This ranking of graphic design schools began with the top fifteen as designated by the U.S. News & World Report’s annual survey of U.S. colleges and universities, 2012. That was the extent of their list so from there, the rankings have been derived from other ranking sources that could be relied upon as somewhat objective.
1. Rhode Island School of Design teaches Graphic Design utilizing a broad range of media as platforms.
2. Yale University School of Art offers an undergraduate art major that leads to specialization at the graduate level.
3. Maryland Institute College of Art Graphic Design major differentiates between the Book Arts Studio option – for illustrators, photographers and print makers – and the Graphic Design Studio option, which offers a classic approach to the commercial aspects of the field.
4. Carnegie Mellon University offers an undergraduate program in Communication Design that is their version of Graphic Design, presented in a multi-platform environment.
5. Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts offers an undergraduate BFA in Graphic Design.
6. Cranbrook Academy of Art uses the term “2D” to describe their Graphic Design program, taught.
8. California Institute of the Arts or “Calarts” as the institution is known offers both a BFA and an MFA in Graphic Design.
9. School of Visual Arts in New York has a Graphics Design undergraduate program that works in 2D, 3D and digital media.
10. Parsons School of Design offers a Communications Design Degree that is within an active fashion design institution, offering a unique opportunity for networking in that particular industry.
11. California College of the Arts includes an internship program in their Graphics Design degree students that may occur in museums, publishing and printing houses, technology companies, or nonprofit organizations.
12. Pratt Institute has an undergraduate Communications Design degree that can lead to a career in Graphic Arts, in Illustration or in Advertising Arts.
15. University of Delaware Art Department offers a highly regarded BFA in Visual Communications that begins with graphic design fundamentals and then moves into the multiple platforms in the field.
To derive the remaining 35 graphic design schools on this list, we took the US News rankings of fine arts programs into account, provided the schools offered some sort of undergraduate or graduate program that incorporated the important elements of graphic design. So, we drew from the US News fine arts program rankings, and rankings of fine arts specializations, recognizing that some fine arts departments have relegated graphic design to other design-related corners of academia, often embracing it as a commercial form of fine art.
16. Penn State University Media Arts Department with undergraduate degrees in Graphic Design and Graphic Communications Management.
17. Kansas City Art Institute is an independent school that offers its Graphic Design studies through the School of Design and Electronic Arts.
18. Academy of Art University in San Francisco offers both an undergraduate and a graduate degree in Graphic Design. Some courses may be taken online.
19. Otis College of Art and Design has a Communications Arts Division that offers majors in Graphic Design, Advertising Design, and Illustration.
20. Cleveland Institute of Art has redefined their Graphics Design program as Communications Design like many art schools, reflecting the reality of the digital, multimedia world that professional artists work in.
21. University of the Arts in Philadelphia offers a BFA in Graphic Design that incorporates traditional visual design principles with new technology.
22. UCLA School of Arts and Architecture has an undergraduate program in Design/Media Arts that includes immersion into the functionality of new media tools.
23. Art Academy of Cincinnati has a Visual Communications Design degree that integrates fine-art studio experience with contemporary design education.
24. University o f Illinois at Chicago School of Art and Design offers Graphic Design as one of the seven majors available to undergraduates.
25. Boston University School of Visual Arts offers a BFA in Graphic Design that includes study of photography and the use of images in a 3D simulation.
26. University of Wisconsin – Stout Department of Art and Design has a BFA program that provides for an area of concentration in Graphic Design.
27. Savannah College of Art and Design offers its Graphic Design program through the School of Communication Arts
28. Virginia Tech School of Visual Arts has a BFA degree available in Visual Communication Design/Graphic Design.
29. Corcoran College of Art and Design in Washington DC has undergraduate programs in Graphic Design and in Digital Media Design.
30. University of Florida School of Art and Art History offers a Graphic Design Degree program that delves into web design, multimedia, interactive design and advertising.
31. New York University design programs include a BS in Digital Communications and Media, and a Masters program in Graphics Communication Management and Technology.
32. Brigham Young University College of Fine Arts and Communications has a four year BFA in Graphic Design that includes study of composition in branding and commerce.
33. North Carolina State University College of Design has both a Graphic Design degree and an Art and Design undergraduate degree.
34. Columbus College of Art and Design has a BFA and an MFA program, within which are housed several major options – one of which is graphic design.
35. Massachusetts College of Art and Design offers a BFA with a Graphic Design major, as well as a Certificate program for working adults.
36. New York Institute of Technology offers a BFA in Communications Arts that looks at design concepts for several media platforms as they are applied in commercial use.
37. Purdue University Herron School of Art and Design has an undergraduate degree in Visual Communication and Design and a Masters Degree in Visual Communication.
38. University of Illinois/Urbana School of Art and Design offers both a BFA and an MFA in Graphic Design.
39. Rochester Institute of Technology College of Imaging Arts and Sciences has a Graphic Design division that offers a fairly commercially oriented course of study.
40. University of Cincinnati College of Design has a five year program for Graphic Design that includes a year of internship, or “cooperative work experience.”
41. University of Minnesota College of Design offers a Bachelors of Science in Graphic Design and a Masters program in either Design Communication or Interactive Design.
42. Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design has a program for Communications Design that includes an internship at an advertising agency or design firm.
43. University of Washington School of Art has a Design Division that offers a Bachelor Degree program in Visual Communication Design, encompassing the new media as well as the traditional.
44. University of Michigan School of Art and Design has a BA program that focuses on graphic design concepts and uses, and a BFA that includes more studio work.
45. University of Notre Dame Art, Art History and Design program offers an undergraduate degree in Graphic Design and a three year Masters course of study.
46. Maine College of Art offers both a BFA and an MFA program, each of which offer a major in Graphic Design.
47. Ohio State University College of the Arts has a Department of Design that offers a major in Visual Communication Design.
48. University of Massachusetts/Dartmouth has a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree for both Graphic Design/Letter Form and for Digital Media.
49. Michigan State University Department of Art and Art History provides both studio space and computer installations for its undergraduates majoring in Graphic Design.
50. University of Iowa School of Art and Art History has undergraduate degrees in Graphic Design and in 3D Design.