2020 GDUSA Top Graphic Design Schools

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In the January/February 2020 print edition, which kicked off our 57th year of publishing, GDUSA released its annual Students To Watch roundup. Now we’ve compiled a list of our favorite institutions that prepare students to work in professional graphic design, based on a mix of objective and subjective factors, including our own decades long relationships with designers, students, recruiters, educators. The list is alphabetical. The reach is national. The theme is practical. Education is more important than ever as the lines between the studio and the classroom, the office and the academy, the university and society, continue to blur. The list will be memorialized as well in our March/April 2020 print edition.


Academy of Art University, founded in 1929, is America’s largest private accredited art and design university. The school offers a unique professional environment in classes taught by working professionals, and there are 30 distinct areas of study to choose from both online and on campus. Students are challenged to reach their full potential in an atmosphere of support and deep collaboration, and the institution strives to instill in its students the highest ethical standards of personal and professional integrity. Flexible online degree programs are available in most areas of study, including graphic design. Located at the intersection of art and commerce, the Graphic Design program integrates practice, theory and inquiry while refining and encouraging innovation, critical thinking, visual literacy, and conceptual problem solving. Students learn to influence marketing strategies, raise awareness of critical issues, and facilitate cultural change. The Academy of Art University offers a BFA and MFA in Graphic Design as well as an AA degree and Certificate program.
Contact: www.academyart.edu

ArtCenter College of Design is an international leader in art and design education. ArtCenter offers 11 undergraduate and seven graduate degrees in a wide variety of industrial design disciplines, as well as visual and applied arts. Programs include Advertising, Graphic Design, Graduate Graphic Design and Graduate Media Design Practices. In addition to its top-ranked academic programs, the College also serves members of the Greater Los Angeles region through a highly regarded series of year-round educational programs for all ages and levels of experience. Renowned for both its ties to the industry and social impact initiatives, ArtCenter is the first design school to receive the United Nations’ Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) status. Throughout the College’s long and storied history, its alumni have had a profound impact on popular culture, the way we live and important issues in our society.
Contact: www.artcenter.edu

The Graphic Design Program at Auburn University prepares students to practice visual communication in a competitive global environment. Auburn’s nationally regarded BFA is NASAD accredited and concentrates on interactive design and mobile design, user experience design, strategic branding, typography, publication design, packaging, illustration and image-making, and fine arts. Students receive hands-on design instruction in a professional studio environment with a strong sense of community among students and faculty. Courses emphasize a systemic approach to design by incorporating cross-disciplinary collaborations and train students to become versatile designers and art directors. The program hosts exhibitions, design symposiums, and guest lectures by industry leaders, and the internship program provides real-world experience and opportunities to network. Students build a strong portfolio of work as a result of their overall experience and education.
Contact: cadc.auburn.edu/graphicdesign

Founded in 1918, Ball State University is a research-intensive, residential university in Muncie IN. The art-making facilities in the School of Art at Ball State are competitive with the best in the country, and faculty and staff are active nationally and internationally as artists, creators, scholars and designers. With roughly 600 students, our NASAD accredited programs (BA, BS, BFA, MFA) cover a broad range of opportunities, including Visual Communication (Graphic Design), Animation, Painting, Drawing, Printmaking, Sculpture, Photography, Ceramics, Glass, Metals, Intermedia, Graphic Arts Management, Art History, and Art Education. In our Visual Communication BFA students receive a rigorous interdisciplinary education focused on cultural awareness and real-world work expectations. The Visual Communication program also provides an opportunity to enroll in an award-winning student-run design studio and to collaborate on local, regional, national, and international design projects.
Contact: bsu.edu/art

Founded in 1907, California College of the Arts (CCA) educates students to shape culture and society through the practice and critical study of art, architecture, design, and writing. Benefitting from its San Francisco Bay Area location, the college prepares students for lifelong creative work by cultivating innovation, community engagement, and social and environmental responsibility. CCA offers a rich curriculum of 22 undergraduate and 11 graduate programs in art, architecture, design, and writing taught by a faculty of expert practitioners. Attracting promising students from across the nation and around the world, CCA is one of the 10 most diverse colleges in the US. Design at CCA is dedicated to conceptual exploration alongside practice-based problem solving. We teach students to become leaders in the field by emphasizing collaborative studio work, creative risk-taking, and elegant design solutions that engage with pressing social issues.
Contact: www.cca.edu

CalArts is a highly regarded private art college near Los Angeles CA. The program in Graphic Design offers both a BFA and MFA degree, with courses in web and interface design; motion graphics; print and publication design; branding, identity, and type design; as well as in design history and education. The curriculum emphasizes both practical and conceptual skills. Throughout its history, the graphic design program has been home to prestigious design educators and has produced influential graduates, garnering a reputation for boundary-pushing visual experimentation and academic rigor. Students create a body of work that is uniquely theirs, preparing them to carve an independent path into design practice.
Contact: calarts.edu

Carnegie Mellon’s School of Design is one of the oldest and most respected programs, with a rich history in Product Design, Communication Design, Interaction and Service Design. It is one of the only leading programs to offer design degrees at the undergraduate, graduate and doctoral levels within a multi-disciplinary, multi-cultural research university. Graduates are employed by Whirlpool, Volkswagen/Audi, Motorola, Apple, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Skype, Pinterest, IDEO, R/GA, Isobar, the Mayo Clinic, and the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, to name a few.
Contact: design.cmu.edu

Located in the heart of Detroit and integrated into its cultural life, CCS educates artists and designers to be leaders in the creative professions. A private, fully accredited college, the school enrolls more than 1,400 students pursuing BFA and MFA degrees. It also offers non-credit courses through its Continuing and Precollege Studies programs and opportunities for youth through its Community Arts Partnerships programs. Graphic design studies strengthen students’ design and research skills, and develop their ability to use a variety of media in creating engaging communications. The program focuses on design planning/strategy, branding systems, interaction design, motion graphics design, publication design, environmental design, advertising design and experience design.
Contact: collegeforcreativestudies.edu

The School of Art at The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art has a mission to educate artists in the broadest sense, both as creative practitioners engaged with a wide range of disciplines in the visual arts and as enlightened citizens of the world who are prepared to question and transform society. The program is structured around an integrated curriculum that fosters connections between disciplines, as well as between traditional and new media. The Foundation Program consists of a series of prerequisite courses taken during the first year and is intended to prepare students for studies in all of the disciplines offered. Following the completion of the Foundation Program, disciplines offered are graphic design, drawing, film and video, painting, photography, printmaking and sculpture. Students may choose to focus their work in one or more areas of specialization and are encouraged to follow an integrated approach. The graphic design curriculum includes courses on typography, web design, game design, information design, motion graphics and more.
Contact: cooper.edu/art

Columbus College of Art & Design teaches undergraduate and graduate students in the midst of a thriving creative community in Columbus OH. Founded in 1879, CCAD is one of the oldest private, nonprofit art and design colleges in the US. CCAD offers 12 BFA programs — including a BFA in Advertising & Graphic Design — and two Master’s programs in art and design that produce graduates equipped to shape culture and business at the highest level. In CCAD’s Advertising & Graphic Design program, students learn to how to mix verbal, visual and interactive media to create and convey resilient, tailor-made messages, using the latest techniques and tools. Graduates go on to work at big-name agencies including Leo Burnett Worldwide, Ogilvy, and Saatchi & Saatchi.
Contact: ccad.edu/graphicdesign.

Cranbrook Academy of Art is the nation’s leading graduate-only program in architecture, design and fine art including, of course, graphic design. Each year, just 75 students are invited to study and live on the landmark Saarinen-designed campus, which features private studios, state-of-the art workshops, a renowned Art Museum, and 300 acres of forests, lakes, and streams, all a short drive from Detroit. The focus at Cranbrook is on studio practice in one of ten disciplines: Architecture, 2D and 3D Design, Ceramics, Fiber, Metalsmithing, Painting, Photography, Print Media, and Sculpture. The program is anchored by celebrated Artists- and Designers-in-Residence, one for each discipline, all of whom live and practice on campus alongside our students.
Contact: www.cranbrookart.edu

DePaul University’s BFA in Graphic Design prepares students to communicate to diverse audiences through a wide range of design practices, integrating emerging media and contemporary technologies including typography, digital/interaction design, branding, illustration, motion graphics, package design, programming, and digital fabrication. Chicago’s vibrant design community provides an array of opportunities for collaboration, networking, and professional internships, which are also supported by our Design Internship Program. Our award-winning faculty oversee a host of initiatives, design labs, and research programs that foster student learning, engagement, and community. And students lead their own initiatives as well, including our AIGA student chapter, maker space and digital fabrication studio. Design-related study abroad programs in Japan and Scandinavia provide our students with a global context for their practice.
Contact: www.cdm.depaul.edu

Drexel University’s Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design offers seventeen undergraduate programs, nine graduate degree programs, and one PhD program, all of which are predominantly studio based. The College maintains an award-winning faculty of industry practitioners who emphasize the use of the latest technologies. The Graphic Design program prepares students to inform, persuade and entertain through the creative use of word and image, offering a balance of traditional and technical artistic studies. Graphic Design students learn to conceptualize, design and produce visual communication in books, magazines, posters, ads, packaging, websites, interactive media, information systems, exhibition design, motion and many other forms of media. Students use this work to develop an expansive portfolio, which, along with six-month co-op experiences, prepares them for successful employment after graduation.
Contact: www.drexel.edu/westphal/undergraduate/vscm

The Communication Design Pathways Department’s mission is coupled with that of the School of Art and Design to educate the next generation of creative, socially-responsible, and globally-relevant professionals able to succeed in the broad spectrum of art and design fields. The department challenges students to create new and valuable ideas through innovation, collaboration, and experimentation. Within the Department, the Graphic Design BFA is an intensive, professionally oriented course of study. Courses are taught by working design professionals, industry leaders and members of the ADC, TDC, AIGA, and SPD. Study abroad, internship and networking opportunities along with the senior thesis project and a juried design exhibition develop a well-rounded designer with a strong portfolio. Marianne Klimchuk is Communications Design Pathway Chair.
Contact: www.fitnyc.edu/communication-design

Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies (SCS) has introduced an online Masters in Design Management & Communications to its award-winning portfolio of professional communications programs. The program welcomes students across a broad spectrum of disciplines — from graphic designers to analytical problem-solvers — with the goal of exploring a holistic approach to design management. Led by faculty who are both industry experts and seasoned academics, the program’s rigorous courses provide students with a rich and relevant learning environment. Students graduate with not only a well-rounded understanding of the challenges of the design process, but also the confidence to lead. The program’s focus on design thinking methodology extends beyond the world of graphic or web design and into a comprehensive practice of iteration, brainstorming, and problem-solving that is as applicable at the drafting table as it is in the boardroom. Leveraging SCS’s existing wellspring of expertise in professional communications, the Master’s in Design Management & Communications benefits from the strength of sister programs in Public Relations & Corporate Communications, Journalism, Global Strategic Communications, and Integrated Marketing Communications.
Contact: www.scs.georgetown.edu

Howard is a leading research university based in Washington DC. Guided by an extraordinary cadre of faculty, students are immersed in cutting-edge scholarship and innovation. The Department of Art is committed to graduating socially conscious professional artists/designers and scholars. Empowered by their knowledge of the arts, humanities, sciences and digital technologies, graduates are prepared to serve society on a local, national, and global level. The primary goal is to present a multifaceted educational program that distinguishes itself as “unique and advantaged” by offering a professional visual arts degree program enriched by academic support from University-wide departments. Emphasis is placed upon creative instruction from a multicultural perspective and recognition of the dynamic reciprocity of art and life. The Design Program aims to develop a range of knowledge, skills and competencies in visual communication through cross-curricular experiences in the areas of 2D, 3D, print, digital, motion, and interactive design.
Contact: www.art.howard.edu

The mission of the Graphic Design Communication program at Jefferson (Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University) is to cultivate design strategists with an innovative spirit and superior critical thinking skills applicable to a diversity of human needs. Consistent with Jefferson’s overall mission to provide professional training with a rigorous Liberal Arts and Business core, the Graphic Design Communication curriculum fosters an appreciation for design as a cultural craft with a relevant historical background and a rapidly evolving future that includes multiple disciplines. The program seeks to develop students who can contribute intelligently and responsibly at a global level to further the common good. The program is conceptually-based as we firmly believe that a designers’ highest value is to be able to generate ideas – that a designers’ intellectual property is his/her creative capital. The curriculum embraces design thinking and strategic planning as a powerful strategic tool to be used to help solve problems in society and business. Student work is regularly recognized regularly recognized by competitions, exhibitions and publications.
Contact: www.jefferson.edu

The Kansas City Art Institute (KCAI) is a college of art and design awarding the B.F.A. degree in 13 majors. The school recruits top talent from across the country and equips them with a versatile skill set and the fearlessness to pursue their craft. KCAI’s Graphic Design department takes a wide-ranging view of the possibilities for visual communication, introducing students to the principles of print, interaction, motion, environment, experience, information, and advocacy. The approach to design problems can best be described as exploratory, systematic, and transmedia. KCAI recognizes the complexity of contemporary design and seeks to foster critical and surprising responses through a rigorous process of research, thinking, form-making, and connection to various external communities.
Contact:  http://www.kcai-graphicdesign.com/

Graphic Communications, with more than 200 majors, is the largest program in the College of the Arts at Kennesaw State University. This vigorous, progressive program supports students in advancing their technical and creative skills while visual literacy and technology serve as the foundation. Students embody competencies and relevance for a multicultural, global marketplace. The School of Art and Design (SOAAD) offers students challenging and exciting degrees including the BFA in Art, the BFA in Digital Animation, the BS in Art Education, the BA in Art History and the BAT degree in Apparel Textiles Technology. SOAAD and the City of Atlanta are a powerful combination providing education and networking opportunities that launch careers into both the local and international creative industry. SOAAD is accredited by NASAD.
Contact: arts.kennesaw.edu/visual-arts/

MICA envisions a just, sustainable, and joyful world activated and enriched by designers who are valued for their leadership and imagination. MICA officials state: “Our program empowers students to make the world they imagine through a sequence of required courses and broad-ranging electives. We see graphic design as a comprehensive activity of visual problem solving in commercial, social, public, and political spheres. Designers forge creative, purposeful lives and careers in a diverse and changing world. Graphic Design graduates shape culture, flourish through collaboration, embrace difference and champion equity, and invent through thoughtful disruption. Graphic Designers strive for excellence and rigor, act with intent and critical appraisal, and exemplify resilience, passion, and conviction.”
Contact: http://www.mica.edu

Miami Ad School @ Portfolio Center is a graduate-level design and advertising school whose mission is to prepare students for creative practice and leadership. Believing in the importance of ideas and innovation, students learn to render content with real meaning and to create fresh solutions which contribute to our culture. Students use new and emerging media as well as traditional media to communicate. The Center offers full time, intensive, two-year programs; students graduate with a certificate in Design, Art Direction, Copywriting. Additionally, through a collaboration with Furman University, it offers a Master of Arts in Strategic Design (MA-SDG); and bootcamps in Social Media and Strategic Planning. Miami Ad School @ Portfolio Center is a member of Miami Ad School’s global network of 15 schools.
Contact: www.portfoliocenter.edu

Michigan State University was founded in 1855 as the original land-grant institution that democratized higher education and helped bring science and innovation into everyday life. Today, MSU is one of the top research universities in the world — on one of the biggest, greenest campuses in the nation — and is home to a diverse community of dedicated students and scholars, athletes and artists, scientists and leaders. A thriving graphic design program is nested in the Department of Art, Art History, and Design. Located in the Kresge Art Center, undergraduate and graduate graphic designers are exposed to a series of experimental and intellectual exercises that prepare them for a wide range of professional careers in design and academia. Notable alum, such as Katherine and Michael McCoy, Sam Landers, Doug Kisor, and Ellen Bruss, have made historic contributions to design history and continue to give back to our students in lasting and meaningful ways.
Contact: art.msu.edu

MIAD is Wisconsin’s only four-year, private college of visual art and design, offering BFA degrees in Communication Design, Illustration, Industrial (Product) Design, Interior Architecture and Design and Fine Arts (New Studio Practice). Throughout MIAD’s Communication Design program – closely tied to its award-winning Illustration program – students have the opportunity to work with professional clients in the classroom and via the MIAD Innovation Center. Students also intern at leading advertising and design firms, in corporate settings, and more. The college’s enrollment has grown 40% over the past five years, and upon graduation, MIAD alumni fill important positions, sharing their voice in major multinational corporations and marketing and communications firms.
Contact: Contact: www.miad.edu

The nationally renowned Northwestern University School of Professional Studies has an extensive offering of online master’s degrees and certificate programs, and this includes an online Master of Science in Information Design and Strategy (IDS). The IDS program teaches students how to translate information and data into meaningful visual forms, narratives and interfaces. This interdisciplinary program prepares students to step into a cross-functional or leadership role by developing a deep and holistic understanding of today’s sophisticated digital media. The program is particularly useful for people in creative fields who want a stronger grounding in business strategy, so that they can expand their career opportunities and make a larger impact on their organizations. The IDS program was developed in consultation with industry leaders; it is a part-time and completely online degree.
Contact: http://sps.northwestern.edu/info/information-design.php

Established in 1918, Otis College of Art and Design was the first independent professional school of art in Los Angeles and has become a national leader in art and design education. The BFA Communications Arts program includes areas of emphasis in Graphic Design and Illustration. Graphic design students research and conceive projects that combine images and typography to convey specific ideas. Illustration students develop strong personal style and image-making skills in a variety of media. The MFA Graphic Design program is a 14-month, LA-based, student, faculty, and research collective of designers investigating the issues of our day. Otis Alumni and faculty are Fulbright, MacArthur, and Guggenheim grant recipients, Academy Award recipients, legendary costume designers, leaders of contemporary art movements, entrepreneurs, and designers at Apple, Abercrombie & Fitch, Pixar, DreamWorks, Mattel, Nike, and Disney, among others. Otis College is also home to the influential Otis Report on the Creative Economy, which chronicles the power and reach of creative industries in California and its regions.
Contact: http://www.otis.edu

Based in New York but active around the world, The New School’s Parsons School of Design offers undergraduate and graduate programs in the full spectrum of design disciplines. Parsons’ five schools, which encompass 32 rigorous undergraduate, associates and graduate degree programs, offer options for both focused training and interdisciplinary study. The School of Art, Media, and Technology embodies the frisson between art and design, with programs in Communication Design, Data Visualization, Design and Technology, Fine Arts, Graphic Design, Illustration and Photography. An AAS in Graphic Design goes beyond basic technical knowledge to provide a more complete design education for those wishing to change their careers or build their portfolio. The program investigates up-to-the-minute tools and trends of the trade, including web design, while providing a solid foundation in traditional practices and concepts.
Contact: www.newschool.edu/parsons

PCAD, a fully accredited art college in Lancaster PA, believes graphic design provides a means to communicate powerfully and effectively through images and typography. In the graphic design program, students focus on demanding conceptual and technical courses, enhanced by gradual involvement with clients. Benefiting from a curriculum informed by PCA&D’s over-arching education philosophy “Communications as Currency,” students experience how the creative process involves collaborating with other designers, photographers, digital artists, and illustrators to meet the needs of a client. All faculty are freelance or full-time designers. Selected designs enhance students’ portfolios with professional work before they graduate, and the required senior internship is the perfect opportunity to demonstrate skills to potential employers. The senior year culminates with the final portfolio and senior exhibition, honing presentation skills. PCA&D’s graphic design BFA program is structured to prepare students to work successfully in this highly competitive field.
Contact: www.pcad.edu

Founded in 1887, Pratt Institute is a global leader in higher education dedicated to preparing undergraduate and graduate students for successful careers in art, design, architecture, information, and liberal arts and sciences. Located in a cultural hub, with historic campuses in Brooklyn and Manhattan, Pratt is a living lab of craft and creativity with an esteemed faculty of accomplished professionals and scholars. The Institute has Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programs in communications design, which are part of Pratt’s School of Design. The Undergraduate Communications Design department offers concentrations in illustration, advertising art direction, and graphic design, and teaches students to craft the strongest and most impactful communications possible by being creative problem solvers and elegant image-makers. Pratt’s Graduate Communications Design department educates graphic and package designers, and offers an MFA in communications design and MS in package design degree programs. Both programs provide students with the opportunity to develop and refine their design process, design voice, and creative skills, preparing them for leadership positions in their field.
Contact: www.pratt.edu

PrattMWP students spend their years immersed in, not one, but two strikingly different environments with lively art cultures. Students who select this route complete the first two years of their program on the Utica campus in upstate New York, and are then guaranteed a seamless relocation to Pratt’s main Brooklyn campus at the beginning of their junior year. The PrattMWP campus allows students to achieve the prestige and benefits of a Pratt art education at a location that develops their confidence, individual voice and insights. PrattMWP shares its campus with the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute, which offers collections, exhibits, classes and events that attract artists and art enthusiasts worldwide. Majors are offered in Fine Arts, Communications Design, Art Education, and Photography. Communications Design students have recently been recognized by GDUSA, PRINT, Creative Quarterly, Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, United States Mint, and the British Journal of Aesthetics.
Contact: www.mwpai.edu

Graphic Design at RISD provides a comprehensive education that pushes on the boundaries of the discipline. Students learn how to communicate ideas visually, play with the tools of the field, frame points of view and messages, build community and embrace a fluid, networked culture. Faculty support these explorations and encourage ambitious ideas along with a mastery of traditional practice.
Contact: risd.edu 

Since 1931, Ringling College of Art and Design has cultivated the creative spirit in students from around the globe. The private, not-for-profit fully accredited college offers the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in twelve disciplines and the Bachelor of Arts in two. The College and its 1,400 students benefit from an award-winning faculty, cutting-edge technology, and a supportive creative community. The rigorous curriculum employs the studio model of teaching and immediately engages students through a comprehensive, first-year program that is both specific to the major of study and focused on the liberal arts. The Ringling College teaching model ultimately shapes students into highly employable and globally aware artists and designers.
Contact: www.ringling.edu

The intensive BA degree program in Graphic Design at Rutgers-Camden is heavily rooted in a Liberal Arts context – reading, writing and critical thinking. The program focuses on interdisciplinary thinking and research through personalized interaction with faculty who are active researchers and practitioners. The program fosters and challenges technical and conceptual proficiency while developing an awareness of one’s individual perspective and process through a constantly evolving and experimental curriculum. The goal is for students to become aware of their own creative methods and perspectives in order to extended them beyond the boundaries of traditional graphic design roles. Many graduates have established successful careers in print design, advertising, interactive and web design and product design — working in traditional graphic design studios to design think tanks. In addition, student work has been recognized by organizations including AIGA, Graphis, GDUSA, UCDA, CMYK, DSVC, and Applied Arts.
Contact: https://finearts.camden.rutgers.edu/art-program

The Savannah College of Art and Design is a private, nonprofit, accredited university, offering more than 100 academic degree programs in more than 40 majors across its locations in Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia; Hong Kong; Lacoste, France; and online via SCAD eLearning. The innovative SCAD graphic design curriculum is rooted in creative processes, problem-solving methodologies, and visualization concepts designed to connect users to brands. Each year, SCAD graphic design students earn illustrious accolades, including Applied Arts Student Awards, GDUSA, and International Design Awards. In 2018, the prestigious Red Dot Design Rankings placed SCAD as the No. 1 university in the U.S. and in the top two universities in the Americas and Europe. Through SCADpro, the university’s in-house design studio, students join forces with luminaries of design, draw inspiration, and form lasting connections with industry powerhouses. The combination of advanced instruction and unrivaled portfolio-building opportunities leads to elite internships and careers with iconic companies such as Apple and IBM. Career preparation is woven into every fiber of the university, resulting in a superior alumni employment rate.
Contact: scad.edu or dgreenhi@scad.edu

A leader in educating artists, designers, and scholars since 1866, SAIC offers nationally accredited undergraduate, graduate, and post-baccalaureate programs to students from around the globe. An historically significant accredited independent school of art and design, located in one of the greatest American cities, its accolades are many, including recognition by Columbia University’s National Arts Journalism survey, as “the most influential art college in the United States.” SAIC has an educational philosophy built upon an interdisciplinary approach to art and design, giving students opportunities to develop their creative and critical abilities, while working with renowned faculty who include many of the leading practitioners in their fields.
Contact: http://www.saic.edu/

Sessions College for Professional Design is a fully online school of visual arts offering a range of degree programs and certificate programs in Graphic Design, Web Design, Digital Media, Illustration, Advertising Design, Digital Photography and Fine Arts. The Sessions College Associate of Occupational Studies in Graphic Design program offers an intensive two-year degree for students seeking to enter careers as graphic designers with a focus on print design. Designed for high school graduates and adult learners, the program offers a powerful foundation in visual design and a working knowledge of contemporary design practices and media. Sessions College inspires current and future art and design professionals to achieve excellence through industry relevant, project-based online education. Our talented, passionate experts teach the artistic, digital, and critical thinking skills required by dynamic creative fields.
Contact: www.sessions.edu

Shillington is a global design school created by today’s professionals to help students upskill and change careers. With campuses in New York, London, Manchester, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane – the fast-paced, intensive course teaches the skills required to succeed as a designer. The innovative curriculum encourages experimentation, creative thinking and problem solving – all linked to real-world design briefs. Shillington treats students as designers from day one, covering design principles, color theory and typography basics. Shillington students graduate with a professional design portfolio and industry-relevant skills, going on to work for top creative studios, big brands or launching their own businesses – all within 3 months full-time or 9 months part-time.
Contact: shillingtoneducation.com

The Visual Communications department at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University embraces emerging and traditional forms of visual storytelling. Its design program emphasizes strategy, problem solving and human-centered design to create smart, compelling, innovative solutions in print and pixels, including motion, UI/UX, augmented reality, virtual reality, brand identity, product packaging, typography and publication design. The Visual Communications department values cross-media partnerships, workshops and collaboration. Graduates of the design program have gone on to work at places such as IDEO, Google, Adobe, IBM, Facebook, Amazon, Mapbox, Washington Post, Sports Illustrated, National Geographic Magazine, Herman Miller, Trip Advisor, Near East Foundation, US State Department, and their own startup businesses. The program offers both a BS in Graphic Design and an MS in Multimedia, Photography, and Design degrees.
Contact: http://newhouse.syr.edu/vis

The School of Design is an inquisitive community of students and faculty that addresses firsthand the issues of the world around it. It takes pride in its professionally oriented programs, many of which have a long history at Syracuse University. Concern for sustainable design practices, social issues, and excellence in professional practice forms the core of the programs. The first-year experience is a prerequisite for each of the undergraduate degrees in the school, providing a focused, design-studio-based experience critical to the development of a solid understanding of the fundamental elements of the design disciplines. School of Design faculty are active professionals who practice in their fields while they teach. The school maintains a special relationship with the Syracuse community through the activities of various student groups (including chapters of professional design organizations) that continually work on projects with not-for-profit agencies as well as funded research design collaborations.
Contact: vpa.syr.edu/academics/design/

The Communication Design Program is one of the largest public programs in the country and considered to be one of the best within the Southwest United States. The goal of the program is to create a stimulating learning environment for students where they can pursue their specific interests within these areas of professional study: graphic design, art direction, and interactive media. In addition to the general course work, Communication Design students are encouraged to participate in local, regional, national and international design competitions, serve as an intern to a professional practice, join Communication Design student organizations, and attend visiting professional lectures and exhibitions. Communication Design students have received recognition in many prestigious design journals by having their work published in CMYK, Step Inside Design, Graphis New Talent Annual, and PRINT. Students have also received recognition in national, regional, and local competitions such as: The One Show, American Advertising Federation Awards, National DSVC Student Show, Creative Summit, Art Director’s Club of Houston, Austin Addy Awards, and San Antonio Addy Awards.
Contact: http://www.finearts.txstate.edu/Art/

The Modern College of Design is a nationally recognized graphic design college in Ohio. Founded in 1983, the college has a strong reputation for educating designers who are not only creative problem solvers but also are prepared for the unique demands of the industry. Students study graphic design, web design, UI/UX, illustration, photography, video, motion design, and marketing. They complete internships at agencies across the country and have been recognized nationally for their work. The Modern is known for transforming students into confident leaders in design by giving exceptional care to their students, having small class sizes, faculty who continually adjust the curriculum to stay current with market trends as well as advancements in technology. The college now offers a Bachelor of Arts in Design Leadership program. This unique program elevates students’ design skills and builds their experience in entrepreneurship, leadership, and strategy, positioning them to lead the future of design.
Contact: www.themodern.edu

The Myron E. Ullman School of Design Communication Design Program empowers students with a core of knowledge that provides a solid educational base. This core is a series of sequential design studios and a world-class professional practice (co-op) program that help students develop critical and visual thinking along with essential design processes. Students also have opportunities to further develop in specific areas of interest (including graphic design, interaction design and motion design). DAAP students are prepared to be skilled professionals who can apply work in local and global markets while respecting the diversity of the human community. The School of Design is innovative in teaching and in transforming the design disciplines by infusing learning with the newest design thinking methods and technologies. Through inspired interdisciplinary projects and solid corporate partnerships, the school is devoted to furthering its role as a leading design institution.
Contact: www.daap.uc.edu

Located in Philadelphia, the Tyler School of Art + Architecture’s Graphic & Interactive Design Department offers a rigorous and respected BFA and MFA programs in graphic design. Students are mentored by faculty members who understand the design profession’s exacting standards, are committed to the growth of each student, and are invested in their post-Tyler outcomes. Core pillars of the program include authorship, entrepreneurship and design for social justice. Tyler students are taught a conceptual approach to the design process – they develop skills in research, image-making, typography and visual storytelling and they learn to work with information and content, creating digital systems and narratives across new and emerging technologies. The result is that student work is frequently featured in national and international design competitions and publications, and graduates are employed by influential studios and agencies nationally and world-wide. Based at Temple University, Tyler students take advantage of a vibrant campus with more than 300 academic programs and the resources of a city with a reputation as one of the world’s leading (and most affordable) art centers. Students attend lectures and exhibitions at museums and galleries, participate in community art projects and earn high-profile internships.
Contact: tyler.temple.edu/programs/graphic-interactive-design

The School of Design at the University of Central Oklahoma places excellence at the center of our program. School officials state: “We are methodical in planning, rigorous in execution, enthusiastic in the face of challenges, and persistent in the singular goal of creating excellence in design education. UCO Design students, alumni, and faculty have been recognized for their excellence on the local, regional, and national stage. Since 2011, our students have won more than 1,061 awards from the American Advertising Awards, AIGA Flux, Print, HOW, CA, Society of Illustrators West, Society of Illustrators East, the RSA Design Awards, and GDUSA. The School of Design operates two semi-professional design studios: ClockTower Studio and InkTank Studio. Here students learn to be change-makers and social innovators while engaged in real-world work experience outside the typical design classroom. The School of Design is deeply committed to the university mission, which states we exist to help students learn by providing transformative education experiences so that they may become productive, creative, ethical, and engaged citizens and leaders serving our global community.”
Contact: https://www.uco.edu/cfad/academics/design/

University of the Arts’ mission is simple: to advance human creativity. Established in 1876, UArts believes creativity is the most essential skill for success in today’s society and has educated generations of groundbreaking artists, performers, designers and creative leaders for more than 141 years. The Graphic Design Program provides critical thinking and core design competencies together with a wide range of technological approaches, and prepares graduates for careers in fields ranging from publication design to motion graphics to branding and more. UArts students collaborate with other programs at the University and with Philadelphia designers, artists, and organizations, and experiment with the tools and technologies available in the University’s new Makerspace and Center for Immersive Media. UArts graphic design students obtain real-world experience through internships and become fluent in many areas of practice, then lean towards areas of expertise. This combination of versatility and specificity serves them well as they step out into the post-grad job market; many begin working as professionals at local design firms during their junior and senior years.
Contact: www.uarts.edu

Fueled by the scholarship, research, and resources of a tier-one research university, the Stamps School of Art & Design provides a unique approach to transdisciplinary, inquiry-led design practice. Our graduate and undergraduate students enjoy a supportive, curiosity-filled culture of makers and scholars seeking to activate their creative practice as an engine for cultural change and innovation. The school offers undergraduate degrees in art and design and two graduate level degrees: an MFA in Art and an MDes in Integrative Design. Called “one of the best integrations of design approaches in an MDes program […] anywhere in North America” by Peter Jones, author of Design for Care: Innovating Healthcare Experience, the Stamps MDes is a collaborative, project-based, two-year program undertaken in deep partnership with industry and non-profit partners. At Stamps, Integrative Design is not locked into one disciplinary design strategy. Instead, Stamps students are called upon to be adaptive, utilizing multiple tactics as the project or problem requires.
Contact: www.stamps.umich.edu

USC Roski School of Art and Design has a noteworthy history as a supportive environment for talented students to explore creativity, experimentation, and collaboration with renowned faculty. Roski’s graduate programs are housed in a state-of-the-art facility in the Los Angeles Arts District – a vibrant art and design community. The MFA Design program instills a critical understanding of the issues, theories, and ideas that are relevant to contemporary design. This open approach offers myriad opportunities for interdisciplinary research and collaboration across the 18 professional schools at USC, one of the world’s leading research institutions. This gives Roski design students the ability to integrate countless relevant pathways to shape their contemporary design practice. Roski’s faculty is a diverse group of internationally recognized artists, designers, and scholars dedicated to their students and their professional work. Small classes ensure a close, personal instruction with abundant access to the faculty that includes Jason Ellenburg, April Greiman, Brian O’Connell, and MFA Design program director Ewa Wojciak. Additionally, students interact with visiting designers in lectures, classes, and portfolio reviews through the Visiting Designer and Designer-in-Residence forums.
Contact: roski.usc.edu

Utah Valley University is located in the heart of the Silicon Slopes technology hub just a short drive from several world-class ski resorts and numerous other year-round recreational activities. The Art & Design department offers BFA degrees in Graphic Design, Photography, Illustration, Painting and Drawing, and Sculpture and Ceramics. The department also offers a BA in Art History and a BS in Art Education. As an integral part of the largest university in the state, the Art & Design degree programs are robust and vibrant while still prioritizing small class sizes and individual critiques. Graphic design students further benefit from a focus on concept-driven design and regularly win national and regional awards from competitions including Graphic Design USA, PRINT Regional Design Awards, IPPY Awards, UCDA, Design Competition, AIGA 100 Show, and DesignArts Utah.
Contact: uvu.edu/artdesign

The MFA in Graphic Design at Vermont College of Fine Arts is a trailblazing low-residency program built around students’ particular interests, values, and goals. Students join the faculty in continuously rethinking graphic design by considering the role of design in the larger culture, the relationships between designers and their work, and the nature of education in design. Both the two-year and three-year track offerings combine two on-campus residencies per year, with six-month semesters of faculty mentorship and independent study. Students, faculty, and guest designers take part in a weeklong residency on the historic campus in Montpelier VT to begin each semester. They then return home and work from an individually crafted study plan with a faculty advisor for the remainder of each semester. Graduates emerge with new research methods, critical expertise, and a body of design work that is personal and relevant to the next stage in their design careers and creative lives.
Contact: vcfa.edu/graphic-design

The VCU Advertising program is centered on professional practice, studio intensive coursework and experimental collaboration in education. Our coursework focuses on smart thinking and rigorous practice in creative and strategic advertising. In our creative courses, students learn how to create and execute big ideas through the crafts of art direction, copywriting, design and storytelling. These classes emphasize the attributes and transferable skills necessary to succeed in advertising and media communications.
Contact: robertson.vcu.edu

Virginia Tech pushes the boundaries of knowledge by taking a hands-on, transdisciplinary approach to preparing students to be leaders and problem-solvers. As a leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers about 280 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 34,000 students and manages a research portfolio of more than $502 million. Through experiential learning, future-focused research, and an inclusive, spirited culture, Virginia Tech strives to accomplish the charge of its motto Ut Prosim (That I May Serve). The Graphic Design program prepares students for a career in design by focusing on conceptual thinking, semiotics, and problem-solving tactics. The program demands individual creativity, teamwork skills and adaptability while preparing students to enter the job market with practical experience and a full, professionally reviewed portfolio. Graduates work in app design, editorial design, product and packaging design, web and interaction design, advertising and other related fields.
Contact: www.sova.vt.edu

Founded in 1884, Woodbury University is a private non-profit institution. The BFA in Graphic Design is a professional degree that is included in the University’s accreditation by NASAD. Woodbury students consistently win awards, landing more than 50 since 2009. Students have achieved recognition in communication design, entertainment design, web, advertising, packaging, photography, logo design and environmental graphics. They learn the art of visual communication through the study of design, aesthetics, and media. In the senior year, they can focus their creative energy by customizing their studies in entertainment, motion, advertising, publication, or environmental graphics. Woodbury’s Los Angeles location, in the heart of the media capital, offers numerous internship opportunities at companies including Disney Imagineering, Universal Studios, The WB Television Network, MTV Networks, Twentieth Century Fox, Warner Bros, Mattel, and The Getty.
Contact: www.mcd.woodbury.edu

This highly selective MFA program accepts up to ten students each year, and up to seven students for a preliminary year program. The degree program focuses on the development of a cohesive, investigative body of work, also known as the student’s thesis. It is conceived as a loose framework within which each student’s visual method is deployed across many diverse projects during his or her two-year course of study. While every thesis project is unique, there are several common features: a focus on methodology, the application of a visual method to studio work, and the organization of the work in a thoughtfully argued written document and catalogue raisonné, also known as the “Thesis Book.” Students applying to the preliminary-year program typically have relevant experience in a field of study outside design and demonstrate evidence of visual acuity.
Contact: http://art.yale.edu/GraphicDesign