Top 10 Universities With a Graphic Design Major

Graphics students may follow where their mentor is teaching.

Graphics students may follow where their mentor is teaching.

Choosing the best university to attend is an important career decision for a graphic designer, so you need to consider your ultimate goals. Maybe you want to be an advertising director, a book designer or perhaps an industrial designer. Each of these careers in graphic design requires a different set of skills, and ideally you can arrange to study in specialized classes with top professionals in these fields. You may have personal reasons for choosing a school, such as location, size of classes and how long you can dedicate to studies before heading off to work.

RISD and Yale University

The Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, Rhode Island, is regarded as a top design school. It's a large program that's popular among alumni and teaches a broad range of media. Yale University of Art offers strong undergraduate and graduate level graphic design programs. A unique feature is substantial coursework on the "thesis book," a portfolio-like document that students can utilize afterward in their job hunt.

Carnegie Mellon University and Maryland Institute College of Art Graphic Design

Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh is a relatively small program that prides itself on integrating an arts and aesthetic design with technology and user research. It encourages interdisciplinary collaboration as part of coursework. Maryland Institute College of Art Graphic Design is a private college in Baltimore known for its specialization in Book Arts Studio that specially trains illustrators, photographers and printmakers in a different manner than classic commercial training.

Parsons The New School For Design and Cranbook Academy of Art

Parsons New School for Design based in New York City is known in particular for its product design and design management programs. It's a large school that can get access to top faculty by being in a major city. Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield, Michigan, is a smaller program than average with 163 students in 2010. It provides a unique experience taught by artists-in-residence instead of regular faculty.

MIT Media Lab and California College of the Arts

MIT Media Lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts, became well known for its user-interface programs and technical risk-taking. It's a small program with small staff that offers limited but high-quality coursework. California College of the Arts, CalArts, in San Francisco looks to systems design as a core element of its program and integration of multiple design fields. It promotes a holistic strategy of sustainability, business and leadership. The design program is MBA Design Strategy, which aligns students for department head big-picture positions.

The School of Visual Arts and Rochester Institute of Technology

The School of Visual Arts in New York has an undergraduate and graduate design program as well as entire majors specializing in illustration, book design and web design. The program is known for strong industry connections and staff who currently work in the field. The Rochester Institute of Technology College of Imaging Arts and Sciences in Rochester, New York prides itself on small classes, working professors and providing career-oriented learning. It strives to have students prepared to work on day one out of college.

 

About the Author

Grace Bordelon is a public relations professional, teacher and writer. She owns her own boutique public relations firm that specializes in the advertising, gaming and software industries. She also teaches at a major design school for fine artists, commercial artists and graphic designers. Bordelon holds a B.A. in international economics and an M.A. in English from Bard College.

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