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Graduates with master's in graphic design online degrees can pursue leadership roles such as art director, marketing manager, and product designer. These professionals enjoy strong salary potential.

For instance, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that art directors earned a median annual salary of $92,780 in 2018.

Earning a master's in graphic design online gives students the flexibility to balance their studies with personal and professional obligations. Online learning also allows students to attend the top programs in the country without relocating.

Top 10 Online Master's Programs in Graphic Design
#1 Quinnipiac University Hamden, CT
#2 Savannah College of Art and Design Savannah, GA
#3 Liberty University Lynchburg, VA

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Best Online Master's Programs in Graphic Design

Quinnipiac University View School Profile $$$$$ Hamden, CT 77% Quinnipiac University is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).

Established in 1929, Quinnipiac University offers over 70 undergraduate and graduate programs. The university established an online division in 2001 that offers a variety of flexible programs, including an online master's in interactive media and communications.

The 30-credit program trains students to conduct research, solve problems, develop strategies, and produce professional media. Students complete nine credits of core courses and 21 elective credits. Electives cover topics such as visual design, web technologies, content strategy, and visual storytelling. Students culminate the degree by completing a professional portfolio that they can use for job applications following graduation.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited school. They must also submit a resume, two recommendation letters, a 500-word personal statement, a portfolio of work, a 1,000-word original writing piece, and official transcripts.

Savannah College of Art and Design View School Profile $$$$$ Savannah, GA 68% Savannah College of Art and Design is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCC).

The Savannah College of Art and Design is a private, nonprofit institution that offers over 40 certificate and degree programs, including one of the best online graphic design master's programs.

This 45-credit master's in graphic design covers topics such as design research, ideation models and processes, visual analysis of static content, and professional practices for visual design. Students learn from representatives of top digital firms, like Airbnb, Habro, and Google. Learners who earn this master's in graphic design online culminate the degree with an internship, SCADpro collaboration, or two 500-700-level elective courses.

The program uses asynchronous courses, giving students the flexibility to balance their studies with personal and professional responsibilities. Graduates can work as graphic designers, brand designers, mobile app designers, and publication designers.

Applicants to the online master's in graphic design program need a bachelor's degree. They must also submit a portfolio, two letters of recommendation, a resume, transcripts, and a statement of purpose. Applicants may optionally submit GRE scores to bolster their applications.

Liberty University View School Profile $$$$ Lynchburg, VA 50% Liberty University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Liberty University is a private, Christian university that offers industry-relevant undergraduate and graduate programs grounded in Christian principles. The school offers several of its programs online, including a master of fine arts in graphic design.

The 60-credit, online graphic design master's degree program takes two years of full-time study to complete. The curriculum features courses such as publication design, interactive design, and the history of graphic design. The program also includes a 180-hour internship that allows students to apply what they learn to a practical setting. Students culminate the degree with a professional portfolio and oral examination.

Graduates can work in industries such as advertising, animation, public relations, sales, and business. Courses use an asynchronous format, giving students the flexibility to balance their studies with professional and personal responsibilities. LU has a generous transfer policy, allowing students to transfer up to 30 credits toward the degree.

Applicants need an accredited bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. They must also submit an artist statement, portfolio, official college transcripts, and proof of English proficiency.

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Best Online Programs - Master's in Graphic Design

Online Master's Programs in Graphic Design Ranking Guidelines

We selected the degree programs based on the quality of program and range of courses provided, as well as school awards, rankings, and reputation.


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Choosing an Online Online Master's in Graphic Design Program

Selecting the right program begins with discovering why you want to earn your online graphic design master's degree. To answer this question, first examine programs' concentrations. Some concentrations, such as brand development, appeal to students interested in managerial jobs at large marketing agencies. Others, such as exhibition design, attract students preparing for careers as independent artists. Choosing one or two concentrations that interest you automatically creates a shortlist, which you should later analyze in closer detail.

Choosing one or two concentrations that interest you automatically creates a shortlist, which you should later analyze in closer detail.

Once you create a shortlist, focus on each program's courses and educational experience. Most programs stress advanced design courses alongside those that teach valuable interpersonal, leadership, and business skills. Finally, the graphic design master's degree online program you select should meet all your online learning needs. With so many online options, you do not need to sacrifice quality for convenience.

What Else Can I Expect from an Online Master's in Graphic Design Program?

While virtually all online graphic design master's programs teach similar skills, they offer unique curricula. Some focus on one graphic design subfield, while others present a more holistic approach. Keep this in mind as you explore the sample courses below. Courses at programs you consider may use similar titles or course descriptions but a different curriculum.

Curriculum for an Online Master's Degree in Graphic Design

Brand Development

Students learn about graphic design's role in advertising products and services. Class activities include analyzing famous brand development examples and developing graphics for new products. Students interested in marketing take one or more brand development courses.

Design Integration

Students develop new ways to use design in their projects as they critique each other's work. Most master's students take this or a similar course during their first year.

Defining Client Needs

This course conveys crucial interpersonal skills all graphic designers require to work with clients. Course topics include interview and communication skills and relationship–building.

Design Research

To stay successful, graphic designers must learn new technologies and collaborate with peers. This course introduces students to research methods and latest graphic design tools.

Thesis

Most master's programs include a thesis course wherein students research and craft their thesis. Some programs may require students to write a lengthy research essay, while others programs ask students to complete a design project that includes a presentation to faculty and peers.

Careers with a Master's in Graphic Design

Online graphic design master's degree programs prepare graduates for managerial–level positions that require a single person to oversee an entire project. Some graduates use these skills as classroom teachers, while other graphic designers use their graduate educations to launch their careers as self–employed artists. The three positions below represent a few jobs you can explore after earning your degree.

Postsecondary Teacher

Graphic design postsecondary teachers instruct students at colleges and universities, create lesson plans and rubrics, evaluate students' work, and mentor students' development as artists. Nearly, all postsecondary teaching positions require a master's or doctoral degree. Most professionals who enter this position also have at least five years of work experience in the graphic design field.

Median Annual Salary

$78,470

Projected Growth Rate

11%

Art Director

Art directors lead teams of artists to create unique visual products for their clients (e.g., movie posters, product packaging, and commercials). As managers, they control their projects' every facet and mentor less-experienced graphic designers. A master's degree conveys the managerial and interpersonal skills required for this position.

Median Annual Salary

$92,780

Projected Growth Rate

1%

Multimedia Artist and Animator

Multimedia artists use digital tools to create original artwork and animations for advertisements, games, and movies. Many artists and animators specialize in a field like facial animation, making them highly valuable employees. A master's program allows students to select and develop skills related to a specific specialty.

Median Annual Salary

$72,520

Projected Growth Rate

4%

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