Top 10 Online Colleges for Graphic Design for 2014

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1. University of Phoenix

The University of Phoenix was established in 1976 for the purpose of providing flexible educational opportunities tailored to meet the needs of the working adult population. The University of Phoenix offers more than 100 degree programs including associates, bachelors, master’s and doctoral programs as well as a number of certificate programs. The University of Phoenix prepares students to become effective professionals within their area of study, provide a solid, general education and industry relevant coursework. The courses offered at the University of Phoenix are offered on a continuous enrollment basis, permitting students to begin at any point without delay. Students enrolled at the University of Phoenix have the opportunity to apply for grants and scholarships through business partners and nonprofit organizations associated with the institution. The University of Phoenix is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association.

The University of Phoenix offers a range of educational opportunities in the field of digital and graphic design including a certificate in visual communication, and both an associate and bachelor degree in multimedia design. Students are provided with the skills and tools to produce effective visual communications with a range of software, hardware and multimedia tools. The curriculum prepares students for careers in web design, electronic publishing, multimedia development and a range of other related fields. Students have the opportunity to complete an information technology program with a concentration in visual communication which provides coursework in business application and incorporates design elements into the program. All of the programs include coursework in colors, textures, creating and modifying graphic images, style, layout, composition, internet concepts, programming and web authoring.

[Click here for more information about online degree programs in graphic design from UoP]

2. American InterContinental University

The American InterContinental University, founded in 1970, offers an array of flexible online degree programs which can be tailored to meet the needs of each individual student. The university endeavors to produce graduates instilled with a sense of social and ethical responsibility. The support intensive environment facilitates the achievement of each individual student’s educational. Students enrolled at American InterContinental University are afforded the opportunity to pursue a range of associate, bachelor and certificate programs and can choose accelerated degree programs or degree completion programs. The degree programs provide industry current, career focused curriculum taught by experienced faculty members. The online programs taught through the Virtual Campus allow students to interact with instructors and classmates through online chats, discussion boards and email. One-on-one tutoring and online learning labs enhance the learning experience. American InterContinental University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association.

The school of Design at American InterContinental University provides a comprehensive educational program which prepares students for creative careers. The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Communication at American InterContinental University offers students the opportunity to select from four areas of concentration; digital design, graphic design, illustration and web design and development. The curriculum is steeped in multimedia content intended to develop students’ skills in creative thinking, technology, collaboration and problem solving. Students learn the principles, methodologies and practical application of design through projects and classroom experiences and are trained in the use of the latest design software and tools. Areas of study include creating effective design solutions, planning and designing interactive projects, development of corporate branding and packaging and producing an ad campaign. Upon completion of the program, students are able to effectively convey a message through the use of various forms of media.

[Click here for more information about AIU's online degree program in graphic design]


1. Sanford Brown University

Sanford Brown is dedicated to providing a concrete foundation in education that develops and nourishes the creativity of their students. With campus locations across the country, Sanford Brown University has become a leading provider of creative degree programs. The online programs offer the same quality education as the campus courses. Students are provided with the technical skills necessary to become successful in the professional setting through the structured degree programs. The degree curriculum is focused on practical application of the skills learned in the classes. The faculty members teaching the courses are experienced professionals committed to the success of their students. Sanford Brown University is accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools and has earned program accreditation in certain areas of study.

The graphic design degree programs offered at Sanford Brown University equips students with the skills and knowledge required of professionals in the field. Students study the theories of color, illustration, type, layout and advertising and learn to apply them. Students develop general skills in problem solving and communications and career specific skills in digital imaging and illustration as well as web design. Students have the option of pursuing either ran association of science in graphic design or a bachelor of fine arts in graphic design. Each program provides students with training utilizing the latest technologies, multimedia and software tools. Students also learn to present designs to clients and to develop an idea and implement the creation of its final product. Courses included in the curriculum include design fundamentals, page layout, advertising concepts, publication design, pre-press production, interactive animation, web design I, II and III and professional development for design.

[Click here for more information about Sanford Brown University's online degree program in graphic design]


2. Bryant & Stratton College Online

Bryant & Stratton College is considered a pioneer in career focused learning and regarded as an exceptional academic institution. Offering more than 150 years as an institution of higher learning, Bryant & Stratton College is committed to fostering the professional growth of their students through innovative degree programs and an individualized educational experience. Students are equipped with the industry relevant professional skills necessary to assure their success in the business world or the industry in which they intend to pursue a career. Students are instilled with an appreciation for lifelong learning and the opportunity for further educational and career development. Courses are taught by experienced and dedicated instructors. Bryant & Stratton College is accredited by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.

Bryant and Stratton College offer an Associate in Interactive Media Design program which prepares students for careers in a range of fields involving electronic marketing and design. The degree program curriculum provides students with training in the use of multimedia devices, interactive content, audio, video, animation, text and still images. Students will study marketing and advertising strategies, design concepts, web script language, developing multimedia scripts and attain hands on experience with media design and imaging hardware and software. Courses include introduction to design and web design, web development, raster graphics, vector graphics, usability, interactive design and a capstone project or internship. The online courses are interactive experiences. Students are able to communicate with peers and instructors through discussion boards and email and participate in group projects. Lectures are transmitted utilizing the most cutting edge technologies.

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3. Herzing University

Herzing University is a well regarded provider of online education dedicated to the success of their students. Herzing University offers its students forty years of experience providing student focused education and support. Herzing University offers its students flexible degree programs intended for busy working adults. The degree programs are regularly reviewed and updated to ensure students receive the most current, industry standard information and skills. The online instructors are trained in online teaching methods to ensure students are able to understand the materials. The online courses are interactive; offering classroom discussion, group learning projects and a structured schedule. Students are also offered career development assistance. Herzing University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association.

Herzing University offers a Bachelor of Science in graphic design and an Associate of Science in graphic Design. Students enrolled in the online graphic design programs learn the multitude of skills and information necessary to become successful professionals in the field. Students learn the basic elements of design are trained in the use of industry standard software and are equipped with the communication skills necessary to convey a message to a target audience through design. The 124 credit Bachelor degree program explores the use of multiple software programs and tools in developing an effective design. Students develop skills in problem solving, collaboration and analytical thinking. Coursework includes 2D, 3D and interactive design, color modes and design techniques. The program requires 3 years for completion and includes the compilation of a professional portfolio.

4. Rasmussen College

Rasmussen College was established in 1900 and has become a highly regarded leader in online education offering more than 70 undergraduate degree programs to over 15,000 students. The student focused institution is committed to providing high quality degree programs tailored to meet the needs of their busy, working student body. Students are offered the opportunity to pursue a graduate degree at one of the many institutions partnered with Rasmussen College for this purpose. Rasmussen College has developed exceptional degree programs and support services with the goal of successfully placing each student in a career. However, while they will do everything they can to help you advance your career, career placement cannot be guaranteed. In addition to their flexible programs and supportive environment, Rasmussen College also offers financial assistance from numerous scholarships available to qualifying students attending the institution. Rasmussen College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

The Information Management Bachelor’s degree with a specialization in design and animation offered at Rasmussen College provides students with the knowledge and skills to enter this innovative and challenging field. The program teaches students to create commercial products, forensic animation, custom design projects and even virtual walk-through animations. The curriculum includes studies in the areas of visual design, project management and multimedia projects. During the course of the program, students will complete a web design project, an animations design project and a digital video/ audio project utilizing the skills acquired in the classes. Courses include audio/video editing, multimedia technologies, fundamentals of web authoring and design, digital publishing and typography. Students will compile a professional portfolio comprised of the many design projects completed during the completion of their degree program to present to employers and clients. For more information about Rasmussen’s graduation rates, the median dept of students who completed the program, and other information, click here.


5. Westwood College

Westwood College is a career college providing a range of online degree programs tailored to meet the needs of working adults. The accelerated degree programs allow students to complete their associate degree in less than two years, bachelor degree in three years and a master degree in as little as one year so that they may reap the rewards of their success earlier. Westwood College offers year round classes in order to accommodate their students without a waiting period for entry into career specific courses. Emphasis is placed on practical application of the skills learned in classes to ensure students attain a proficiency in each area of study. Westwood College boasts 17 locations throughout six states in addition to their online campus; permitting students the opportunity to attend courses in classrooms if they prefer. The success of their students is the focus of Westwood College as evidenced by their supportive educational environment and extensive resources with easy online access. Westwood College is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career schools and Colleges.

Westwood College School of Design offers an associate degree in graphic design which provides students with a fundamental knowledge of the field. Students enrolled in the program learn to create effective visual communication designs within a range of multimedia areas. The program requires students to complete general education courses ensuring students receive a foundation in the core areas necessary to be successful in any field and to develop skills in communication, problem solving, critical and analytical thinking. The curriculum for the degree in graphic design includes coursework in image editing, digital layout, multimedia: audio-video, 3D modeling and animation, web page design and creating a design portfolio. Students learn to create layouts and illustrations, video presentations and design websites utilizing the most current software and editing tools in the industry including illustrator CS4, Dreamweaver CS4 and Adobo InDesign CS4.


6. Full Sail University

Full Sail University, established in 1979, was created as a career institution for the entertainment fields. The purpose of Full Sail University was to provide quality education in fields such as film, show production and design and has expanded to include areas such as animation, games and web design as technology has advanced. The degree programs are taught by dedicated professionals passionate about their areas of expertise and committed to the success of their students. The curriculum for the programs is designed to provide students with business and technological skills while developing their own talents in creativity and art and preparing them for careers in the rapidly changing entertainment media industry. Full Sail University serves a student body of nearly 9000 with their 28 innovative and industry relevant degree programs. Students are provided with a real world education where they are equipped with the tools needed to become successful professionals in the demanding entertainment field. The accelerated degree programs and flexible schedules provide students with an education on their terms and based on their schedules.

The Graphic Design degree programs offered at Full Sail University provide a fundamental understanding of the basic principles and techniques of the field. The curriculum provides training in creating design proposals, publication layouts, storyboards and branding campaigns; all of which are integral aspects of the profession. Students study color theory, corporate branding, typography, logos and photography and learn to design and complete projects within specified deadlines. Full Sail University provides training in the use of the latest graphic design technologies such as Flash Media, digital publishing tools and image manipulation software and teaches students to edit digital video and photographs for their design projects. Students will create a professional design portfolio with their completed design projects to present to potential employers and clients. Courses include art history, design and art theory, digital storytelling, designing computer graphics, digital video, intellectual property and law, and graphics personal identity project. Each course is only four weeks in length to allow students to complete the program at a quick pace.


7. Western Career College

Western Career College was founded in 1967 as a career focused institution and has continued in this tradition. Servicing more than 65,000 students, Western Career College offers flexible degree programs intended to accommodate the scheduling needs and career goals of their working students in a range of business, health and technology disciplines. Courses are available 24/7 with access to instructors and peers through email and the online classroom and to student support services such as academic advising. All course material is available online; course syllabus, class assignments and instructor presentations. Library resources are also accessed online. Western Career College provides quality degree programs which are well regarded by employers for their relevance. Western Career College is accredited by the Accrediting commission for Community and Junior Colleges of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

Western Career College offers a comprehensive graphic design program which provides students with all of the knowledge and skills necessary for entry into the field. The associate degree in Graphic design is one of eight programs offered entirely online at Western Career College and can be completed in as little as eighteen months. The curriculum prepares students for careers in graphic design, web design and desktop publishing as production artists, video editors, print designers and multimedia developers. The program incorporates the study of theory with the practical application of visual communication skills. Areas of study include 3D animation, composition, texture, color, print production, printing processes, repress functions, stylization, and print and web techniques for producing vector and raster based images. Courses include digital imaging fundamentals, computer literacy, visual design fundamentals, document design, rapid visualization and print design with lab. Students prepare professional portfolios compiled from the various projects completed during the program.


8. Art Institute of Pittsburgh Online

The Art Institute of Pittsburgh was established in 1921 in response to employer demands for qualified creative professionals capable of developing arresting advertisements for products and services. Since its early beginnings, the Art Institute has continued to train talented professionals in the creative disciplines. As advancements in technology have resulted in the advent of new creative fields and rapid changes in the industry, the Art Institute has expanded its programs to incorporate new majors and remained current in existing programs. The curriculum is regularly reviewed and updated to ensure it remains abreast of industry standards and updates. The learning centered career school provides students with an education relevant in an increasingly global market and equips them with the skills necessary to respond to the needs of their employers and clients. The Art Institute of Pittsburgh produces graduates who become leaders in their fields capable of creative problem solving and responsible decision making. The Art Institute of Pittsburgh is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

The Graphic Design degree programs offered at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh prepare students with the entry level skills required of professionals within the field. Students have the opportunity to pursue either an Associate or the 180 credit Bachelor of Science in graphic Design; both of which train students to become creative thinkers capable of applying techniques and technology to the development of an idea. The curriculum includes coursework in fonts, labels, colors, package designs, typography, illustration and a range of multimedia tools. Students enrolled in the program are provided with a general education in core subject areas; developing skills in problem solving, communication, analytical and critical thinking. Students learn to use scanners, digital cameras and computer based hardware and software for concept development. Courses include color theory, fundamentals of design, perspective, life drawing, concept development, typography, graphic symbolism, history and analysis of design and design principles.

9. Berkeley College – Online

Since its founding in 1931, Berkeley College has taken the personal and professional success of its students to heart. They are a liberal arts-centered institution that strives to produce well-rounded, knowledgeable students. Academically and professionally experienced instructors prepare students for the competitive natures of their fields. They focus on giving each student the knowledge and practice that will make them prime candidates for employment while ensuring that each person is more than a number by keeping classes small and personalized. Each program requires faculty-monitored internships or job-related assignments which add to that competitive edge and solidify the lessons taught in the classroom. Divided into four main areas, Berkeley College has something for everyone. One can choose from the Larry L. Luing School of Business, the School of Health Studies, the School of Professional Studies, and the School of Liberal Arts and expect to receive a top education. Accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, Berkeley College has campuses in New York, New Jersey, and online. No matter where or how a student decides to learn, they can be certain their education will prepare them for success.

Berkeley College’s School of Professional Studies prepares students for quick entrance into the work force. The BFA in Graphic Design, which began Fall 2013, provides students with the theoretical and practical application of visual communication. Courses in design principles, painting, communications design, and everything in between, are the building blocks to becoming an expert in this field. Students will work hands-on with the current technology and software as they develop the skills and abilities critical in the ever-changing world of visual communication and graphic design. Students wishing to earn this degree are required to complete 180 quarter credit hours. For more information, please see the Course Requirements for the Graphic Design BFA.

10. Stevens-Henager College Online

Stevens-Henager College was founded in 1891 as the Intermouth Business College. Over the last 122 years, it has seen several name changes, but its goal for student success in career advancement has not changed. Stevens-Henager College is located throughout Utah, in Boise, Idaho, and classes can be taken online. Their courses are not tied to a semester or quarter system. They begin on a monthly basis, making it possible for students to start and finish a program when it is most convenient for them. Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges, Stevens-Henager is a nonprofit, private institution that provides degree opportunities in healthcare, business, information technology, and graphic arts. They put the needs and goals of their students first through their career-focused curricula.

The Bachelor of Science in Graphic Arts Program at Stevens-Henager College is one of four degrees offered in Graphic Arts. It is offered fully online, and it teaches the skills needed for conveying messages through electronic and print media. Students will learn to use type, illustration, photography, and other techniques of the graphic arts industry in visual communication. The average time to complete this program is 36 months, though it is possible to graduate in less time due to the flexible start dates of the classes. Courses offered throughout the year include: computer fundamentals, psychology of motivation, logo and identity design, and entrepreneurship, See the Degree Profile for a complete list of courses designed to prepare the students of Stevens-Henager College’s BS in Graphic Arts degree program ready for a career as a graphic artist.

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