5 Best Grad Schools with Online Master’s in Creative/Design in 2023

Best Grad Schools with Online Master's in Creative Design - featured image

Earning an online master’s in Creative/Design provides students a unique opportunity to enhance their creativity and at the same time acquire advanced skills in their chosen fields.

A master’s degree program can help students acquire or develop well-rounded skills, provide proof of expertise to potential or current employers, and build their portfolio. Students completing a master’s degree in graphic design courses gain access to state-of-the-art equipment and facilities, helping them hone their skills and realize their creative projects.

A master’s degree can give people a competitive edge because this will prove that they have mastered the skills needed to accomplish their goals. This means that a graduate degree will open doors to life-changing opportunities that will help people grow professionally and personally.

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An online master’s in creative design often encourages a multidisciplinary approach – participating in virtual classroom lessons and hands-on learning experiences – giving students a chance to gain exposure to various creative techniques and fields. Students gain a broad suite of transferable skills, including in the areas of creative thinking, graphic and web design, and project management, which can be used in various vocational and professional applications.


Advancing to a master’s degree in Creative/Design or Graphic Design programs after graduating with a Fine Arts degree means you’ll undergo more intensive and dedicated training to move further up the corporate ladder. However, to ensure you’ll get the best education and training, students need to choose the best graduate school that offers online master’s degrees in Creative/Design, which shares similar courses with Graphic Design online programs.

Below is our list of 5 Best Online Master’s in Graphic Design or Creative Design put together to guide students in choosing the most appropriate graduate school. These are the factors that we considered in recommending each of the programs and schools:

  • Delivered as an online or hybrid Creative/Design master’s degree, so that online learners benefit from the flexibility that the program offers,
  • Offers rigorous training with high-quality instruction and coursework featuring an academic curriculum that, similar to a Graphic Design online degree, focuses on the latest and most advanced graphic information technology, tools, principles, and trends in the Creative/Design industry,
  • Prepares students for leadership roles in the Creative/Design profession, developing soft skills like creativity, attention to detail, critical thinking, and communication.
  • Offers financial aid options, such as grants and scholarships, for eligible Master’s in Creative/Design students,
  • Features a world-class team of highly esteemed faculty who hold terminal degrees in the Creative/Design field, with years of relevant experience or research contribution,
  • Received accreditation from top accrediting agencies that recognize online Art and Design programs and schools in the United States.
  • Recognized by associations that focus on advancing the Creative/Design profession and industry,

Please visit our Methodology page to find out more about our ranking process.

5 Best Online Master of Creative/Design Graduate Schools

Quinnipiac University

Quinnipiac University

275 Mount Carmel Avenue, Hamden, CT 06518

Master of Science – Interactive Media & Communications

Combine visual, critical thinking, and creativity and you’ll have Quinnipiac University’s Online Master of Science in Interactive Media and Communications. This master’s program molds experts into world-class designers and storytellers who are able to reach a wide audience on various platforms.

  • Develop students’ skills in designing, managing, and producing different kinds of content and become strong leaders and creative thinkers in storytelling and visual design.
  • Lets students enhance their professional portfolio by exploring various aspects of media, including social media analytics, web design and production, digital audio, advanced and basic graphic forms, videos, and UX and UI.
  • Tackles human-centered design principles to develop a deeper connection with various audiences and to apply design strategies to technical, business, and creative-related challenges.
  • Offers a flexible elective structure to give students a chance to customize their degrees and suit their career goals.
  • Features a practice-based capstone project that is robust and web-based that will showcase their acquired knowledge and skillset.

Standout Features of the Quinnipiac University’s Master of Science in Interactive Media and Communications Program:

This master’s degree program in creative design guarantees 85,700 new jobs in media and communications by 2030. On top of that, graduates will receive, on average, a 20.3% salary increase.

Quinnipiac University offers this program online. However, students are guaranteed to receive the same guided educational experience as with traditional on-campus classes. This is because this program has schedule flexibility so students can work and earn a degree at their own pace, enjoy peer interaction, and take advantage of a collaborative learning experience.

Did You Know?

Applicants for the online master’s in creative design are to submit the URL link of their portfolio of work showcasing their abilities as interior designers, interactive designers, artists, writers, journalists, or social media specialists.

Students who want to graduate with a master’s degree in creative design are required to complete 30 credits with a 3.0 GPA and grades above C. This is equivalent to 21 months, provided that learners finish 2 courses per semester, including summer.

Academy of Art University

Academy of Art University

79 New Montgomery St., San Francisco, CA 94105

Master of Fine Arts in Fine Art

The Master of Fine Arts in Fine Art offered by the Academy of Art University provides learners with a framework for advanced study in sculpture, printmaking, and painting and drawing. This program emphasizes conceptual and technical development in landscape, abstract, or figurative work.

  • Develops an original thesis concept that will demonstrate what students learned from this online degree program.
  • Showcases the feasibility of their thesis project.
  • Creates professional-level artwork that will showcase students’ ability to hold a professional gallery exhibit, proving their vision, cohesiveness in style, and rigor.
  • Conducts research related to various projects.
  • Chooses the appropriate techniques and materials to support ideas.
  • Assesses own work critically using objective criteria: identifying facts, evaluating composition, analyzing content, and assessing results.
  • Produces a portfolio that’s ready for a gallery exhibition.
  • Provides clear and concise verbal and visual presentations.
  • Makes conceptual, aesthetic, and technical decisions based on students’ understanding of art and design principles.

Standout Features of Academy of Art University – Master of Fine Arts in Fine Art Program:

During the last semester, graduate students will need to showcase their knowledge and skills by working in a real-world setting. This means that students will apply for an “Internship for Credit,” requiring students to have a minimum GPA of 3.0.

Aside from that, students must also receive an approved midpoint review and director approval. For students to know their eligibility for an internship, they must discuss it with student services.

Did You Know?

The Academy of Art University has been running art scholarship programs for more than 40 years now, helping 45,000 aspiring designers and artists.

This university offers the Achievement Scholarship, which gives aspiring creative design students a chance to become eligible for scholarships. Aside from that, it offers the Pre-College Art Experience (PCAE), which are tuition art and design courses

Savannah College of Art and Design


342 Bull Street, Savannah, Georgia 31401

Online Master of Fine Arts in Motion Media Design

The Savannah College of Art and Design Online MFA in Motion Media Design will equip students with the competency for a successful career in art and design. Interior designers, writers, painters, sculptors, photographers, and other artistically inclined graduates can pursue this online MFA degree program to further their education and training.

  • Students have access to over 800 computers, a motion media lab, a green screen, a screening room, and a studio environment.
  • Premium tools are always within reach, including Wacom Cintiq displays, Adobe Creative Cloud, Cinema 4D, Maya, MadMapper, professional cameras and lighting, etc.
  • SCAD hosts signature events, such as the Savannah Film Festival and TVfest, allowing students to earn international press, meet VIP guests, expand their networks, and have a lot of fun.
  • SCAD is the only university to host a motion media festival, the SCAD CoMotion, which features networking receptions, portfolio reviews, panels, student showcases, and more.
  • Students are given a chance to spend time at SCAD Lacoste, the university’s international headquarters, or study abroad to gain cultural exposure, draw inspiration from captivating sights, and add an international dimension to their resume.

Standout Features of the Savannah College of Art and Design – Online MFA in Motion Media Design Program:

Savannah College of Art and Design, a top-rated motion graphics school, takes pride in its collaboration with other departments and with international brands, like FOX Sports, enhancing its students’ creativity. Such opportunities have also allowed its students to gain hands-on experience working on real-world projects and to broaden their artistic perspective.

Aside from that, motion media design students have developed concepts for BMW, produced content for Adult Swim, and created the opening visual for the Super Bowl, to name a few.

Did You Know?

SCAD accepts financial aid to help students pay for their education. This includes scholarships, grants, federal and private loans, and work-study programs. Grants are based on a student’s financial need, while scholarships are merit-based. Both can come from the university, private organizations, or the government.

Regent University

Regent University

1000 Regent University Dr., Virginia Beach, Virginia

Online Master of Fine Arts in Screenwriting

Regent University offers an Online Master of Fine Arts in Screenwriting equips students with the knowledge and skills to master the art of storytelling. Through this degree program, learners will be able to hone their scriptwriting skills for stage, film, and television.

  • Teaches about creating effective narratives in various styles and genres through different media productions.
  • Further career opportunities by establishing a reputation as a successful professional with a master of fine arts degree.
  • Enhances screenwriting skills by studying applied aesthetics and theories to deepen students’ knowledge in the field.
  • Requires students to finish the program with at least three full-length scripts that they can add to their portfolios.
  • Gives students a chance to demonstrate enhanced skills in writing and playwriting for television and short films.
  • Enables students to conceptualize all phases of screenwriting, including scene analysis, research, and storyline development.
  • Teaches about the analysis and application of all the elements needed to create captivating and socially redemptive stories.
  • Equips students with the skills to remedy problems in scripts, master plot and pacing, and bring characters to life.

Standout Features of Regent University – Online MFA in Screenwriting Program:

Regent University has been ranked among the top national universities for four years. All programs are presented from a Christian belief system.

Its MFA degree is supported by the award-winning faculty in Virginia Beach, ensuring students have aligned themselves with excellence.                               

Did You Know?

All new students are required to submit a current resume, indicating their experience in writing-focused positions. Additionally, they are to submit a 3 to 4-page creative writing sample, such as a short story, novel, memoir, or screenplay.

Regent University has offered institutional grants and scholarships to qualified students. Those from the Virginia Community College System can also apply for eligibility for up to $2,000 in tuition grants.

Brenau University

Brenau University

500 Washington St. SE, Gainesville, GA 30501

Online Master’s of Fine Arts in Interior Design

Brenau University offers the online Master of Fine Arts in Interior Design to help students advance their design knowledge and experience. This program also allows learners to develop and teach an interior design course to undergraduates, explore a research topic, and prepare a thesis.

  • Equips students with the important knowledge and skills to move into advanced practice or teach at a college level.
  • Develops techniques for evidence-based research and be able to them to design.
  • Gives students a chance to research, implement, assess, and plan an interior design course for undergraduates.
  • Enhances students’ critical thinking skills and uses them to analyze designs and complete projects.
  • Ensures students take courses from faculty members with professional interior design experience.

Standout Features of the Brenau University’s Online Master of Fine Arts in Interior Design Program:

Brenau University lets students personalize their degrees by helping them choose their concentration. Graduates with this master’s degree have been successful in academia and interior design.

Students are also guaranteed a small student-to-faculty ratio to ensure that instructors will be able to provide mentorship and support throughout the program.

Did You Know?

At Brenau University, qualified students can take advantage of FAFSA, private and federal loans, military benefits, grants and scholarships, and employer tuition reimbursements.

Job Outlook for Graduates of Master’s in Creative Design

The Labor Statistics data sees a 2 percent growth in Creative/Design occupations from 2021 to 2031. There will be an estimated 94,500 openings on average every year from growth and replacement needs.

Alumni with a master’s degree in Creative Design can go into various types of design jobs from big tech companies, like Google, Apple, and Microsoft, as well as other careers in the arts, education, entertainment, healthcare, and transportation.

Below are some of the popular jobs that master’s degree holders can pursue in the future.

  • Art Directors – $100,890
  • Craft and Fine Artists – $49,960
  • Fashion Designers – $77,450
  • Floral Designers – $29,880
  • Graphic Designers – $50,710
  • Industrial Designers – $77,030
  • Interior Designers – $60,340
  • Special Effects Artists and Animators – $78,790
  • Digital Designer – $40,750
  • Product Designer – $85,047
  • Art Auction Creative Director – $157,965
  • User Experience (UX) Designer – $74,776
  • Video Game Designer – $66,321
Best Grad Schools with Online Master's in Creative Design - fact

Frequently Asked Questions

Is an online master’s in creative design worth it?

Postgraduate studies in creative design often include practical experience through internships in a relevant company or organization.

For example, students who are interested in a career in art history can pursue a master’s degree and have internships at art auction houses or art galleries, giving them real-world experience and extensive training in the field.

An online master’s degree will also provide students with advanced education and specialization, equipping them with the necessary knowledge and skills to qualify for leadership roles.

What can Master of Creative Design degree holders do after graduation?

Those with a master’s degree in creative design diploma can work as a postsecondary teacher, facilitating art exhibits and installations and conducting lectures among art and design students.

They can also be lead animators who will guide junior animators in creating 3D animations that comply with industry standards. They can be art directors and oversee overall designs of the images in publications, film and TV productions, and product packaging done by a team of junior artists and designers.

Aside from that, master’s degree holders can work as senior fashion designers and creative directors. Depending on the industry they are interested to join.

What is the usual curriculum of an online Master’s in Creative Design?

The curriculum for an online master’s in creative design may vary depending on the chosen field. Here are some of the most common courses in an MFA program:

  • 3D Graphics Basics
  • Creative Non-Fiction Workshop
  • Digital Photography
  • Principles of Design
  • Fiction Workshop
  • Intro to Drawing
  • Intro to Sculpture
  • Screenwriting
  • Intro to Web Design
  • Poetry Workshop

What specializations do graduate programs in Creative/Design offer

Choosing a specialization while taking graduate-level education allows creative designers to enjoy higher salaries, more industry recognition, and career advancements. A specialization allows students to gain a niche skillset to enhance a specific set of techniques and know-how.

  • Creative Writing
  • Dance
  • Fashion Design
  • Film Production/Filmmaking
  • Graphic Design
  • Interior Design
  • Motion Media Design
  • Photography
  • Theatre and Performing Arts
  • Visual Arts

Key Takeaways

  • Those with an eye for creative design should earn an online Master’s in Creative Design to polish their skills, gain more hands-on experience, and reach their career dreams faster.
  • Graduates of an online Master’s in Creative Design may have opportunities similar to Graphic Design degree holders, but broader. They can choose the best career paths, including leadership and management roles in education, video production, animation, marketing, and interior design.
  • It’s important to carefully choose the best Creative/Design or Graphic Design program and graduate school that offers the best education and high-quality hands-on training.

Dr. Jared Goff
Chief Editor