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Master of Graphic Design: Degree Overview

Master of Graphic Design and Master of Arts in Graphic Design programs inform students about the creation and theoretical application of media technology with hands-on experiences. Continue on for program details and salary information.

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Essential Information

Master of Graphic Design programs, more commonly called Master of Arts in Graphic Design programs, are fairly rare. They provide in-depth studies of media art and technology, with an emphasis on theory, practice and creative problem-solving. Varying from school to school are philosophies, coursework and ratio of design courses to general studies classes. Most have a combination of readings, seminars with industry professionals, studio work and electives. The programs could consist of 30-36 credits; a thesis, final project or portfolio is often a requirement for graduation.

A bachelor's degree and submission of a work portfolio are typically required for admission. Students who have insufficient credits in the visual arts may be required to enroll in foundational or preparatory courses before they can begin their studies.


Master of Arts in Graphic Design

A Master of Arts program with a concentration in graphic design can provide students with access to advanced-level coursework in art history, methodology and hands-on training in current graphics technology. Courses like 'Graphic Design Seminar' are sequential and may include:

  • Graphic design studio
  • Design research
  • Art or graphic design history
  • Drawing
  • Web design
  • Brand and corporate design

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of graphic designers was predicted to increase at a rate of 1% between 2014 and 2024 (www.bls.gov). The graphics field remains highly competitive; a quality portfolio is key in obtaining positions in the advertising, printing and publishing fields and other related industries. Professionals experienced in a variety of media, rather than a single medium, will find themselves in the greatest demand. The mean annual salary for graphic designers in May 2015 was $51,640.

Master's degree programs in graphic design offer in-depth exploration of the intersection of art and technology and are often geared toward professional practice. A foundation in both print and electronic media will increase one's job prospects.

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