Best Online Master's in Graphic Design Programs

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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

Table of Contents

This guide ranks the best online graphic design master's degree programs to help students find the right programs for their needs.

Best Online Master's Programs in Graphic Design

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Online Master's Programs in Graphic Design Ranking Guidelines

Best Online Programs - Master's in Graphic Design

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

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.


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.

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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.

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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.

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