Top Graphic Design School - Long Beach, CA

Students interested in studying graphic design in the Long Beach, CA, area have several schools to choose from. Read about the top local schools' degree programs, tuition, and ranking info to find the right one for you.

School and Ranking Information

Within a 50-mile radius of Long Beach, CA, nearly 30 schools can be found that offer programs in graphic design. The following schools are regarded as the top three according to school type, how many degrees are awarded in the discipline and rankings:

  • Winner: Art Center College of Design in Pasadena is the leading school for how many degrees it has awarded in graphic design, its tuition rates and for being a not-for-profit institution.
  • Runner Up #1: Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles is placed at second for its location relative to Long Beach and program variety.
  • Runner Up #2: Chapman University in Orange follows for being highly ranked at the regional level by U.S. News & World Report in 2013 and for its graduation rate.

School Comparison Chart

Category Art Center College of Design Otis College of Art and Design Chapman University
Rankings Graduate graphic design program ranked #7 in the nation in 2012,
Graduate fine arts program ranked #18 in the nation in 2012*
Graduate fine arts program ranked #27 in the country in 2012* Ranked # 1 for top up-and-coming schools in the West in 2013,
Ranked #6 among regional universities in the West*
Location Pasadena, CA (27.5 miles from Long Beach) Los Angeles, CA (17.6 miles from Long Beach) Orange, CA (20.1 miles from Long Beach)
School Type 4-year, private not-for-profit 4-year, private not-for-profit 4-year, private not-for-profit
Tuition & Fees (2012-2013) $35,552 (undergraduate);
$37,544 (graduate)**
$38,300 (undergraduate);
$39,300 (graduate)**
$42,084 (undergraduate)**
Graphic Design Degree Award Levels Offered Bachelor's and master's degrees Bachelor's and master's degrees Bachelor's degrees
Graphic Design Degrees Awarded (All Levels) in (2011-2012) 94** 40** 28**
Most Popular Graphic Design Program (2011-2012) Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design (75 awarded)** Bachelor's in graphic design (36 awarded)** Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design (28 awarded)**
Undergraduate Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal degree time) for 2005 Entering Class 54%** 52%** 72%**
Noteworthy A recognized educational adopter of Designers Accord, a global coalition of designers for positive environmental and social impact*** First independent school of art in Southern California*** Students worked with ad agencies in London to promote the Olympics in 2013***

Sources: *U.S. News and World Report, **National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), ***Schools' websites.

Winner: Art Center College of Design

  • Faculty is made up of well-known design professionals and artists
  • Local businesses and industry leaders sponsor classroom competitions and projects
  • Computer, digital-based learning, and digital imaging labs available to students

Art Center College of Design offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design program. Students learn techniques in interactive communication, 3-D graphics, and developing layouts for books, magazines, and other media. Some of the required courses include digital design, communication design, and storyboarding for motion design.

The school also offers a 2- or 3-year Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Media Design Practices degree program with a lab track or a field track. In the lab track, students study in a studio environment and use research and emerging technologies to enhance design skills. Students in the field track work in real-world situations focusing on social issues, media infrastructure, and media technology.

Runner-Up #1: Otis College of Art and Design

  • Ben Maltz Gallery presents solo and group exhibitions of media art
  • Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD)
  • Member of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD)
  • Has a low student-faculty ratio of 7:1, per NCES

Otis College of Art and Design offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Communication Arts with a concentration in graphic design. The program has courses in typography, drawing and painting, copywriting, and art direction, to name a few. Majors in advertising design and illustration are also offered.

Students also can earn a MFA in Graphic Design, which allows them to select from tracks in typography and type design, advancing the discipline through theory and innovation, and social responsibility of the artist in society. MFA students take part in research, readings, studio work, and a final project. They also help organize symposia and work with mentors to produce and design original pieces.

Runner-Up #2: Chapman University

  • Graphic design seniors complete a 120-hour internship
  • American Institute of Graphic Arts-affiliated student design club
  • Opportunity to participate in portfolio shows

Chapman University offers an interdisciplinary Bachelor of Fine Arts program in graphic design. This professionally oriented program includes courses in visualization, book design, motion design, typography, color, package design, and more. Students are also required to pursue a 12-unit group of courses outside the major, as well as to select a second major or a minor in another discipline. Opportunities are available for design students to work with law, advertising, science, and/or business students. In addition, the school holds artist lectures and student exhibitions. A graphic design minor is also available.

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