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Top School in Columbus, OH, for Graphic Art & Design

Columbus has five schools with programs in graphic design. Find the best program for you by reading about schools' rankings, program offerings and tuition info.

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School and Ranking Information

In the Columbus area, there are five schools offering graphic design programs. Among these schools, the top three are public or private not-for-profit institutions. Based on national rankings and graduation rates, the following schools are the top schools in the area for graphic design:

  • Winner: Ohio State University (OSU) is a 4-year public school. OSU's graduate fine arts program is ranked in the top 20 by U.S. News and World Report. The school offers a bachelor's degree related to graphic design.
  • Runner Up #1: Columbus College of Art and Design (CCAD) is a 4-year private school. It has a top 100 graduate fine arts program. The school also offers bachelor's degrees related to graphic design.
  • Runner Up #2: Ohio Dominican University (ODU) is also a 4-year private institution. It awards the least degrees of the three for its graphic design bachelor's program. While not ranked in art, ODU is ranked in the top 90 among regional universities in the U.S. for the Midwest.

School Comparison Chart

Category Ohio State University Columbus College of Art and Design Ohio Dominican University
Ranking(s) 56th among all national universities and 18th among graduate fine arts programs* Ranked 82nd among graduate fine arts programs* Ranked 88th among regional universities in the Midwest*
Location Columbus, OH Columbus, OH Columbus, OH
School Type 4-year, public 4-year, private not-for-profit 4-year, private not-for-profit
Tuition & Fees (2012-2013) $10,037 (undergraduate, in-state), $25,445 (undergraduate, out-of-state)** $29,022 (undergraduate)** $28,104 (undergraduate)**
Graphic Design Degrees Offered Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree
Graphic Design Degrees Awarded (All Levels) in (2011-2012) 17** 54** 5**
2011-2012 Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal degree time) for 2005 Entering Class 80%** 64%** 48%**
Noteworthy Named among the top 20 up-and-coming schools for innovative educational practices* Small student body represents 40 states and 35 nations**** Internships for graphic design majors available at the Aurora Design Group in Columbus and the Sanborn Media Factory in New York City*****

Sources: *U.S. News and World Report, **National Center for Education Statistics, ***Ohio State University, ****Columbus College of Art and Design, *****Ohio Dominican University.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Advertising and Commercial Design
  • Commercial Photography
  • Fashion Design
  • General Visual Communications Design
  • Graphic Design
  • Illustration and Drawing
  • Industrial Design
  • Interior Design and Decorating

Winner: Ohio State University

  • According to the NCES, OSU has a high retention rate of 93%, representing the amount of freshmen in 2010 who returned to continue their studies in Fall 2011
  • Design students can study abroad through exchange programs in South America, Asia and Europe
  • Cooperative education and internship opportunities are available
  • A wide variety of scholarships are dedicated specifically to art and design students
  • Students have the opportunity to join professional design societies, like the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) before graduation

With over 56,000 students, the main campus of OSU is the largest school in Columbus to offer graphic design as an undergraduate major. Students may pursue a Bachelor of Science in Design with a specialization in visual communication design through the Department of Design in the College of Arts and Sciences. The program has a selective admissions process. First-year students are admitted as pre-design majors. Applicants are admitted into the design major based on performance in first-year studies and a comprehensive review process.

Students explore design in a variety of formats, including print-based and digital. Undergraduate design students have opportunities to participate in design research projects. Students may also consider joining Design Circle, a student organization that hosts a variety of design activities and events.

Runner Up #1: Columbus College of Art and Design

  • The Visual Resources Center in the Packard Library allows students to scan images and access images from all over the world through an extensive database
  • Among full-time freshmen beginning in 2010, 79% returned for sophomore year in 2011, per the NCES
  • Design students can contribute to the school's online Image Magazine
  • On-campus living options include Design Square Apartments
  • Students have interned at Disney Design Group in Florida, Interads Limited in India and Concept International Design in Thailand

A small, private, specialized school with under 1,500 students, Columbus College of Art and Design offers a program leading to a Bachelor of Arts in Advertising and Graphic Design. In addition to liberal arts and foundational art courses, students take graphic design courses that include Web design and electronic publishing. An internship and portfolio class are required.

CCAD also offers an individualized Master of Fine Arts that accommodates design and interactive design students, though it's not specifically in graphic design. Students in this program work closely with a mentor from outside the university and complete a thesis project as well as a thesis paper and oral defense. The MFA program is located in CCAD's Design Studios, a large space that houses individual student studios, labs, an exhibition space and computer facilities.

Runner Up #2: Ohio Dominican University

  • Students participate in a senior exhibition
  • Access to open studios and a dedicated art and design computer lab
  • Study-abroad opportunities for art and design program students
  • A student group of AIGA is on campus

A small Catholic University, Ohio Dominican University offers a Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design program. The curriculum includes courses in drawing, typography, Web and interactive design, art history and portfolio development. The program encourages social responsibility and collaboration through a studio course that involves creating a public project with a social impact. In the senior exhibit, graphic design students work with a team to curate the show, do publicity and organize the opening.

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