Graphic Design Master's Degree Programs

Consider pursuing a master's degree in graphic design if you're a college graduate with graphics experience looking to advance your career. Read on to learn about course topics, what admissions officers are looking for and what types of careers are available. Schools offering Graphic Design degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Can I Expect From a Master's Degree in Graphic Design?

To enter or advance in the field of graphic design, you can typically earn a Master of Arts (M.A.) or a Master of Fine Arts (MFA). Many programs focus on helping you to develop your portfolio to use in your professional career. However, several schools also offer teaching preparation, and you can qualify for a position as a college-level educator with a master's degree. Master's degree programs in this field typically include significant creative components and require you to complete a thesis to graduate. A field internship or teaching assistantship could be required.

Courses within a master's degree program teach design and art theory, allowing you to take part in creative design workshops. Curricula often include training in industry-standard design software, artistic techniques and design-related business principles. You could also take courses in drawing, brand identity, website design and typography.

Common Courses Website design, drawing, typography, brand identity; some programs require internships or teaching assistantships
Learning Environment Traditional classroom and online degree options are available
Prerequisites Bachelor's degree is required, and some institutions may require a creative portfolio or standardized test scores
Possible Careers Graphic designer, typographic designer, publication designer, corporate communications designer, teacher

Are Online Programs Available?

Most master's degree programs in graphic design contain several hands-on components, such as studio work, student teaching and internships, making online programs rare. However, you can find some online programs offered through private, for-profit institutions. Online programs offer you flexible full-time and part-time programs accessed through online learning systems. You might still need to attend on-site field work or participate in on-campus teaching assistantships to satisfy the requirements of an online program.

What Are the Admission Requirements?

The minimum requirement for consideration to a master's degree program in graphic design is typically a bachelor's degree in a related field, such as graphic design, visual art, painting or drawing. However, if you majored in another area, you might still qualify for acceptance with sufficient experience or acceptable sample work. A creative portfolio is commonly the most important part of your application. Depending on the focus of the program, some admissions committees might ask that you submit videos of animated work. Graduate school admissions tests are often required for and M.A. degree programs.

What Are My Career Options?

With a master's degree in graphic design, you could find work in a number of design careers, such as typographic designer, publication designer, in-house graphic designer, branding designer or corporate communications designer. If you're interested in teaching, a master's degree meets the requirements to teach at any level, including colleges and universities. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that graphic designers earned a median annual salary of $45,900 as of May 2014, and postsecondary teachers in artistic fields earned $64,300 (www.bls.gov).

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.

Popular Schools

  • The Art Institutes

    The Art Institutes responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at The Art Institutes:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Saint Mary's University of Minnesota

    Saint Mary's University of Minnesota responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Saint Mary's University of Minnesota:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Regent University

    Regent University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Regent University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Vermont College of Fine Arts

    Campus Locations:

    • Vermont: Montpelier
  • University of Illinois at Chicago

    Campus Locations:

    • Illinois: Chicago
  • University of Denver

    Campus Locations:

    • Colorado: Denver
  • The University of Texas at El Paso

    Campus Locations:

    • Texas: El Paso
  • Suffolk University

    Campus Locations:

    • Massachusetts: Boston
  • Rochester Institute of Technology

    Campus Locations:

    • New York: Rochester
  • School of Visual Arts

    Campus Locations:

    • New York: New York