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The Best 9 Online Master’s in Graphic Design in 2021

August 12, 2021 | Staff Writers

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Earning an online master’s in graphic design degree helps students connect ideas with understanding, and combines creativity, technology, communication, artistic principles, and experience or the desire to engage in computer-based design. These are just some skills gained by students that enroll in a master’s degree program in graphic design offered in an online format.

Why Earn an Online Master’s in Graphic Design?

Organizations, agencies, small and large companies need professionals with advanced skills to communicate their messages, make their brand stand out, and that have expertise in color, design, and technology. Graphics designers must have more than the ability to inform other people. The successful graphic design professional has the ability to inspire and to appeal to target demographics. Students learn other skills such as computerized sketching, and advanced proficiency in computer-aided design.

Students gain the knowledge to blend technology, theory, and communications skills, and to develop enhanced skills in visual innovation. Students that enroll in advanced graphic design programs help to create interactions between people and products. They excel in design skills, and in the ability to utilize the wide range of technology available to individuals that work in the graphic design profession.

Earning an online master’s in graphic design does not place strict limitations on students or graduates. Some design practice options, listed by the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA), include:

  • Advertising design or Publication design
  • Brand design and Design Management
  • Multimedia design or Web design
  • Visual design or photo editor or art director
  • Film and video graphics

Graduates have a variety of career opportunities when considering earning a master’s in graphic design. Please note that the tuition for these top schools that offer an online master’s in graphic design is the cost of one credit hour of instruction, and does not include additional costs, such as school or program fees, supplies, or materials.

The Best 9 Online Master’s in Graphic Design

1. Kutztown University

The Kutztown University online Master of Fine Arts in Communication Design is offered as a low-residency program. This means that while the majority of program requirements are completed online, there are a few times when students may need to come to the campus location.

The program focuses on learning and advancing skills in illustration, graphic design, advertising design, interactive design, and other areas. Students also learn about the effectiveness of design, and the innovative ways to solve problems when using expert communication design.

  • Tuition: $516 per credit hour
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education, The National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD)

2. Liberty University

Liberty University offers an online Master of Fine Arts in Graphic Design that provides students with the opportunity to explore the most recent technological advances in the industry. Students learn in 3D, and study vector illustration, digital photography, game design, and professional practices. The 60-credit hour program includes a 180-hour internship.

First responders and members of the military receive a tuition discount.

  • Tuition: $615 per credit hour
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC

3. Arizona State University

Arizona State University offers an online Master of Science in Graphic Information Technology program that provides in-depth knowledge and understanding of how to create visual content for widespread distribution. The curriculum guides students through combining graphic design abilities with management skills, gaining expertise in graphic information technology, production, printing, and publishing of various visuals, along with enhanced research skills. Some topics covered in the program include digital workflow, issues in cross-media production, cross-media design solutions, color metrology, and usability and user experience.

  • Tuition: $753 per credit hour
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

4. Minneapolis College of Art and Design

The online Master of Arts in Graphic and Web Design program at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design is a 30-credit hour program. Students develop in-demand, real-world skills in graphic design and web design. Students gain additional knowledge and skills in areas such as typography, ideation, workflow management, and cover design principles. Students also create a research project.

  • Tuition: $855 per credit hour
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission, NASAD

5. Savannah College of Art and Design

The Savannah College of Art and Design offers a 45-credit hour Master of Arts in Graphic Design and Visual Experience. There may be one to five additional intensive study courses assigned after admission, which may increase the total number of credit hours.

Students complete courses such as Professional Practice for Visual Design, Design Research, Analysis and Discourse, and Typographic Voice and Visual Narrative. The school also offers an online Master of Fine Arts in Graphic Design and Visual Experience program, with courses such as Curated Narrative for Dynamic Content, Visual Analysis of Static Content, Visual Design for Interactive Contexts, and the Graphic Design and Visual Experience M.F.A. Thesis.

  • Tuition: $855 per credit hour
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC

6. Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac University Master of Science in Interactive Media and Communications degree offers students the opportunity to leverage design-thinking strategies to solve real-world, business and technical challenges. The 30-credit hour program prepares students to design, to produce, and to manage a variety of content to connect to a wide variety of audiences. Students advance their creative thinking skills, digital media skills, web design, digital audio, video and graphics skills, and to create powerful, ethical cross-media communication strategies.

Students customize some courses to their career goals and interests. Some program courses include Visual Design, Web Technologies, Audio and Video Design, Data Visualization, and Understanding Your Audience.

  • Tuition: $955 per credit hour
  • Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education

7. Academy of Art University

The Master of Arts in Graphic Design & Digital Media program at the Academy of Art University provides advanced study in graphic design and digital media, with 36 credit hours of required study. The school encourages students to advance their skills in content creation, social innovation, and entrepreneurship.

Sample courses include History of Graphic Design, Making Ideas Visible, User Experience Design, Type Systems, and Digital Design Studio. Students also complete a Final Portfolio course and project.

  • Tuition: $1,137 per credit hour
  • Accreditation: WSCUC, The National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD)

8. Vermont College of Fine Arts

The Vermont College of Fine Arts offers an online Master of Fine Arts in Graphic Design degree program that is considered a low-residency program. The student that selects this program gains knowledge and skills in design work, research methods and critical expertise, contemporary design, and other areas.

The individualized semester study allows students to have the freedom to develop their home studio workspace to their needs, whether the student follows the two-year, or the three-year program. Students with professional background, or a bachelor’s degree in a graphic design area typically follow the two-year program, while students with an academic background in liberal arts, fine arts, or sciences follow the three-year program.

  • Tuition: est. $1,551.44 per credit hour
  • Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education, NASAD

9. Maryland Institute College of Art

MICA’s M.F.A. in Graphic Design serves as an advanced lab for interdisciplinary research and exploration within the context of one of the nation’s top art colleges. The 60-hour curriculum engages students in a mix of critical seminars, guided studio courses, and independent work. Students can take advantage of electives in many MICA departments, including video, printmaking, and digital media.

As graphic design extends its reach into new media and new environments, designers are confronted with exciting intellectual and technological challenges. MICA’s two-year M.F.A. program provides a setting in which to develop critical ideas about the history, future, and social uses of visual communication.

  • Tuition: $2,020 per credit hour
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education, NASAD

Methodology

We realize that searching for the best online master’s in graphic design programs is not an easy task, so we did the hard work for you. We narrowed our list to schools with accredited programs, and then further ranked them in ascending order by the resident tuition rates.

Do you need assistance finding the right online college or university that meets your career aspirations? We can help you with that, based on the program that you select.

Would you like to add your school to our ranked schools, or need to update your information? Contact us and we can help you include your school’s information.

Find the program that’s right for you

Whether you’re trying to start your career or make a big change, we can help you find the perfect school to help you reach your goals.

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BestValueSchools.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.
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