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Make your passion your profession with a Bachelor's in Graphic Arts degree - online

Graphic design helps organizations communicate a message. This message can be inspiring, thought provoking, entertaining, or all three at once. With an online Bachelor’s degree in Graphic Arts, you could launch or advance an exciting, creative career in print and electronic media.

This online program will guide you through the use of type, illustration, photography, animation, and various other techniques to help you master graphic design concepts. You could work as a freelance designer or find entry-level employment in advertising agencies, in-house production departments, and more.


The online Graphic Arts degree program at IU could lead to a number of exciting careers, such as:

  • Graphic designer
  • Web designer
  • Production artist
  • Multimedia artist
  • Art director
  • Freelance graphic designer


As part of your online Bachelor’s degree in Graphic Arts program, you'll learn fundamental design skills and tools1 such as:

  • InDesign®
  • Photoshop®
  • Illustrator®
  • Flash®
  • Typography
  • Information design
  • Page layout design
  • Web design
  • Logo and identity design
  • Package design
  • Internet commerce

Graphic Arts

With an online Bachelor’s degree in Graphic Arts, you could help businesses convey their unique messages. Take your passion for graphic arts and turn it into a career. Start on your degree today.


Course Name Credits

DGD 360
Advanced Digital Imagery

This advanced raster imaging course focuses on professional techniques in image manipulation. Students will learn to work in 3D creating lifelike objects, environments, and scenarios.

Prerequisites: None.

APP 110
Business Computer Fundamentals

This course explores the introductory use of word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation applications. Students will learn computer skills, including document and spreadsheet creation and presentation techniques. Emphasis is on utilization of basic application skills to complete general business tasks.

Prerequisites: None.

DGD 240
Client Management System Frameworks

This course focuses on the design and development process of creating a website using a Content Management System (CMS). Students will learn how to customize a web page built using a CMS. The focus will be placed on design, testing, and deployment utilizing industry standard frameworks to produce functioning web pages and templates.

Prerequisites: None.

DGD 160
Color Theory

This course introduces students to the different color models used in graphic design production. Topics covered include how color evokes emotions and symbolism, and how to apply effective color schemes to connect and motivate the target audience. The basic color models covered are for primary usage in print and on screen.

Prerequisites: None.

DGD 106
Creative Design Process

This course introduces students to design principles and the design process. Students will learn critical thinking skills and brainstorming techniques to apply visual concepts to create successful design projects.

Prerequisites: None.

DGD 450
Design Business Practices

This course focuses on an overview of the different settings in which designers work and the personal communication skills necessary to succeed when working with employers or directly with clients. Topics covered include best practices in time management skills, and design workflow. Emphasis will cover the pros and cons and various aspects of self-employment vs. working for someone else.

Prerequisites: None.

DGD 260
Digital Imagery

This course will further develop image manipulation skills and proficiency in using a raster based application. Focus will be on effective use of advanced tools utilizing non-destructive editing methods to create dynamic visual imagery.

Prerequisites: DGD104

DGD 410
History of Communication Design

This course identifies design trends from history. Emphasis is on learning how past trends influence and define current and future progression of design movements in visual communication.

Prerequisites: None.

DGD 320
Icon Design

This course focuses on symbol and icon development for universal multimedia application. Students will use semiotics to analyze how people extract meanings from visual elements, leading to an increased awareness of how targeted imagery can communicate multiple layers of information.

Prerequisites: None.

DGD 310
Interactive Information Architecture

This course focuses on interaction, emphasizing how the design of interactive spaces can best support user engagement utilizing cutting-edge techniques. Students will use a variety of digital elements to create dynamic, interactive screen-based design artifacts.

Prerequisites: None.

DGD 101
Introduction to Digital Design Technology

This course introduces the digital tools used in visual communication. Students will learn the basic function and utility of industry-standard hardware and software. In addition, students will learn best practices in design workflow, including file organization, file management, time management, and system backup and maintenance.

Prerequisites: None.

DGD 220
Marketing and Brand Strategies I

This course introduces the basics of branding. Students will learn how to use their critical thinking skills to develop marketing material that supports an effective content strategy plan. Emphasis will be placed on marketing that targets print and interactive digital platforms.

Prerequisites: DGD106

DGD 305
Marketing and Brand Strategies II

Students will design a brand-appropriate marketing system. Emphasis will be placed on the process of market research, conceptual strategies, and the implementation of branding elements across both traditional and digital media outputs.

Prerequisites: DGD220

DGD 204
Multimedia Design in Motion I

This course introduces the basic principles of movement in animation. Students will learn best practices in data visualization to create interactive media that targets the end user. Focus will be on creative spatial thinking practices that will produce engaging motion graphics.

Prerequisites: None.

DGD 270
Multimedia Design in Motion II

This course focuses on advanced animation and interactive methods. Students will learn to think sequentially, and create timeline controls that enhance UX (User Experience) and UI (User Interface) to engage the end user in an animated project.

Prerequisites: DGD204

DGD 420
Multimedia Special Effect Design

This course will focus on fundamental concepts and features to create motion graphics and visual effects. Students will learn to use 2D and 3D tools for compositing, animation, and effects to create or customize digital media.

Prerequisites: None.

DGD 105
Page Layout and Typography I

This course introduces page layout fundamentals including typography, hierarchy, and grid systems. Students will learn to differentiate between various typographic styles and use digital technology to solve basic design problems regarding legibility, readability, and overall message clarity.

Prerequisites: None.

DGD 265
Page Layout and Typography II

In this course, students will refine their knowledge of composition and typography. Emphasis will be placed on developing concepts, designing compositions, and using type and layout harmoniously to create clear and engaging design solutions for various deliverables.

Prerequisites: None.

DGD 299
Personal Branding and Marketing Strategies

This course provides an opportunity for students to reflect on past projects to determine strengths that will define future pathways for employment goals. Emphasis will be placed on developing a cohesive personal brand, and identify marketing strategies to target goals defined.

Prerequisites: None.

DGD 490
Portfolio Preparation

In this portfolio course, students will revise pieces completed over their degree journey to a professional level. Emphasis will be placed on preparing to enter the job market by refining their personal brand and skillset, building up networking strategies and honing interviewing skills.

Prerequisites: None.

DGD 230
Print and Digital Production Fundamentals

This course provides an introduction to the process and materials used in digital and print production as well as package design. Students will learn to design appropriate layouts based on a variety of production parameters and industry requirements.

Prerequisites: None.

CSS 295
Professional Development

In this course, students apply the techniques and strategies learned within the Psychology of Motivation for more in-depth exploration of relevant employment resources, for the development of documents to submit in job application processes, including resumes, cover letters, reference letters, follow up correspondence, and other written communications. Through the course, students will enhance individual verbal communication and interview skills. Students will also learn how to prioritize job search activities, and to appropriately manage and organize relevant documents and records. Upon completion of this course, students will have completed a portfolio of resources and documents to support their current and future job searches and be more informed about the strategies and processes that can more effectively support such efforts.

Prerequisites: None.

CSS 105
Psychology of Motivation

This course introduces students to the skills, characteristics, and habits that will help them be successful in a college environment and future careers. Such a desire for goal-oriented behavior is commonly referred to as motivation, and such motivation can propel students toward accomplishing their academic and vocational goals. Couse topics include time management, problem solving, goal setting, career planning and preparation, and a range of additional student success strategies. Upon course completion, students will be more informed and better prepared to progress in their programs and in their efforts to advance their desired career goals (i.e., students will be more academically prepared in knowledge and practical training within an occupational area and also enhance their abilities to support their job searches and submitting application documents such as documents created using standard writing guideline formats).

Prerequisites: None.

MKT 235
Technology in Marketing and Branding Strategy

This course will explore a range of digital marketing methods, with an emphasis on increased understanding of capabilities, pros and cons, and digital marketing best practices. The course will explore the history of the Internet and how it has changed business, marketing, and communication. Students will learn strategies for positive customer experiences online and digital customer retention.

Prerequisites: None.

DGD 210
UX Design and Methodologies

This course introduces user experience principles and basic human-computer interaction methodology. Students will learn how persona creation, audience demographic analysis, and prototyping can lead to more effective visual communication solutions.

Prerequisites: None.

DGD 104
Vector and Raster Design Tools

This course introduces students to vector and raster design software. Focus will be on learning tools to create simple visual solutions to address a variety of communication challenges.

Prerequisites: DGD101

DGD 275
Vector Illustration Design

This course provides students an opportunity to further develop their vector-based illustration skills. Students will create a variety of scalable illustrations for both print and web applications. Focus will be on high levels of creative concepts utilizing advanced techniques.

Prerequisites: DGD104

DGD 140
Web Design I

This course introduces web design principles and processes. Students will learn how to develop a web or application's visual layout, functionality, and features based on a client's needs to reach their target audience. Emphasis will be placed on principles of design, web color theory, and UX (User Experience) best practices to strategically attract, engage, and convert visitors.

Prerequisites: None.

Total Credits

general education

Course Name Credits

CMN 315
Advanced Interpersonal Communication

This course is designed to provide students with the skills they need to be effective communicators. Students will apply interpersonal communication skills theory to various situations in order to understand the clear connections between theory, skills, and life situations they will encounter.

Prerequisites: None.

HIS 225
American History

This course covers American history from colonization to the present. Emphasis is on the relevance of cultural, economic, political, and social developments in the United States.

Prerequisites: None.

MAT 225
College Algebra

This course covers introductory algebraic expressions, formulas, and solving equations. Students learn graphing, numerical sets, exponents, radicals, and inequalities.

Prerequisites: None.

CMN 205
Communication and Public Speaking

This course focuses on the principles of effective public speaking and presentation. Focus is on the preparation, presentation, and critique of various forms of oral communication. Emphasis is placed on development, delivery, presentation aids, and persuasive speaking.

Prerequisites: None.

PHI 315
Critical Thinking

This course is designed as an interdisciplinary approach to critical thinking in a modern world. This course will challenge students to learn how to reflect, identify previous assumptions, and be able to analyze and apply common problem-solving techniques associated with the task of thinking critically and challenging the everyday norms.

Prerequisites: None.

ENG 105
English Writing Fundamentals

This course focuses on the principles of effective English composition with a comprehensive review and reinforcement of language arts skills. Emphasis is placed on the four essentials of writing: unity, support, coherence, and sentence skills. Practice in proofreading, editing, revision, and clear thinking is incorporated throughout the course.

Prerequisites: None.

ECN 225

This course covers basic microeconomic concepts. Topics include recession and depression, the circular flow of production and consumption, the role of the market in the economy, wage and price movements, the functions of markets in capitalism, and government interference in free markets. Emphasis is placed on students acquiring the critical thinking skills of economics.

Prerequisites: None.

RAM 110
Research Application Methods

This course explores real world applications in statistics. Topics covered will be analyzing and creating graphs, survey techniques, preparing surveys and analysis of data. Emphasis will be placed on understanding the use of graphs, surveys and the importance of statistical analysis in a business setting.

Prerequisites: None.

STA 325

This course focuses on the practical skills needed in statistics analysis. Topics include distributions, relationships, randomness, inference, proportions, regression, and variance. Emphasis is placed on understanding the use of statistical methods and the demands of statistical practice.

Prerequisites: MAT 225 or with the consent of the Dean.

Total Credits
Total Program Credits

To access the Online Graphic Arts Program Overview click here

Why Choose Independence University?

IU's online and on-campus degree programs can help you prepare for employment in some of today's most rewarding job fields. Our programs are career-focused, without elective courses that you don't want or need, so you can finish your degree fast.

What to Expect: Getting Your Graphic Arts Degree Online

Are you new to online education? As you consider graphic design schools, it’s natural to feel cautious about getting your graphic design degree online. However, chances are you’ll enjoy online college even more than face-to-face college. At Independence University (IU), your graphic design online courses will provide flexibility to fit your busy schedule. IU’s Graphic Arts degree program includes plenty of personal support so you can develop the artistic and technical know how needed in graphic design jobs.

Start with the right tools

As a graphic arts student at IU, you’ll be given a new Mac® laptop loaded with the graphic design software you’ll need during your program. Your laptop is included in your tuition at no additional cost to you. Upon graduating, you can keep the laptop.

How and what you’ll learn

At IU, your courses are set up sequentially in four-week modules, so you’ll only need to focus on one Graphic Arts course at a time. Each week, you’ll participate online in assignments, assessments, and discussion boards. In addition, daily online checkpoints will help you stay on track. For example, one day you might read an article on graphic design and then answer a question.

You supply the creativity and enthusiasm, and IU will help you channel your energy into skills that employers value. You’ll receive career-focused training in many areas of graphic design, including how to:

  • Plan, analyze, and create visual solutions to communication challenges
  • Use in-studio visual communication methods
  • Get messages across in print, electronic, and film media
  • Employ color theory, typography, illustration, photography, animation, and various print and layout techniques

Here’s just a sampling of the graphic design courses you’ll complete in your four-week modules:

  • Page Layout Tools
  • Logo and Identity Design
  • Package Design
  • Branding and Identity
  • Animation Scripting
  • Digital Photography
  • Marketing Strategies

Whenever you need extra help during your online degree program at IU, you can personally interact with instructors and receive free tutoring. We are dedicated to providing you with all the resources you need to succeed as a graphic artist, including building an impressive graphic design portfolio of your own work.

What to expect in your graphic design career

Upon graduating from IU’s Graphic Arts degree program, you’ll be prepared to seek graphic design jobs in advertising agencies, design studios, publishing houses, or corporate-communication departments. You could pursue an entry-level position as a graphic designer, a production artist for a design staff, or a freelance designer, with an eye toward more advanced positions such as junior art director.

As a nonprofit institution, Independence University always puts your needs as a student first. Your courses, resources, and online interface are designed to maximize your success. With the convenience and flexibility of online learning, you can feel confident that getting your Graphic Arts degree online will be a rewarding experience.