Why This Matters


    Graphic designers use their skills and talents in many different capacities, including publishing designer, product development, advertising, user experience, and more.


    In addition to learning advanced design skills, earning a master’s in graphic design will provide you with valuable networking opportunities.


    Designers with experience creating websites are in particular demand, as more companies expand their online presence to attract customers and provide services.

Our Research

We focused our research for this list on master’s-level programs in graphic design. The programs we reviewed offer Master of Arts (MA) or Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degrees.

These programs are delivered in a variety of formats, including online, on-campus, and low-residency. The schools that we reviewed are all regionally accredited institutions, which guarantees that they meet high standards of quality for secondary education. Several programs also have programmatic accreditation through the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), which sets standards of quality education in art and design degrees.

Our team reviewed each program on the basis of cost, coursework, reputation, flexibility, and faculty. We then assigned each program an Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.

  • 68 hours to write this article
  • 171 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 413 education programs we compared

The Top 8 Online Master’s in Graphic Design Programs

Best Online Master's in Graphic Design Degree Programs
Intelligent Pick
Vermont College of Fine Arts
Best Faculty
Minneapolis College of Art and Design
Most Affordable
Liberty University
Best Visual Experience Focus
Savannah College of Art and Design
Best Private University
Quinnipiac University
Best Public University
Arizona State University
Best For-Profit University
Academy of Art University
Best Interdisciplinary Program
Maryland Institute College of Art

What You Should Know About This Degree

Graphic design is a bachelor’s-level entry field. Earning a master’s degree can give working graphic designers advanced skills or help individuals transition into graphic design from other fields. However, in many cases, graphic designers advance their careers through hands-on experience, not education. When considering a master’s in graphic design, it’s important to think about your career goals, educational background, and current experience to determine the best way to move your career forward.

Although employment in areas like computer systems design is growing at a faster-than-average pace, overall job growth in graphic design is expected to be slower than average through 2028. 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.

Creativity is key for graphic designers, but in most cases, you will be designing a product for a client, not for yourself. You must 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 these programs:

  • Are there in-person requirements? Even if coursework is delivered online, some programs may require on-campus attendance for orientations, seminars, or thesis activities. Be sure to look at a program’s curriculum to find out what, if any, in-person requirements they have, and confirm that they will fit into your schedule and budget.
  • Does this program require a portfolio? Many graphic design programs, especially those at the graduate level, want to see that candidates have the foundational skills necessary for advanced study. Applicants usually demonstrate this by submitting a portfolio. Find out what the school’s admissions portfolio requirements are, and be prepared to submit your work either digitally or in person.

You should also look at the other admissions requirements and application deadlines while researching programs. You can typically find this information on the school’s website or by contacting an admissions representative directly.

Financing your graduate degree is another important consideration. At this stage, you should talk to the school about financial aid options like loans, scholarships, and assistantships. If you are currently employed, find out if your employer offers tuition assistance benefits.