Web Design Schools in NYC with Degree Program Overviews

Feb 15, 2019

New York City Schools with Web Design Programs

Graphic designers who specialize in Web design use computer software programs to develop the layouts, sounds and visuals for online pages and sites. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a bachelor's degree in graphic arts or a similar major is the usual requirement for entering the field. In New York City, there are three colleges affiliated with the City University of New York (CUNY) system that offer bachelor's degree programs in Web-based media. Admission requirements include ACT, SAT and New York State Regents exam scores, or alternatively, the CUNY Assessment tests.

Details of the three featured schools and their programs can be found in the paragraphs and table below. You'll also find information about other CUNY community and 4-year colleges with programs for aspiring Web designers.

  • The City College of New York, once known as 'Harvard-on-the-Hudson', is the university's flagship school. The college is located in the Harlem section of New York City, about six miles from the downtown, and provides shuttle bus and escort services between the campus and local subway stations. Instruction in Web design can be found through its bachelor's degree programs in electronic design and studio art.
  • Lehman College, a 4-year liberal arts institution located around ten miles from the downtown in northwest Bronx, is easily accessible by bus, car or subway. U.S. News & World Report identified Lehman as one of the top 50 public schools in the country (#37 in the 2019 rankings). At the college, students can earn a bachelor's degree in art or computer graphics while receiving training in Web design.
  • Not only is the New York City College of Technology the largest public institution of its kind in the state, but it is also the largest 4-year school of technology in the northeastern U.S. Its Brooklyn campus is less than four miles from downtown Manhattan and includes the 60-year-old Department of Advertising Design and Graphic Arts. The department offers a bachelor's degree program in communication design that includes Web design courses.

Comparison of Schools

All of the public schools listed below offer affordable undergraduate tuition rates for both in-state and out-of-state students. As of the 2016-2017 school year, the majority of first-year students also received some type of financial aid.

CUNY City College of New York CUNY Lehman College CUNY New York City College of Technology
School Type 4-year; public 4-year; public 4-year, primarily associate's; public
Total Enrollment (2017) 16,001* 14,130* 17,279*
Campus Setting Large city Large city Large city
Undergraduate Tuition and Fees (2017-2018) $6,940 for in-state students; $14,330 for out-of-state students* $7,010 for in-state students; $14,400 for out-of-state students* $6,920 for in-state students; $14,310 for out-of-state students*
% of First-Year Students Receiving Some Form of Financial Aid (2016-2017) 86%* 88%* 82%*
Acceptance Rate (2017) 46%* 35%* 77%*
Retention Rate (Fall 2016 to Fall 2017) 86% for full-time students; 73% for part-time students* 83% for full-time students; 61% for part-time students* 78% for full-time students; 60% for part-time students*
Graduation Rate (students who started in Fall 2011) 50%* 46%* 18%*

Source: *NCES College Navigator

City College of New York

The Robinson Center for Graphic Arts and Communication (a division of the Art Department at the School of the Humanities and the Arts) offers two undergraduate programs that include courses in Web animation and design, computer graphics and multimedia productions. In addition to academic and formal training, departmental features include the Electronic Design and Multimedia Club, a student-run association that organizes field trips, guest lectures and on-campus presentations.

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Electronic Design and Multimedia

The purpose of the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) program is to help students acquire the skills they need to specialize in the aesthetic or technical aspects of Web production. The 120 credits required for the degree include a 30-credit general education core, 75 credits of major coursework, a thesis and an electronic design portfolio. In addition to the standard admission requirements, students have to complete three departmental assignments and submit a portfolio and a writing sample.

The departmental curriculum includes courses in the history of design, world art and writing. Coursework for the major also provides students with the opportunity to pursue general design topics in graphic art, illustration, print production and typography. As electronic design majors, students can learn how to use Flash software while taking introductory and advanced courses in Web design and animation, 3-D and computer imaging, digital photography and multimedia productions. Qualified graduates may be able to find positions at digital design firms or traditional media outlets that want to maintain a Web presence.

Bachelor of Arts in Art with a Concentration in Studio Art

The studio art bachelor's degree program can serve as a prerequisite for the BFA program. In contrast to the fine arts program, the requirements for this degree plan include 42 credits of major coursework. To earn the degree, students take one course each in 2-D and 3-D design and pursue topics in art and design history. Seven additional studio courses must also be selected. The electronic design and media menu mirrors that of the BFA program, and students can use these to fulfill their fine arts, free electives or studio arts requirements.

Lehman College

The Art Department (in the School of Arts and Humanities) offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in fine art and studio art, art education and art history, as well as an interdepartmental program in computer graphics. In general, all of the school's undergraduate programs require a minimum of 120 credit hours to complete and include a substantial liberal arts component. In addition to the standard admissions requirements, applicants should have one year of high school art.

Bachelor of Science in Computer Graphics and Imaging

This 58-credit major is offered in conjunction with the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science (School of Natural and Social Science), and the interdisciplinary curriculum combines coursework in art, computer science, digital graphics and mathematics. Students can apply to the program in their junior year, and special admissions requirements include an essay, portfolio samples, prerequisite art courses and recommendations from faculty members.

The 18-credit art curriculum consists of lectures and labs in design and drawing, as well as classes in art history, digital imaging, photography or 2D and 3D design. To complete the coursework for the major, students take two sequential courses in applications and imaging that can help them develop an appreciation for the aesthetic, mathematical and technological aspects of design and show them how to create 2-D graphics for the Web. They can also pursue additional topics in computer animation and modeling, digital multimedia and interactive design. Interdisciplinary requirements include calculus and three computer science courses in programming.

The course in broadcast design is unique to the curriculum and teaches students how to create a title sequence or an on-air promotion for a DVD, film or video production. The curriculum differs from the program at City College in that it does not include any traditional graphic art or typography courses.

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art

The requirements for this major also include 60 credits of coursework, and the foundational courses mirror those of the program in computer graphics. In addition to three courses in art history, students take up to 12 credits in general studio courses. Students must also specialize in one of several areas, including ceramics, drawing, photography or computer imaging. Those who decide to focus on computer imaging can take up to 15 credits in Web design and computer studies, and these are the same courses found in the Bachelor of Science program. The degree plan can include an independent study, and students are required to complete two, project-based courses in their area of specialization.

New York City College of Technology

In addition to the undergraduate programs, the Department of Advertising Design and Graphic Art (in the School of Technology and Design) offers certificate programs in desktop publishing, interactive media technology and video production. While students can be admitted directly to the 4-year program in communication design, those who do not meet the college admission standards may first have to apply to the Associate of Applied Science program in communication design. Among other career options, qualified students may be able to find positions as computer artists, digital designers or Web designers.

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Communication Design

The upper-level requirements for this major expand upon the 2-year curriculum and allow students to specialize in one of five areas, including advertising, graphic or Web design or illustration. The lower-level foundational studies emphasize theory and practice and include sequential courses in communication and graphic design, raster and vector imaging, drawing and typography. Students will be trained in the use of a number of relevant software applications.

Additional program features include a student design team and the chance to work with real-life clients. The degree requires a total of 120 credits to complete, and along with coursework, aspiring designers must submit a senior project, assemble a portfolio and participate in an internship.

Other School Options

At the Borough of Manhattan Community College, students can earn an Associate of Science in Multimedia Programming and Design; Bronx Community College offers a 2-year program in Digital Arts. The new media technology program at LaGuardia Community College covers topics in Web design and programming and provides students with access to a state-of-the-art digital laboratory.

A Bachelor Fine Arts in Design is available at Queens College; the program includes coursework in digital animation and Web design. Students who are interested in earning a graduate degree may want to look into Hunter College's Master of Fine Arts in Integrated Media Arts program or the doctoral certificate program in interactive technology and pedagogy at the CUNY Graduate Center.

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