Graphic designers create illustrations and other visual elements companies and organizations use to promote goods and services. Typical job responsibilities include collaborating with clients to understand their unique needs.
Although the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 4% overall decline in employment for graphic designers from 2019-2029, employment for these professionals in specialized industries is projected to grow, such as in the newspaper and computer systems. Subsequently, job applicants need a bachelor’s in graphic design to succeed in a competitive job market.
Students earn a BFA, BA, or BS in graphic design. BFA and BA degrees focus on career skills, while BS programs emphasize a holistic educational experience. Typical admission requirements for any degree type include a high school diploma or satisfactory GPA scores.
Featured Online Programs
Figuring out where to apply? These top, accredited schools offer a variety of online degrees. Consider one of these accredited programs, and discover their value today.
Top 5 Cheapest Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Graphic Design 2021
A military-friendly institution based in Bellevue, Nebraska, Bellevue University holds accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission. The school offers more than 80 degrees, including an online bachelor of arts degree in graphic design.
This 127-credit program ranks among the best online graphic design degrees in the country for learners seeking hands-on experience. Degree candidates develop a web and print portfolio using industry-standard graphic design software and hardware.
The program requires a subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud. Learners also need access to basic art supplies; a color printer; a digital camera; a sketchbook; and a pointing device, such as a trackpad, mouse, or graphics table.
California Baptist University
Founded in 1950 by the California Southern Baptist Convention, California Baptist University holds accreditation by the WASC Senior College and University Commission. The Christian university offers more than 40 online degrees, including a bachelor of arts in graphic design and digital media.
The 48-credit online program trains students to use industry software, like Adobe InDesign, Dreamweaver, and Photoshop. Learners also study topics like photography, color theory, and drawing. Courses span eight weeks. Applicants need a high school diploma or equivalent with a minimum 2.0 GPA.
Midway University is a liberal arts institution located on a 200-acre working horse farm. The university strives to offer students an affordable education, with 90% of students receiving financial aid. In addition to offering cheap online graphic design degrees, this institution boasts a low 16-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio, providing learners with individualized attention from faculty.
Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, Midway University offers a 120-credit online bachelor's degree in marketing communications with a concentration in graphic design. Classes begin every eight weeks. Applicants must hold a high school diploma or equivalent with a minimum 2.5 GPA and submit official ACT or SAT scores.
Kentucky Wesleyan College
Located in Owensboro, Kentucky Wesleyan College holds accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The school offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs, including an online bachelor of arts in graphic design.
The online graphic design program focuses on web design, branding, typography, and animation. The 120-credit program requires 42 upper-division credits. In addition to coursework, students complete an internship to build hands-on experience. Applicants must hold a high school diploma or equivalent and submit transcripts and ACT or SAT scores.
Founded in 1971, Liberty University enrolls more than 100,000 students worldwide and holds accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The evangelical liberal arts institution offers more than 400 online programs, including a bachelor of fine arts in graphic design.
Students pursuing the best cheap online graphic design degree gain hands-on experience through a supervised practicum and internship. Degree candidates also receive access to Adobe Creative Cloud. The 120-credit program features eight-week courses. Students can transfer up to 75 credits toward the degree.
Frequently Asked Questions
What can you do with a bachelor's in graphic design?
A bachelor’s in graphic design prepares recent high school graduates and nontraditional learners for an entry-level career. Some graphic design professionals earn this degree to hone new skills.
Is a BA or BS in graphic design better?
The answer depends on students’ education goals. BA degrees feature additional graphic design coursework leading to a career. BS programs prepare students for graphic design study at the graduate level.
How long is a bachelor's in graphic design?
Like other bachelor’s programs, the cheapest graphic design bachelor’s degrees take four years to complete. Students with an associate degree or transfer credits graduate sooner.
Is a bachelor's in graphic design hard?
Prospective students should possess some aptitude with or passion for the graphic design field before enrolling in a program. Learners without these traits experience greater difficulty than their peers.
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Why Get a Graphic Design Degree?
A bachelor’s in graphic design confers numerous benefits to students passionate about creating art and working in the field. Degree-seekers achieve the following outcomes by using their school’s resources and networking with potential employers.
- Build a Portfolio
- Graphic design students build a professional portfolio during their undergraduate education. A portfolio helps recent graduates attain a full-time job or launch their career as an independent contractor.
- Choose Different Jobs
- Nearly all companies and organizations hire graphic designers to advertise goods and services. This need allows workers to apply to jobs aligning with their values.
- Collaborate with Peers
- Graphic design professionals collaborate with clients and peers to deliver products. Collaboration leads to the sharing of ideas and professional growth.
- Increase Employability
- As the BLS projects that the graphic design field should contract between 2019-2029, aspiring graphic designers need every advantage when applying to freelance and full-time jobs.
- Learn Continuously
- Graphic designers do not stop learning after earning a bachelor’s degree. Professionals stay up to date with the latest skills and techniques through continued research.
How Much Does a Graphic Design Major Make?
The BLS reports that graphic designers earn a $52,110 median annual salary. Professionals working in the District of Columbia and Massachusetts make significantly more than their peers in other states. Graphic designers who earn the most possess a college degree and significant experience.
Workers increase their salary potential by completing internships during their bachelor’s in graphic design program. Other options include earning a certification in Adobe Photoshop, Autodesk, or advertising design.
Bachelor’s in Graphic Design Program Requirements
Freshman applicants must submit high school transcripts or GED scores. Some online universities require high school prerequisites, FAFSA results, and standardized test scores. Applicants with college experience should also provide official undergraduate transcripts to receive transfer credit, lower their overall tuition bill, and reduce the time needed to graduate.
Typical graduation requirements for undergraduates include passing all courses and maintaining a minimum 2.0 GPA. Graphic design bachelor’s programs also require advanced coursework leading to a professional portfolio. Students develop a portfolio by creating studio projects emphasizing multiple graphic design techniques and skills.
Accreditation and Online Colleges
Courses in a Graphic Design Bachelor’s Program
The most affordable graphic design bachelor’s programs feature an interdisciplinary curriculum emphasizing different styles and modes of expression. Courses such as web design, typography, and design methods expose students to graphic design’s many subfields and potential specializations. Typical programs conclude with a practicum wherein degree-seekers create a professional portfolio highlighting their best work.
The following courses demonstrate a sample curriculum. Please visit a school’s website or contact an academic advisor to learn more about course and graduation requirements.
Top bachelor's in graphic design programs require introductory and advanced web design courses. In web design I, students analyze how visual design affects a website's presentation and overall structure. Other course topics include HTML and CSS coding fundamentals. Web design II emphasizes sitemaps and flow diagrams, along with industry-leading software suites.
Typography concerns how typefaces influence a final product, such as a website or printed publication. Students develop skills related to spacing, typeface incorporation, and visual dynamics. Academic requirements include selecting typefaces for projects, which become more complicated as the course progresses. Some graphic design bachelor's programs require introduction to digital imaging as a prerequisite.
Design methods and similar courses introduce degree-seekers to how design choices influence viewers' thinking and emotions. The interdisciplinary curriculum features psychological and sociological elements, as cultures and societies respond to design differently. Students use what they learn in design methods to guide their work in advanced courses and during their career.
Scholarships for Graphic Design
Private scholarship opportunities like those below help bachelor’s in graphic design students pay for their education without going into debt. Typical application requirements include a minimum high school or undergraduate GPA, recommendation letters, and an essay. Please check each scholarship’s website to verify the following information.
Against the Grain Artistic Scholarship
Who Can Apply: Asian American high school seniors and college students apply to the Against the Grain Artistic Scholarship. Against the Grain prefers applicants committed to community service or one or more extracurricular activities. Applicants submit a portfolio and transcripts reflecting a minimum 3.0 GPA. The scholarship goes toward tuition expenses.
The Chelsy Tomashoff Memorial Scholarship for Print Design Excellence
Who Can Apply: Bachelor’s in graphic design students specializing in print design apply to this competitive scholarship opportunity. Applicants submit a completed print design and brief essay. Recipients may use the scholarship for educational expenses other than tuition. Thomas Group reserves the right to use scholarship recipients’ submissions for noncommercial purposes.
Support Creativity Scholarships
Who Can Apply: Support Creativity awards two scholarships to undergraduates majoring in graphic design or a related topic. Applicants must attend a college or university in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, or Pennsylvania. Application requirements include submitting a portfolio. Support Creativity does not consider applicants’ undergraduate GPA or limit the scholarship to U.S. citizens.