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Maryland Design Schools with Degree Program Descriptions

Research design schools in Maryland, which currently has approximately 20 colleges and universities offering programs. Read an overview of degree programs, tuition info and program options for 11 of these schools, and decide which one is right for you.

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Essential Information

In Maryland, students can find associate's, bachelor's, post-baccalaureate certificate and master's degree programs in a number of different areas, including graphic, interior and theatrical design. The programs might include specialization areas and could culminate with internships, cooperative work experiences or capstone projects. Depending on the program level, students might be required to complete a portfolio or a thesis.

Of the schools profiled below, only one, the Maryland Institute College of Arts, is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. The design-related program titles at these schools include but are not limited to:

  • Professional Studies in Art and Design
  • Interaction Design
  • Social Design
  • Digital Media and Web Technology
  • Architectural Design
  • Publications Design
  • Simulation and Digital Entertainment
  • Digital Communication
  • Visual Communication and Digital Media Arts

The following 11 schools include five community and five 4-year colleges, as well as one private art institute. Students will also find a comparison table with current information about schools and tuition.

Anne Arundel Community College

Located in the suburban community of Arnold, Anne Arundel Community College's Visual Arts Department offers students an Associate of Arts in Fine Arts: Visual Design (Web and Graphic) program that includes core coursework in color, digital media, photography and portfolio development. Future graphic designers in the Associate of Applied Science program also participate in an internship and take classes in interactive and Web design, digital imaging and typography.

Students may also be interested in the Associate of Arts in Visual Arts: Game Art and Design. The requirements include courses in 2-D and 3-D graphics, interface design and game prototyping. A similar course of study is available through the Associate of Applied Science in Visual Arts: Game Development curriculum; both degree plans require an internship and a gaming capstone.

In addition to general education and major coursework, all students must take a 100-level computer competency class.

Bowie State University

Established in Bowie in 1865, this state university is the oldest, historically black college in Maryland. Through the Department of Fine and Performing Arts, students can earn a Bachelor of Science in Visual Communication and Digital Media Arts. The programs allows for 24-credit concentrations in five areas, including digital cinema and time-based media, advertising design, animation and motion graphics, digital media arts or fashion design.

Undergraduate courses include topics in 2-D and 3-D design, computer graphics, multimedia and typography. Students may also be required to participate in an internship and write a thesis.

Harford Community College

Through the Visual, Performing and Applied Arts Department at Harford Community College in Bel Air, three associate's programs in design are available. In particular, the Associate of Arts in Art and Design allows for a track in graphic design that covers topics in 2-D and 3-D studies, digital imaging, typography and portfolio development. Other programs include the Associate of Applied Science in Computer-Aided Design and Drafting, in which future professionals learn about engineering materials, geometric dimensioning and solid modeling.

Harford also offers an Associate of Applied Science in Theatre: Design/Production program, with a cooperative education experience and courses in stagecraft, scene design and costuming.

Maryland Institute College of Art

The Baltimore-based Maryland Institute College of Art provides both bachelor's and master's programs in a number of design-related areas. Undergraduates can earn Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in architectural, graphic or interactive arts, and curricula requirements may include a senior seminar or a thesis. Regardless of the major, all undergraduate design students take foundational courses in drawing, electronic media, painting and visual thinking.

Graduate students can pursue a Master of Arts in Social Design, a 30-credit, interdisciplinary program that allows for electives in the liberal and studio arts. Coursework associated with the Master of Fine Arts in Graphic Design covers topics in design language and motion graphics. Unique to the institute is a low-residency, online Master of Professional Studies program that includes courses in business, social media marketing and intellectual property. All three graduate programs require a thesis.

Montgomery College

A 2-year, multi-site institution with campuses in Germantown, Rockville and Takoma Park, Montgomery College administers an Associate of Applied Science in Graphic Design program. It has a separate track in illustration and includes training in 2-D and publication design, digital tools and vector graphics. Students in the Associate of Fine Arts program can also take courses in 3-D design and typography.

Other programs include the pre-professional Associate of Arts or Associate of Applied Science degrees in interior design, with courses in architectural history, technical drawing, business and presentation techniques. Unique to the school is an Associate in Applied Science in Digital Media and Web Technology program, with training in Flash and Photoshop software, graphic design and website development.

Prince George's Community College

The town of Largo serves as home to Prince George's Community College. In addition to certificate programs in graphic design, illustration and animation, students can pursue an Associate of Applied Science in Visual Communication and Graphic Design. Basic fine arts courses include topics in color theory, design and drawing. Students also receive more in-depth training in lettering and typography, computer graphics, animation and digital modeling. The program culminates in the development of a visual arts portfolio.

The Community College of Baltimore County

Located in Baltimore, this 2-year school originally opened as Catonsville Community College. The Associate of Fine Arts in Fine and Performing Arts program allows for concentrations in digital illustration, digital photography and imaging, graphic design, interactive media and motion graphics. Coursework common to all areas of study includes topics in 2-D and 3-D design, color, drawing and digital imaging. Students can also take electives in multimedia scripting, typography and screen-based media.

Additional programs include an Associate of Applied Science in Interior Design, featuring courses in computer-aided design, color and drafting. Future professionals also learn about architectural and space planning, build a portfolio and participate in an internship.

Towson University

In Towson, students at the College of Fine Arts and Communication can pursue one of three undergraduate programs in art and design. All art majors complete courses in digital concepts and software, 2-D and 3-D processes, art history and drawing.

Through the Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science programs, students in the general design track can take additional electives in exhibition, motion, package or Web design. The concentration in graphic design, available through the Bachelor of Fine Arts program, allows for similar coursework and includes a final project, a portfolio and an optional internship.

Students pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts can concentrate in digital art and design with an additional 12-credit specialization in game design. Course topics include studies in 3-D animation and interactive media.

Towson University also offers an online, 4-course, post-baccalaureate certificate in interactive media design with training in typographic and Web design.

University of Baltimore

Through the Yale Gordon College of Arts and Sciences, students at this Baltimore university can pursue a Bachelor of Science in Simulation and Digital Entertainment with specializations in game writing, level design, serious games and technical art.

A Bachelor of Arts in Digital Communication, with a 27-credit concentration in media design and publication, is also available and provides training in advanced print, digital and magazine design. Students can also earn a Bachelor of Arts in Integrated Arts, and the curriculum includes production electives in digital, graphic and multimedia design.

Graduate students may be interested in the 36-credit Master of Arts in Publications Design, with courses in verbal and visual rhetoric, typography and Web development. The 60-credit Master of Fine Arts in Integrated Design requires a capstone and a practicum and allows for advanced-level studies in graphic design, typography and visual communication. Requirements for the 36-credit Master of Science in Interaction Design and Information Architecture include a course in user research, an elective in interactive media and a thesis.

University of Maryland - Baltimore County

The University of Maryland in Baltimore was the state's first university research park, and the undergraduate programs in the visual arts allow for a concentration in graphic design. Topics include signs and symbols, design history, production methods and typography.

The university also offers a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Design and Production, featuring courses in costume making, lighting, sound, production techniques and stage management.

At the graduate level, design students can pursue a Master of Fine Arts in Intermedia and Digital Arts, with courses in contemporary art, curating, photography and video art. Additional curriculum features include a thesis paper and an exhibition, internships and an industry symposium.

University of Maryland - College Park

At the College Park campus of the University of Maryland, students can earn a Bachelor of Arts and have the opportunity to concentrate in either digital media or graphic design. Available through the Department of Art, the program includes a foundational course that teaches students how to develop a website, edit images and work with time-based media. Coursework in graphic design includes training at the intermediate and advanced levels. Students can also learn about motion graphics and interactive design, complete a portfolio and pursue an internship.

Career Requirements

Maryland-based interior designers who use the word 'certified' as part of their professional title are regulated by the Maryland Board of Certified Interior Designers (Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation). Requirements for applicants 18 years of age or older include the academic and professional experience necessary to sit for either the National Council of Interior Design Qualification Examination or another acceptable test.

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type & Setting Design Degree Programs Offered Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2015-2016)
Anne Arundel Community College 2-year, public; large suburb Associate of Arts in Visual Arts: Game Art and Design,
Associate of Arts Fine Arts: Visual Design (Web and Graphic),
Associate of Applied Science in Visual Arts: Game Development,
Associate of Applied Science in Visual Arts: Graphic Design
$4,464 in-district; $7,374 in-state; $12,024 out-of-state*
Bowie State University 4-year, public; large suburb Bachelor of Science in Visual Communication and Digital Media Arts $7,660 in-state; $18,142 out-of-state*
Harford Community College 2-year, public; fringe rural Associate of Arts in Art and Design,
Associate of Applied Science in Computer Aided Design and Drafting,
Associate of Applied Science in Theatre: Design/Production
$3,341 in-district; $5,429 in-state; $7,517 out-of-state*
Maryland Institute College of Art 4-year, private not-for-profit; large city Bachelor of Fine Arts in Architectural Design,
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design,
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interactive Arts,
Master of Arts in Social Design,
Master of Fine Arts in Graphic Design,
Master of Professional Studies in The Business of Art and Design
$43,870 (undergraduate)*
$43,870 (graduate)*
Montgomery College 2-year, public; small city Associate of Applied Science in Graphic Design,
Associate of Applied Science in Interior Design,
Associate of Applied Science in Digital Media and Web Technology,
Associate of Fine Arts in Graphic Design
$4,728 in-district; $9,156 in-state; $12,432 out-of-state*
Prince George's Community College 2-year, public; large suburb Associate of Applied Science in Visual Communication/Graphic Design $3,650 in-district; $5,762 in-state; $8,090 out-of-state*
The Community College of Baltimore County 2-year, public; large suburb Associate of Applied Science in Interior Design,
Associate of Fine Arts in Fine and Performing Arts
$118 per hour in-district; $222 per hour in-state; $337 per hour out-of-state*
Towson University 4-year, public; small city Bachelor of Arts in Art and Design,
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art and Design,
Bachelor of Science in Art and Design,
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Interactive Media Design
$9,182 in-state; $20,788 out-of-state*
University of Baltimore 4-year, public; large city Bachelor of Arts in Digital Communication,
Bachelor of Arts in Integrated Arts,
Bachelor of Science in Simulation and Digital Entertainment,
Master of Arts in Publications Design,
Master of Fine Arts in Integrated Design,
Master of Science in Interaction Design and Information Architecture
$8,326 in-state; $19,744 out-of-state*
University of Maryland - Baltimore County 4-year public; large suburb Bachelor of Arts in Visual Arts,
Bachelor of Arts in Theatre design and Production,
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Arts,
Master of Fine Arts in Intermedia and Digital Arts
$11,006 in-state; $23,770 out-of-state*
University of Maryland - College Park 4-year, public; large suburb Bachelor of Arts in Art $9,996 in-state; $31,144 out-of-state*

Source: *NCES College Navigator

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