhibitions, retail spaces, and other interactive design environments.
  • chevron-rightThe top-paying industry for graphic designers is central bank monetary authorities, with an annual mean salary of $108,260.

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Best Bachelor’s in Graphic Design Programs

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#1 Best Bachelor’s in Graphic Design Programs

University of Arkansas at Little Rock

  • Location-markerLittle Rock, AR
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$6,495
  • Out-of-state$18,750
  • Retention Rate73%
  • Acceptance Rate56%
  • Students Enrolled8,899
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment84%
  • AccreditationYes
#2 Best Bachelor’s in Graphic Design Programs

Delgado Community College

  • Location-markerNew Orleans, LA
  • 2 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$3,335
  • Out-of-state$3,335
  • Retention Rate45%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled13,251
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment71%
  • AccreditationYes
#3 Best Bachelor’s in Graphic Design Programs

Maine College of Art & Design

  • Location-markerPortland, ME
  • 4 year
  • Campus
Average Tuition
  • In-State$37,580
  • Out-of-state$37,580
  • Retention Rate64%
  • Acceptance Rate70%
  • Students Enrolled435
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment2%
  • AccreditationYes
#4 Best Bachelor’s in Graphic Design Programs

Glen Oaks Community College

  • Location-markerCentreville, MI
  • 2 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$4,608
  • Out-of-state$5,472
  • Retention Rate57%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled950
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment59%
  • AccreditationYes
#5 Best Bachelor’s in Graphic Design Programs

Daemen College

  • Location-markerAmherst, NY
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$29,700
  • Out-of-state$29,700
  • Retention Rate79%
  • Acceptance Rate62%
  • Students Enrolled2,536
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment63%
  • AccreditationYes
#6 Best Bachelor’s in Graphic Design Programs

Liberty University

  • Location-markerLynchburg, VA
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$14,791
  • Out-of-state$14,791
  • Retention Rate81%
  • Acceptance Rate50%
  • Students Enrolled93,349
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment93%
  • AccreditationYes
#7 Best Bachelor’s in Graphic Design Programs

University of Northwestern - St. Paul

  • Location-markerSaint Paul, MN
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$32,490
  • Out-of-state$32,490
  • Retention Rate83%
  • Acceptance Rate92%
  • Students Enrolled3,506
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment72%
  • AccreditationYes
#8 Best Bachelor’s in Graphic Design Programs

West Kentucky Community and Technical College

  • Location-markerPaducah, KY
  • 2 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$4,296
  • Out-of-state$15,048
  • Retention Rate63%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled4,893
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment55%
  • AccreditationYes
#9 Best Bachelor’s in Graphic Design Programs

North Carolina State University

  • Location-markerRaleigh, NC
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$6,535
  • Out-of-state$26,654
  • Retention Rate94%
  • Acceptance Rate46%
  • Students Enrolled36,042
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment91%
  • AccreditationYes
#10 Best Bachelor’s in Graphic Design Programs

Ashland University

  • Location-markerAshland, OH
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$22,000
  • Out-of-state$22,000
  • Retention Rate77%
  • Acceptance Rate74%
  • Students Enrolled4,447
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment72%
  • AccreditationYes
#11 Best Bachelor’s in Graphic Design Programs

Susquehanna University

  • Location-markerSelinsgrove, PA
  • 4 year
  • Campus
Average Tuition
  • In-State$50,500
  • Out-of-state$50,500
  • Retention Rate88%
  • Acceptance Rate73%
  • Students Enrolled2,241
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment1%
  • AccreditationYes
#12 Best Bachelor’s in Graphic Design Programs

Southern Utah University

  • Location-markerCedar City, UT
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$6,006
  • Out-of-state$19,822
  • Retention Rate72%
  • Acceptance Rate76%
  • Students Enrolled12,582
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment71%
  • AccreditationYes
#13 Best Bachelor’s in Graphic Design Programs

Kansas City Art Institute

  • Location-markerKansas City, MO
  • 4 year
  • Campus
Average Tuition
  • In-State$39,500
  • Out-of-state$39,500
  • Retention Rate65%
  • Acceptance Rate59%
  • Students Enrolled698
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment0%
  • AccreditationYes
#14 Best Bachelor’s in Graphic Design Programs

SUNY College of Technology at Alfred

  • Location-markerAlfred, NY
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$7,070
  • Out-of-state$14,010
  • Retention Rate78%
  • Acceptance Rate72%
  • Students Enrolled3,667
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment32%
  • AccreditationYes
#15 Best Bachelor’s in Graphic Design Programs

Columbia College Chicago

  • Location-markerChicago, IL
  • 4 year
  • Campus
Average Tuition
  • In-State$26,610
  • Out-of-state$26,610
  • Retention Rate69%
  • Acceptance Rate90%
  • Students Enrolled6,769
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment0%
  • AccreditationYes
#16 Best Bachelor’s in Graphic Design Programs

Madison Area Technical College

  • Location-markerMadison, WI
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$4,167
  • Out-of-state$6,305
  • Retention Rate0%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled13,057
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment77%
  • AccreditationYes
#17 Best Bachelor’s in Graphic Design Programs

University of New Haven

  • Location-markerWest Haven, CT
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$40,170
  • Out-of-state$40,170
  • Retention Rate79%
  • Acceptance Rate91%
  • Students Enrolled6,961
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment37%
  • AccreditationYes
#18 Best Bachelor’s in Graphic Design Programs

Methodist University

  • Location-markerFayetteville, NC
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$35,336
  • Out-of-state$35,336
  • Retention Rate58%
  • Acceptance Rate76%
  • Students Enrolled1,773
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment13%
  • AccreditationYes
#19 Best Bachelor’s in Graphic Design Programs

University of Pennsylvania

  • Location-markerPhiladelphia, PA
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$53,166
  • Out-of-state$53,166
  • Retention Rate95%
  • Acceptance Rate9%
  • Students Enrolled26,552
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment85%
  • AccreditationYes
#20 Best Bachelor’s in Graphic Design Programs

University of the District of Columbia

  • Location-markerWashington, DC
  • 4 year
  • Campus
Average Tuition
  • In-State$5,292
  • Out-of-state$12,144
  • Retention Rate71%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled3,725
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment22%
  • AccreditationYes

Frequently Asked Questions About Graphic Design Programs and Jobs

question-mark-circleIs graphic design a hard major?

Graphic design is not normally considered to be a particularly hard major, but it challenges you to be both tech-savvy and creative. You’ll learn visual design principles and become proficient in design software. A liberal arts education prepares you to work in graphic design roles in a wide variety of industries.

question-mark-circleWhich degree is best for graphic design?

Graphic design is the most common major for aspiring graphic designers. Other majors that pair well with graphic design are those that teach you concepts in business, technology, and audience responses.

Some majors that can prepare you to become a graphic designer are computer science, psychology, and web development.

question-mark-circleCan I be a graphic designer without a degree?

Yes, you can become a graphic designer without a degree.

That said, you’ll need to develop the skills you’d learn through a degree program on your own. For example, you might enroll in an online bootcamp or read graphic design how-to books to learn more about how to become a successful graphic designer.

question-mark-circleIs a career in graphic design worth it?

Graphic design can be a high-paying job. It depends on the industry you work in, your experience, and the state you live in. Some top-paying industries for graphic designers include software publishing and natural gas distribution, according to the BLS.

You can also find high-paying roles that use many of the skills gained in a graphic design program, such as web developer, animator, and advertising manager.

How Much Can You Make With a Graphic Design Degree?

Graphic designers earned a median annual salary of $50,710 in May 2021, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The top 10% of highest-paid graphic designers earned over $98,260 per year, while the lowest 10% earned less than $31,310.

How much you make as a graphic designer depends on factors like your experience, skills, and location. Some of the highest-paying states for graphic designers include New York, Massachusetts, and Washington.

A graphic design degree can prepare you for careers outside of graphic design as well, such as web design, UX/UI design, and multimedia art.

Graphic designers can advance their careers by becoming art directors. Art directors create visual concepts and oversee teams of graphic designers. These professionals earned a median annual salary of $100,890 in May 2021, according to the BLS.

What Do You Learn in a Graphic Design Program?

Graphic design programs train you to create visually engaging material that communicates a message. In a bachelor’s degree program, you’ll take courses in subjects like typography, print design, and digital design.

Here are some sample courses you can expect to take in a graphic design program:

  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Book design
  • Color theory
  • Fundamentals of drawing
  • History of art
  • Illustration
  • Introduction to graphic design
  • Package design
  • UX/UI design
  • Web design

Typically, graphic design degrees include general education requirements in addition to core design courses. Gen ed courses strengthen students’ communication, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills.

You’ll likely also need to complete a portfolio, internship, or senior capstone project to graduate.

Does Accreditation Matter for Graphic Design Programs?

If you plan to attend a graphic design program, make sure you apply only to accredited schools. Accredited institutions follow the best practices for educating students and ensure you get a quality education and a recognized degree.

In addition, you can’t qualify for federal financial aid unless you attend an accredited school.

Besides institutional accreditation, you should look for programmatic accreditation. The National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) grants accreditation to graphic design programs.


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