GDUSA’s 2019 Top Graphic Design Schools

In our 56th anniversary year, GDUSA we have already published our 2019 Students To Watch roundup and now we compile our annual list of our favorite institutions which prepare students to work in professional graphic design. The selection is based on a mix of objective and subjective factors, including our own decades long relationships with designers, students, educators, recruiters. 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.

Academy of Art University is the largest accredited private art and design university in the nation. Founded in 1929, the school and San Francisco have grown up together and served as mutual sources of inspiration and talent. Academy of Art University offers accredited AA, BA, BFA, B. Arch, MA, MFA and M. Arch degree programs in numerous areas of study, as well as continuing art education and pre-college programs for high school students. Flexible online degree programs are available in most areas of study, including graphic design. What makes the School of Graphic Design special is its emphasis on portfolio development. From the very first class, students are encouraged to create an exceptional portfolio that demonstrates skills in traditional drawing and painting as well as a well-rounded education in typography, print and editorial design, branding, information design, web design and packaging.

Graphic design is a process to create change. Change is made to happen by designers committed to great ideas. ArtCenter’s Graphic Design programs educate those designers, to See, Do and Lead. Alumni make design influential in companies, communities and society and extend the boundaries of design in all directions. Graphic Design students become leaders to globally drive the next generation of the creative profession. Founded in 1930 and located in Pasadena CA, ArtCenter is a leader in art and design education. The institution offers 11 undergraduate and seven graduate degrees. In addition to its top-ranked academic programs, the College also serves members of the Southern California region through a series of year-round educational programs for ages nine through adulthood. Renowned for both its ties to industry and social impact initiatives, ArtCenter is the first design school to receive the UN Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) status. Throughout the College’s long and storied history, alumni have had a profound impact on popular culture, the way we live and important issues in our society. and

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. The Program is housed among other prestigious design disciplines within the beautiful traditional campus setting.

Founded in 1918, Ball State University is a research-intensive, residential university in Muncie IN 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 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. 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; enjoy superior facilities and state of the art technology; and work closely with professors and peers in multiple areas. The Visual Communication program also provides an opportunity to enroll in an award-winning student-run design studio.

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. Founded in 1907, the college currently offers 22 undergraduate and 13 graduate programs to its nearly 2000 students. Graphic design students at CCA learn how to engage the mind and the senses by translating ideas into provocative forms and powerful experiences. They identify problems and find solutions that move people to think, feel, and act.

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.

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. The School of Design sits within a historic building on campus in Pittsburgh, one of America’s most livable cities. Officials state: “The demand for our graduates is increasing, and each year during Confluence, our career fair, many students receive offers of employment prior to graduation.”

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.

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 United States, and in 2019, the college is celebrating 140 years of creative excellence. 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 from CCAD’s Advertising & Graphic Design program go on to work at big-name agencies including Leo Burnett Worldwide, Ogilvy, and Saatchi & Saatchi.

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.

A global center for high-tech innovation, Seattle is surrounded by the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. Because of this balance, Seattle has attracted a robust, globally-involved design community. The Department of Design curriculum is centered on the student’s interests in corporate, entrepreneurial, or social design practice. By engaging in individual and collaborative projects, students learn the demands of user experience, the value of understanding narrative systems and the relationships of type and image. Their education in traditional and digital design techniques is founded in critical and contextual learning. The school partners with companies like Amazon and Microsoft for “real-world” experiences. But they also collaborate with nonprofit social innovators like the Raikes Foundation and Partners Asia to give students opportunities to deploy their skills for social good.

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.

DePaul’s BFA in Graphic Design prepares students to communicate to diverse audiences through a wide range of interdisciplinary design practices. The program integrates contemporary media and technologies, including web and interaction design, branding, illustration, motion graphics, typography, package design, programming and 3D fabrication. Students learn both history and theory, acquiring skills to research, develop concepts and prototypes, and professional portfolios. They also participate in internships and opportunities in Chicago. Students collaborate with our award-winning faculty through our AIGA student chapter, design internship program, Idea Realization Lab maker space and digital fabrication studio, and our faculty-student research grants. Common careers for graduates include visual, production and interactive design; art direction; book, publication and web design; advertising; motion graphcis, photography; and title design for film, TV and games.

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. Westphal College is home to the Mandell Theater, the Pearlstein Gallery, Drexel’s television (DUTV) and radio (WKDU 91.7 FM) stations, the Rudman Institute for Entertainment Industry Studies, MAD Dragon Records and Drexel’s Historic Costume Collection. 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.

Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies (SCS) has recently introduced a 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.

Howard University in Washington DC is one of the nation’s leading research universities. 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 of the Department is to present a multifaceted educational program that distinguishes itself as “unique and advantaged” by offering a professional degree program that is enriched by academic support from University-wide departments. Emphasis is placed upon instruction from a multicultural perspective and recognition of the dynamic reciprocity of art and life. The Department of Art is an accredited institutional member of NASAD. The Design Program aims to develop an immense 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.

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 Graphic Design curriculum at Jefferson culminates with a BS degree. 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, such as the Adobe Design Achievement Awards, AIGA, Creative Quarterly, Graphis, Graphic Design USA (GDUSA), How Magazine, Society of Publication Designers, The One Show, and the University and College Designers Association.

The Kansas City Art Institute (KCAI) located in Kansas City MO, is a private, independent four-year college of art and design awarding the BFA degree with 14 majors in animation, art history, ceramics, creative writing, fiber, filmmaking, graphic design, illustration, interactive arts, painting, photography, printmaking, product design and sculpture. Founded in 1885, KCAI is Kansas City’s oldest arts organization. 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. Their approach to design problems can best be described as exploratory, systematic, and transmedia. The department 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.

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. A leader in innovative teaching and learning, KSU offers more than 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 35,000 students. With 13 colleges, the College of the Arts is home to largest art program in the state, the School of Art and Design. With several hundred majors, the school seeks to provide art students with a broad understanding of art, design, and art history and to promote the visual arts as an essential expression of the human condition. The School offers a BFA degree in Art, a BFA in Digital Animation, a BS degree in Art Education, a BA in Art History, a BAT in Apparel Textiles Technology, and a MAT in Teaching Art. The School of Art and Design 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.

MICA has become a leader in the education of artists and designers by fostering a community of talented, creative individuals committed to redefining the boundaries of art and design. The College’s innovative curriculum, state-of-the-art campus and world-class faculty provide the education, community, experiences and resources needed to prepare the artists and designers who will lead in the 21st century. Located in Baltimore, MICA offers a BFA and MFA in Graphic Design, an MA in Social Design, MPS degrees in Business of Art and Design and UX Design, a dual MBA/MA in Design Leadership and a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Graphic Design.

Miami Ad School @ Portfolio Center in Atlanta, GA. is a graduate-level advertising and design school whose mission is to prepare students for creative practice and leadership. Thanks to a small, intimate environment, the school is able to break the boundaries of traditional instruction. The education is hands-on and interactive. 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. Because great communication begins with sound reasoning, we train students to think. Miami Ad School @ Portfolio Center offers full time, intensive, two year programs; students graduate with a certificate in Art Direction, Copywriting, Design, Digital Photography and Video; and, boot camps in Social Media and Strategic Planning. Additionally, Miami Ad School @ Portfolio Center through a collaboration with Furman University offers a Master of Arts in Strategic Design (MA-SDG). Miami Ad School @ Portfolio Center is a member of Miami Ad School’s global network of 15 schools.

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. MSU’s 4500 faculty offer its 50,000+ student body more than 200 graduate and undergraduate degrees. Among them is a thriving graphic design program 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.

MIAD is Wisconsin’s only four-year, private college of visual art and design, offering BFA degrees in Communication Design, Illustration, Industrial Design, Interior Architecture and Design and Fine Art (New Studio Practice). Throughout the Communication Design program — closely tied to its award-winning Illustration program — students have the opportunity to intern at leading advertising and design firms, in corporate settings, and more. The college’s enrollment has grown over the past four years, and upon graduation, MIAD alumni fill important positions, sharing their voice in major, multinational corporations, and marketing and communications firms.

The nationally renowned Northwestern University School of Professional Studies has an extensive offering of online master’s degrees and certificate programs, and this now includes an online Master of Science in Information Design and 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 their 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. The IDS program was developed in consultation with industry leaders; it is a part-time and completely online degree.

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 College’s mission is to prepare diverse students of art and design to enrich the world through their creativity, skill, and vision. The College offers BFA degrees in architecture/landscape/interiors, communication arts, digital media, fashion design, fine arts, product design, and toy design and MFA degrees in fine arts, graphic design, and writing. Alumni and faculty are Fulbright, MacArthur, and Guggenheim grant recipients, Oscar awardees, legendary costume designers, leaders of contemporary art movements, entrepreneurs, and designers at Apple, Abercrombie & Fitch, Pixar, DreamWorks, Mattel, Nike, and Disney, among others.

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.

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.

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 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.

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. It is the perfect choice for students who prefer to transition to the big city with advanced skills and a tight group of friends. 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.

Rich, multifaceted and encompassing a broad range of media, Graphic Design at RISD respects the foundations of formal, aesthetic and analytical knowledge and skills while exploring the ever-changing context and function of visual communication. In the studio students learn the fundamental value of typography, imagery, grids, systems and more in the course of creating everything from traditional books, posters, logos and websites to apps, interactive texts and other digital media. Graphic Design graduates leave RISD prepared to work in almost any field imaginable — from education to film, television, publishing, retail and more. Alumni follow a wide range of individual paths, including running their own design studios, working for large corporations, specializing in web and interactive media, and creating everything from package design to title sequences for film and television.

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.

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. The Rutgers-Camden campus resides on the Delaware River across from Philadelphia. 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.

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.  SCAD enrolls nearly 14,000 undergraduate and graduate students from more than 100 countries. The innovative SCAD curriculum is enhanced by advanced professional-level technology, equipment and learning resources, as well as by opportunities for internships, professional certifications and collaborative projects with corporate partners. The prestigious Red Dot Design Rankings recently placed SCAD as the No. 1 university in the U.S. and in the top two universities in the Americas and Europe. Career preparation is woven into every fiber of the university, resulting in a superior alumni employment rate. According to a recent study, 99 percent of Spring 2017 SCAD graduates were employed, pursuing further education or both within 10 months of graduation.

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.

School of Visual Arts has been a leader in the education of artists, designers and creative professionals for more than six decades. With a faculty of distinguished working professionals, dynamic curriculum and an emphasis on critical thinking, SVA is a catalyst for innovation and social responsibility. Comprised of more than 6,000 students at its Manhattan campus and 35,000 alumni in 100 countries, SVA also represents one of the most influential artistic communities in the world. SVA’s BFA Design program focuses on teaching visual communication problem solving, extending students’ practices beyond conventional graphic design with coursework in 3D design, interactive design and motion graphics. The College’s MFA Design program, founded in 1998, aims to provide students with the tools, inspiration and experience that prepares them for careers in which they succeed as individual and collaborative authors and entrepreneurs.

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.

The Visual Communications department at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications 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. They 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, US State Department, and their own startups. The program offers both a BS in Graphic Design and an MS in Multimedia, Photography, and Design degrees.

Located in Philadelphia PA, the Tyler School of Art’s Graphic & Interactive Design program offers one of the nation’s most rigorous and respected BFA and MFA programs in graphic design. Students at Tyler 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, imagemaking, 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. Based at Temple, a great urban public university, Tyler students take advantage of a vibrant campus and the resources of a city that is one of the world’s leading (and most affordable) art centers.

The Modern College of Design, formerly known as the School of Advertising Art, 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. The Modern’s programs offer individualized attention from award-winning faculty who can adjust curriculum to stay current with market trends and advancements in technology. Students study graphic design, web design, illustration, photography, and video and motion design. They complete internships at agencies across the country and have been recognized nationally for their design work. For the past four years, The Modern has reached a career placement rate of 93-100%. The college was recently approved to become a baccalaureate degree-granting institution and now offers a Bachelor of Arts in Design Leadership. This unique program elevates students’ design skills and builds their experience in entrepreneurship, leadership, and strategy, positioning them to lead the future of design.

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.

Founded in 1876, the University of the Arts is one of the nation’s only universities dedicated solely to educating students in the visual and performing arts, design and writing. It is the only art school in the U.S. that allows its students to collaborate across traditional lines — painters can minor in piano, dancers can study film, guitarists can take classes in screenwriting. A rigorous and well-rounded curriculum prepares its 1,800 undergraduate and graduate students to be the innovative leaders of tomorrow, whether in a specific artistic discipline or by applying their creative education to virtually any career. UArts’ campus is located in the heart of Philadelphia’s Avenue of the Arts, in one of the nation’s most culturally vibrant cities. Graphic Design at UArts is on the leading edge, delving into new technologies, as well as re-inventing how handmade images and messages uniquely speak to the electronically engaged world. The program emphasizes unique invention, and its students explore both new technologies and old-world craft.

Recently named #1 in’s ranking of Best Colleges for Design in America, USC Roski School of Art and Design has long been among the top schools for a degree in design. With the University of Southern California at the forefront of interdisciplinary education, the programs are enhanced by opportunities for cross-disciplinary study throughout USC, a leading research university. The BFA Design is a pre-professional degree leading to a variety of careers. Based on the premise that designers are also artists, Roski’s design curriculum is complemented by studio courses as well as critical theory seminars, professional internships, international study tours, and a senior thesis. The school’s MFA Design program is a rigorous and dynamic, two-year, studio-based curriculum where students work with internationally acclaimed design and critical studies faculties along with renowned creative professionals in a unique experience focusing on experimental design, social practices and teaching methodologies. The recently launched MFA program is based in a new facility in Los Angeles’ Arts District – one of the country’s most innovative and influential neighborhoods. The open-concept design studios include a makerspace, classrooms, and collaboration spaces, all outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment and technologies; as well as a designer-in-residence studio for visiting professionals.

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.

The VCU Advertising program is centered on professional practice, studio intensive coursework and experimental collaboration in education. We’re part of the Robertson School of Media and Culture located on VCU’s urban campus in downtown Richmond, Virginia. 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.

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 are working in app design, editorial design, product and packaging design, web and interaction design, advertising and other related fields.

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. and

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 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.