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Top Graphic Communications Universities in 2022-2023

Apr 28, 2022

Best Colleges and Universities for Graphic Communications degrees and courses in the World

About Graphic Communications

Graphic communications, also popularly known as Visual Communications, is the branch of communication that extensively uses visual elements to convey a message to the audience. The message can be about a product, service, opinion, fact, or any issue of public interest. Through media like videos, films, text, images, and symbols, graphic communication aims to create a lasting impact on the audience’s minds. 

The field of visual communication and graphics incorporates artistic strategies with scientific reasoning. Top graphic communication universities equip students with the technical skills and creative techniques required to design and implement impactful communication strategies.

Importance of graphics in communication

Having a solid graphic communication team is essential for any business that aims to thrive in today’s competitive environment. Visual elements in communication facilitate branding and effectively convey a brand’s story. Logos, symbols, colors, and any such elements trigger an association with a brand. 

Moreover, tools like infographics can help enhance the visual appeal of the content and condense the crucial part for easy reading. Visual communication can evoke specific responses and emotions from the audience. If strategized correctly, such emotions can make the audience take action, such as buying a product, registering for a service, subscribing to blogs or newsletters, or signing a pledge. 

Additionally, graphic communication aids a business or service’s public relations efforts, enhances product/service visibility, and promotes brand loyalty.

Areas of Graphic Communications

Concepts, skills, and tools learned as part of a graphic communications education can be applied in various fields relevant to

  • Visual/Brand Identity
  • Product Packaging
  • User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX)
  • Marketing and Advertising
  • Publications
  • Art and Illustration

Popular courses and degrees in Graphic Communications

Degrees at the undergraduate level in visual communication are offered as a Bachelors in Art, Bachelors in Design, or, less commonly, Bachelors in Science. The duration is generally three to four years, depending on the university and country of study.

Master’s programs in graphic communication are more specialized and varied than a bachelor’s. In addition to the below-mentioned programs, many universities offer the usual Master of Design degree. Alternatively, students may choose to pursue an area of interest, such as animation or visual effects.

Bachelor’s level

  • B.Des. (Graphics & Communication Design)
  • Bachelor of Visual Arts (Animation and Video Major)
  • Bachelor of Design Major in Graphic Design
  • BA Graphic Communications

Master’s level

  • MA Research Typography and Graphic Communication
  • Communication Design: Graphic Design MA
  • MA Digital and Visual Communications (Graphic Communication)
  • MA Graphic Communication

Subjects in Graphics Communications

Undergraduate degrees in graphics communication typically cover the following subjects or courses.

  • History of graphic communication
  • Graphic Design
  • Design Research
  • Illustration
  • Photography
  • Typography
  • Packaging Design
  • Print and Printmaking
  • Editorial Design
  • Visual Ethics

The list is not exhaustive. Universities may include many other courses or optional modules.

Duration of Graphic Communications courses and degrees

Country Bachelor’s level Master’s level
United States 4 years 2-3 years
United Kingdom 3 years 1-2 years
Australia 3 years 2 years
Canada 4 years 1-3 years

Top-ranking Graphic Communications universities in the world

QS Ranking US News Ranking University Country Bachelor’s Program Master’s Program
1 NA Royal College of Art United Kingdom Click here Click here
2 NA University of the Arts London United Kingdom Click here Click here
3 NA The New School United States Click here Click here
4 NA Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) United States Click here Click here
5 300 Politecnico di Milano Italy Click here Click here
6 275 Aalto University Finland Click here Click here
7 NA Pratt Institute United States Click here Click here
8 2 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) United States Click here Click here
9 NA Design Academy Eindhoven Netherlands Click here Click here
10 NA School of the Art Institute of Chicago United States Click here Click here
11 NA The Glasgow School of Art United Kingdom Click here Click here
12 224 Tongji University China Click here Click here
13 174 Delft University of Technology Netherlands Click here Click here
14 NA Art Center College of Design United States Click here Click here
15 244 RMIT University Australia Click here Click here
16 124 The Hong Kong Polytechnic University Hong Kong Click here Click here
17 102 Carnegie Mellon University United States Click here Click here
18 1242 Goldsmiths, University of London United Kingdom Click here Click here
19 NA The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts (KADK) Denmark Click here Click here
20 NA Konstfack University of Arts , Crafts and Design Sweden Click here Click here
21 26 Tsinghua University China Click here Click here
22 NA California Institute of the Arts United States Click here Click here
23 NA Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) China Click here Click here
24 NA Emily Carr University of Art + Design Canada Click here Click here
25 NA School of Visual Arts (SVA) United States Click here Click here
26 NA Savannah College of Art and Design United States Click here Click here
27 556 Loughborough University United Kingdom Click here Click here
28 127 University of Technology Sydney Australia Click here Click here
29 3 Stanford University United States Click here Click here
30 NA Ecole Nationale Superieure des Arts Decoratifs France Click here Click here
31 29 National University of Singapore (NUS) Singapore Click here Click here
32 NA Zurich University of the Arts Switzerland Click here Click here
33 NA Universität der Künste Berlin Germany Click here Click here
34 NA École Nationale Supérieure de Création Industrielle France Click here Click here
35 5 University of Oxford United Kingdom Click here Click here
36 33 Nanyang Technological University, Singapore Singapore Click here Click here
37 130 Seoul National University South Korea Click here Click here
38 NA Maryland Institute College of Art United States Click here Click here
39 77 The University of Tokyo Japan Click here Click here
40 12 Yale University United States Click here Click here
41 NA California College of the Arts United States Click here Click here
42 6 Columbia University United States Click here Click here
43 335 Umea University Sweden Click here Click here
44 NA Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien Austria Click here Click here
45 30 New York University (NYU) United States Click here Click here
46 14 University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) United States Click here Click here
47 408 Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México Mexico Click here Click here
48 503 Politecnico di Torino Italy Click here Click here
49 16 University College London United Kingdom Click here Click here
50 813 Chiba University Japan Click here Click here
50 NA Design School Kolding Denmark Click here Click here
50 NA Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm Sweden Click here Click here
50 134 University of Gothenburg Sweden Click here Click here
51-100 103 Aarhus Universit Denmark Click here Click here
51-100 NA KTH Royal Institute of Technology Sweden Click here Click here
51-100 40 Monash University Australia Click here Click here
51-100 176 Queensland University of Technology Australia Click here Click here
51-100 241 Swinburne University of Technology Australia Click here Click here

Best Graphic Communications schools in the US

The United States is one of the best countries to pursue a degree in graphic communication, primarily because of the sheer range of opportunities students can receive after graduation. The US has some of the best institutes globally that offer bachelor’s programs with an average duration of four years. Popular graphic communications degrees at the undergraduate level are available as

  • Bachelor in Graphic Design and Visual Communication Design
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) – Communication Design
  • Bachelor of Design- Visual Communication

Art and design schools in the US also offer several specialized master’s degrees, which usually range from two to three years, depending on the university.

  • Master of Arts in Visual Communication Design
  • Master of Fine Arts in Visual Communication Design

Undergraduate programs in graphic communications can cost anywhere between USD 12,000 and USD 30,000.

The average annual salary of undergraduates in graphic communication in the US is USD 58,000. 

QS Ranking US News Ranking University Bachelor’s Program Master’s Program
3 NA The New School Click here Click here
4 NA Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) Click here Click here
7 NA Pratt Institute Click here Click here
8 2 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Click here Click here
10 NA School of the Art Institute of Chicago Click here Click here

Best Graphic Communications universities in the UK

The UK has many universities offering degrees in visual communication due to its booming marketing and advertising sector, demanding many competent and creative professionals. 

Graduates of bachelor’s programs in graphic communications can work in in-house agencies or freelance. The UK offers the following kinds of undergraduate programs.

  • BA (Hons) Graphic Communication Design
  • BA (Hons) Graphic Design 
  • BA (Hons) Communication Design

Most master’s programs are centered around a master of arts in visual communication, usually one year in duration, with some extending to 18 months and even two years.

  • MA Visual Communication
  • MSc in Visual Communication
  • MA Communication Design

A bachelor’s degree in visual communications can carry tuition fees ranging from GBP 15,000-20,000 (USD 19,026-25,368*)

A fresh visual communications graduate can expect to receive an average salary of GBP 32,000 (USD 40,588*) per year in the UK.

* Tuition cost and the average annual salary is converted to USD at 1 GBP = 1.27 USD. Exchange rates are subject to change.

QS Ranking US News Ranking University Bachelor’s Program Master’s Program
1 NA Royal College of Art Click here Click here
2 NA University of the Arts London Click here Click here
11 NA The Glasgow School of Art Click here Click here
18 1242 Goldsmiths, University of London Click here Click here
27 556 Loughborough University Click here Click here

Best Graphic Communications universities in Australia

Demand for UI/UX designers, graphic designers, and art teachers has made education in visual communication an appealing choice. Top universities like Monash, RMIT, and UTS offer several undergraduate programs training students in communication design concepts and imparting creative, technical, and research skills. 

  • Bachelor of Design (Visual Communication)
  • Bachelor of Visual Communication Design

Most master’s degrees for graphic/visual communication in Australia are available as a Master of Design degree. Students can choose a typical M.Des degree or choose a specialized master’s program in visual effects, animation, production design, and design research.

  • Master Of Design
  • Master Of Interaction Design
  • Master of Design (Communication Design)

Annual tuition cost at the undergraduate level can range from AUD 14,900 to AUD 41,560 (USD 10,724-29,913*) depending on the university.

The salaries of visual communication graduates in Australia are AUD 69,000 (USD 49,663*)

* Tuition fees and average annual salary has been converted to USD at 1 AUD = 0.72 USD. Exchange rates may vary periodically.

QS Ranking US News Ranking University Bachelor’s Program Master’s Program
15 244 RMIT University Click here Click here
28 127 University of Technology Sydney Click here Click here
51-100 40 Monash University Click here Click here
51-100 176 Queensland University of Technology Click here Click here
51-100 241 Swinburne University of Technology Click here Click here

Academic requirements for a degree in Graphic Communications

Most universities state minimal entry requirements for admissions to undergraduate and graduate degree programs in graphic communications.

Undergraduate/Bachelor’s level 

  • At least 16 years of age
  • Certificate of higher secondary school with at least 70%.
  • English proficiency with an IELTS score of 7.0 and no component below 6.0. (or equivalent scores of any other accepted English language tests)
  • Portfolio of designs, illustrations, or any projects.

Graduate/Master’s level

  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university in design or closely related program with a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
  • English language proficiency with a minimum score of 7.0 in IELTS (or equivalent scores in other tests)

Other requirements

Some universities may require additional documents during undergraduate or graduate applications.

  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Statement of purpose
  • Portfolio of designs and any other relevant work

The best universities offering majors in graphic/visual communication and design may require applicants to write an essay on a specified topic as a part of the selection process. Admissions to the undergraduate or graduate program may be conditional on fulfilling the general requirements, as stated above, and an impressive essay and portfolio.

Careers after Graphic Communications degree

A career in graphic communication is exciting and demands technical skills and creativity. However, positions in this field can be pretty competitive, with a person’s success depending on their ability to develop the most appealing strategies and solutions.

Some common careers after an undergraduate degree in graphic or visual communications include

  • Advertising art director
  • Creative director
  • Graphic designer
  • Animator
  • Artist
  • Illustrator

Other fields where a degree in graphic communications can add a competitive edge include

  • Public Relations and Publicity
  • Branding
  • User Interface Design
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Interior and spatial design

Majoring in visual communication can also help game design and development artists involved in designing characters, environments, and other game assets as there can be an overlap in the technical skills. 

Graduates may even wish to freelance if they have the required networking skills.

Average salary after Graphic Communications degree

Graduates in graphic communication attract the following salaries in different countries. Salaries in this field are highly dependent on the relevant experience one has accumulated and the ability to research and stay updated on relevant trends in the industry.

Country Average Annual Salary in USD*
United States 58,000
United Kingdom 40,600
Canada 38,400
Australia 49,600
Germany 43,800

* Please note that average annual salaries from countries except for the US, have been converted from their respective local currencies to USD at the current exchange rates. Exchange rates are subject to periodic change.

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FAQ’s

Students may have to work with applications such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, In Design, After Effects, Premiere Pro, and AutoCAD.

The US, UK, and Australia have several universities offering a bachelor’s in visual/graphic communication and design. In addition, European countries such as Italy, Finland, Sweden, and Denmark also provide an excellent education in graphics and design. 

Many of the skills used in graphic communications are available as short-term courses online. In addition, several universities offer an online bachelor’s degree in visual communications, such as Arizona State University, Purdue University, University of Missouri – St. Louis, etc.

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