10 Best Grad Schools with Online Master’s in Graphic Design

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Updated: February 28, 2024, Reading time: 14 minutes

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Graphic Design is both visible and invisible. Our civilizations and cultures are built on a visual/graphic design foundation that drives a lot of things, from our navigation and road signs, to written text and information, to content that influences our consumption and behavior.

Some aspects of graphic design are out there and fully visible, while some play an invisible role that helps hold society together.

As a career, graphic design is rewarding and lucrative. Graphic designers turn ideas into visual storytelling with the use of various tools and methods, including computer software applications and hand illustrations.

They are often an integral part of an organization’s marketing team, conveying messages in a visual way to develop a brand identity, connect with the target audience, and promote products or services.

Some of the responsibilities of a graphic designer include developing the overall layout and production design for advertisements for print or digital. They may also need to meet with clients to pitch their ideas, discuss projects, and revise designs as specified by clients. The most common projects graphic designers work on include marketing campaigns, advertising, branding, logos, and packaging.

Additional Resources:

Quick audio summary:


Graphic design draws from a range of disciplines and fields, including art and art history, right up to human behavior and psychology. Graphic Design practitioners are not only creatives and visionaries, but they are also technically proficient in one or more media production techniques, and have an understanding of human psychology that helps maximize the effectiveness of their message.

With a Master’s degree in Graphic Design, professionals acquire advanced knowledge of design theory, design history, and design research. The graduate degree training, along with a design portfolio and other relevant credentials, qualifies professionals for senior-level roles.

Grad School Center is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Best Online Master of Graphic Design Programs

Best Online Master of Graphic Design Programs

Liberty University

Liberty University

School of Communication and the Arts

Lynchburg, Virginia

Master of Fine Arts in Graphic Design

Liberty University, under the School of Communication and the Arts, is one of the many educational institutions that offer a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Graphic Design program. This fully online program helps you thrive in the field of visual communication by preparing them to become competent graphic designers who meet the goals of businesses and organizations across various industries.

Online students can learn from experienced professors through hands-on, rigorous training. On top of equipping you with the necessary knowledge in this increasingly growing field, this graphic design program also hones your essential skills such as innovative thinking, artistic abilities, and creativity, among others.

Core Courses:

The curriculum of Liberty University’s MFA features graphic design courses that train students to produce visually appealing designs with the use of a variety of methods, including design techniques, digital illustration, typography, and digital imaging.

Arizona State University

Arizona State University - Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering

Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering

Tempe, Arizona

Master of Science in Graphic Information Technology

To delve into the world of graphic information technology, Arizona State University’s Master of Science in Graphic Information Technology program provides you with a thorough understanding of creating visual content for multi-channel distribution. You can brush up on and enhance your abilities in graphic design while acquiring management skills to help you deliver projects and distribute content.

Core Courses:

This Graphic Information Technology master’s program allows you to explore elements of technology along with tools and programs often utilized for graphic design creation. You will also tackle other important aspects such as design production printing, and publishing visuals.

Ideal for students looking to advance their careers, this online program in graphic design helps you build on highly in-demand skills, including print technology, web design, digital graphics, and user experience.

Minneapolis College of Art and Design

Minneapolis College of Art and Design

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Master of Arts in Graphic & Web Design

Designed for motivated working professionals, the Master of Arts in Graphic and Web Design offered by Minneapolis College of Art and Design provides students with the flexibility they need with multiple asynchronous classes. Classes are kept small to encourage collaboration among students. This also allows the experienced faculty to provide you with personal attention.

Core Courses:

The comprehensive curriculum lets you delve deep into relevant subjects, including design principles, research, ideation, typography, web design, programming, and workflow management. You will also gain a solid foundation through theoretical and practical work while exploring design theory and history.

At the end of the program, you are required to build an online portfolio project. This capstone project will prepare you for a successful career in graphic and web design, whether you pursue work in print, digital, or web environments.

Savannah College of Art and Design

Savannah College of Art and Design

Savannah, Georgia

Master of Arts in Graphic Design & Visual Experience

Focused on telling visual stories, the Master of Arts in Graphic Design and Visual Experience from Savannah College of Art and Design not only explores the world of graphic design. The program also weaves entrepreneurship and modern technology into the wide-ranging curriculum.

Core Courses:

Through its highly relevant courses, this program prepares students to take on graphic design jobs in elite multinational companies and agencies. You are also equipped with essential skills and knowledge to start your own business, leading branding, interactive media, visual marketing, and immersive campaigns.

Going beyond the classroom, this online program ensures you can enjoy state-of-the-art resources and signature events that will provide you with valuable, hands-on experience.

University of Florida

University of Florida - College of Journalism and Communications

College of Journalism and Communication

Gainesville, Florida

MA in Mass Communication – concentration in Web Design

Known for its multi-faceted master’s programs, the University of Florida offers the Master of Arts in Mass Communication – Web Design degree. This graphic design online degree prepares students to advance their careers by delving deep into web design while emphasizing the importance of developing expertise in graphic design.

Core Courses:

Students in this program are expected to learn how to build websites from the ground up, learn how to code HTML, JavaScript, and more. You can also learn vital skills in an increasingly digital world such as content creation, UX theory, and marketing.

The program also focuses on equipping you with knowledge and skills in visual design, communication theory, graphics design and creation, and more.

Harvard University Extension School

Harvard University Extension School

Harvard Division of Continuing Education

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Master of Liberal Arts (ALM) in Extension Studies: Digital Media Design

Harvard University, through its Extension School/Division of Continuing Education, offers a Master of Liberal Arts in Extension Studies, with a Concentration in Digital Media Design. It is a degree that builds students’ knowledge of modern production methods and communication tools, with the goal of creating effective and engaging media. The program is offered in person and online.

Core Courses:

The program curriculum includes courses in modern media production tools including Animation, Film, Web Design, Virtual Reality, and other forms of emerging media. Students may also choose to take relevant electives that add up to stackable certificates in Web Development (Front or Back-end) and Learning Design and Technology.

Marywood University

Marywood University

Insalaco College of Arts and Sciences

Scranton, Pennsylvania

Master of Fine Arts in Graphic Design and Illustration

Marywood University offers a Master of Fine Arts in Graphic Design and Illustration, a degree program specifically designed for creative professionals already working in the industry who have existing career commitments. This is offered as a low-residency graduate degree, with a small amount of summer sessions on campus. 

Core Courses:

While the curriculum trains students on advanced production techniques and develops their relevant technical skills, the program’s main thrust is on creativity and solid concepts, and this is reflected in the curriculum as well, which also includes courses on marketing and communicating students’ ideas and concepts.

Lindenwood University

Lindenwood University

College of Arts and Humanities

Saint Charles, Missouri

Master of Arts in Art and Design

Lindenwood University offers an MA in Art and Design degree, designed with several emphasis areas, including Digital Art, Graphic Design, Photography, Web/UX, and Project Management. This program is available on-campus or online.

Core Courses:

The program’s curriculum is rooted in critical theory, history, field-specific fundamentals, and practical application, and also emphasizes creative problem-solving. Most students are trained in a wide range of media and graphic design production techniques, which includes Desktop Publishing, Motion Graphics, Typography, 3D Printing, and more.

The University of Oklahoma

The University of Oklahoma - School of Visual Arts, Weitzenhoffer Family College of Fine Arts

School of Visual Arts, Weitzenhoffer Family College of Fine Arts

Norman, Oklahoma

Master of Arts in Art and Technology

The University of Oklahoma offers a Master of Arts in Art and Technology degree program, designed to bridge the worlds of design, technology, and art, preparing students for work in a variety of creative industry careers which include graphic design, game development, animation, and more.

Core Courses:

The program’s curriculum includes courses that cover a wide range of techniques and disciplines, from creative coding and programming, motion graphics and animation, video production and sound design, right up to emerging technologies and interactive media.

Ball State University

Ball State University

School of Journalism and Strategic Communication

Muncie, Indiana

Master’s Degree in Emerging Media Design & Development

Ball State University offers a Master’s Degree in Emerging Media Design & Development, which trains students to plan, develop, and test communication designs across various digital platforms. The program follows a low-residency/mostly online format, ideal for working professionals to balance careers and learn new skills for career advancement and professional development.

Core Courses:

The graphic design online program curriculum includes courses on storytelling principles, in addition to media development techniques and testing/research. Students can choose an academic track and complete a thesis, or a professional track, which requires completing an applied research project.

As a low-residency program, students are required to attend a five-day on-campus visit at the start of each semester.

Best Grad Schools with Online Master's in Graphic Design - fact

Frequently Asked Questions

What do online Master’s in Graphic Design online programs offer?

Many graphic design programs explore visual communication and prepare students to succeed in a creative and dynamic field. For advanced degrees in graphic design, one can expect to acquire advanced design thinking and problem-solving skills.

They are expected to communicate their design ideas in visual storytelling with the use of widely accepted and highly innovative tools. It often involves computer software programs and expertise in hand illustration.

Some of the courses in the master’s program also include content development, defining an audience, and familiarizing with different media platforms, whether digital or print.

What can graduates do with an online Master of Arts in Graphic Design program?

Earning a master’s degree in Graphic Design means getting access to a wealth of job opportunities in an exciting and in-demand field. The Labor Statistics Bureau discloses that graphic designers can earn a median pay of $57,990 per year. Having a master’s degree can boost their earning potential and give them more opportunities for career growth and advancement.

With a variety of creative skills under one’s arsenal, graduates of this master’s program can take on a variety of jobs. This includes graphic designers, art directors, marketing specialists, multimedia artists, creative directors, and production artists.

Some master’s degrees in graphic design incorporate web design in the comprehensive curriculum. This expands graduates’ chances of landing more lucrative career paths, including user experience designers, web designers, and user interface designers.  

Do applicants need to have prior Graphic Design work to pursue a master’s degree?

While some programs (such as Master of Fine Arts degree programs) may review prospective students’ prior creative work, other online degree programs don’t explicitly state a professional portfolio review as a requirement.

Realistically, it’s more of an unwritten rule that students ought to have at least a basic knowledge of commonly used design tools as well as a keen interest in the creative/visual arts. A Master’s Degree is an advanced degree and is sometimes even considered a terminal degree, which partly assumes that students who apply for admission already possess at least a basic level of knowledge of the program’s covered topics, and/or are working in the relevant industries, such as advertising, graphic design studios, etc.

Master’s degrees, after all, are designed to provide advanced knowledge that builds on students’ prior knowledge, and further develops any technical skills and knowledge they may already have. Like other advanced skills, Graphic design and visual arts skills can be developed outside the classroom setting though, and there are other ways to start to hone these skills as a hobby or in one’s free time.

Are Master’s in Graphic Design degree programs interdisciplinary?

Some graphic design master’s degree programs are advertised as having an interdisciplinary design, but as a whole, all these programs do have a degree of interdisciplinarity to them. Graphics Design programs feature extensive and advanced training on technical and design skills for producing content across various platforms.

These skills complement the fundamental knowledge of human behavior, a grounding in industry trends, writing skills, project management, and practical skills training on how to effectively market visual content and communicate ideas and intended messages.

What are the common requirements for Master’s in Graphic Design online programs?

The requirements generally vary depending on the educational institutions. Some of the most common requirements include official academic transcripts, an artist’s statement, a bachelor’s degree, and letters of recommendation.  

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