Graphic Design, B.A.

This tool should only be used as a guide — remember to meet with your academic adviser, Career Services and/or faculty to determine appropriate career options.

Become a visual storyteller with a graphic design degree from Oakland University.

You’ll learn to do more than create images in our graphic design program. You’ll also acquire the visual language to inspire and motivate audiences. Our graphic design degree unites classical art training with professional know-how, equipping you with highly marketable graphic design skills. With small classes and attentive faculty, Oakland University’s graphic design program has a supportive culture that encourages creativity. We constantly update our graphic design courses to reflect current industry trends, so you’ll learn graphic design techniques that transfer directly to the workplace. And our graphic design program provides ongoing opportunities to exhibit your work, collaborate with peers, and complete graphic design internships that can jump-start your career as a graphic designer. 

Graphic Design Degree: The Oakland University Advantage

Graphic design sits at the intersection of art and commerce, which makes Southeast Michigan an ideal setting for graphic design majors. The region’s dynamic economy generates enormous demand for graphic designers, and Oakland University’s graphic design program is recognized as a prime source of talent. With potential employers and professional mentors surrounding our campus, our graphic design degree offers unique academic and career opportunities.

Our graphic design program also stands out for its:

  • Industry orientation. In addition to honing your creative talent, our graphic design courses instill a professional mindset. You’ll learn to work on teams, handle critiques, present to clients, and execute graphic design projects on time and on budget. By the time you complete the graphic design program, you’ll have a portfolio of high-caliber work that showcases your artistic ability and your professional polish.
  • Real-world experience. While the program doesn’t require a graphic design internship, most students choose to do one. Employers of every shape and size seek to work with our students, making it easy to find a graphic design internship that closely matches your career interests. You’ll also get chances to exhibit in gallery shows, participate in design competitions, and work with real-world clients via project-based assignments in your graphic design courses.
  • Experienced faculty. Most of our graphic design courses are taught by seasoned faculty with long careers and notable achievements in graphic design. You’ll learn from veterans who teach from first-hand experience, offering practical insights, tricks of the trade, and career guidance.
  • Classical training. Our graphic design program draws on concepts from art history and fundamental theories of visual communication. You’ll learn to weave fine-art ideas into graphic design projects, helping your work stand out from the pack.
  • Constructive culture. We think artists work best in settings that value collaboration over competition. While peer evaluation is a key part of our graphic design program, we insist on constructive feedback and respectful communication. 

Graphic Design Careers

The rise of digital media has created many new graphic design career pathways. Many graphic designers work as independent contractors and play shifting roles, depending on the project and the client. You can still find plenty of traditional, full-time graphic design jobs with consulting firms, design studios, advertising/PR agencies, and in-house departments at corporations, government agencies, and other large organizations.

Our graphic design degree equips you to work in an extraordinarily diverse range of industries. Examples include:

  • Web design
  • Computer game design
  • App development
  • Video production
  • Advertising
  • Publishing
  • Product design
  • Marketing
  • Public relations

Graphic Design Degree: What You’ll Study

The graphic design program includes required course sequences in art foundations and art history. The core major consists of nine graphic design courses (including two electives), capped off by a senior thesis and accompanying exhibition. You can choose a graphic design internship as one of your two electives. Core graphic design courses address specialized subject matter such as:

  • Typography
  • Motion graphics
  • Web design
  • Digital illustration
  • Package design
  • Community design
  • Branding and logos
  • My future career:

    Art Director

  • My future career:

    Graphic Designer

  • My future career:

    Illustrator

  • My future career:

    Multimedia Artist or Animator

    • Career & Salary Information
    • Possible Career Options
    • Median Salary*
    • Education Needed
    • For More Information**

    * Median salary for the state of Michigan

    ** These professional organizations provide an excellent starting point for your research. There are many more resources available online.

    Additional Considerations

    Some careers may require additional education. See your academic adviser for more information.

    • Advertising Manager
    • Art Director
    • Creative Consultant
    • Creative Manager
    • Design Technologist
    • Desktop Publisher
    • Industrial Designer
    • Printing Worker
    • Production Specialist
    • Technical Writer
    • User Experience Designer
    • User Interface Designer
    • Web Developer
    • Website Designer