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

In a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design program, students learn how color theory, design, and drawing are used to create visual messages. Get program details, job outlook, and continuing education information.

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Essential Information

Throughout the curriculum of this degree program, students take courses that cover various art topics and participate in hands-on computer labs that teach them to use software such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. Some programs offer internships as well, and may require a capstone portfolio for graduation. BFA graduates are prepared to work as graphic designers in a variety of industries.

Applicants to a BFA in Graphic Design program should meet general undergraduate admission requirements. In addition to this, prospective students should be prepared to submit a portfolio of artwork related to the field, and programs generally expect basic computer literacy. There is some online training available for those interested in graphic design.


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Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design

Students usually spend two-thirds of their time in art courses and one-third of their time in liberal arts courses. They engage in classes that address design history, aesthetics, technology and media skills, communication, and culture. Coursework can include:

  • Typography
  • Publication
  • Color theory
  • Drawing
  • Computer graphics
  • Art history

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The work of graphic designers might appear in print publications, on signs and billboards, in company logos, on company letterhead, or on websites. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for graphic designers were expected to increase by 1% between 2014 and 2024, which is little or no change (www.bls.gov). Median annual earnings for graphic designers were $46,900 in May 2015, with the top earners in the field taking in an annual income of $81,320 or higher.

Continuing Education

While a BFA in Graphic Design can open doors in the graphic design industry, some individuals may choose to pursue a Master of Fine Arts in Graphic Design to further develop their skills in the field. MFA programs generally encourage students to develop a cohesive professional portfolio of work in a graphic design specialization, such as print work or online advertising.

Students pursuing a bachelor's in graphic design will study art, communication, media, and more to prepare for careers as graphic designers. Graduates can go on to earn a master's degree if they choose.

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