The Top 10 Graphic Design Online Bachelor’s Programs

Graphic DesignGraphic Design bachelor degree programs attract people fascinated with the visual world. Graphic designers create new visual realities, integrating an array of media such as digital imaging, illustration, and photography.

Graphic designers develop visual concepts by hand or use computer software to communicate ideas that inspire, inform, or captivate consumers. They develop the overall layout and production design for advertisements, brochures, magazines, and corporate reports.

The type of online bachelor’s degree that students of graphic design obtain depends on the college they attend. Some colleges offer a Bachelor of Arts, others a Bachelor of Science, both in graphic design. Either of these degrees will stand you in good stead in the marketplace.

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Possible career choices for an individual who receives a bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design include these and more:

  • Art director
  • Corporate identity designer
  • Design director
  • Display designer
  • Editorial designer
  • Environmental designer
  • Graphic artist
  • Graphic designer for magazines
  • Graphic designer for production houses
  • Graphic designer for publishing and advertising
  • Graphic designer for service bureaus
  • Graphic designer for television and movie studios
  • Information designer
  • Marketing manager
  • Multimedia and web designer
  • Production designer
  • Sign systems designer
  • Typeface designer
  • User experience designer
  • Web designer

AnimationCommon courses offered in Graphic Design programs include:

  • Animation
  • Concept Development
  • Corporate Identity
  • Digital Imaging
  • Drawing and Color Theory
  • Graphic Symbolism
  • Photography
  • Web Graphics

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), graphic designers earn a median salary of $44,150 annually.

Students seeking to pursue an online bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design should carefully consider the following schools, make an informed choice, and get launched on this exciting career!

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The 10 Best Online Graphic Design Bachelor Degree Programs

Savannah College of Art and Design1. Savannah College of Art and Design

(Savannah, GA)
Online Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design

Founded in 1978, Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) bills itself as the “University for Creative Careers.”  In addition to its two U.S. campuses in Savannah and in Atlanta, SCAD offers study abroad opportunities through its affiliated schools in Hong Kong and France. The college operates a total of 16 art galleries in conjunction with its four campuses.

The college is divided into eight schools. The department of Graphic Design is housed in the School of Design.

General degree requirements include courses in three areas of study: fundamentals of art, liberal arts, and the student’s chosen discipline. Graphic Design majors study in a forward-thinking program using the same professional technology they will use to create and design with when they enter their career. 

For students in the Graphic Design program, higher-level coursework will include:

  • Business Practices in Graphic Design
  • Production Design
  • Graphic Design Portfolio
  • Graphic Design Studio

SCAD is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Academy of Art University2. Academy of Art University

(San Francisco, CA)
Online Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design

Founded in 1929 as the Academy of Art College, today’s Academy of Art University (AAU) is a private, for-profit art school located in San Francisco.

AAU’s School of Graphic Design is one of the very top colleges in its field. The school emphasizes the following skills: conceptual development, presentation, strategic thinking, and technique—all within an environment that stimulates innovation.

The university maintains an open admissions policy for all persons who wish to obtain an education in visual arts. The instructors are nationally recognized working professionals. Together with the challenging curriculum, instructors assist students in attaining to industry standards of professional competence.

Students graduating from AAU’s Graphic Design program are very well prepared to meet the daunting challenges posed by the field of graphic design. Many alumni and alumnae now work for many of the world’s most prestigious graphic design firms. The college’s students have received numerous awards for their excellence in design and marketing strategies based on audience research.

Starting with first semester class projects, you will begin developing your skills in problem-solving and design. The demanding, rich, and diverse curriculum helps students to achieve a high degree of competence in the following areas:

  • Branding and identity
  • Motion graphics
  • Packaging
  • Print media
  • Typography
  • Web design

The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design degree program at AAU embraces the entire range of visual communication. It explicitly acknowledges that design is a cultural force that embraces business, the consumer, and social criteria.

Click here for free information about an online
BFA in Graphic Design from Academy of Art University!

Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design3. Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design

(Lakewood, CO)
Online Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design
Online Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design

Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design (RMCAD) was founded in 1963 by the artist, Philip J. Steele. Through RMCAD’s specialized curriculum, you will learn to explore alternative solutions to design-related problems, as well as to incorporate techniques and processes that will prove useful to you throughout your career as a designer.

RMCAD’s program follows a logical sequence of specific studio courses, which become progressively difficult as you advance in your studies. Upon graduation with a Bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design, you will have the knowledge and skill it takes to create original, striking, and useful designs that make a real difference.

The Graphic Design program at RMCAD goes beyond the typical design program of studies. At RCMCAD, you as a student will delve deeper, learning to identify, analyze, and solve graphic-design problems, while exploring a humanistic, aesthetic, and functional approach to visual composition. Thanks to RMCAD’s highly specialized curriculum, when they graduate students are equipped to embark upon careers in a variety of design fields, including product design, publishing, advertising, web design, and more.

The RMCAD student body includes a growing on-campus population of active-duty service members, veterans, and their dependents. The entering class of fall 2013 contained the largest veteran population in the college’s 50-year history.

Whether you pursue your studies on campus or online, the RMCAD faculty will work to help you achieve your career goals in art, design, technology, and art education. A Bachelor in Graphic Design degree from RMCAD prepares students for potential careers in at least 24 different fields.

Some of the coursework you will be enrolled in for the Bachelors in Graphic Design include the following:

  • Interaction Design
  • Sign + Symbol
  • Storytelling + Video I
  • User-prototyping and Sequencing I & II

Full Sail University4. Full Sail University

(Winter Park, FL)
Online Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design

Full Sail University has evolved from the Full Sail Recording Workshop founded in Dayton, Ohio, in 1979. Originally concentrating on courses in video and film production, the company relocated to Florida the following year. The university, which has been in its present location since 1989, began offering degrees online in 2007.

In the online Graphic Design Bachelor of Science degree program, you will learn how to meet tight deadlines and tailor your work to specific creative demands, while producing high-end output in a variety of graphic design formats. You will be working with the same tools and software that the design professionals use. In this way, you will develop your knowledge of design and your creative skills to a professional level, thus opening up the chance to compete for a career in this competitive but in-demand industry.

The Full Sail Hall of Fame honors the outstanding achievements of select alumni. Each year, a committee of administrators gathers to nominate a new group of six inductees. Candidates—who all have put in over a decade of service to their chosen career field—are considered on the basis of their professional achievements, as well as the excellence of the role model they provide for the Full Sail community.

For example, one recent alumna found her first job as a Graphic Web Designer with Skechers only a few months after graduation.

Some of the courses you will be taking leading to your online Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design include:

  • College Mathematics
  • Corporate Branding
  • Digital Audio Design
  • Digital Literacy

Click here for free information about
BS in Graphic Design from Full Sail University!

Berkeley College5. Berkeley College

(White Plains, NY)
Online Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design

Berkeley College was originally founded as a business school in 1931. Today, the college offers numerous courses in a wide variety of fields of business and professional study, at eight brick-and-mortar campuses in New York and New Jersey, as well as online.

The Graphic Design program at Berkeley College offers an exciting curriculum, which equips students with the expertise they will need to deliver creative results, from both an artistic and a business perspective, for employers in the field of visual communications.

The program of study in the Graphic Design department encompasses two broad areas: first, the theory, language, and tools of the graphic design industry; then, the application of these tools to solve real-life industry problems. More specifically, students will learn to use current graphic design industry software for typography, raster and vector manipulation, web design, and other applications.

Instructors in the Graphic Design program are chosen on the basis of their academic credentials, as well as their professional experience. They all have relevant, first-hand knowledge of the graphic design industry, which they bring to their teaching to help students prepare for the competitive job market.

In their first year of study at Berkeley College, Graphic Design students may take such courses as the following:

  • Advanced Drawing
  • Desktop Publishing
  • Graphic Design Principles I
  • Introduction to Painting
  • Raster and Vector Graphics 
  • 3-D Design
  • Typography I

Art Institute of Pittsburgh6. The Art Institute of Pittsburgh

(Pittsburgh, PA)
Online Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design

Founded in 1921, the Art Institute of Pittsburgh (AIP) is a private, for-profit art school with an emphasis on design education.

The Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design degree program helps you develop an understanding of typography, design, color and composition. You will also learn creative problem-solving and how to offer effective solutions in the context of the business world.

AIP’s Online Division offers accelerated (5½-week) online courses that focus on what you need to know, allowing you to immerse yourself in course material and providing you with a feeling of success on a frequent basis.

At AIP, not just the faculty but also the staff—from admissions to academics to financial aid—are extensively trained to make your online education experience successful. At every step of the way, you will receive the help you need to support you in attaining your ultimate goal—graduating and receiving the chance to pursue an exciting and rewarding career.

Here are some of the courses students in the Bachelor in Graphic Design program may take toward their degree:

  • Electronic Design
  • History and Analysis of Design
  • Intermediate Illustration
  • Portfolio Preparation for Graphic Design

Click here for free information about
BS in Graphic Design from The Art Institute!

Sanford Brown_Logo_4C7. Sanford-Brown College

(Chicago, IL)
Online Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design

Sanford-Brown College is a nationwide network of nine brick-and-mortar art schools, plus an online division. The network has evolved from the International Academy of Merchandising and Design, founded in Chicago in 1977.

The focus of graphic design training at Sanford-Brown is on professionalism. The purpose of this focusis to help students to pursue a career in graphic design.

In the online graphic design program, students explore a wide variety of challenging and multifaceted commercial design problems, as well as to develop innovative and dynamic solutions to complex problems.

Students in Sanford-Brown’s online graphic design and visual communications programs will learn from working side-by-side with experienced professionals who have an intimate knowledge of the  different elements of visual design, and are expert at helping students understand them, as well.

Sanford-Brown’s online courses in graphic design will also teach students how to apply the basic design elements of effective visual materials to the planning, development, production, and implementation of print publications and web design.

The virtual classrooms at Sanford-Brown Online distinguish it from other schools in the field. Through them courses—which are richly interactive—are delivered via extensive multimedia technologies. The virtual classrooms have been designed to provide you with a high degree of control over your learning experience.

Courses in the Bachelor in Graphic Design program include:

  • Color Theory
  • Digital Imaging
  • Interactive Media
  • Print Production

Click here for free information about
BFA in Graphic Design from Sanford-Brown!

Herzing University8. Herzing University

 (Milwaukee, WI)
Online Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design

Founded in Milwaukee in 1965 by Henry Herzing as a school specializing in the teaching of computer programming, Herzing University has grown into a network of for-profit school with 15 campuses in the U.S. and Canada, plus an online division. Today, the school provides a wide array of courses in such fields as technology, health care, public safety, business, and design.

The Graphic Design program provides graduates with the skills and credentials they will need to land a good job and succeed in it. Students in Graphic Design work with the most up-to-date professional software, such as the Adobe Creative Suite. They also study the principles of typography and good design, advancing their skills in photography, drawing, and other areas. The online Bachelor’s program in Graphic Design is 36 months (three years) long.

To provide more career opportunities, the Bachelor’s degree program focuses on both print and web-related projects. Students will investigate a range of software packages and design techniques, while assembling a portfolio of their own work to show to prospective employers.

You can earn an online Bachelor’s in Graphic Design degree from Herzing University with the following concentrations:

  • None
  • Print Media
  • Web Design

In the online Graphic Design program, you will receive the same career-focused education personal attention offered by a traditional classroom-based curriculum. Students work closely with both employers and industry leaders to maximize the likelihood that their degree or diploma programs will lead to success in a long-term career.

The program boasts many elements—including hands-on coursework, a highly experienced faculty, and a student-oriented approach—which set it apart from other similar online graphic design programs.

Click here for free information about
BS in Graphic Design from Herzing!

Southern New Hampshire University9. Southern New Hampshire University

(Manchester, NH)
Online Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design

Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) traces its history back to New Hampshire School of Accounting and Secretarial Science, founded by Harry Shapiro near Manchester in 1933. SNHU’s online Graphic Design program can boast of a highly accomplished—and award-winning—faculty, which provides students with expert guidance and creative direction.

Small class sizes, direct feedback, and affordability are just a few of the amenities that SNHU offers to aspiring future graphic designers. Students who successfully complete their online Bachelor’s in Graphic Design degree will be well prepared to work in such demanding and high-demand fields as information technology, marketing, advertising, professional sports, entertainment, medical technology, and engineering.

BAE Systems, Business magazine, Fox News Network, Raytheon, Segway, and Timberland—these are just a few of the numerous well-known companies that SNHU alumni have worked for. Once students complete the program, they will have accumulated an impressive resume in the form of a design portfolio that showcases a broad skill set.

In addition to the university’s proven track record, another alluring factor for prospective students is SNHU’s recent freeze on online tuition, which has been in place since 2013. Moreover, the school offers financial aid and tuition reimbursement for qualifying students.

The online program’s required coursework includes the following:

  • Basic Design and Color Theory
  • Desktop Publishing
  • Digital Photography
  • Graphics and Layout in Print Media
  • Introduction to Digital Imaging
  • Language and Practice of Media Arts

California College San Diego10. California College San Diego

(San Diego, CA)
Bachelor of Science in Graphic Arts

California College San Diego (CCSD) is a private, for-profit, four-year college founded in San Diego in 1978.  CCSD’s short (three-year) online Graphic Design degree program awards its graduating students a Bachelor’s degree that will help to open doors for them to rewarding careers with companies such as design firms, advertising agencies, production companies, and in-house corporate communications divisions.

CCSD, which is recognized by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC), also equips its graduates for the possibility of pursuing a career as a freelance design professional.

Students in the online Graphic Design program learn to solve communication challenges and to  get their messages across more effectively using print and electronic media. Classes begin every month, which enables students to register essentially anytime.

Financial aid is available for qualifying students. CCSD also awards brand-new laptops to qualifying students, who have the use of the computers while they are in school and assume ownership of them upon graduating from their program.

The online Bachelor’s degree program in Graphic Design offers students over 50 courses to choose from, among which are the following:

  • Computer Fundamentals
  • Illustrator Basics
  • Photoshop
  • Print Production and Color Design
  • Typography
  • Web Page Design Principles