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If you want to turn your passion for art into a career, you can consider earning an online bachelor's in graphic design. This page describes some of the best graphic design programs in 2020. The following sections outline common application requirements, typical courses, and potential career paths in this field. You can also review answers to frequently asked questions and use the embedded links to find information that can help you make an informed decision.

What Are the Best Online Bachelor's in Graphic Design Programs of 2021? Here Are Our Top 4:

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Rank School Location
1 Liberty University Lynchburg, VA
2 Southern New Hampshire University Manchester, NH
3 Bellevue University Bellevue, NE
4 Kentucky Wesleyan College Owensboro, KY

Nearly all major companies and organizations use the creative talents of graphic designers. However, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that the need for these professionals will grow by only 3% between 2018 and 2028. Due to the competitive nature of this position, your dream career likely requires both artistic skills and a formal education. Also, attending college allows you to network with peers, gain essential experience during a practicum or internship, and develop a portfolio you can present to potential employers.

How We Rank Schools

At BestColleges, we believe a college education is one of the most important investments you will make. We want to help you navigate the college selection process by offering school rankings that are transparent, inclusive, and relevant for online students.

Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read our Ranking Methodology. We hope our approach helps you find the school that is best for you.

2021 Best Accredited Online Bachelor's in Graphic Design Programs

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Rank School Location Graduation Rate Description Toggle
1

Liberty University

Lynchburg, VA Graduation Rate: 50%

A private institution in Lynchburg, Virginia, Liberty offers an online bachelor's in graphic design to students interested in becoming art directors or multimedia artists. Undergraduates who enroll in an online program can access electronic textbooks at no additional cost. Liberty allows learners to transfer in up to 90 undergraduate credits toward their bachelor's.

Along with providing access to the full Adobe Creative Suite, this graphic design program features a 30-hour practicum and an 80-hour internship, helping students gain real-world experience. Professionals supervise both of these hands-on elements, and graduates can leave the program with a letter of recommendation and important experience they can add to their resume.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design
School Status: Private
Tuition: $390 per credit
Credit Requirements: 120 credits
Degree Completion Program: No
Program Length: 3.5 years
Format: Online

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.0 minimum required
Standardized Tests: Not required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

2

Southern New Hampshire University

Manchester, NH Graduation Rate: 54%

A private school based in Manchester, New Hampshire, SNHU offers an onlinebachelor's in graphic design and media arts with two possible concentrations: web design and 3D modeling and animation. Applicants need not submit SAT or ACT scores, and there is no application fee. Additionally, the program accepts up to 90 transfer credits

Students in the 3D modeling program learn about animation, 3D wireframes, and special effects, while those on the web design track receive training in user experience and interfaces, digital publishing, and interactive web animation. Each concentration features 12 credits of specialized coursework. Classes at SNHU last eight weeks.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design and Media Arts
School Status: Private
Tuition: $320 per credit
Credit Requirements: 120 credits
Degree Completion Program: No
Program Length: 4 years
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: No minimum requirement
Standardized Tests: Not required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

3

Bellevue University

Bellevue, NE Graduation Rate: 0%

A private institution in eastern Nebraska, BU offers an online bachelor's in graphic design that focuses on print and web design. Students learn to use physical and digital media to convey an effective message as professional graphic artists.

The curriculum features classes like fundamentals of JavaScript, problem-solving and idea generation, and the history of temporary graphic design. Students cap off their program by putting together a professional portfolio and learning about self-promotion and resume building.

BU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design
School Status: Private
Tuition: $425 per credit
Credit Requirements: 127 credit
Degree Completion Program: No
Program Length: 4 years
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: No minimum requirement
Standardized Tests: Not required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

4

Kentucky Wesleyan College

Owensboro, KY Graduation Rate: 42%

A private institution located in Owensboro, Wesleyan offers a fully online bachelor's in graphic design. The program builds on basic design and drawing techniques, continuing into more specialized areas such as publication, typography, and animation. Courses cover topics like digital photographic techniques, digital painting, and art history. Students also complete an internship and a senior seminar.

The program allows for online collaboration with fellow students and features a flexible class schedule that may meet the needs of busy, working adults. Graduates can pursue a variety of creative positions, finding work as illustrators, web designers, art directors, and more. Online learners have access to academic advisors, enrollment counselors, and library services.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design
School Status: Private
Tuition: $455 per credit
Credit Requirements: 120 credits
Degree Completion Program: No
Program Length: 4 years
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.0 minimum required
Standardized Tests: ACT (19 or higher) or SAT (equivalent score) required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

Online Bachelor's in Graphic Design Program Overview

Online bachelor's in graphic design programs help students hone their existing artistic skills and develop new ones. Curriculum requirements often include classes in 2D and 3D design, photography, and typography. Learn more about typical courses in the following section.

In addition to imparting and developing artistic skills, program objectives include providing learners with a well-rounded college education. Graphic design, like many career fields, requires that employees possess critical thinking and communication skills. Also, students can forge bonds with classmates, professors, and practicum supervisors — a valuable advantage when searching for a job after graduation.

Online bachelor's in graphic design graduates do not need an advanced degree to find an entry-level position. However, should they choose, graphic designers can earn a master's or doctoral degree so they can pursue management roles or teach at the college level. As a professor, a graphic designer can pass on their skills and knowledge to the next generation.

Common Bachelor's in Graphic Design Degree Courses

Fundamental Design

In this introductory course, students learn Adobe Design basics by completing increasingly complex projects. Fundamental design coursework may cover other popular software suites as well. Also, many online bachelor's in graphic design programs require an intermediate design course, helping students master advanced skills.

Intermediate Image

This upper-division course emphasizes photography and photoshop techniques — two skills that most graphic designers need to create products for an employer. Additionally, projects involve practical applications, such as making an advertising campaign for a company and presenting the results to a professor and peers.

Advanced Typography

Degree-seekers can take an advanced typography course later in their program. Group and individual assignments resemble tasks that professional graphic designers complete for an employer. Students may create work that will become part of their professional portfolio.

Advanced Digital Graphic Design for the Web

In this course, students master multimedia best practices for computers, phones, and tablets. Coursework emphasizes computer programming topics and learners apply pre-existing skills to new, dynamic situations. The course emphasizes industry standards.

Graphic Design Portfolio

Nearly all online bachelor's in graphic design programs feature a capstone course where degree-seekers select the best pieces they created during their program. Course requirements include creating a print and/or digital portfolio, critiquing peers' portfolios, and incorporating a professor's advice when developing a final product.

Online Bachelor's in Graphic Design Admission Requirements

  • High School Transcripts

    High school seniors and recent graduates should send transcripts to all colleges and universities to which they apply. Transcripts are an essential part of an application portfolio and help demonstrate a student's college readiness.

  • GED Scores

    Many online bachelor's in graphic design programs accept GED scores from applicants who do not possess a high school diploma. However, pay close attention to each school's GED policy; for example, a school may not accept scores that are more than five years old, or they may use a score cutoff.

  • Standardized Test Scores

    Standardized test scores — such as the ACT or SAT — are required by many institutions. Schools may use these scores to make admission decisions and/or award scholarships and grants.

  • Transfer Credit

    Many schools do not require applicants to possess transfer credit, although some may prefer prospective students who have some college experience. To this end, you might consider earning some general education credits at a local community college before applying to an online bachelor's in graphic design program.

  • GPA Cutoff

    Most top graphic design programs use a high school or transfer GPA cutoff. However, even if you do not meet a school's GPA cutoff, you may still be admitted if you submit additional materials or have excellent standardized test scores.


Online Bachelor's in Graphic Design Career Paths

Earning an online bachelor's in graphic design prepares graduates for entry-level positions as graphic designers. If you possess computer programming expertise, you can also pursue a career as a user experience or user interface designer. Additionally, you can pursue freelance work — a career path that provides greater professional freedom but more uncertainty concerning your salary.

With experience, you can become a creative director. As the title suggests, creative directors lead teams and ensure that projects succeed. Similar senior-level positions include product developer and art director. These careers rarely require an advanced degree or license. However, graphic designers can improve career and salary prospects by taking continuing education courses.


Related Careers

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of jobs can you get with a graphic design degree?

Graphic design careers include entry- and senior-level positions in numerous industries throughout the country. In addition to the jobs described in the previous sections, individuals who earn an online bachelor's in graphic design can work as a production artist, product developer, or marketing specialist, among other fulfilling and lucrative careers.

Is graphic design a good degree?

Although some successful graphic designers lack a college education, the competitive job market means that employers typically want to hire talented artists who also possess the transferable skills a bachelor's degree confers. Also, joining an online bachelor's degree in graphic design program can give you time to develop your artistic ability and create a portfolio that attracts employers' attention.

Do graphic designers get paid well?

The BLS reports that graphic designers in the U.S. earn a median annual salary of $50,370. This figure exceeds the typical salary for all art and design workers by approximately $4,000. Additionally, experienced graphic designers can earn up to $85,000 or more if their job responsibilities involve mentoring or managing less-experienced employees.

What classes are required for a bachelor's in graphic design?

In addition to the courses described above, graduation requirements include a general education curriculum with coursework in English, mathematics, humanities, and the sciences. Many programs also require electives, allowing you to study specific graphic design topics in greater detail or complete a minor.

How long does it take to get a bachelor's in graphic design?

If you have no prior college experience and study full time, you should graduate in approximately four years. If you work or have other responsibilities, you can earn a degree in 5-6 years by studying part time. Some programs allow students to take courses at an accelerated rate, allowing learners to graduate in less than four years.

Discover Similar Degree Programs

Looking for something else? Explore these other online bachelor degree programs.