NY Graphic Design Universities with Degree Program Summaries

Research graphic design programs in New York, which currently has 22 4-year universities and colleges offering programs. Read an overview of degree programs, tuition info and program options for ten of the largest schools and decide which program is right for you.

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Essential Information

Both the City University of New York (CUNY) and the State University of New York (SUNY) systems include schools that offer degree programs in graphic design. New York students can also find programs at art institutes and private colleges. Graphic and communications design programs are offered at the associate, bachelor's and master's degree levels; degree program minors are also available. Typically, students have the chance to complete a portfolio; they may also gain hands-on skills through the completion of an internship.

Of the ten schools profiled below, the National Association of Schools of Art and Design accredits the graphic design programs at the Parsons The New School For Design, the Pratt Institute, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John's University. Below are brief overviews of the degree programs available at ten of the largest 4-year schools in NY offering graphic design degrees, as well as a comparison table with school info and cost of attendance.


CUNY Queens College

Located in Flushing, Queens College offers a 21-credit minor and a 54-credit Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design program with training in digital and print media. Undergraduates have the opportunity to become proficient in a variety of formats, including advertising, publication and Web design. The program also provides an introduction to Adobe Creative Suite for students without prior knowledge of image editing and page layout software. Additional requirements include courses in color and typography, electives in digital media and a senior portfolio.

Daemen College

Amherst's Daemen College has both a minor and a bachelor's degree program in graphic design. Requirements for the minor include a drawing foundation and a 3-course sequence design in graphic design. Students pursuing the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design degree take courses in advanced typography, drawing, computer rendering and photography. They also complete a seminar in graphic design and a senior project.

Fashion Institute of Technology (SUNY)

In New York City, students at the Fashion Institute of Technology can earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design. The program provides undergraduates with a strong foundation in graphic and Web design, typography and art history. Students also have the chance to work on projects for real-life clients and develop a professional portfolio. Senior-year requirements include a 3-D presentation design, an internship and a project. The faculty includes members of the American Institute of Graphic Arts, and design students have won awards in national and international competitions.

Parsons The New School for Design

The New School in Manhattan provides students with the chance to earn an Associate of Applied Science in Graphic Design, either online or on campus. As part of the application process, students create an original design for a postage stamp, and those pursuing the online degree must have 21 credits of prerequisite coursework in English and the humanities. Once admitted, students complete courses in color theory, digital layout, typography, drawing and Web design. During the final semester, they also build a professional-level portfolio.

While The New School does not offer a designated 4-year degree in graphic design, undergraduates can find related programs that include major coursework in integrated and strategic design, art, media studies and technology.

Pratt Institute

The Pratt Institute has campuses in Brooklyn and Manhattan, and its associate's degree programs are available at the latter. The Associate of Applied Science in Graphic Design and Illustration program is designed to prepare students to transfer to a 4-year program. It includes topics in 3-D and communication design. In preparation for a career or transfer to a 4-year program, students also learn how to work with current industry software and develop a portfolio. The Associate of Occupational Studies in Graphic Design program includes courses in, among other areas, advertising, page, package and publication design. Graduates of this program are prepared to enter the workforce.

The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Communications Design program is available at the Brooklyn campus and includes a concentration in graphic design. Courses include topics in typographic design, illustration and 3-D design. Graduate programs in communication design are also available, and degree requirements include a thesis and an exhibition.

Rochester Institute of Technology

Rochester's Institute of Technology offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design that includes lower-level courses in 2-D and 3-D studies, drawing, interactive media and typography. At the upper level, undergraduates complete a senior capstone project and learn about collaborative and information design, environmental graphics and professional practices.

The Master of Fine Arts program allows for specializations in 3-D digital, communication or interaction design. In addition to courses in 3-D modeling, typography and website development, students participate in a design theory seminar and complete a thesis.

St. John's University - New York

St. John's University in New York offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design program that includes major coursework in color theory, drawing, book arts and Web design. Undergraduates can also choose electives in digital illustration and photography, motion graphics and painting. In their senior year, aspiring designers can participate in an internship or write a thesis. All students develop a professional-level portfolio.

St. Thomas Aquinas College

This private college is located in Sparkill and offers a program leading to a Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design. This 4-year program requires the completion of 120 credits, including 57 credits in the major area. Graphic design core courses include typography, Web design and portfolio development. This program has been recognized by the American Institute of Graphic Arts, which allows students to become members when they graduate.

SUNY College of Agriculture and Technology at Cobleskill

The state university in Cobleskill offers both an Associate of Arts and a Bachelor of Science degree program in graphic design technology. Students in the 2-year program take a sequence of courses in computer graphics, as well as courses in layouts, digital imaging, typography and Web design. At the end of the program, students develop and present a portfolio. Undergraduates who continue on to the Bachelor of Science program complete a 15-credit, multimedia track in print and Web or video production.

SUNY College of Technology at Canton

Through the College of Technology in Canton, students can complete an undergraduate degree program in graphic and multimedia design that provides them with training in the use of current industry software. In contrast to the previously mentioned programs, the Bachelor of Technology curriculum includes topics in computer logic, film studies, new media and programming. Students also produce a variety of digitally based projects using animation, graphics, video and photography. As an individual designer, or as part of a team, future professionals have the opportunity to produce their own multimedia project. The program culminates in an arts management internship.

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type and Setting Graphic Design Programs Offered Undergraduate Tuition and Fees (2015-2016)
CUNY Queens College 4-year, public; large city Minor in Graphic Design,
Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design
$6,938 in-state;
$14,048 out-of-state*
Daemen College 4-year, private not-for-profit; large suburb Minor in Graphic Design,
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design
$25,995*
Fashion Institute of Technology 4-year, public; large city Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design $5,230 in-state;
$14,230 out-of-state*
Parsons The New School for Design 4-year, private not-for-profit; large city Associate of Applied Science in Graphic Design $43,813*
Pratt Institute - Main 4-year, private not-for-profit; large city Associate of Applied Science in Graphic Design and Illustration,
Associate of Occupational Studies in Graphic Design,
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Communications Design,
Master of Fine Arts in Communications Design,
Master of Science in Communications Design
$46,586*
Rochester Institute of Technology 4-year, private not-for-profit; large suburb Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design,
Master of Fine Arts in Visual Communication Design
$37,124*
St. John's University - New York 4-year, private not-for-profit; large city Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design $38,680*
St. Thomas Aquinas College 4-year, private not-for-profit; large suburb Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design $28,740*
SUNY College of Agriculture and Technology at Cobleskill 4-year, public; distant town Associate in Arts in Graphic Design Technology,
Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design Technology
$7,719 in-state;
$17,569 out-of-state*
SUNY College of Technology at Canton 4-year, public; remote town Bachelor of Technology in Graphic and Multimedia Design $7,855 in-state;
$12,245 out-of-state*

Source: *NCES College Navigator.

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