Graphic Arts Degree Programs and Schools

Learn about graphic arts degree programs, including course prerequisites and portfolio requirements. Continue reading for information on the curriculum in a graphic arts program, and explore career options for graduates. Schools offering Graphic Design degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Programs in graphic arts/design teach the technical skills necessary to create solutions to clients' communication problems. You will have the opportunity to hone your skills in different mediums from photography to web design. Undergraduate and graduate degree programs are widely available.

Programs Graphic Design Programs
Degrees Associate's, Bachelor's and Master's
Schools Boston University, Rhode Island College of Design, Savannah College of Arts & Design

What Are My Undergraduate Degree Options for Graphic Arts?

Graphic arts degree programs are more commonly offered as graphic design programs. You can find undergraduate programs in graphic arts or design at the associate's or bachelor's degree levels. These programs are available in a wide range of schools, from community colleges and universities to private design schools. Online graphic design programs are also available; however, many of these are offered by for-profit schools. Some options include an Associate or Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design. These topics might be covered:

  • Brand identity
  • Designing with color
  • History of graphic design
  • Package graphics
  • Poster design

What Graduate Degree Programs Are Available?

Students who want to study graphic arts at the graduate level will have options that include a Master of Fine Arts or a Master of Arts degree programs. A thesis may be required in addition to the completion of a research project. Two- and three-year tracks might also be available at the master's level. Studio work and a graduate seminar could be part of your degree program, as well.

What's Required for Admission?

Many bachelor's degree programs require that you complete basic courses in art and design prior to admission into the major program. You may also be required to submit a portfolio containing sketches and examples of your artistic ability in order to begin design coursework. To begin a master's degree program, you typically need to provide detailed examples of professional design work. Some master's degree programs accept applicants with no previous design coursework or experience; however, they may require that you complete additional preparatory coursework. These schools offer graphic arts degree programs:

  • Boston University (MA)
  • Seattle Central College (WA)
  • NC State University (Raleigh)
  • Rhode Island School of Design (Providence)
  • Iowa State University (Ames)

What's the Curriculum Like?

The curriculum for these programs incorporates a study of studio arts, computer design software and the various principles of graphic design. Bachelor's degree programs combine liberal arts courses with design training, and master's degree programs more thoroughly examine design theory, research and history. Programs explore the field through courses like:

  • Photography
  • Illustration
  • Web design
  • Typography design
  • Digital production

What Can I Do Once I Graduate?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a bachelor's degree is generally required to gain entry-level work in the field (www.bls.gov). Earning an associate's degree will qualify you to work as an assistant to a graphic artist or in positions that require a more limited skill set, like a Web page designer. With a bachelor's degree, you can work as a graphic artist in corporate and retail design departments, advertising agencies or broadcast media outlets. You also might work for a newspaper or magazine. With a master's degree in the field, you have additional career opportunities, such as design educator or researcher.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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