Why This Matters

  • CHOOSE FROM A VARIETY OF POTENTIAL CAREER PATHS

    Graphic design is a versatile degree that can lead to an array of potential careers in advertising, publishing design, user experience, product development, and more.

  • EARN $50,000+ PER YEAR

    The average graphic designer earns an annual salary of $50,710, with the top 10% of workers in this field earning more than $98,260.

  • WORK FOR YOURSELF AS A FREELANCE DESIGNER

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 19% of graphic designers are self-employed, giving you the freedom to choose your own projects as well as set your own rates and work hours.

Our Research

This list features some of the best online Bachelor’s in Graphic Design programs at top colleges across the country. Each school featured is a nonprofit, accredited institution — either public or private — with a high standard of academic quality for post-secondary institutions. Many of the schools on our list have been accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design, which assesses the objectives, quality, and overall effectiveness of design-related programs.

We evaluated each school’s program on tuition costs, admission, retention and graduation rates, faculty, and reputation as well as the student resources provided for online students. Then we calculated the Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. Read more about our ranking methodology.

Next, we compared this comprehensive list of online Bachelor’s in Graphic Design programs to a list of aggregated college rankings from reputable publications like the U.S. News & World Report among others to simplify a student’s college search. We pored through these rankings so students don’t have to.

The Top 21 Online Graphic Design Programs

Best Bachelor's in Graphic Design Programs 2023
01
Intelligent Pick
Liberty University
01
Most Affordable
Southern New Hampshire University
01
Best Ivy League Institution
Yale University
01
Best Private Institution
Bellevue University
01
Most Innovative Curriculum
Art Center College of Design
01
Best Public Institution
Virginia Commonwealth University
01
Best in the Southwest
Arizona State University
01
Best in the West
California College of the Arts
01
Best in the Southeast
UF College of the Arts
01
Best Mentorship
University of Maryland
01

Penn State College of Arts and Architecture
01

Full Sail University
01

California Baptist University
01

Savannah College of Art and Design
01

Kentucky Wesleyan College
01

Maryland Institute College of Art
01

Maryville University
01

National University
01

Upper Iowa University
01

Hodges University
01

Midway University

What You Should Know About This Degree

Although employment in certain areas of graphic design, like computer systems design and related fields, is growing at a faster-than-average pace, overall job growth in graphic design is expected to be slightly slower than average in the next few years. This is partially due to a decline in newspaper, periodical, and book publishing. There will be competition for jobs, which is why earning a degree, building a strong portfolio, and networking through your university will be key to a successful graphic design career.

Graphic designers typically rely on computer-based programs for their work, but that doesn’t mean you can ignore fine arts-based skills like drawing and color theory. Many graphic design programs, particularly at the undergraduate level, require some foundational coursework in these areas to help you understand visual vocabulary and open up your creative process.

Creativity is key for graphic designers, but in most cases, you will be designing a product for a client, not for yourself. You will have to learn how to tailor your artistic vision to the client’s needs and preferences, and you will sometimes work with tight parameters and difficult people. As part of your education, you will likely get guidance and experience in this area of professional development.

What’s Next?

Here are some questions to ask when researching Online Graphic Design programs:

  • What type of accreditation does the program have? Accreditation confirms that a school meets high standards of quality. However, there are key differences between regional and national accreditation. Credits and degrees earned at regionally accredited institutions are generally more recognized and transferable. Attending a regionally accredited school will ensure that your credits will be recognized by other institutions if you transfer or apply for an advanced degree.
  • What software programs will you use? Graphic designers rely on software programs like Adobe Illustrator, Corel PaintShop, Canva, and more. Students may also need computers that meet certain technical specifications. Some schools may offer discounts to students for computers and software programs. Find out what your program requires, and include these costs in your budget.

Look into the program’s admissions procedures and deadlines during your research. This will help your application process go smoothly. You can find this information on the school’s website, or by contacting their admissions department.

Financing your education is another consideration. Talk to a financial aid counselor about your options for loans, scholarships, and assistantships. If you are currently employed, find out if your job offers tuition assistance benefits.