What You Should Know About This Degree
The field of graphic design has changed drastically over the past several decades. In the latter half of the last century, it was a largely paper-based trade, and designers worked for newspapers, magazines, and more, or created flyers and advertising for businesses of all sizes.
Now, however, the role of the graphic designer has expanded to include leadership roles in developing content for websites and social media presence, as well as sophisticated branding strategies that may include print, digital, and more.
Master’s programs in graphic design are usually meant for those who are already working in the field, but want to expand and improve their skill set to tackle new professional challenges. Coursework may investigate emerging digital media trends or the role of the designer in the corporate world.
There is no accreditation required to practice as a graphic designer in the U.S. Designers may earn certificates for particular areas of focus from institutions of higher education or private schools that teach design.
Here are some questions to ask when researching graphic design programs:
- Am I eligible for this program? A master’s program in graphic design assumes that you will already have a basic understanding of art and design, and an undergraduate degree in art or a related field. Many programs require a minimum GPA of 3.0 or higher. Your application is also likely to include a portfolio review of your best work.
- How long does it take to complete this online degree? Most master’s programs can be completed in one to two years of full-time study, which means taking four classes during each semester, with the possibility of summer scholarship as well. If you attend graduate school on a part-time basis, you may take four or five years to earn your degree.
When you research potential programs, don’t hesitate to reach out to an admissions counselor, even if you’re not sure you’ll be applying to that program. They can answer questions about the program’s focus, and help you determine if it would be a good fit for you.
A good admissions counselor can also help you get the ball rolling to apply for financial aid. Most schools have merit- and need-based financial aid packages for students. You may also be able to access scholarships, grants, or loans from your employer, or any professional organizations to which you belong.