2023 GDUSA Top Design Schools

Our 60th Anniversary Selections

In our 60th year of publishing, Graphic Design USA | GDUSA presents our favorite institutions and programs that prepare students to work in professional graphic design. The mix is unique: it includes, of course, the traditional and classic prestige institutions dedicated to art and design; a number of wonderful and notable university communications and design departments all over the US; and several excellent and innovative online or hybrid programs for graduate, undergraduate or continuing education.

The selection results from a combination 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 that education (and educators) are more important than ever in this time of challenge and change — as the lines blur between the classroom and the studio, the academy and the office, the campus and the society.

A related recommended read: our 2023 GDUSA Students To Watch feature published in print and online earlier this year.

The Academy of Art University’s Graphic Design program provides students with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the ever-evolving world of graphic design. Students learn how to conceptualize, design, and produce visual solutions for a variety of media, including print, web, and interactive platforms. The curriculum emphasizes hands-on experience, with a focus on practical, real-world projects. Students have access to stateof-the-art facilities and resources and gain experience using industry-standard software. In addition to traditional graphic design courses, students can explore how their knowledge applies in related fields such as advertising, branding, and illustration. The program also includes courses in design history and theory, which provide students with a deep understanding of the broader context of graphic design. The faculty at the Academy of Art University are skillful professionals in the industry and provide real-world experience in the classroom. They provide students with personalized guidance and feedback, helping them to develop their own unique style and approach to the art. The Academy of Art University’s Graphic Design program prepares graduates for a variety of careers, by providing a BFA, MA and MFA degrees. Graduates leave the program with a strong portfolio and the confidence to succeed in the competitive world of graphic design.
Contact: academyart.edu/get-info/graphic-design

ArtCenter’s visionary approach to art and design education is based on the College’s conservatory-like approach to teaching and learning; a desire for rich, intercultural, and transdisciplinary dialogue; and a mandate to provide students innovative learning and making spaces. An international leader in art and design education, ArtCenter offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in a wide variety of industrial design disciplines, as well as visual and applied arts. In addition to its top-ranked academic programs, the College also serves members of the Greater Los Angeles region through a 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: 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 media and mobile app design, user experience design, strategic branding, typography, publication design, packaging, illustration, image-making, and fine arts. Students receive hands-on design instruction in a professional studio environment accented by a strong sense of community among students and faculty. Courses emphasize a systemic approach to design through cross-disciplinary collaborations, cultivating students to become versatile designers and art directors. The program hosts exhibitions, design symposiums, and guest lectures by industry leaders while supporting an internship program that facilitates experiences in professional practice and opportunities for networking. Students build a strong portfolio of work across their overall experience in design and education.
Contact: cadc.auburn.edu/design/programs/graphic-design

Founded in 1918, Ball State University is a research-intensive, residential university in Muncie, Indiana, with about 22,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The art-making facilities in the School of Art at Ball State are competitive with the best in the country, and our 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. Our Visual Communication BFA students receive a rigorous interdisciplinary education focused on cultural awareness and real-world work expectations. They develop problem-solving abilities, technical skills, and digital competencies across several disciplines. The students enjoy superior facilities that are outfitted with industrystandard computers, software programs, and equipment. Students work closely with professors and peers in multiple areas to build a solid foundation in design concepts and professional practices while blending traditional and emerging media. 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

The Graphic Design program at Boston University College of Fine Arts School of Visual Arts takes a studio-driven approach to design thinking and visual communication. With an emphasis on process and critical design thinking, the program sets itself apart as a maker-based design department within an art school and a R1 University. The design faculty are leaders in the field who work closely with students to develop their technical and conceptual skills, challenging them to think creatively and strategically, and placing them at the forefront of entrepreneurial thinking in the business world.
Contact: bu.edu/cfa/academics/degrees-programs/graphic-design

The Bowling Green State University Graphic Design program educates and mentors its students to become independent and collaborative innovators and leaders in the field of graphic design. Our award-winning program is dynamic, enterprising, and responsive, and leads to a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Graphic Design. Our multi-faceted curricula merges design ideologies and research with appropriate aesthetic and communication methods through intensive critical analysis, exploration, and experimentation. Students are taught and trained to be mindful professionals and sociopolitically aware stewards for the profession and the world. Our practical and theoretical approach to foster and guide clarity of communication is the foundation for a progressive and fluid curriculum — one that graduates thinkers with curious minds. Our Master of Design (MDes) in Integrative Design program is an interdisciplinary program that cultivates individual and community growth through intentional, inclusive, and collaborative values and frameworks. Our guiding practices observe, question, and shapes culture, shifts priorities from exclusive to inclusive. Through meaning-making, deliberate design, ethical education, and sustainable systems, our integral approach develops students as leaders in creating a sense of belonging and a bold future for all.
Contact: bgsu.edu/arts-and-sciences/school-of-art/undergraduateprograms/graphic-design.html

Brigham Young University (BYU) is a large private religious university in Provo, Utah, serving 34,000+ students from over 100 countries and all 50 states. The BYU Graphic Design program has a history of producing award-winning work and enjoys an established international reputation. The major simulates a professional studio experience with students working to solve complex visual problems. As members of a small cohort group, students complete a variety of individual and collaborative projects under close faculty direction. BYU’s Graphic Design BFA program aspires to prepare students with the skills, knowledge, and intellect necessary to be excellent visual communicators and to foster innovation through problem solving, collaboration, and design thinking. The program aims to cultivate designers that encourage human flourishing, foster charitable interactions, and promote societal and ecological well-being today and in the future. BYU emphasizes experiential learning on and off-campus, both in its extensive study abroad programs and our program’s national internship placements.
Contact: designdept.byu.edu/graphicdesign

The Graphic Design Program at CalArts fosters the next generation of graphic designers through rigorous inquiry, fearless exploration, and innovative making within a tight-knit studio community. The students with the support of their fac-colleagues, endeavor to develop individual agendas and lines of exploration that challenge received structures and value systems of graphic design outcomes, criticism, theory, and practice. The program’s curriculum is based on the Institute’s critical approach of contextualizing praxis in history, theory, and broad cultural literacy, and in the Graphic Design program’s inclusive pedagogy. Students are trained in print and publication design; web and interface design; motion graphics for broadcast and film; branding, identity, and type design; as well as for careers in design history and education. Classes in Graphic Design are small, intimate, and critique-based, fostering debate and discussion as well as imparting formal and practical knowledge. All students work in residence in communal studios (grouped by year level) that are open 24 hours and have access to Art School facilities and labs.
Contact: art.calarts.edu/programs/graphic-design

The School of Design has established a program framework that responds to recent changes in the field of design — and to the escalating business, social, and environmental challenges that we face in the 21st century. Our programs prepare students for top jobs in leading companies and organizations today, while teaching them to design with future generations in mind. Our Communication Design program honors strong graphic design history, but constantly incorporates new innovative technologies, platforms, and methods, ultimately pushing the discipline of communication design into new territories. Today, we face many challenges resulting from communication breakdowns and misinformation. Through diverse perspectives, we use new narrative frames, storytelling, and future-casting to prepare students as future leaders, playing critical roles across various industries, organizations, and settings. We celebrate our interdisciplinary approach to teaching — working alongside students to develop the necessary 21st-century skill sets, posture, and critical consciousness to effectively use Communication Design practice, leading to positive impact.
Contact: design.cmu.edu/school/about-school

Columbia College Chicago offers two programs in graphic design, a BFA and BA. Both degrees give students the tools and experience needed to launch a career in graphic design within a broader program of foundational studies in art and design. Students also gain a strong business foundation, which will prepare them to join a design firm, an agency, an in-house corporate design team, or launch their own freelance business. A second Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design is also available. The BFA is a rigorous, professionally focused degree in graphic design. The BFA requires students to learn multiple disciplines and has fewer opportunities to choose electives. The BA provides a foundation in design but allows students to choose a general concentration in Web Design or Publication Design. All Graphic Design students develop a professional portfolio of work as part of the requirements of the degree programs. c
Contact: colum.edu

The School of Art at The Cooper Union 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. Following completion of the Foundation Program, disciplines offered are graphic design, drawing, film and video, painting, photography, printmaking, and sculpture. Students may choose to focus on 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

The center for creativity at Drexel University, the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design trains the next generation of scholars, thinkers, makers, and doers in the fields of media, entertainment, design, and the visual and performing arts. Westphal offers 18 undergraduate and nine graduate majors, housed in awardwinning facilities that encourage collaboration across creative disciplines. The Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design educates students to inform, persuade, educate, and entertain through the creative use of word and image. The program prepares students with diverse backgrounds to enter the field of graphic design with a competitive edge as skilled design practitioners, creative problem solvers, and multi-talented team members.
Contact: drexel.edu/westphal/academics/undergraduate/graphic-design

The Graphic Design BFA Program of the Communication Design Pathways Department educates creative, socially responsible, and worldly professionals who are well positioned for a broad range of art and design fields. It challenges students to generate problem-solving and culture-making design, through experimentation and collaboration attuned to social, environmental as well as commercial challenges. It is an intensive, professionally oriented course of study that relies heavily on typographic craftsmanship, design authorship and motion design. The program presents an annual lecture series for its design students and multiple student curated exhibitions. It facilitates Study Abroad, internships and professional interaction opportunities. Courses are taught by accomplished practicing designers and scholars.
Contact: fitnyc.edu/academics/academic-divisions/art-and-design/graphic-design/index.php

Full Sail University is an award-winning educational leader for those pursuing careers in entertainment media and emerging technologies. Founded in 1979, it currently provides degree programs for more than 21,000+ students and is the alma mater of 89,211+ graduates. Over its 40+ year history, Full Sail has received numerous accolades including being previously named the “School/ College of the Year” by the Florida Association of Postsecondary Schools and Colleges. Full Sail offers accelerated on-campus and online degree programs in areas including Graphic Design Bachelor’s, Media Design MFA, and Digital Arts & Design Bachelor’s. With over 880,000+ square feet of real-world media production facilities, students can learn using state-of-the-art equipment and facilities. Additionally, Full Sail graduate credits include work on OSCAR, Emmy, GRAMMY, ADDY, MTV Video Music Award, and Video Game Award-nominated and winning projects.
Contact: fullsail.edu

“George Mason University’s School of Art is a collaborative academic and professional community focused on advancing creativity through traditional and new media applied to varying social contexts. Embedded in a major liberal arts university rich in learning resources, the School of Art plays a vital role in the creative climate of the institution and the region through the cross-disciplinary research it facilitates and the artwork it produces and exhibits. The School’s facilities engage an exceptional faculty of practicing artists, an active visiting artist program, and a diverse and intellectually curious graduate and undergraduate student body. Artistic skills and principles of creative practice in all visual media are grounded in a forward-thinking, adaptive curriculum. Faculty and students forge cross-disciplinary experimentation, challenging conventional thinking and blurring the lines between traditional artistic disciplines, indeed, between the arts and other humanities and sciences. The School of Art educates artists and creative professionals to be responsible contributors to society, preparing them to be agents of change in an increasingly connected, complex, inclusive world. The School of Art offers such degrees as Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts, and Master of Arts in Teaching, as well as certificates and minors.The School of Art educates artists and creative professionals to be responsible contributors to society, preparing them to be agents of change in an increasingly connected, complex, inclusive world. The School of Art offers such degrees as Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts, and Master of Arts in Teaching, as well as certificates and minors.”
Contact: gmu.edu

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. Bringing together the worlds of creative management, design thinking, and business strategy, the program extends beyond the limits of traditional design programs. Students develop a holistic understanding of creativity and the design process while mastering the managerial insights and leadership strategies needed to deliver business-focused outcomes. Ideal for professionals within the fields of design, communications, marketing and related areas, the program is entirely virtual, so students don’t have to interrupt their careers to earn the degree. Learning is done through a blend of online lectures, group discussions, and applied coursework — all of which can be completed from home or office. Faculty members bring expertise across a wide range of specialties, including creative strategy, design leadership, digital and traditional marketing communications, social media, management, and branding.
Contact: scs.georgetown.edu/create

“The Graphic Design Department at Iowa State is situated in the College of Design, one of the most comprehensive institutions for art and design education, which leads to a strong multidisciplinary network of design thinking for our 250+ students. The department includes an undergraduate BFA in Graphic Design, a Masters in Experiential Graphic Design, and a Master of Fine Arts in Graphic Design. The curriculum emphasizes how to design through organization of visual and verbal information. Our concept-based approach can be applied to printed material, digital media, motion, and environmental graphics. Students learn to create designs based in a solid understanding of visual and verbal information. They hone their skills through elective studios in a variety of topics including UX design, 3D animation, digital media, motion graphics, exhibition design, packaging design, wayfinding, typography, publication design and branding. They enhance their education with internships or study abroad, including a semester in Italy with our Rome Program. Our mission is to educate experiential communicators who enrich our ethical, social, cultural, and environmental future. We prepare students to be adept in the ever-evolving graphic design discipline in the creation of communication artifacts and systems that inform and inspire in virtual and physical environments. ”
Contact: catalog.iastate.edu/collegeofdesign/graphicdesign

KCAI is a college of art and design awarding the B.F.A. degree in 13 majors. We recruit top talent from across the country and equip 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. Our approach to design problems can best be described as exploratory, systematic, and transmedia. We recognize the complexity of contemporary design and seek to foster critical and surprising responses through a rigorous process of research, thinking, form-making, and connection to various external communities.
Contact: kcai.edu/academics/Majors_Minors/majors/Graphic-Design/

Graphic Communications is one of the largest programs in the School of Art and Design at Kennesaw State University. This vigorous, progressive program supports students in advancing their technical and creative skills, with visual literacy and technology serving as the foundation. Students embody competencies and relevance for a multicultural, global marketplace. The School of Art and Design (SOAAD) is accredited by NASAD and offers students challenging and exciting degrees, including the BFA in Art, including new concentrations in Art Education, Art History, and Textile and Surface Design, the BFA in Digital Animation, and an MA in Art and Design. SOAAD and the City of Atlanta are a powerful combination providing educational and professional opportunities that launch careers into local and international creative industries.
Contact: arts.kennesaw.edu/visual-arts

“M.AD SCHOOL OF IDEAS (aka Miami Ad School) is a graduate level design and advertising school whose mission is to prepare students for creative practice and leadership. Respecting tradition, yet constantly evolving to stay ahead of a dynamic communications industry, we are one of the most respected creative communication schools in the country. M.AD SCHOOL OF IDEAS transforms creative minds into exceptional creative talents with highly specialized tracks in all aspects of design, advertising, art direction, and copywriting; as well boot camps in social strategy and strategic planning. Creative thinkers are nurtured and challenged in our two-year curriculum, taught by some of the most innovative minds in the business. With a network of more than 12,000 graduates, we measure our success by the degree of professional and personal achievement attained by our graduates at the top advertising agencies, design firms, corporations, and consultancies around the globe. M.AD SCHOOL OF IDEAS has a global network of 16 schools around the world.”
Contact: miamiadschool.com

“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: mica.edu

” Mercer University’s comprehensive curriculum, housed within a vibrant liberal arts program, encourages the investigation of contemporary directions in art, imaging, and visual communication. By working in a wide range of print and interactive media, students develop cohesive portfolios appropriate for the pursuit of graduate studies or professional practice. Theory, methodology, and industrystandard technology are taught by award-winning faculty members to prepare students for success in this continually evolving field of study.”
Contact: liberalarts.mercer.edu/academic-programs/majors-and-minors/graphic-design

“The Modern College of Design is a nationally recognized design college in Ohio. The Modern transforms students passionate about art, design, photography, and technology into exceptional designers and future leaders in design. The Modern’s unique residential and online programs provide an innovative education in design, marketing, business, and leadership, and students complete internships and co-ops at agencies across the country. Modern students are creative problem solvers and are recognized nationally for their work. Faculty are industry experts and provide one-on-one education and mentorship. Alumni have access to The Modern’s vast network of employers and work for some of the world’s leading brands, including Apple, Nike, and Disney. ”
Contact: themodern.edu

“Michigan State University, founded in 1855 as a pioneering landgrant institution, 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. Within the Department of Art, Art History, and Design, students in the Graphic Design Program are exposed to a series of experimental and intellectual exercises that prepare them for a wide range of professional careers in design. 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. Real-world experience is gained through internships, the client-initiated coursework of Design Center, and the AIGA student group. Inspiring lectures demonstrate the wide scope of the profession, as renowned designers are brought in as part of the annual Visiting Artist & Scholar Lecture Series. Past lecturers include Massimo Vignelli, Martin Venezky, Ben Fry, Nancy Skolos & Tom Wedell, James Victore, Andrew Blauvelt, Jim Sherraden, Stuart Bailey, Jan Wilker, Hans Allemann, and Karen Cheng.”
Contact: art.msu.edu

“The Graphic and Experience Design Program at NC State University’s College of Design blends user experience and user interface design (UX/UI) with traditional graphic design practices like branding, typography, service design, and exhibition design. Through project-based assignments, graphic and experience design students acquire strong formal and conceptual skills framed by a humancentered approach. Students progress to advanced studios that enable in-depth exploration of special topics such as data visualization, branding, accessible design, and artificial intelligence. The NC State Graphic & Experience Design (GXD) program is consistently recognized as one of the top NASAD-accredited design programs in the country. Students are embedded in a College of Design which allows them to thrive in a creative culture alongside fellow graphic and experience designers, industrial designers, landscape architects and architects.”
Contact: design.ncsu.edu/graphic-design/

“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 & Strategy (IDS). As digital output increasingly becomes the backbone of most business strategy, there is an acute need for professionals with a better big-picture understanding of information management, design, and technology. 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 career opportunities and make a larger impact on their organizations. The strong theoretical framework of the program and its focus on fundamental concepts makes the degree applicable to many diverse fields and types of organizations — business, the arts, government, healthcare, and education, to name a few — regardless of changes in technology. IDS program was developed in consultation with industry leaders; it is a parttime and completely online degree.”
Contact: sps.northwestern.edu/masters/information-design

“Parsons School of Design at The New School is one of the leading institutions for art and design education in the world. Based in New York but active around the world, the school offers undergraduate and graduate programs in the full spectrum of art and design disciplines, as well as online courses, degree, and certificate programs. Critical thinking and collaboration are at the heart of a Parsons education. Parsons graduates are leaders in their respective fields, with a shared commitment to creatively and critically addressing the complexities of life in the 21st century. The Communication Design BFA is the oldest undergraduate program of its kind in the United States. In this major, students learn the theory and craft needed to combine words, images, and ideas to visually transmit information and project human experiences in print, on screen, or in space.”
Contact: newschool.edu/parsons/about

“The Ohio State University’s design undergraduate offerings fall into three major programs, each leading to the Bachelor of Science in Design (BSD) degree: Industrial Design, Interior Design, and Visual Communication Design. The Visual Communication Design program was recently ranked third among the 25 best bachelor’s degree programs for 2022 by CollegeRank. Our undergraduate degree programs provide comprehensive, professional training in the design disciplines, while also emphasizing collaboration between each of the areas of study. Students develop projects that demonstrate their abilities to create solutions that meet or exceed professional expectations. The Department of Design also offers two complementary design-led and research-oriented areas of emphasis in Design Research and Development or Digital Animation and Interactive Media, both leading to the Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree. Ohio State is the highest-ranked public university in Ohio and ranked in the top 50 of US universities.”
Contact: design.osu.edu

“At Pennsylvania College of Art & Design, we are makers and dreamers, designers, and entrepreneurs. Here students learn to make creativity their careers. Located in the heart of Lancaster city’s thriving arts community, inspiration is found around every corner. As a micro-college, it’s the personal attention and guidance from our faculty of working artists, coupled with internships and hands-on experiences, that set us apart. A hallmark of our Graphic Design program is our annual Designathon event, a day-long push of brainstorming, designing, refining, production, and presentations, as students and faculty create free marketing materials — logos, websites, brochures, and branding — for local nonprofits. GDUSA 29 30 GDUSA This deadline-driven adrenaline-filled experience prepares students well for their futures as they learn to design under pressure.”
Contact: pcad.edu/degrees/graphic-design

“Portland State Graphic Design equips students to conquer creative challenges with a breadth of technical and artistic skills. Our program prepares students to be exploratory, experimental, collaborative graphic designers who can thrive in today’s world. The faculty in the design program at Portland State University are active makers as well as educators. Through their efforts and connections, Portland State’s graphic design students become part of the larger design community while they are still in school. We empower students to trust their creative impulses, embrace their interests, and direct their own learning experiences. Individualization of projects and self-authorship are encouraged and in turn create powerful creative workers who trust their choices. We offer students myriad opportunities to make work for the real world. Many of our classes pair students with clients — small businesses, non-profits, cultural institutions — to give students the experience of solving design challenges that will have real, tangible impact. We work to connect our students to the design community within Portland, and beyond. Through PSUGD’s facilitation of visiting designer lectures, field trips, in-class demos, portfolio days, and internship opportunities, our students become integrated members of a global community of makers.”
Contact: psu.gd

“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 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: pratt.edu

“Art students from around the world choose to start their B.F.A. degree at Pratt Institute’s upstate New York extension center, PrattMWP College of Art and Design. PrattMWP students are inspired and challenged while receiving unparalleled, individualized attention from faculty of professional artists and designers in the premier Arts District of Central New York. Students complete the first two years of their program on the Utica campus and then seamlessly relocate 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.”
Contact: mwpai.edu/academics/communications-design

“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 practices.”
Contact: risd.edu/academics/graphic-design

“Since 1931, Ringling College of Art and Design has cultivated the creative spirit in students from around the globe. The College and its 1,400 students benefit from an award-winning faculty, cuttingedge 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: ringling.edu

“SCAD is a private, nonprofit, accredited university, offering more than 100 graduate and undergraduate degree programs across locations in Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia; Lacoste, France; and online via SCADnow. 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 HIGHEST HONORS | 2023 TOP DESIGN SCHOOLS GDUSA 31 Design Awards. In 2021 and 2022, SCAD was named No. 1 in the U.S. in Art & Object’s Best Art Schools ranking. Career success is woven into every fiber of the university, resulting in a superior alumni employment rate. For the past four years, 99% of SCAD graduates were employed, pursuing further education, or both within 10 months of graduation. 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.”
Contact: scad.edu

“For more than 155 years, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) has been a leader in educating the world’s most influential artists, designers, and scholars. Located in downtown Chicago with a fine arts graduate program ranked number two in the nation by U.S. News and World Report, SAIC provides an interdisciplinary approach to art and design as well as world-class resources, including the Art Institute of Chicago museum, on-campus galleries, and state-of-the-art facilities. SAIC’s undergraduate, graduate, and post-baccalaureate students have the freedom to take risks and create the bold ideas that transform Chicago and the world, and adults, teens, and kids in our Continuing Studies classes can explore their creative sides, build portfolios, and advance their skills. Notable alumni and faculty include Georgia O’Keeffe, Nick Cave, David Sedaris, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Cynthia Rowley, Michelle Grabner, Richard Hunt, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, and Jeff Koons.”
Contact: saic.edu

“SVA has been a leader in the education of artists, designers, and creative professionals for seven decades. With a faculty of distinguished working professionals, a dynamic curriculum, and an emphasis on critical thinking, SVA is a catalyst for innovation and social responsibility. Comprising 7,000 students at its Manhattan campus and more than 40,000 alumni in 128 countries, SVA also represents one of the most influential artistic communities in the world. Our Design program focuses on teaching visual communication problem-solving. In addition to a distinguished faculty, we offer a wide range of course options tailored to each student’s strengths and needs. We achieve this by offering more studio courses than any institution in the world. Our Advertising program is a soup-to-nuts proposition: we ground students in the basics — typography, digital production, 3D design, motion graphics, and graphic design while broadening their visual literacy and sharpening their voice. Many of SVA’s advertising classes are held right at the agencies of faculty members, where students can mingle with executives, media planners, and copywriters.”
Contact: sva.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 and Bachelor’s degree programs in Graphic Design offer an accessible, affordable path for students seeking to enter careers in print and interactive visual communication. Designed for high school graduates and adult learners, the programs offer a powerful foundation in visual design and a working knowledge of contemporary design practices and media. Talented, passionate experts teach the artistic, digital, and critical thinking skills required by dynamic creative fields.”
Contact: sessions.edu

“Shillington is the Original Graphic Design Bootcamp, with courses in New York, London, Sydney, Melbourne and Online. Since 1997, we have been helping students reach their creative potential and completely transform their lives. With full-time and part-time options — three months and nine months respectively — our course is designed to accelerate your learning, inspire you creatively and give you the practical skills and all-important portfolio to launch your creative career. Students are taught real and relevant industry skills — from design theory, typography and packaging to mobile app design and user experience (UX) — by skilled and passionate designers. No experience required. To help prepare them for the industry, students are treated like a designer from day one. Our classrooms mimic a studio environment with real world briefs, realistic deadlines, constructive feedback, and mentorship. Shillington is the best way to learn graphic design and transform your life.”
Contact: shillingtoneducation.com/us

“The School of Design is an inquisitive community of students and faculty that addresses firsthand the issues of the world around it. State school officials: “We take pride in our 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 our programs.” The School of Design’s first-year experience is a prerequisite, providing a design-studio-based education focused on the fundamental elements of the design disciplines. Students learn basic visualization and making skills as well as an ability to apply iterative thought and action processes to a given problem. In addition, students receive a focused introduction to the ethical and philosophical grounding of each of the design professions. School of Design faculty are active professionals dedicated to ensuring that students reach their potential and provide one-onone instruction in studio classes. The School maintains a special 32 GDUSA HIGHEST HONORS | 2023 TOP DESIGN SCHOOLS relationship with the Syracuse community through the activities of various student groups (including chapters of professional design organizations) who work on projects with not-for-profit agencies as well as funded research design collaborations.”
Contact: vpa.syr.edu/academics/design

“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 designing for social good, cross-media partnerships, workshops, and collaboration. We encourage students to let their passions drive their focus and academic path and are proud to support and foster the individuality of its students and their unique voices and vision. 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, U.S. State Department, and their own businesses. The program offers both a Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design and a Master of Science in Multimedia, Photography, and Design degrees.”
Contact: newhouse.syr.edu

“The Communication Design Program is one of the largest public programs in the country and is one of the best in the Southwest United States. The program’s curriculum is oriented around the preparation of a superior portfolio with a focus on enabling students to become excellent critical thinkers, fearless makers, and effective communicators as they enter the professional field of communication design. Courses in interactive design, typography, art direction, corporate identity, sustainable packaging, brand experience, human-centered design, environmental graphics, and design research prepare the student for professional practice. Students may further their education with independent study courses, job shadowing, and professional internships. Communication Design students have received recognition in numerous prestigious design journals by having their work published in Communication Arts, CMYK, Step Inside Design, Graphis New Talent Annual, LogoLounge, and PRINT. Students have also received recognition in national, regional, and local competitions such as: The One Show, American Advertising Federation Awards, AIGA Flux, The National Show, Creative Summit, Art Director’s Club of Houston, Austin Addy Awards, and San Antonio Addy Awards.”
Contact: finearts.txst.edu/Art

“The Visual Communication Design program at Thomas Jefferson University emphasizes the role of design as a vital cultural, social, economic, political, and environmental force in society. Rooted in the universal principles of design that shape our world and the human experience, graduates learn to make and think critically to identify and solve a wide variety of modern problems. Every student in the program learns the foundations of visual aesthetics, design research, the creative process, and a variety of tools and technology. Students can extend this core knowledge to either the Graphic Design Communication or Web Design & Development specialization to find their unique place within the ever-changing and expanding design profession. By fostering curiosity, faculty empower students to develop individual points of view and equip them to investigate and tackle the complex challenges of our profession and the world. We provide students with opportunities to explore a range of techniques and applications, to collaborate with peers and faculty from other programs, to work on industry projects, and to engage with the professional design community.”
Contact: Jefferson.edu/BSVisualCommunicationDesign

“The School of Design at UCO places student-centered excellence at the program’s core. This philosophy and practice are captured in a quote by former design student Emily Falls, “When I joined the School of Design, I knew virtually nothing about design. Now, three years later, I have found my calling as a designer, and I am proud of my work and accomplishments. There are plenty of challenges in the School of Design, and it is wildly rewarding in the end. The School of Design has shaped me into the person I am today, and for that, I’ll always be grateful.” At the UCO School of Design, 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: uco.edu/cfad/academics/design

“At the University of Cincinnati, communication design students receive a foundation in visual problem solving. The core of the curriculum is a series of sequential design studios. These courses help students develop critical and visual thinking along with essential design processes. Students also have opportunities to further develop in the specific areas of graphic design, interaction design and motion design. Students reinforce their skills in the field through several co-ops. Professional communication designers build careers wherever communication is important. Designers often work for design firms, internal design teams, or as independent freelancers. They have career opportunities in branding and corporate identity, digital product design, exhibit design, interface design, motion graphics, package design, service design, user experience design, and web design. Today’s designers may be found working in the healthcare system improving health, or for governments and NGOs impacting society.”
Contact: daap.uc.edu/academic-programs/school-of-design/communication-design.html

“At the Hartford Art School, students build the skills that will enable them to successfully enter the professional world. The School offers eight studio majors leading to the BFA — including in Visual Communication Design — a BA program in Art History, and three MFA programs. Students have the best of both worlds, pursuing rigorous studio-based disciplines with a liberal arts university environment. Visual communication design students learn how to design static and interactive work, which can include motion graphics, product packaging, and advertising pieces. The program encompasses all visual languages used to communicate, and classes on design theory, methods, and history align with practical work with real clients by senior year. Designers in this program are able to think critically about how to tell a story using design elements rather than words, and to consider not only how work looks, but also about how people will interact with it.”
Contact: hartford.edu/academics/schools-colleges/art/default.aspx

“The BFA program in Communication Design is guided by a curriculum that emphasizes the development of conceptual thinking that mirrors the challenges found in the graphic design industry. The undergraduate curriculum offers graphic design and usercentered design concentrations that help students develop marketable skills and deep knowledge for diverse design settings. Our students’ work is competitive globally, having garnered recognition from significant design competitions. A nationally and internationally recognized community of faculty and networked alumni provide students with excellent mentors and role models upon which to pattern their careers. The College of Visual Arts and Design creates a climate and curriculum that values, demonstrates, and affirms diversity, equity, and inclusion through its programs and practices. UNT is in Denton TX, part of the greater Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.”
Contact: cvad.unt.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 new state-ofthe- art facility in the Los Angeles Arts District — a vibrant art and design community. The MFA Design program particularly instills a critical understanding of the issues, theories, and ideas that are relevant to contemporary design. Roski’s open approach offers myriad opportunities for inter-disciplinary research and collaboration across the 18 professional schools at USC, a leading research institution. This gives Roski design students the extraordinary 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. 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

“Established in 1910 the University of Southern Mississippi is a tier one research institution that has provided a quality education in visual arts for 110 years. As 1 of only 39 institutions in the nation accredited in all major art forms it is considered the flagship university for the arts in the state of Mississippi. The graphic design program has a rich history dating back to 1946 and has produced distinguished alums which include an AIGA Medalist, and numerous design industry leaders. The design program continues to develop this rich tradition of success which can be seen through our students’ award-winning work that has garnered over 300 awards in the past 5 years. Our BFA curriculum focuses on visual literacy; development of conceptual, aesthetic, and visual skills; and creative problem solving. In addition to traditional course work students can experience design in one of 2 student lead agencies: Rise Creative, and SPVA Design and Marketing. Our students also enjoy a rich culture and active community within our program with large, active student organizations that travel to design conferences, portfolio reviews and competitions.”
Contact: usm.edu/performing-visual-arts/index.php

“The School of Design and Creative Technologies (SDCT) at The University of Texas at Austin aims to produce diverse, creative students who are the best technical creators, designers, and problem solvers with exceptional job opportunities. SDCT comprises two academic departments: the Department of Arts and Entertainment Technologies (AET) and the Department of Design. The Department of Design empowers students with a multi-faceted educational experience that poises graduates for careers in the design profession, professions with a design component or a strategic focus, and entrepreneurial endeavors. In addition to a BFA and BA in Design, the department offers an MFA in Design and an MA in Design focused on Health, a first-of-its-kind program equipping a new generation to be change agents in healthcare using design methodologies and practices.”
Contact: designcreativetech.utexas.edu

“University of the Arts’ mission is simple: to advance human creativity. Established in 1876, UArts believes creativity is the most essential skill for success today and has educated generations of groundbreaking artists, performers, designers, and creative leaders for more than 141 years. It now features 30 undergraduate arts majors, 15 graduate programs and the nation’s first PhD program in Creativity. 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. We turn out powerful thinkers who are sophisticated typographers and versatile designers. Our 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: uarts.edu

“As an integral part of the largest university in the state, the BFA Graphic Design program at Utah Valley University is centered on thought-provoking, concept-driven design. Students are provided with a sound footing in art and design history and exposed to a broad variety of media including print, branding, motion graphics, and UI/UX. Exceptional work in these disciplines has often led to success in an array of regional, national, and international design competitions. Our students and graduates have also met with great success securing outstanding internship and career opportunities both within Utah’s thriving “Silicon Slopes” business hub and in other major metro areas around the country.”
Contact: uvu.edu/artdesign

“The MFA in Graphic Design at Vermont College of Fine Arts is a truly original low-residency program built around students’ particular interests, values, and goals. Students and faculty continuously rethink 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 twoyear and three-year tracks 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 9-day residency 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, a supportive international network, 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

“Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, transdisciplinary approach to prepare 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. Through experiential learning, future-focused research, and inclusive, spirited culture, the institution 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 focusGDUSA 35 ing on conceptual thinking, user experience, and problem-solving tactics, while also developing aesthetic abilities. The program demands individual creativity, teamwork, and adaptability, and will prepare students to enter the job market with practical experience and a professionally reviewed portfolio. Graduates work in app design, motion design, product and packaging design, web and interaction design, advertising, and other related fields.”
Contact: sova.vt.edu

“The Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts is a leader in architecture, art, and design education. We advance our fields through innovative research and creative practice, excellence in teaching, a world-class university art museum, and a deep commitment to addressing the social and environmental challenges of our time. We offer 15 unique degree programs, supplemented by several creative research centers and resources, including the Office for Socially Engaged Practice, Island Press, and the D.B. Dowd Modern Graphic History Library, featuring a comprehensive archival collection of periodical illustration. Undergraduates in design may pursue a BFA or a BA as well as second majors and minors in diverse academic fields. Students are free to explore drawing, typography, graphic design, illustration, book arts, and interaction design (and everywhere in between). The MFA in Illustration & Visual Culture (MFA-IVC) program combines studio practice in illustration and writing with the study of visual and material culture. With a focus on illustrator authorship, this twoyear, fully residential program is made for illustrators, comic artists, and designers interested in popular visual matter.”
Contact: samfoxschool.wustl.edu/academics/college-of-art

“Woodbury University has earned a reputation as a leading creative university thanks in part to its nationally ranked Graphic Design program. The creative offerings of the Woodbury’s Schools of Architecture and Media : Culture : Design are balanced by top notch academic programs in its School of Business and College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Woodbury’s location in Southern California and strong connection to the most iconic and innovative companies in the country give students access to an array of career opportunities. A mandatory internship program allows students to gain practical work experience before graduation, and those internships often turn into full-time jobs. Woodbury’s faculty are highly accomplished working professionals and the school’s 10:1 faculty-to-student ratio guarantees unhindered access to their expertise and insights. Woodbury is recognized as an Hispanic serving institution and has been named a College of Distinction for 7 years running.”
Contact: woodbury.edu/program/school-of-media-culture-design/programs/graphic-design

“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: art.yale.edu/GraphicDesign