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Online Bachelors Degree in Graphic Design at Sessions College

Online Bachelors Degree in Graphic Design

BFA in Graphic Design

Your portfolio starts here. Launch your creative career by building the skills and portfolio to excel in a professional environment.

NEXT CLASS: JAN 4th | Enroll by Nov 15th to lock in promotional benefits for New and Returning students. Learn More

PROGRAM OVERVIEW

The online Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Graphic Design program prepares creative individuals for careers in communication design. This online Bachelors Degree in Graphic Design program is designed to produce graduates with the skills and attributes for a global audience and tomorrow’s challenges: resourceful, adaptive critical thinkers who are prepared to excel in a professional environment, and whose work is based on effective research, creative problem-solving, and design methodology.

The BFA in Graphic Design program is a 120-credit program completed in 10 semesters (15 weeks per semester) by a student on a full-time schedule (12 credit hours per semester). The program is suitable for both aspiring high school graduates and adult learners looking to advance their skills or earn a degree.

The online BFA in Graphic Design program is designed to prepare designers to enter or advance their careers and pursue their own creative paths. Our goal is to help you gain relevant skills and generate the compelling body of work that matches your career interests.

Andrew Shalat

Sessions College, Department Head of Graphic Design

BFA Program At a Glance

Earn a BFA

The #1 credential for creatives.

100% Online

Flexible program designed for adult learners.

Under 4 years

Graduate in less than 4 years.

w

1to1 Faculty Feedback

Learn from creative professionals.

Study At Your Own Pace

Full and part-time schedules available.

$435/Credit Tuition

Recognized for affordability.

BFA in Graphic Design Student Experience

The Sessions College BFA in Graphic Design program inspires students to advance their creative careers by developing work for a global audience that is aligned with their future career goals.

Build a Foundation in Relevant Skills.

During the first two years of the program, you’ll establish a strong foundation in the technical, design, and critical thinking skills required by employers in creative industries. No textbooks required; you will learn by applying current design and software skills to a wide range of projects.

Customize Your Creative Path.

Our BFA is focused on helping you achieve your creative ambitions. In year three, working closely with our faculty, you’ll develop a customized educational plan to help you craft a portfolio of work to achieve your personal or professional goals. Adapt your classes by working on projects that inspire you and advance your career.

Focus on Research and Presentation.

Upper level courses provide a highly structured context for students to deepen their research, design, and presentation skills. Mentored by experienced faculty, you will delve deeper into your projects, and develop the communication skills to ace your client interviews.

Experience Real-World Applications.

Study professional practices and gain invaluable work experience with a real client or employer, as part of your program. Discover how to market and monetize your work in interactive media and accounting classes.

Be Industry Ready.

Employers are looking for problem solvers and adaptable professionals. Throughout the program, you’ll access industry-relevant opportunities to develop and advance your proficiency in critical thinking, problem solving, and communication.

Build a Professional Portfolio.

The program is relentlessly focused on helping you generate compelling creative work. Your final BFA portfolio and exhibition will speak for itself, helping you express your passions and talents in pursuit of your desired career path.

The Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Graphic Design is a 120-credit online Bachelors Degree in Graphic Design program completed in 3.3 years. Part-time schedules are available.

Graphic Design Major - Year One

First Semester

Second Semester

Third Semester

Graphic Design Major - Year Two

Fourth Semester

Fifth Semester

Sixth Semester

* Elective course may be replaced by any other 3-credit course in the program, subject to availability and prerequisites.

Graphic Design Major - Year Three

Seventh Semester

  • DES 360 Design Systems & Planning - 3 credits
  • DES 301 Typography III - 3 credits
  • DES 302 Beyond Branding - 3 credits
  • GEN 409 Cultural Anthropology* - 3 credits

Eighth Semester

  • DEG 304 Special Topics I - 3 credits
  • DES 333 Design Deconstruction - 3 credits
  • DEG 344 Professional Design Practices - 3 credits
  • GEN 402 Communication* - 3 credits

Ninth Semester

  • DEG 404 Special Topics II - 3 credits
  • DES 411 Interactive Marketing - 3 credits
  • DEG 410 Internship & Entrepreneurship - 3 credits
  • GEN 401 Accounting for Creatives - 3 credits
Graphic Design Major - Year Four

Tenth Semester

  • DES 422 Global Design - 3 credits
  • DEG 460 BFA Portfolio - 3 credits
  • BFA Elective** - 3 credits
  • GEN 407 Organizational Behavior* - 3 credits

* General Education course work.** Elective course is based on available recommended 3-credit course options.

COURSE DESCRIPTIONS: 100-200 Level

DES 101 TYPOGRAPHY I - 1.5 credits

Explore the critical role of typography in graphic design. Course projects build an understanding of the anatomy of the letterform, the distinguishing features of different typefaces, and creative applications of type. An assured grasp of typography is essential in any visual communication project.

DES 102 TYPOGRAPHY II - 3 credits

Learn advanced concepts in typography including type fusion, information hierarchy, expressive type, and 3D type applications. Assignments include advertising, product packaging, civic branding, and currency design. The focus of the course is on improving your design by learning to see type differently.

DES 104 COLOR THEORY - 1.5 credits

Focus on developing appropriate color systems for graphic design projects. Projects explore the principles, terminology, and applications of color theory, with an emphasis on manipulating color. A working knowledge of the expression and perception of color, and color interaction, lends credibility and sophistication to a designer’s work.

DES 105 DESIGN AND COMPOSITION - 1.5 credits

Discover the principles of effective composition in print design and advertising. Composition, literally the assembly of elements, is the artful arrangement that guides the eye and unifies a design work. Case studies and hands-on projects address closed/open space, negative space, movement, and more.

DES 111 DRAWING I - 3 credits

Learn how to analyze what you see in the world around you and communicate it on paper. Through hands-on projects, and guided by a professional artist, you will explore the critical concepts of line, mass, form, perspective, value, and composition, building a solid foundation for all your art and design work.

DES 121 PHOTOSHOP I - 3 credits

Get a thorough grounding in Adobe Photoshop, the premiere image manipulation tool for print design, Web design, and photography. You’ll learn to choose and use the best techniques for common Photoshop jobs including selecting and isolating objects, creating image composites, masking and vignetting images, setting typography, and improving images with retouching and effects. Every designer must tame this creative powerhouse of a program.

DES 131 LOGO DESIGN I - 1.5 credits

Explore the philosophy and process behind designing a logo. Students learn the importance of corporate identity and the different stages in a typical logo design project. The course establishes a solid conceptual and practical grounding for anyone interested in pursuing a career in visual identity, from a design or a marketing perspective.

DES 141 ILLUSTRATOR I - 3 credits

Build a working knowledge of Adobe Illustrator, the graphic designer’s vector program of choice. Course projects explore selection tools, drawing tools, layers, the Pen tool, transformations/distortions, type tools, and modifying paths and shapes. Tapping the power of vector software allows you to produce detailed and scalable art for almost any application.

DES 151 DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY I - 3 credits

Explore the interaction of photography techniques and environmental factors to create powerful digital images. Students learn the fundamentals of lighting, perspective, and set up and explore techniques for classic assignments: portraits, product shots, indoor and outdoor location shoots, and fast-action sports. Whether you’re a fine artist, graphic designer, or Web developer, a mastery of digital photography gives you creative control of the medium.

DES 201 INDESIGN I - 3 credits

Explore fundamental techniques for Adobe InDesign and develop an efficient workflow for both print and digital publishing. The course will impart a working knowledge of InDesign’s main capabilities, everything from basic features to using master pages, importing and manipulating objects, controlling text flow and style, and organizing content with tables, layers, links, and conveyor tools. Valuable methods for cutting-edge digital publishing techniques are explored, and projects give you give you training in a range of real world print/ digital publishing projects: brochures, catalogs, magazines, ePubs, and even an interactive folio for the iPad.

DES 204 THE STUDY OF GRAPHIC DESIGN - 1.5 credits

Discover the historical movements and designers that shape today’s graphic design environment. You’ll examine styles, media, and individuals with a specific focus on 20th century trends and the evolution of print media. This course builds your research skills, preparing you to communicate effectively and professionally with visuals and typography.

DES 211 GRAPHIC DESIGN I - 3 credits

Establish a firm foundation for taking on professional design work. You’ll gain insights from industry veterans and explore the challenges of designing posters, logos, magazine covers, book layouts, 3D designs, and brand identities. Looking to establish a career as a freelance designer? The course provides you opportunities to hone your design process, as you research each project, develop concepts, work with iterative feedback, and begin to develop quality pieces for your portfolio.

DES 205 PRINT PRODUCTION - 3 credits

Learn the technical fundamentals of producing professional-looking print publications. Areas of focus include managing a print job effectively, communicating with printers, and identifying the best solution within a budget. Course projects build skills in choosing papers and inks, modifying your materials and processes based on a budget, using Adobe InDesign to prepare designs for print, managing the phases of the production workflow, and most importantly producing high-quality work.

DES 206 BRANDING & IDENTITY - 3 credits

Develop essential skills for designing logos, marketing materials, and advertising programs to establish and promote corporate identities. Case studies focus on giant corporations such as CBS, BMW, and Sony, and how they established their corporate images and business strategically. Course projects require designing or redesigning corporate identities for both existing companies and newly established businesses.

DES 207 LAYOUT DESIGN - 1.5 credits

Take your layout skills to the next level by studying advanced concepts in page design. Students explore how to use esoteric composition and typography and color to create layout designs that attract attention and challenge the viewer. Open-ended projects provide maximum opportunity for portfolio development.

DES 208 PACKAGING DESIGN - 3 credits

Explore the exciting medium of packaging design by creating branded products for retail display. How do you make a product stand out from the shelves? What makes the targeted consumer want to buy it? Students address these questions via course projects including champagne packaging, pizza box, perfume bottle, and mass versus prestige applications.

DES 212 GRAPHIC DESIGN II - 3 credits

Prepare yourself for high-level graphic design projects. The focus is on understanding different styles that influenced graphic design, in addition to how to conceptualize projects, reinvent clichés, create balanced layouts, distill complex information, and motivate your audience. Course projects include postage design, annual report layout, poster and book design, an art poster, and a direct mail piece.

DES 232 LOGO DESIGN II - 3 credits

Build your portfolio by tackling professional logo and branding design projects. Lessons cover such important concepts as corporate identity, image, branding, and repositioning, with reference to intriguing real-world case studies. Course projects offer a range of challenges from a record company logo to an airline branding system, allowing you to build your personal style within constraints of realistic project briefs.

DES 259 CAPSTONE PROJECT - GRAPHIC DESIGN - 2 credits

The course provides students the opportunity to complete a multidimensional design project in three stages, working closely with a faculty member. The project will challenge students to demonstrate their proficiency in performance standards defined for the graphic design program. The project will require research, concept development, and critical thinking, providing students with the opportunity to explore a professional, iterative design process as well as experience simulated designer-client interactions.

DEG 260 PORTFOLIO REVIEW - 1 credit

The course provides students the opportunity to gather and develop a portfolio of work and present it to faculty for two rounds of feedback. Faculty feedback will help students identify specific works or subject areas that need improvement. The class structure provides the ability to revise a portfolio for a final presentation, during which students present both their final work live. The class not only helps students understand the strengths of their portfolio from a real-world perspective, it also provides experience in developing and presenting their portfolio that will be useful to their future development as creative professionals.

WEB 101 HTML AND CSS I - 3 credits

To create Web pages, a Web designer must have a foundation in HTML and CSS. This course begins with the basics of HTML markup and specifications for standards-compliant Web pages. CSS scripting is examined as a method for positioning page elements and styling typography. Cutting-edge features of HTML5 and CSS3 are also introduced. The emphasis is on the contemporary use of markup and scripting to create effective and attractive Web sites.

WEB 222 UX/UI DESIGN - 3 credits

UX/UI is a hot field in software development and web Work with veteran UX/UI designer and learn UX/UI from the ground up. Using your favorite prototyping tool - Sketch, Invision, Adobe XD, or Figma – you will learn how create a concept for an app, and turn your sketches into live prototypes with hotspots, transitions, and slick graphics, using the iterative development process practiced in the industry.

COURSE DESCRIPTIONS: 300-400 Level

DES 360 DESIGN SYSTEMS AND PLANNING - 3 credits

A design is more than an individual piece, it needs to be integrated into a system. You will begin your exploration of contemporary design systems with a focus on how to apply them when planning, developing, and advancing your design work. What kind of professional designer do you aspire to be? In collaboration with faculty advisors you will review and analyze your current portfolio and identify what kinds of design you want to develop and produce during your program of study and beyond. Together, we will create an individualized education plan will serve as a roadmap for the remainder of your Bachelor’s degree program. To put your plan into action, during this class, you’ll research design trends and potential careers, develop and execute a quality portfolio project, and develop a list of potential employers to contact for your internship.

DES 301 TYPOGRAPHY III - 3 credits

Typography can be endless. In this course, you will take a “deep dive” into the world of type to research and explore how typographic letterforms have been and can be presented in creative and innovative ways. You will demonstrate the ability to iterate multiple design solutions, employ advanced aesthetic judgement, and show the ability to communicate with diverse audiences and cultures. You will synthesize multiple design principles as you produce a variety of compelling designs prominently featuring typographic elements.

DES 302 BEYOND BRANDING - 3 credits

Building upon your branding expertise, you will focus on effectively producing strategic and compelling graphic identity and branding materials. Your designs will be informed by your research of branding for product-driven and service-driven companies, as well as non-profit and cultural organizations. In this class, you will select or develop a signature project and carry it through a classic process: research, brainstorming, feedback, finalizing, client presentation, and final adjustments. An important aspect of this class will be the production of a graphic design standards manual, demonstrating your ability to establish and communicate professional standards.

GEN 409 CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY - 3 credits

As a designer, you will communicate ideas to complex and diverse audiences. This course explores multiple theories of cultural anthropological that inform the way we understand identities and societies. Areas of focus include language and communication, economic and political systems, ethnocentrism and culture, kinship and descent, marriage and family, gender and sexuality, race and ethnicity, religion and belief systems, the effects of colonialism and industrialization, and the impact of globalization on culture.

DEG 304 SPECIAL TOPICS I - 3 Credits

Professional designers apply design and communication principles, meet milestones, collaborate with clients, analyze, evaluate, and synthesize creative concepts, adhere to deadlines, and strive to exceed expectations. In this class, you will continue to advance the design strategy plan you developed in the DES 360 Design Systems and Planning course. In collaboration with your instructor, you will select or “spec out” and complete a multi-faceted project and/or set of projects that support your portfolio goals. In this course, your instructor will serve as your client, and your class grade will be based not only on the quality of your work but also on your ability to meet deadlines, synthesize design principles, and effectively present your work.

DES 333 DESIGN DECONSTRUCTION - 3 credits

During this class, your approach to generating design ideas will be “turned on its head” through the process of deconstruction and reconstruction. You will be encouraged to expand your view of design, typography, composition, ideation, and effectively communicating with diverse audiences. Throughout the course, you will solve design problems by exploring and applying creative strategies. By the conclusion of this course, you will have generated a host of basic and refined conceptual pieces and acquired new methodologies for individual or team creative work.

DEG 344 PROFESSIONAL DESIGN PRACTICES - 3 credits

During this class you will develop and/or enhance your graphic design business forms and collateral materials based upon industry standards and best practices. In preparation for running your own design business, you will also create a business plan and marketing plan as you explore an ethical and scalable business philosophy. You will focus on networking with fellow designers through local design organizations and/or respected design sharing sites and implement your internship outreach plan in preparation for the DEG 410 Internship and Entrepreneurship.

GEN 402 COMMUNICATION - 3 credits

Engage in the process of examining, analyzing, summarizing, and evaluating communication strategies and theories. Students will demonstrate how to apply various communication principles through speech, including the consideration of the communication process, receiver perceptions, and verbal and nonverbal communication, as well as listening. The theory of communication will be explored in regard to engaging small groups, the public, and a variety of organizational contexts. Additionally, a broad range of communication venues and considerations will be evaluated including interviewing, mass media, the use of new technologies, the influence of relationships, body language, intercultural perspectives and gender, as well as how to address conflict and negotiations.

DEG 404 SPECIAL TOPICS II - 3 credits

In this second individualized course, you will research, develop, and present projects that support your portfolio and career goals. You will develop a project plan with your instructor, then fulfill it as you continue to analyze, evaluate, and synthesize design theories and integrate them into your well-considered and compelling project(s). Your class grade will be based not only on the quality of your work but also on your ability to meet deadlines, effectively finalize your designs, and present your work.

DES 411 INTERACTIVE MARKETING - 3 credits

As a designer working today, you will likely need to develop designs deployed through a wide range of interactive media and/or social media. How will you react when a client wants you to direct their web strategy or coordinate their social media campaigns? In this class, we will research and discuss current interactive marketing strategies and venues. You will then translate your research into the development of practical interactive media projects that can expand the depth of your portfolio. The final presentation should reflect your research and include finalized designs that demonstrate your design expertise and ability to strategically plan the development of interactive graphic design.

DEG 410 INTERNSHIP AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP - 3 credits

To get your foot in the door in the design field, experience matters. In this industry-focused class, you will engage with a professional client or employer in your local area and expand your experience in the field, with the benefit of the insightful support of your instructor. Working for a real client or employer will provide you an opportunity to hone your problem-solving, client communication, and project management skills, creating a business solution(s) that will stand out in your portfolio and on your resume.

GEN 401 ACCOUNTING FOR CREATIVES - 3 credits

Any creative who wants to establish a freelance career or succeed in business will benefit from a basic understanding of accounting. This course includes a focus on basic accounting principles and how they can be applied within the context of a small creative business. You will explore and identify how to use Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), ledgers and journals, and how to follow and apply accounting strategies and cycles when running a creative focused business. Additionally, this course provides an introduction to bank reconciliation strategies, balance sheets, financial statements, assets and liabilities, and equity, as well as an exploration of business ethics.

DES 422 GLOBAL DESIGN - 3 credits

A contemporary designer must be prepared to produce work that can appeal to an international audience. During this course, you will research designs produced by a range of international designers in different countries. Based upon your findings, you will develop and produce a multi-faceted design project focused on gaining the attention of an international audience. By considering cultural differences, you will develop the cultural sensitivity required to be a global citizen and the skills to effectively research projects for domestic and international audiences.

DEG 460 BFA PORTFOLIO - 3 credits

In collaboration with your instructor, you will finalize your portfolio, business materials, and resume, in preparation for pursuing or advancing your design career. The course structure includes the opportunity to enhance your portfolio as well as demonstrate your ability to effectively communicate the depth of your creative and technical skills, critical thinking and problem-solving abilities, work ethic, and passion for developing impactful and compelling professional work.

BFA ELECTIVE - 3 credits

You will choose one of these elective courses to add depth to your portfolio by demonstrating additional/enhanced skillsets:

GEN 407 ORGANIZATIONAL BEHAVIOR - 3 credits

What makes an organization succeed or fail? In this course you will explore the principles of organizational behavior demonstrated by individuals, small groups, and organizations in our ever-evolving work environment. A variety of topics will be analyzed, summarized, and evaluated including organizational culture, motivation, communication, leadership, and power dynamics. The focus of the course will be on understanding the organizational dynamics that lead to success in a work environment.

ELE 405 PHOTO SETUP AND ART DIRECTION - 3 credits

Effectively produced photographic images greatly enhance creative work. As photographer and art director, you will explore, consider, and execute multiple aspects of a photo shoot including planning, preparation, lighting, exposure, and shooting conditions. After capturing your images, you will edit, color correct, and prepare photographic images for your target medium (digital and/or print). An accomplished photographer will serve as your tour guide during this photographic adventure.

ELE 410 DIGITAL ILLUSTRATION AND INFOGRAPHICS - 3 credits

Compelling and informative graphics contribute to the effectiveness of a design. In this course, you will explore and develop technical illustrations and infographics that communicate information for the purpose of illustrating complex ideas and/or instruction. Working with a skilled illustrator, you’ll learn methods for creating instructional illustrations that communicate clearly and effectively.

PROGRAM OUTCOMES

BFA Program Outcomes

By completing the online Bachelors Degree in Graphic Design program, students develop the following competencies:

1. Art/Design Principles

Demonstrate the ability to produce quality work by applying knowledge of color, visual hierarchy/organization, concept development, typography, and composition.

2. Technology

Create images and design layouts by effectively and efficiently using design software including Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign and other industry and web-based technologies.

3. Research, History, Criticism

Analyze, evaluate, and synthesize historical concepts and artistic styles, effectively communicate and defend aesthetic ideas based upon research, and critically evaluate the work of multiple artists and designers.

4. Design Process

Demonstrate the ability to work independently and collaborate with others; develop strategic and compelling designs/design systems based upon contemporary communication theories while considering social and cultural concerns for diverse audiences, in alignment with ethical business practices.

5. Portfolio

Successfully conceive, produce, and present a coherent body of work by applying technical expertise, effective creative problem solving, constructive feedback. Your work will demonstrate a professional aesthetic based upon your individual goals.

6. Critical Thinking, Communication, and Writing

Effectively generate, convey, and support ideas by employing critical thinking and communication skills while considering divergent perspectives, cultural framing, historical context, research, and ethical concerns.

7. Professional Readiness

Develop a professional perspective by exploring the impact of culture and organizational behavior, practice timely production of well-conceived work, cultivate an elevated attention to detail, fulfill creative briefs, accept constructive feedback, demonstrate adaptability, actively listen, and strive to exceed expectations.

8. Design Planning & Systems

Demonstrate the ability to conceive, develop, and produce effective communication design systems and implementation strategies based upon sound marketing, project management, and design principles while considering research, history, culture, context, human behavior, and psychology.

Outcomes Assessment

To learn more about our outcomes assessment process, visit our Academic Team.

Sessions Student Work

BFA FACULTY

Andrew Shalat, Department Head of Graphic Design

Andrew Shalat is an author, designer/illustrator, educator, and Mac expert. Since 1985, Andrew has been designing and writing articles about Macintosh, Mac software, and publishing technologies. Andrew has been a regular speaker/faculty member at Macworld Expo since 2001 and has written three books on design: How to Do Everything with Online Video (McGraw-Hill, Osborne), Do It Yourself Mac Projects (McGraw-Hill), and MacDesign Out of the Box (Peachpit). Andrew is a regular contributor to Mac Radio, InDesign Magazine, and Creativepro.com and his design work covers a large range of media including book, CD and DVD covers, brochures, catalogs, outdoor signage, print ads, artwork, logos, and Web design. Full bio

Dr. Meryl Epstein, Dean of Academic Affairs

Dr. Meryl P. Epstein is the Dean of Academic Affairs for Sessions College. In her role, Dr Epstein strives to inspire excellence and is consistently focused on supporting the creative and positive environment of Sessions College. Prior to joining Sessions College, Meryl has extensive experience in design, education, and leading academic teams and has served as Dean of Academic Affairs, Program Chair, Doctoral Development Faculty, Art Director, Graphic Design Manager, Faculty member (online and on-ground), and Exhibiting Artist/Photographer. Highlights from her career include implementing and leading the graphic design of three different museums (Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Arizona Science Center, and Arizona Historical Museum) and receiving the first Arizona AIGA fellow award. Full bio

GETTING STARTED

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

 

Why is earning a Bachelors Degree in Graphic Design relevant today?

Professional graphic designers communicate concepts by combining art, design, and communication skills -- in-demand digital skills that you'll hone when you earn your graphic design bachelor's degree online with Sessions College. Our degree programs are developed and taught by faculty with industry experience, so that our students are prepared for jobs in design when they graduate.

In 2019, one in five graphic designers were self-employed and there were 280,000 graphic designers employed in the United States. Potential employers for graduates include printers, publishers, specialized design firms, advertising firms, and computer systems design firms, and a design degree is often regarded is a strong foundation for a career in a related occupation.

For more information on graphic design careers, browse the Federal Occupational Handbook or the O*NET database.

What is the difference between a BFA and a BA?

The Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree is generally considered to be the most prestigious, professionally oriented bachelor's degree in the visual arts.

  • In a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree program, you are generally required to complete at least 65% of courses in your art/design major subject, and no more than 35% in general education. In the Sessions College BFA, 75% of the coursework is focused on your art/design studies.
  • In a Bachelor of Arts (BA) program, you are generally required to complete up to 50% of courses in general education, with a lower percentage in your art/design major. The focus of a BA is to provide a well-rounded education.

For more information on the difference between a Graphic Design BA and a BFA, view this GDUSA article about benefits of getting a BFA.

What makes the Sessions College BFA in Graphic Design program distinctive?

Simply, the program is the most affordable, accessible, and portfolio-focused online Bachelor's Degree in Graphic Design available.

  • Affordable. Our $435/credit tuition is up to 200% lower than competitor programs, so you can graduate with a minimum of loan debt.
  • Accessible. Designed for busy adults with weekly deadlines but no set login times, you can complete the program from anywhere in the world, studying full-time or part-time. More than 50% of degree students complete programs while employed.
  • Portfolio-Focused. Build a solid art/design foundation, then customize your advanced level classes around your portfolio goals. Faculty mentoring will help you hone your final BFA portfolio to achieve YOUR creative career goals.

How long does the program take to complete?

Most Bachelor’s Degree programs take four years to complete. Who has that time? You can complete our BFA in Graphic Design program in 10 semesters or 3.3 years—and sooner if you have credit transfer. With our intensive program, you can graduate faster and get started sooner with your career goals.

What software and/or supplies do I need?

To take this program, you’ll need the following:

  • Mac or Windows computer with an Internet connection.
  • Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign CC software.
  • MS word or equivalent application
  • Your computer must meet software manufacturer requirements.
  • Basic drawing and painting supplies including pencils, charcoal, newsprint, and sketch paper.
  • Webcam, headphones or speaker, VPN connection, and microphone connected to the computer for live proctored exams.

There are no textbook or course material costs to participate in this online program. Student discount on Adobe Creative Cloud software is available to enrolled students.

Is Sessions College accredited?

Yes. Since 2001, Sessions College has been accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC). The Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC) is a private, non-profit organization founded in 1926 that operates as an institutional accreditor of distance education institutions. The Distance Education Accrediting Commission is listed by the U.S. Department of Education as a recognized accrediting agency and is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

How do I apply?

To enter the program you are expected to have earned a high school diploma, GED, or state-approved home school equivalent. Any students under 18 years of age will also need to provide the signed permission of a parent or guardian.

We have a convenient and student-friendly online application process.

To apply, simply complete our application form and provide transcripts, an application essay, and 5-10 samples or art/design work or alternative written assignment, and a $75 application fee. Applications are reviewed by our Acceptance Committee and generally returned within a business week. See our complete application guide and credit transfer policy.

You can begin your creative journey by completing our online application today. There is no charge until you submit your application materials and no obligation to enroll.

What else do I need to do?

All candidates are expected to complete a 15-minute phone or Zoom interview with one of our Admissions advisors. These talented, friendly professionals will explain the program options, answer your questions, and get you started with your financial aid process, if you are eligible.

What are the tuition and fees?

Effective July 1, 2020, the tuition and fees for Bachelor’s in Fine Arts (BFA) students is as follows:

$435 per credit
$5,220 per semester
$15,660 per year
$52,200 total program tuition

A $200 registration fee is required to process your enrollment in the program. Registration fees are nonrefundable after 5 days from the scheduled beginning of program orientation.

We encourage you to compare our tuition and fees to our competitors.  Sessions College is affordable:

  • Tuition guarantee. Your per-credit tuition rate at enrollment is guaranteed to stay the same throughout your program, provide you are continuously enrolled.
  • Same rate for full-time and part-time. Because our programs are designed for busy adults, our full-time and part-time students are charged at the same rate. If you have to go part-time for a while, you are not penalized (NOTE: A program change fee applies.)
  • No mysterious semester or technology fees. Many institutions charge online students additional fees by semester for things like technology, materials, parking, or even stadium use! Our fees are simple so that there are no hidden program costs.

Get Started Today

Take the first step on a rewarding creative journey towards earning a BFA in Graphic Design.

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