Affordable Graphic Design Degrees

If you’ve ever looked at a visual representation of an idea, you’ve probably enjoyed the work of a graphic designer. These professionals work with clients of all stripes to express information in a creative, memorable, and easily-digestible manner. Their designs may be used in advertising, magazine articles, brochures, reports, or even as works of art. Individuals who enjoy combining artwork with technology may find their niche within the field of graphic design.

Many people who want to work in this profession choose to pursue an online graphic design degree. Graphic design programs prepare students to create images with the needs of their clientele in mind, and the artistic ability to develop unique artwork. These professionals must also have strong communication skills to clearly discuss ideas with clients and other designers, along with a sense for time management, to ensure you can produce designs that meet client needs within the required timeframe. Finally, artists should also be able to adapt to new software, as tools in the field are constantly changing.

If you’re interested in the field, you may be wondering what you can do with an online graphic design degree. Graphic designers can be found in virtually every industry, as all companies are concerned with how to best present themselves and market their products or services. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, positions in graphic design are projected to increase slightly between now and 2024. Employees in the field earn a median annual salary of nearly $47,000.

Below, we’ve ranked the most affordable online graphic design degrees in the country. These schools offer academically rigorous curriculums at an affordable price, and prepare you for a fun and challenging career without requiring you to seep into debt. If you’re considering a career in the field, and you want to earn your graphic design degree online, be sure to take a look at these top schools.

Most Affordable Online Graphic Design Degrees
Rank School Score Toggle Content

California Baptist University

Value Score 6.78
Average Tuition $28,574
Students Receiving Financial Aid 95%
Net Price $22,748
Graduation Rate 59%
Student to Faculty Ratio 18:1
Admissions Rate 80%
Enrollment Rate 33%
Retention Rate 83%
Number of Online Programs 1

As a leading private Christian school in Southern California, CBU offers an affordable online BA in graphic design and digital media. The school provides a Christ-centered educational experience that brings together the latest technologies in distance education (like Blackboard 9.1, Telepresence, Webex and Web 2.0 tools) with a Christian faculty dedicated to helping students achieve academic, professional, and spiritual success. CBU Online accommodates the unique needs of today’s students, who may be managing both professional and family responsibilities while pursuing their education. The cheap online graphic design degree appeals to parents and working professionals alike.

The affordable online graphic design degree prepares students for careers in graphic design, photography, web design, and video/animation. The curriculum includes instruction in Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Dreamweaver, and more. Students interested in pursuing a graphic design degree online may pursue concentrations in graphic design, mobile design, photography, video and animation, or web design.

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Stevens-Henager College

Value Score 6.54
Average Tuition $34,470
Students Receiving Financial Aid 91%
Net Price $24,875
Graduation Rate 65%
Student to Faculty Ratio 19:1
Admissions Rate 67%
Enrollment Rate 30%
Retention Rate 82%
Number of Online Programs 3

At Stevens-Henager, students can obtain an affordable BS in graphic arts in three years. Distance learners may also pursue a concentration in information design as part of the program. The affordable online graphic design degree blends theoretical study with in-studio visual communication methods via print, electronic, and film media. Through exposure to a variety of courses, such as package design and animation scripting, students will become familiar with type, illustration, photography, and animation. The program enables students to achieve a graphic design degree entirely online and prepares them for employment as professional graphic designers for print or web applications. Offering optimal flexibility, classes at Stevens-Henager are taught asynchronously.

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Bellevue University

Value Score 6.28
Average Tuition $16,968
Students Receiving Financial Aid 82%
Net Price $12,880
Graduation Rate 58%
Student to Faculty Ratio 30:1
Admissions Rate 100%
Enrollment Rate 28%
Retention Rate 53%
Number of Online Programs 2

Bellevue offers a bachelor’s degree in graphic design, and the program helps students build a solid foundation in the elements of design, practice creative visualization, and enhance their problem solving and critical thinking skills. With courses like interactivity basics, branding, and web page design, students will leave school armed with the knowledge needed to provide design solutions for a variety of audiences and a range of media.

During their time in school, students must develop a professional portfolio; the portfolio showcases their range of talent and prepares them to apply for professional positions.

Online students can communicate with professors and peers in discussion forums, view a variety of videos and tutorials, receive online tutoring when needed, and access support tools and library resources 24/7.

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Savannah College of Art and Design

Value Score 6.23
Average Tuition $6,600
Students Receiving Financial Aid 97%
Net Price $32,929
Graduation Rate 31%
Student to Faculty Ratio 32:1
Admissions Rate 100%
Enrollment Rate 28%
Retention Rate 48%
Number of Online Programs 1

SCAD’s online graphic design program offers courses taught by the same world-class faculty that teach traditional courses offered on campus. Students pursuing this affordable graphic design degree online learn not only the fundamentals of design, but topics like product packaging, entrepreneurship, mobile technology, and user experience. Graduates leave with an award-winning professional portfolio and invaluable, real-world experience.

Because graphic design straddles multiple fields, many students earning their degree online elect to pursue a double major or related minor; related majors include illustration and sequential art, for example, and they can be paired with a minor like advertising copywriting or motion media design. In this way, an affordable online graphic design degree can provide graduates with a range of creative approaches and a chance to develop a unique, signature style.

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Independence University

Value Score 5.99
Average Tuition $16,968
Students Receiving Financial Aid 96%
Net Price $23,303
Student to Faculty Ratio 25:1
Admissions Rate 100%
Enrollment Rate 28%
Retention Rate 20%
Number of Online Programs 2

Independence University offers three BS degrees in graphic arts. Every student enrolled in an online graphic design degree program receives a tablet and Mac laptop with Adobe software, which they can keep when they graduate. Graphic arts students learn about software and theory, enabling them to work in a variety of industries, including in ad agencies, after they graduate.

Distance learners can also pursue a degree in web design and development at Independence. Here, they’ll appreciate a blended approach that embraces both front-end design and back-end development. Along the way, they’ll learn to conceptualize, code, and publish their own content. Finally, students can also pursue a BS in graphic arts with an information design emphasis. This program teaches students the basics in graphic design, and also helps them develop effective communication techniques.

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Southern New Hampshire University

Value Score 5.19
Average Tuition $30,006
Students Receiving Financial Aid 91%
Net Price $32,696
Graduation Rate 59%
Student to Faculty Ratio 28:1
Admissions Rate 84%
Enrollment Rate 21%
Retention Rate 68%
Number of Online Programs 1

SNHU’s graphic design & media arts program offers students the opportunity to pursue a concentration in web design or 3D modeling & animation. Both affordable options offer students a chance to learn advanced graphic design hardware and software on a Mac or PC and receive expert instruction from award-winning creative faculty. Students can transfer up to 90 credits toward their degree.

The web design concentration fosters artistic talent alongside practical web design skills. Equal weight is given to theory and hands-on technical proficiency. Students will also learn to conduct usability testing on multiple platforms. Students will explore interactive animation, digital publications, and video work as part of the curriculum. The online graphic design degree also offers a concentration in 3D modeling & animation, which helps students create visual content for video games, animated web content, and movies. Courses like intro to digital sculpting will cover 3D sculpting workflow, including designing wireframe 3D models, rendering photorealistic effects, and animating character functions.

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