Types of Graphic Design Degrees
Students pursuing careers in graphic design can choose from a variety of degrees to meet their professional goals. The type of degree you pursue will impact the cost of your education. Certificate, diploma, and associate degrees typically cost less than advanced degrees, as they require fewer credits than bachelor’s and graduate programs. The following table covers all available graphic design degrees and the potential career paths for each.
A certificate or diploma in graphic design provides basic knowledge of color theory, digital imaging, website design, and industry software.
Graduates pursue employment in print production and web design.
- Associate Degree
An associate degree in graphic design covers typography, page layout, digital illustration, and logo and package design. Students learn to use industry software, including Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator.
This degree prepares students for entry-level careers in advertising, marketing, and publishing.
- Bachelor's Degree
Students gain skills in digital imaging and design, desktop publishing, layout, and color theory. Students learn to communicate ideas within the field of media arts.
Graduates pursue careers as graphic designers, art directors, and digital animators.
- Master’s Degree
In addition to mastering industry software, students explore motion graphics, advanced publication, information visualization, and film branding.
A master’s degree in graphic design prepares students for careers as senior visual designers, college instructors, and design directors.
- Doctorate Degree
A doctorate provides the expertise to conduct design research. Topics include digital design trends and innovative design techniques.
Graduates become academic and industry researchers, college professors, and design consultants.
How Much Does a Graphic Design Degree Cost?
The cost of a graphic design degree is affected by art and technology fees, along with the type of school. Private schools typically cost more than public schools; oftentimes, public universities offer full-time, in-state tuition rates that are less than half of private tuition rates. Nonprofit schools usually cost less than for-profit schools, as nonprofit schools have several funding sources, while for-profit universities rely on tuition to operate. Additionally, the length of time required to complete a degree influences its cost.
Financing Your Graphic Design Degree
Financial assistance opportunities are available to help students pay for their graphic design degree, and include a variety of scholarships and grants. Grants may be awarded based on financial need or specific criteria. Students may receive graphic design scholarships from schools, private donors, and public organizations. Grants and scholarships do not require repayment, making them the best options for students pursuing financial assistance.
In addition to scholarships and grants, The U.S. Department of Education offers several federally funded financial aid programs, including loans with low, fixed interest rates and flexible repayment options. Unlike private loans, federal loans do not have to be repaid while the student is attending school.
Types of Scholarships
Scholarships for graphic design students include creative scholarships and awards for academic and athletic achievement. Students with diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds may qualify for minority scholarships, and niche scholarships are available for students with unique interests or backgrounds. Both recent high school graduates and nontraditional students may pursue graphic design scholarships that match their professional goals, interests, and cultural experiences.