Bachelor of Fine Art (BFA): Graphic Design Degree Overview

The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design program focuses on theoretical and applied digital design techniques, as well as traditional art and art history. Learn about program requirements as well as career options and prospects.

Essential Information

A Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design program provides students with the opportunity to take part in internship in order to gain valuable work experience. Individuals are required to create a thesis project and portfolio. Some programs require that students apply to a pre-graphic design major and complete a portfolio prior to full acceptance to a BFA in Graphic Design program.

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design

In an undergraduate program in graphic design, individuals study areas of fine arts, technology and image manipulation. Many programs offer students the opportunity to develop skills in the fine arts, such as drawing, painting and sculpture, while working with other media and developing strengths in visualization, creativity and design. Students might take courses that address topics such as:

  • Digital media and imaging
  • Typography
  • Computer graphics and Web design
  • Photography
  • Printmaking
  • Interactive graphics

Popular Career Options

Individuals who graduate with a BFA in Graphic Design are prepared for careers with design firms, in-house creative offices, private corporations or public institutions working in areas of Web design, brand identity, multimedia design or editorial design. Graduates might help create magazine layouts, presentations, product designs or brochures. Individuals can apply for positions as:

  • Illustrators
  • Web designers
  • Art directors
  • Graphic designers

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has reported the expected job growth from 2014-2024 for careers related to graphic design. While graphic designers are expected to have a slower than average growth of 1%, web developers are expected to have faster-than-average growth of 27% ( A 2% job outlook was projected for art directors, while multimedia artists and animators could experience a 6% growth through 2024. The BLS reported in May 2015 that graphic designers earned a median annual wage of $46,900. The median salaries for multimedia artists and animators, web developers and art directors were respectively $63,970, $64,970 and $89,760.

Continuing Education

Master of Fine Arts (MFA) programs in graphic design are available for individuals who wish to continue their education in the field. An MFA in Graphic Design program expands on previously attained knowledge, offering studies in theory and application of graphic design. Additionally, master's programs might include a thesis project and exhibition. The degree program incorporates visual arts, visual communications, technology, software and multimedia with general education classes to prepare students for a career in graphic design.

The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design program is a highly experiential education experience with portfolios of work needed for both admission and graduation. Internships are also program requirements, along with several technical, fine arts, design and communication courses.

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