Masters in Graphic Arts

Read about what types of courses you'll take in a Master in Graphic Arts program. Keep reading for information on admission requirements, online options and related career prospects. Schools offering Graphic Design degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Will I Learn with a Master's Degree in Graphic Arts?

There are many graphic arts programs available at the master's degree level, but the degree awarded is usually a Master of Arts (M.A.) or Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Graphic Design. These programs teach you how to use design for marketing, branding and visual communication purposes. You may have the opportunity to select from one of several concentrations, including typography, print publication, brand development, design strategy and visual communication. The curriculum generally combines hands-on studio courses with lectures that cover the following topics:

  • Contemporary art
  • Methods of design
  • History of graphic arts
  • Advanced typography
  • Design ethics
  • Publication design
  • Strategies and motivations for design
  • Integrated communications
  • Typography composition and layout

The MFA curriculum may require more studio courses. M.A. students usually have a final design project to complete, while MFA students may have a thesis project that combines both written and visual elements. Depending on the program, you may also have to complete an internship or teaching assistantship.

Coursework Topics Contemporary art, integrated communications, history of graphic arts, publication design, methods of design
Prerequisites Bachelor's degree, preferably in art or graphic design; samples of work; prerequisite courses in the basics of color and design
Online Availability Online programs are available
Career Options Desktop publisher, creative director, typography designer, media coordinator, graphic designer
Median Salary (2018)$50,370 (for graphic designers)*
Job Outlook (2016-26)4% (for all graphic designers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are the Admission Requirements?

Admission requirements may vary, but all schools require that you have a bachelor's degree - preferably in graphic design or art - for admittance to the program. If you don't have a background in graphic design, you may need to take additional courses that train you in the basics of color and design before you can begin the graduate coursework. You may also need to submit a CD or a DVD showcasing samples of your work with a brief description of each project.

What Online Programs Are Available?

Programs are available both on-campus and online, though campus-based programs are more common. Some online programs are available entirely online, but others are available through a hybrid format that requires some in-person participation.

Some programs allow you to complete a digital portfolio and present it online where your classmates and professors can critique your work. You can also submit other assignments online. Some courses incorporate simulated labs so you can practice design skills while watching and incorporating new, professional techniques. Your work may also be displayed in an online gallery.

What Can I Do With This Degree?

With a master's degree in graphic arts, you can become a graphic designer and create layouts or ads for magazines. You could also work as a desktop publisher, combining graphics and text for magazines, newspapers or other publications. Other possible positions include Web or multimedia designer, typography designer, creative director or media coordinator. You could also teach graphic arts courses at the postsecondary level.

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

  • Full Sail University

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    Online and Campus-Based Programs Available:

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    • Anywhere: Online Campus
    • Florida: Online Campus, Winter Park
  • Liberty University

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    Popular programs at Liberty University:

    • Master

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  • Winthrop University

    Winthrop University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Winthrop University:

    • Master

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  • Vermont College of Fine Arts

    Campus Locations:

    • Vermont: Montpelier
  • University of Illinois at Chicago

    Campus Locations:

    • Illinois: Chicago
  • University of Denver

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

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    • 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