Most Affordable Online Bachelor’s in Graphic Design

Best Online Master's in Graphic DesignIf you’re all about creativity and using your own ideas to launch innovative communication designs, a bachelor’s degree in graphic design might be the ideal career opportunity for you to explore. Not all career fields can boast the opportunity to combine computer and software technology with creativity and imagination. However, a graphic design degree offers exactly that. Read about the colleges and universities listed below to help you narrow down the best choice to meet your personal educational and career goals in the field of graphic design.

What is an Online Bachelor’s in Graphic Design?

Earning a bachelor’s degree in graphic design means mastering the visual art of communication without verbal words. Graphic design at its most basic element is about utilizing images, ideas, colors, shapes, and language to tell an effective story. Pursue a career as a logo or web designer, a photoshop artist, a creative art director, or even a production artist with a graphic design degree. You’ll learn to take real-world branding and marketing concepts and apply fundamental graphics principles to create modern design solutions. Coursework typically includes training in typography and art theory as well as hands-on training in state-of-the-art graphic design technology. 

How Much Can You Earn With an Online Bachelor’s in Graphic Design?

With a bachelor’s degree in graphic design, graduates can explore a career as an art director, industrial designer, special effects artist, or even an animator, in addition to a role as a graphic designer. As an art director, median salaries in 2020, according to the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics were about $92,270 annually. For industrial designers that design for manufactured products, the median income was about $71,640, and the median income for special effects artists and animators was $77,700. Graphic designer jobs typically require no on-the-job training to be hired but do require a bachelor’s degree. In addition, most graphic design programs require internship work and/or practicum coursework as a part of their degree program. Median salaries for entry-level graphic design professionals was $53,380.

What Is Required For an Online Bachelor’s in Graphic Design?

Pursuing an online bachelor’s degree in graphic design requires a high school transcript, typically with a GPA of 2.5 or above. However, some technically-focused universities welcome homeschool students and GED certificates also. Since current technology plays a key role in the work produced by graphic artists and related careers, students will be expected to access a reliable computer, capable of holding a variety of Adobe software programs that are critical to the illustrations, drawings, animations, website creation, and digital design projects commensurate with graphic design work. In some cases, university programs will provide a Mac laptop fully loaded with the appropriate software.

What Are the Best Online Bachelor’s in Graphic Design?

OSR uses six data points: three school-wide and three program-specific. For school-wide, OSR uses Student Satisfaction, Admission Rates, and the number of programs the school offers online. For program-specific, OSR checks the Median Debt of graduates from that program, how many degrees are offered within that program’s umbrella department, and what percentage of students at that school graduated from that department.

The six statistics are displayed by each school. The sliding bar under each statistic represents how that school compares to other US institutions. “Not reported” means a school did not release that information to the US Department of Education. A more detailed description of the OSR process can be found on the methodology page.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Do you know that you are passionate about utilizing your creativity but also love the challenge of using the newest technology innovations? A bachelor’s degree in graphic design offers the unique opportunity to communicate messaging visually while leveraging modern, digital technology. Here are some frequently asked questions to help you decide if this is the right degree path for you. 

Do you need to be a talented artist or a computer pro to earn a graphic design degree?

A bachelor’s degree in graphic design focuses on utilizing colors, ideas, images, shapes, and language to communicate an effective story. Whether it’s logo creation, gaming graphics, animation, web design, or functioning as a creative director, a graphic design degree will give you the foundation and skills to succeed in the creative technology industry. Coursework in graphic design will offer the technical training of computer software like the Adobe Suite of programs PhotoShop, Illustrator, InDesign, and XD but will also offer the more traditional training of typography, in-print design work, and drawing.

Key things to consider when selecting a graphic design program is to contemplate the type of job placement you’d like to secure after graduation. Are you passionate about advertising and marketing? What media are you most inspired by: web design and content, print media, or even gaming? Do you want to work solo as a consultant or are you interested in being part of a creative, collaborative team? All in all, you don’t need to be either/or to earn your graphic design degree, but you do need a desire to learn artistic traits and key features on different digital software. 

Do you have to be able to draw to earn a graphic design degree?

Most graphic design programs will start with traditional theory on colors, shapes, spacing, and visual communication. The basics of drawing and art theory will definitely be included. However, you’ll also learn Adobe software packages that are the latest technology for print, web, auto-visual, and gaming-related marketing mediums. In addition, AutoCAD and AutoDesk are collaborative media that many advertising agencies, branding, and marketing companies use to create and communicate project designs.

So, while artistic skills certainly play a role in creating a successful graphic design career, drawing skills will not make or break your success in the field. You should also expect to learn problem-solving techniques and team-building skills in most degree programs. Much of the work will be hands-on project driving coursework to help students prepare digital and hands-on portfolio content for the job search process.

Are programming languages critical to success in graphic design?

Programming languages in graphic design are not the key components to a successful career or job placement. However, according to Toptal, a designer placement organization, knowing some of the basics of the top programming languages can take a designer’s marketability to the next level. Languages like JavaScript can help designers understand how to update and change HTML and CSS. While not typical skills, they add to the tools available for a designer in the competitive technology market. Some institutions offer additional elective courses in computer programming languages that students can take as part of their degree coursework. In addition, some companies will offer certification or continuing education units (CEU’s) opportunities for employees who want to be proficient in their most-used platforms. Frequently, companies will cover the fees associated with additional CEUs, provided the employee maintains a minimum GPA in the course and provides completion proof at the end.

Coursework in your bachelor’s program should include Adobe programs as well as opportunities to learn about the AutoCAD and AutoDesk programs. If you’re not sure what your specialty area of interest is, consider trying a few different focuses to get a taste of the opportunities available. Courses like web development and creation build a well-rounded graphic design portfolio even if you aren’t planning a focused career in website building. Nearly all businesses rely on a modern, effective internet presence for product placement, sales, and information. Also, look for collaborative bachelor’s programs that offer internship opportunities, and even workshops to deliver the real-world experiences employers look for in graduating graphic designers. 

Conclusion

Graduates that earn a bachelor’s degree in graphic design have the unique opportunity to turn their passion and creativity into modern innovations of technology. Since the field is a combination of two very different focuses, there isn’t the pressure to be an expert at either traditional art or digital technology.

Students should consider a combination of classic art communications coursework, coupled with the latest technology training to build the strongest skills. A graphic design degree can take the graduate into a variety of public, private, and even government or military career fields. So, consult your university’s academic and career advisory organizations to network in your desired field. For more about some of the best graphic design courses and opportunities, check out this article on some of the best graphic design classes!

  1. Bellevue University

    20-Year ROI
    $1,077,529
    Bellevue University

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $7,152(in state) / $7,152(out of state)
    • Total of 127 credits hours for graduation
    • Transfer up to 60 credit hours
    • Student coach provided

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction72%
    Admission RateNot Reported
    Programs offered online51

    Program Level

    Median Debt$20,832
    Programs in Department3
    Popularity at School1.84%

    Earn a bachelor’s degree in graphic design from Bellevue University, and become an expert in the Adobe platforms used by the most modern designers. Master Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, and XD as part of a comprehensive program that incorporates the proper production methods for success in web or in-print design work.

  2. Sessions College for Professional Design

    Sessions College

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition in State: 10740
    • Total of 120 credits for completion
    • 10 semesters 
    • No textbooks necessary, project-driven coursework

    School Wide

    Student SatisfactionNot Reported
    Admission RateNot Reported
    Programs offered onlineNot Reported

    Program Level

    Median Debt$9,908
    Programs in DepartmentNot Reported
    Popularity at School74.65%

    Get your bachelor’s of fine arts degree in graphic design from Sessions College for Professional Design and be ready to launch a creative career in communications design, immediately following graduation. Master the fundamentals in critical thinking skills, technical proficiencies, and design techniques. Curricula will help students create a marketable portfolio for the job search after graduation. 

  3. Wilmington University

    20-Year ROI
    $848,436
    Wilmington University

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $10,890(in state) / $10,890(out of state)
    • Total of 120 credit hours for completion 
    • Minimum GPA of a C- in coursework required
    • Transfer credits welcome

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction72%
    Admission RateNot Reported
    Programs offered online18

    Program Level

    Median Debt$18,718
    Programs in DepartmentNot Reported
    Popularity at School< 1%

    The bachelor’s of science in graphic design online degree from Wilmington University offers technical skills training, problem-solving techniques, and the ability to earn a certificate in Technology Project Management with just this one major. Use the latest design technology and software to master key design concepts through hands-on projects.

  4. Berkeley College-Woodland Park

    Berkeley College

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $25,900(in state) / $25,900(out of state)
    • Total of 120 semester credit hours for graduation
    • ACT/SAT scores or entrance exam required
    • Graphic design certificate program also available

    School Wide

    Student SatisfactionNot Reported
    Admission RateNot Reported
    Programs offered online11

    Program Level

    Median Debt$17,596
    Programs in DepartmentNot Reported
    Popularity at School2.09%

    The bachelor’s of fine arts in graphic design online degree from Berkeley College is built to incorporate traditional, digital, and emerging media techniques in graphic design. Students will participate in field trips, attend and participate in design-related events and enjoy guest lecturers with innovative, cutting-edge design expertise. Coursework includes digital filmmaking, illustration, web design, and advertising.

  5. Regent University

    20-Year ROI
    $827,287
    Regent University

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $16,650(in state) / $16,650(out of state)
    • Total of 120 credit hours for completion 
    • Completion of admissions questionnaire required
    • Scholarship opportunities available

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction75%
    Admission Rate78%
    Programs offered online3

    Program Level

    Median Debt$25,000
    Programs in DepartmentNot Reported
    Popularity at School1.65%

    An online bachelor’s degree in graphic arts from Regent University offers students an opportunity to explore the latest design technology, study the history of design and build a professional portfolio to showcase their emerging skills. Work as a logo or web designer, a photoshop artist, or a creative art director with a degree in graphic arts.

  6. Rasmussen College-Minnesota

    Rasmussen College

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $10,935(in state) / $10,935(out of state)
    • Total of 23 courses in the program
    • Transfer credits accepted
    • Online program not available in New York, Connecticut, or Rhode Island

    School Wide

    Student SatisfactionNot Reported
    Admission RateNot Reported
    Programs offered online20

    Program Level

    Median Debt$18,254
    Programs in Department2
    Popularity at School< 1%

    Study for a bachelor’s degree in graphic design from Rasmussen College-Minnesota and leverage the project-driven course work to focus on learning about the newest design trends and production technologies. Study mobile video production, Adobe Creative Cloud, and 3D imagery. In addition, the course will help students pursue certifications in the graphic design industry.

  7. Lindenwood University

    20-Year ROI
    $821,708
    Lindenwood University

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $16,300(in state) / $16,300(out of state)
    • Total of 78 credits hours for completion 
    • Internship course available
    • Capstone project completion for graduation

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction76%
    Admission Rate74%
    Programs offered online5

    Program Level

    Median Debt$26,529
    Programs in DepartmentNot Reported
    Popularity at School4.4%

    The art and design degree with an emphasis in design from Lindenwood University offers students training in both art history and art theory. It incorporates both digital and traditional portfolio design projects to help students prepare for real-world creativity. Subjects include motion design, print and publications, typography, advertising, and user experience.

  8. Hodges University

    20-Year ROI
    $734,055
    Hodges University

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $13,440(in state) / $13,440(out of state)
    • Total of 120 credit hours for completion 
    • Computer software and hardware requirements for coursework 
    • Proctored final exams in all online coursework

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction81%
    Admission Rate58%
    Programs offered online14

    Program Level

    Median Debt$27,525
    Programs in DepartmentNot Reported
    Popularity at SchoolNot Reported

    With a bachelor’s of digital design and graphics online degree from Hodges University graduates who have developed exceptional skills in Adobe Creative Cloud, AutoCAD and AutoDesk can seek an entry-level design job. In addition, critical traditional skills like team collaboration, problem-solving and critical thinking are built into the coursework projects.

  9. Grand Canyon University

    20-Year ROI
    $1,049,692
    Grand Canyon University

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $16,365(in state) / $16,365(out of state)
    • Total of 120 course credits to graduate
    • Christian-based educational environment
    • Transfer up to 90 credits

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction69%
    Admission Rate67%
    Programs offered online37

    Program Level

    Median Debt$18,750
    Programs in Department2
    Popularity at School1.04%

    The bachelor’s of arts in advertising and graphic design from Grand Canyon University is designed to equip you to help a variety of companies hone a successful brand image. Work as an art director, production artist, graphic designer, or creative services specialist. Coursework includes a foundational focus on how textures, typography, color images, and shapes coordinate to make an effective design.

  10. Upper Iowa University

    20-Year ROI
    $847,992
    Upper Iowa University

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $28,850(in state) / $28,850(out of state)
    • Self-paced coursework taking two classes at a time 
    • Transfer up to 90 credits
    • Graphic Design minor available for communications or marketing majors

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction64%
    Admission Rate56%
    Programs offered online22

    Program Level

    Median Debt$23,000
    Programs in Department1
    Popularity at School< 1%

    When you earn an online bachelor’s degree in graphic design from Upper Iowa University, you’ll get a unique online opportunity to develop modern, creative design techniques from industry experts. Students will produce videos, advertisements, web designs, and social media campaigns. Graduates will enter the job market with a portfolio of skills to demonstrate skills to potential employers. 

  11. Midway University

    20-Year ROI
    $675,975
    Midway University

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $23,700(in state) / $23,700(out of state)
    • Total of 120 credit hours required 
    • Four years to complete program
    • Minimum 2.5 GPA for admission

    School Wide

    Student SatisfactionNot Reported
    Admission Rate57%
    Programs offered online19

    Program Level

    Median Debt$22,243
    Programs in DepartmentNot Reported
    Popularity at SchoolNot Reported

    If a bachelor’s of science in marketing and graphic design is what you’re seeking, you can earn your degree completely online from Midway University. The program focuses specifically on animation, brand management, digital storytelling, photoshop, and social media management as a graphic design concentration. Paired with the marketing communications study, students will master key publicizing strategies, terminology, and theories for branding and marketing a company.

  12. Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design

    20-Year ROI
    $648,048
    Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $16,268(in state) / $16,268(out of state)
    • Total of 123 courses for completion 
    • Workshops, dual enrollment, and summer camp options available for incoming students 
    • Portfolio review required for transfer students

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction75%
    Admission RateNot Reported
    Programs offered online9

    Program Level

    Median Debt$32,000
    Programs in Department6
    Popularity at School54.47%

    A bachelor’s of fine arts in graphic design degree from Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design offers students the ability to learn how to create unique visual composition projects by instructing on the foundations and technologies that make good design. Master key digital tools like Adobe InDesign, PhotoShop, XD and Illustrator, and make both verbal and writing presentations.

  13. California Baptist University

    20-Year ROI
    $839,708
    California Baptist University

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $30,446(in state) / $30,446(out of state)
    • Total of 88 course units for completion 
    • Transfer up to 24 credits
    • Minimum GPA of 2.0

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction78%
    Admission Rate77%
    Programs offered online23

    Program Level

    Median Debt$27,000
    Programs in DepartmentNot Reported
    Popularity at School2.2%

    A bachelor’s of fine arts in graphic design degree from Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design offers students the ability to learn how to create unique visual composition projects by instructing on the foundations and technologies that make good design. Master key digital tools like Adobe InDesign, PhotoShop, XD and Illustrator, and make both verbal and writing presentations.

  14. Southeastern University

    20-Year ROI
    $684,037
    Southeastern University

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $24,360(in state) / $24,360(out of state)
    • Total of 120 credit hours for completion 
    • Four years to complete degree
    • Essay and Christian Character Reference form for application

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction76%
    Admission Rate53%
    Programs offered online9

    Program Level

    Median Debt$27,000
    Programs in DepartmentNot Reported
    Popularity at School3.9%

    Earn an online bachelor’s degree in digital media and design from Southeastern University and move immediately into a career in marketing, web design, communications, or graphic design. Learn key technology with hands-on work in digital layout and design, web page design, photography, typography, and digital illustration. Elective opportunities include studying abroad, internships, and mass communications law.

  15. Full Sail University

    20-Year ROI
    $773,128
    Full Sail University

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $19,929(in state) / $19,929(out of state)
    • Student-paced programs with monthly enrollment dates 
    • 29 months to complete the program
    • Online technology orientation program required 

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction78%
    Admission RateNot Reported
    Programs offered online24

    Program Level

    Median Debt$43,320
    Programs in Department10
    Popularity at School41.62%

    The bachelor’s of science in graphic design online degree from Full Sail University offers students exposure to state-of-the-art technologies and the opportunity to perfect their real-world experience with media branding, integration, and advertising. Key highlights of the coursework include digital publishing, typography, and page layout.

  16. Kentucky Wesleyan College

    20-Year ROI
    $723,605
    Kentucky Wesleyan

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $24,290(in state) / $24,290(out of state)
    • Minimum 19 ACT/SAT scores and 2.0 GPA 
    • Total of 120 credit hours to be completed in two years
    • Transfer students are welcome

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction77%
    Admission Rate58%
    Programs offered online6

    Program Level

    Median Debt$23,250
    Programs in Department1
    Popularity at School5.22%

    The online bachelor’s degree in graphic design from Kentucky Wesleyan College offers students instruction in art survey, digital painting, photographic techniques, and beginning drawing. In addition, two internship courses are required for class credit as well as graduation. Project work includes portfolio-quality assignments for graduates to use in career interviewing.

  17. Independence University

    20-Year ROI
    $557,496
    Independence University

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $18,021(in state) / $18,021(out of state)
    • Total of 183 credit hours for completion 
    • 37 months to complete
    • Mac laptop with design software provided

    School Wide

    Student SatisfactionNot Reported
    Admission RateNot Reported
    Programs offered online8

    Program Level

    Median Debt$27,139
    Programs in Department1
    Popularity at School15.77%

    The bachelor of science in graphic arts online degree from Independence University offers students the opportunity to master graphic design concepts with the use of illustrations, typography, animation, photography, and multimedia technology. Students will build a graphic design portfolio of their own for job interviewing.

  18. Liberty University

    20-Year ROI
    $718,609
    Liberty University

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $15,734(in state) / $15,734(out of state)
    • Total of 120 credit hours required
    • 3.5 years for completion
    • Transfer up to 75% of degree credits

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction73%
    Admission Rate30%
    Programs offered online23

    Program Level

    Median Debt$24,732
    Programs in Department1
    Popularity at School1.48%

    This graphic design online degree from Liberty University offers students coursework in graphic design theory, principles, and technology as well as hands-on, real-world experience. Complete a graphic design internship as well as a practicum required for graduation, to gain the practical experience to build a professional portfolio and enter the competitive job market.

  19. Abilene Christian University

    20-Year ROI
    $846,373
    Abilene Christian University

    Quick Facts

    • Tuition: $33,280(in state) / $33,280(out of state)
    • Total of 128 credit hours required 
    • Student-run design agency available
    • Study abroad opportunities 

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction75%
    Admission Rate58%
    Programs offered onlineNot Reported

    Program Level

    Median Debt$23,628
    Programs in DepartmentNot Reported
    Popularity at School8.56%

    Abilene Christian University offers you a bachelor’s of science in graphic design and advertising that trains graduates in the combination of illustrations and text to create effective, innovative, visual communications. Coursework includes copywriting, brand design, basic drawing, and interactive design. 

  20. Los Angeles Film School

    LA Film School

    Quick Facts

    • Total of 120 credit hours required 
    • 36 months to complete
    • Classes are taken one at a time for a four-week duration 

    School Wide

    Student Satisfaction78%
    Admission RateNot Reported
    Programs offered online3

    Program Level

    Median Debt$21,639
    Programs in Department3
    Popularity at School66.67%

    For a comprehensive graphic design bachelor’s degree program, Los Angeles Film School offers a fully online program. Prepare yourself to learn motion design, experiential design, and how to create logos and symbols. A 16-inch MacBook is provided with the Adobe Suite of programs to work on the same technology professional graphic designers use.