Top Graphic Design and Visual Communications Degree - Chicago, IL

Students interested in studying graphic design and visual communications in Chicago, IL, have many schools to choose from. Read about the top local schools' degree programs and tuition info to find the right one for you.

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School Information

Students seeking a degree in graphic design, visual communications or a related area can choose from several public and private colleges and universities in Chicago. Based on school distinctions and the number of degrees conferred in this field, the following college is considered a top school in Chicago for graphic design and visual communications degree programs:

  • Winner: Columbia College Chicago, located in Chicago's South Loop offers several bachelor's degree programs in graphic design and visual communications. In 2013, this school awarded the highest number of bachelor's degrees in graphic design and visual communications, including degrees in illustration and advertising art, of all schools within ten miles of Chicago.

School Info Chart

Category Columbia College Chicago
Distinction Largest private not-for-profit arts and media college in the U.S.*
Location Chicago, Illinois
School Type 4-year, private not-for-profit
Tuition & Fees (2013-2014) Undergrad: $22,792**
Graphic Design and Visual Communications Degrees Offered Bachelor's
Graphic Design and Visual Communications Degrees Awarded in 2012-2013 179**
Undergraduate Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal degree time) for 2007 Entering Class 41%**
Noteworthy Tuition among lowest of all U.S. private arts and media colleges*

Sources: *Columbia College Chicago; **NCES College Navigator

Columbia College Chicago

  • Design students can join the Students in Design club, a student chapter of AIGA
  • Graphic design and visual communications curricula integrates classroom learning with studio experiences
  • Students, along with faculty, produce several print and online publications
  • 12:1 student-to-faculty ratio

Columbia College Chicago was founded in 1890 as the Columbia School of Oratory and changed to its current name in 1944. The college is located in the South Loop, near Grant Park and the Art Institute of Chicago. It offers about 120 arts and media programs to an annual student body of about 10,000. The Department of Art and Design is part of the School of Fine and Performing Arts. It offers programs in fine arts, art history, graphic design, illustration and interior architecture.

In the Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design program, students learn basic aesthetic principles and computer technologies to prepare for careers as creative directors, art directors, illustrators, designers or similar visual communications professionals. Required courses include drawing, 2-dimensional design, 3-dimensional design, typography, art history and communication history. There is also a required internship. Concentrations are offered in publication design and Web design.

Students of the Bachelor of Arts in Advertising Art Direction can prepare for careers in advertising firms through courses that emphasize visual communications and photography, as well as market analysis, copy writing and advertising theory. Website design and advertising communication are also discussed. The application of concepts and methods studied in the program is achieved in a professional internship.

The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration program emphasizes drawing, problem solving, design and communication theories. Students take courses in animation and film design, anatomical modeling, figure illustration, digital illustration, editorial illustration and information design. They are required to complete a professional portfolio development course in their senior year.

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