Masters Degree in Graphic Arts: Program Information

Aspiring artists may consider enrolling in a master's degree in graphic arts. Learn more about the curriculum, graduation requirements, and future opportunities for students who complete the program.

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Essential Information

Master's degree programs in graphic arts provide advanced training in the field of visual communication. Over the course of these programs, students build their problem-solving, strategic-thinking, aesthetics, and technical skills through theoretical coursework and studio exercises. Specialization options include motion graphics and environmental graphic design. Prior to graduation from one of these two-year programs, students must submit a written thesis and exhibit their thesis work.

In order to apply, students must hold a bachelor's degree in graphic arts or related field. They must also submit letters of recommendation and a portfolio of previous work.

Master's Degree in Graphic Arts

Graduate programs typically include guided studio courses, independent study, lectures and student work critiques. Studio work may consist of projects involving website design, corporate identity development and publication design. Although specific course titles vary by program, common topics include:

  • Typography
  • Design planning
  • Illustration
  • Aesthetics
  • Brand identification
  • Design methodologies

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

Career opportunities in graphic design are predicted to show little or no change from 2014-2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). These opportunities will most likely be associated with interactive media, and professionals that can design websites may have the best chance of employment. The median annual salary for graphic designers was $46,900 in May 2015, according to the BLS.

Continuing Education

Graphic designers must continually keep up with new and updated computer design software. Formal training programs are offered through design schools and software training companies. A limited number of Ph.D. programs are available in graphic arts with research in areas such as design history and criticism, technology and sustainability. These programs typically require three years of study and involve non-studio-based research.

To summarize, a master's degree in graphic arts help students develop the advanced artistic skills they need for careers in design or further studies in the field.

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