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Degree Overview: Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) Degree in Graphic Design

Majors Overview April 13, 2015

Get information about Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) degree programs in Graphic Design and their coursework, career choices, job and wage outlook, and continuing education choices.

Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) Degree Programs in Graphic Design

The focus of a four-year graphic design program is primarily on applied and theoretical digital design techniques, in addition to art history and traditional art. Students examine multimedia, software, technology, visual communications, and visual arts.

In many programs, students are offered the opportunity of developing skills in the fine arts, such as sculpture, painting, and drawing; they simultaneously work with other media and develop strengths in design, creativity, and visualization.

Students enrolled in most programs have the opportunity of participating in internship experiences. Schools may require individuals to create a portfolio and thesis project. Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a GED certificate or a high school diploma.

Students enrolled in some programs may be required to enroll into a pre-graphic design major and create a portfolio before they are allowed to begin core coursework in a B.F.A. in Graphic Design program.


Coursework covers general courses in study areas such as image manipulation, technology, and fine arts. Core coursework may include topic areas such as the following:

•Interactive graphics
•Web design
•Computer graphics
•Digital media
•Digital imaging

Career Choices

Those who complete a B.F.A. in Graphic Design may seek entry-level careers with public institutions, private corporations, in-house creative offices, or design firms involving work in areas of editorial design, multimedia design, brand identity, or web design. They may provide assistance in the creation of brochures, product designs, presentations, or magazine layouts. They may seek positions such as the following:

•Web designer
•Graphic designer
•Art director

Job and Wage Outlook

Over the 2012 – 2022 decade, average job growth rate of seven percent have been predicted for careers related to graphic design (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). Over the same period, web developers (categorized alongside computer network architects and information security analysts) are expected to see a faster-than-average job growth rate of twenty percent.

Multimedia artists and animators and art directors are expected to witness respective slower-than-average growth rates of six percent and three percent. In May 2012, graphic designers brought in an average annual wage of $44,150. During that year, multimedia artists and animators, web developers, and art directors earned respective average annual wages of $61,370, $62,500, and $80,880.

Continuing Education Choices

Those who complete a bachelor’s program may opt for continuing education by earning a Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) in Graphic Design, whose coursework is devised to educate students about theory and application of graphic design. A thesis project and exhibition may also be a requirement in master’s programs.

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