Attending a graphic design school to earn an undergraduate or graduate degree in graphic design can be an invaluable accomplishment towards building a successful career in the design industry. Design schools offer exciting and unique programs to build your skills in design, typography, illustration and other fields. This list of schools highlights some of the best in the United States, according to Bloomberg Businessweek and U.S. News and World Report.
The Rhode Island School of Design
(RISD) is a graphic design school that has both undergraduate and graduate academic programs. Undergraduate students can earn a Bachelors in Fine Arts through the study of communications theory, design history
, visual form-making, color, systems thinking, information design and typography. Graduate students can earn a Masters in Fine Arts through the study of "the role of social context, media and aesthetics in the production of visible language systems." The GRE is not required for admission to this program and it can be completed in two years for students with an undergraduate graphic design degree and in three years for those who do not have an undergraduate degree in a related field.
The Pratt Institute
is a graphic design school that offers two graduate degrees in their Communications + Package Design
department, a 60-credit Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) and a 48-credit Master of Science (MS). Students who take the MS track can choose from three different degree offerings: an MS in Communications Design, an MS in Communications Design with an emphasis in Digital Design and an MS in Package Design. Students have the opportunity to earn 9-credits while studying abroad during the summer at The Danish Institute for Study Abroad in Copenhagen.
Parsons School of Design
offers degrees in both undergraduate and graduate study. Students can earn a Bachelors of Fine Arts (BFA) or a Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) at this graphic design school. The BFA is a three year program that prepares graduates for a career in the professional art world. Parsons MFA degree is a two year program that combines both studio theory and professional practice. The faculty is made up of elite members
of the New York art community.
Carnegie Melon University's
School of Design offers degrees in both undergraduate and graduate study. After the first year of study in the BFA program students decide if they want to major in Communication Design or Industrial Design. Both tracks can also be chosen as a minor focus worth 18 credits. Students attending this design school can also choose to earn a Master of Design graduate degree in either Communication, Planning and Information Design or Interaction Design. There is also a joint degree with the Department of Mechanical Engineering in which students can earn a Master of Product Development.
Yale University's School of Art
is the graphic design department that is housed within this ivy league university. The school offers a Master of Fine Arts in graphic design. Each student in this program chooses a focus for their thesis and throughout the two year program works on various projects to complete their thesis topic. Each student spends time in the studio, is a member of a small thesis group, has individual sessions with writing and editing tutors, and attends lectures, presentations and workshops. Up to ten students are admitted to the two-year degree program each year. In addition, up to seven students who do not have substantial design backgrounds are admitted to the preliminary-year degree program after which they are automatically admitted into the two-year MFA program.
The School of Visual Arts
offers both undergraduate and graduate degree programs in design. Undergraduate students can earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Graphic Design. Students can focus their studies on editorial, web
, branding, poster, interactive, motion graphics or 3D design. Graduate students can choose from a number of Master of Fine Arts degrees including an MFA in Design, MFA in Design Criticism, MFA Design for Social Innovation, MFA Interaction Design or MFA Products of Design.
The Art Center College of Design
is a graphic design school that has programs in both undergraduate and graduate degree studies. Undergraduate degrees are offered in Entertainment Design, Environmental Design, Graphic Design
, Illustration, Interaction Design, Product Design and Transportation Design. Graduate degree programs are offered in Environmental Design, Industrial Design, Media Design and Transportation Design. Many of the programs place an emphasis on socially responsible design and sustainability.
California College of the Arts
is a graphic design school that has programs in undergraduate and graduate levels of study. Undergraduate degrees include courses of study to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Animation, Graphic Design
, Illustration, Industrial Design or Interaction Design. Graduate students can earn a Master of Fine Arts in Design or a Master of Business Administration in Design Strategy. This MBA program combines creating products and services with the skills necessary to help organizations develop forward-thinking business models.
Cranbrook Academy of Art
is a graduate design school. They offer degrees in both 2D and 3D design. This graphic design school has a unique approach to education as they do not have classes and there are no formal assigned projects. Students are encouraged and expected to spend the majority of their time in the design studio which is open 24 hours a day.
Virginia Commonwealth University
has both undergraduate and graduate programs. Undergraduate students can earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design and graduate students can earn a Master in Fine Arts in Design/Visual Communications. BFA students are able to take courses in publication, print, sequential and motion design. MFA students will develop the philosophy and direction of their work with a focus on functional and expressive visual communications.