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Design Colleges in USA

Komal Yadav Komal Yadav
Study Abroad Expert

Design colleges in USA offer some specialised programs such as fashion designing, web designing, interior designing, industrial designing and graphic designing. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 96,800 new jobs in the USA are expected to be created in the arts and design field from 2018 to 2028. 

Among various disciplines of designing, interior designing is the most in-demand specialization for studying in the USA. Occupations in this specialization are also projected to have the highest growth rate of 4% till 2028. The payscale of the interior designers and graphic designers is also the highest in this field ie. between 36,629 USD to 51,137 USD and 45,000 USD to 55,000 USD respectively. 

Globally Ranked Design Colleges in USA

Approximately 37,428 design and applied arts degrees offered by the design colleges in USA. Over 216 colleges and universities in the USA are specialised in providing design and applied arts programs. 

Some of the top ranking and popular colleges in USA for designing are provided below: 

Colleges/ UniversitiesQS Global Ranking 2020Design Program Offered
Yale University#171 Bachelor
Columbia University#182 Bachelor degree
University of California#352 Bachelor degree
Alfred University#384 bachelor degree
Virginia Commonwealth University#1624 bachelor degree
Ohio University#1851 Bachelor in fashion design, 1 Bachelor in industrial design, 2 Bachelor in art.

Design Colleges in USA: Specialisations and Degrees Offered

The designers of the USA get plenty of opportunities to start their career as a fashion designer, web designer, interior designer, graphic designer or as an industrial designer. A designer as a fresher can earn approximately 35,000 USD per annum whereas an experienced designer can earn 95,135 USD per year. 

In the following section, the course curriculum of design, offered by the top ranked universities of the USA is going to be discussed:

Fashion design and merchandisingFine arts- ceramic
Communication designSystem design and development
Applied drawing (studio art)Interactive media design
Associate in arts (AA)Apparel and merchandising- apparel design and production
Theatre design and technologyFashion studies and retail merchandising

The scholars can acquire the following degrees in their respective courseworks:

  • Undergraduate program: Bachelor of Science (B.Sc), Bachelor of Arts (B.A). Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A)
  • Postgraduate program: Master of Science (M.Sc), Master of Arts (M.A), Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A)
  • Doctoral Program: PhD in design

Undergraduate Programs at Design Colleges in USA

The USA colleges are renowned for offering 143 fashion designing, 70 industrial designing and 441 graphic designing programs for bachelor coursework (as per bachelors portal). Some of the bachelor of design colleges in USA are: 

ProgramCollege/ UniversityDurationCourse Fees (Annually in USD)
Bachelor of Arts (B.A) in Interactive Media DesignUniversity of Washington4 years36,519
Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) in Apparel and Merchandising- Apparel Design and ProductionColorado State University4 years29, 884
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre Design and TechnologySouthern Utah University4 years31,136
B.Sc in Fashion Studying and Retail MerchandisingSouth Dakota State University4 years18,750
Bachelor in Industrial DesignColumbus College of Art and Design4 years58,749
B.Sc in Residential Environments and DesignVirginia Tech4 years61,200
Bachelor in Graphic CommunicationCarroll University4 years53,938
B.Sc in Digital Media and DesignUniversity of Kentucky4 years29,050

Certificates Undergraduate Courses at Design Colleges in USA

Since, bachelors in designing in the USA is a four years long coursework, sometimes the international students prefer to opt for duration certified diploma coursework. Some of the popular diploma coursework in USA are:

  • Drury University offers a diploma program in graphic design and design arts major in the USA. 
  • The New School: 2 years certificate program on infographics and data visualisation. 

Eligibility for Bachelors in Design in USA Admission

In order to get into the bachelor coursework in US colleges, the students must meet the below mentioned minimum cut off score. Though the required cut off score varies from college to college, the average score is similar for all the institutions.

  • Completed 10th and 12th standard
  • SAT or ACT score; minimum ACT score required is 33-35
  • Proof of English proficiency. Minimum score requirement is: 

Required Documents for Bachelors in Design in USA Admission

Do not forget to attach the below mentioned important documents along with the score to the university authority:

  • Official transcripts of your prior academic scores
  • Bank statement

Fees and Funding for Undergraduate Design Coursework in USA (H3)

The average fees for studying bachelor in design from the USA is between 24,000 to 54,000 USD per year. The course fee seems high for the bachelor students unless they apply for a scholarship program. In addition, the cost of living in the USA is higher compared to otherstudy abroad destinations. Hence, the fellows might find it difficult to bear the survival cost if they do not get concession through scholarship program. 

Postgraduate Programs at Design Colleges in USA

The coursework is categorised into 358 masters program in design, Approximately 3050 (approximately) postgraduate programs for graphic and fashion designing programs and 60 industrial design programs are offered in design colleges in USA at postgraduate level. This includes 358 Master of Design programs.

Following table lists the popular universities offering Master of Design in USA: 

ProgramUniversityDurationCourse Fees (Annually in USD)
Master in City Design (MCD)University of Illinois at Chicago2 years17,714
Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Communication DesignTexas State University2 years15,440
Master in Graphic Design (MAGD)Suffolk University1 year49,674
Master of Science (M.Sc) in Design and MerchandisingColorado State University2 years47,792
M.Sc in Textile, Fashion Merchandising and DesignUniversity of Rhode Island2 years47,569
Master of Arts (M.A) in Costume DesignAcademy of Art University2 years36,018
M.Sc in Fashion and Apparel StudiesUniversity of Delaware2 years25,215
Master in Industrial DesignAcademy of Art University3 years36,018

Certificates Postgraduate Courses at Design Colleges in USA

Despite the full time postgraduate coursework, the colleges and the universities of the USA offer some certificate or diploma programs both for the domestic and international students. Some of the popular certificates or diploma programs are:

  • International Career Institute (ICI): Diploma in IT (web design). It is a ½ year program. 
  • ICI: Executive diploma in graphic design and desktop publishing. It is 8 months of coursework.
  • Boston University: M.A in elective graphic design. It is a 6 weeks program. 

Eligibility Master of Design in USA Admission

Similar to the undergraduate students, the applicants should have the following eligibility criteria in order to apply for US universities

  • You should have at least a 3.0 GPA score in bachelor course work.
  • Bachelor certificate, which is the evidence of completing your undergraduate program
  • Proof of English proficiency. Minimum score required are: 
    • Minimum 6.5 band score in IELTS 
    • Average cut off score of the TOEFL exam is 78-100. 
  • Average GRE score: Reading 160, writing 4.5

Required Documents for Master of Design in USA Admission

Irrespective of academic qualification, the students should also submit some essential documents in order to take admission in the masters in design program. 

  • One identification certificate
  • 2 LORs from your teacher 
  • 4 passport size photographs of the applicants
  • Your valid passport
  • Recommendation letter (not mandatory)
  • Submit the transcripts of your previous studies
  • Statement certificate on the purpose of studying. 
  • Current CV

Fees and Funding for Postgraduate Design Coursework in USA

Average fees for studying master in design from the USA universities is 30,000 USD to 50,000 USD approximately. It is better for the students to apply for a scholarship program to reduce the excessive burden of earning the cost of study and cost of living, being a student. 

Doctoral Programs at Design Colleges in USA

PhD coursework from design colleges in USA universities is streamlined into 3 to 4 years. There are 10 different design programs available in this country. However, PhD in fashion designing, interior designing and graphic designing are not offered by any of the USA universities. 

Some of the popular PhD programs are discussed in the following table:

ProgramUniversityDurationCourse Fees (Annually in USD)
PhD in Materials Design and InnovationSchool of Engineering and Applied Sciences4 years22,210
PhD in Apparel and Textile DesigningKansas State University3 years24,210
PhD in Apparel DesignCornell University3 years34,972

Eligibility for PhD in Design in USA Admission

Read the following requirements before you plan to take admission in PhD coursework. 

  • Since, the available seats for PhD courses are less compared to the bachelor and master coursework, therefore, it is advisable to get distinction scores at postgraduate level. 
  • Proof of English proficiency:
    • 7 band score in IELTS.
    • 90-100 in TOEFL

Required Documents PhD in Design Admission

Apart from the aforementioned academic qualification and cut off score, the applicants should provide some required documents. 

  • Transcripts of the previous academic marksheets
  • Educational reference letter
  • Current CV
  • Letter of intent
  • Receipt of application fees

Fees and Funding for PhD in Design in USA Admission

The average cost of pursuing PhD coursework in design from the USA universities vary from 25000 USD to 40000 USD per annum (on average). The students get flexibility to opt for the part time PhD coursework. It usually takes more time and more course fees to complete the entire program. Nevertheless, some scholarship programs are also available for the PhD pursuing students, which are helpful to minimise the cost burden of completing the study. 

Scholarship Programs for Design Colleges in USA

The course fees for the international students are much higher than the domestic students. Unless the global students apply their scholarship program, it will be troublesome for their survival in the US. In addition, the cost of living in the country is also very high. 

The scholarship programs are available not only for the meritorious students, but also everybody can avail this as per their need. Scholarship criteria also differ based on it’s type. 

Following are some of the popular scholarships for international students in USA

ScholarshipScholarship is given toAmount (in USD)
Clubs of America Scholarship Award for Career SuccessBoth US and international meritorious undergraduate students1000
Bienenstock Design CompetitionMaster pursuing students in design5000
Maine Graphic Arts Association (MGAA) ScholarshipAll level of coursework500
UNF Gray ScholarshipAll level meritorious students4000
FIDM National Scholarship CompetitionBoth the undergraduate and postgraduate students, who are pursuing fashion designing programUp to 30,955
Mary Abdoo Fashion Memorial ScholarshipBoth the undergraduate and postgraduate students, who are pursuing fashion designing program1000

Scope after Pursuing Design Courses in USA

As per the above discussion, it is clearly evident that the growth rate of the designers across the USA has grown sharply. 

  • Graphic designers in the US can experience 3% growth rate in their career by the year 2028. 
  • Approximately 266300 people are engaged with graphic designing in the USA. In addition, by the next 10 years, 16,700 more graphic designers will be recruited. 
  • The most three demanding states in the USA for graphic designers are California, New York and Florida. 
  • As per BLS, demand for industrial designers in the US will be increased by 4% by the year 2028.
  • Approximately 400 more fashion designers will be recruited by the employers of the US within 2028. 

Likewise the graphic designers, the fashion designers can also experience a good hike in their pay scale with the booming of the industry in the USA. Being a fresher, a fashion designer can earn 36,420 USD, while an experienced fashion designer can get 72,720 USD (as per the report of BLS). Likewise, the experienced web designer salary in the US is also very lucrative.

Some of the job designations and their respective pay scales of the designers in the USA are described in the following table: 

Job DesignationPay Scale (Annually in USD)
Art production manager: graphic designer54,088- 86,200
Apparel manufacturing consultant70,000- 117,000
Notion merchant wholesalers58340- 80,000
Display designer35,000- 55,000
Layout artist: graphic designer46,890- 64,090
Industrial designer58,677-78,000
Interaction designer79,170- 101,648
Aircraft interior designer60,698- 107,688
Office space planner47,500-81,500

Once the students complete their coursework from the USA, they can get huge opportunities to start their career as a consultant. After five years of experience, they can show their excellence as a manager in respective fields. Hence, design programs from the USA colleges and universities offer you wide options to broaden your career path. So that you can get a handsome return from your jobs.

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