What Are the Different Types of Design Degree Programs?

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  • Written By: A.E. Freeman
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 04 December 2019
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Design degree programs range from programs for students with little or no experience in the world of design to programs for people who are already professional designers looking to advance their career. A student can earn a certificate or associate's degree in design. Four-year design degree programs typically award bachelor's degrees. Master's degrees are also available. The types of design that a student can earn a degree in include graphic, web, or industrial design.

Most entry-level positions require at least a bachelor's degree from an accredited program. Usually, a bachelor's degree program takes four years to complete. During that time, a student typically takes courses in computer design, website design, and studio art. Liberal arts classes and art history courses may also be required.

An associate's design degree program usually lasts for only two years, while earning a certificate or diploma in design takes even less time. After earning an associate's degree or certificate, a person may decide to work as a design assistant. He can also decide to transfer his credits to a bachelor's degree program and continue his studies. Associate's or certificate design degree programs may be an option if a person has a bachelor's in another field and is considering changing careers.


Design degree programs for professional designers who wish to further their education include master's programs in industrial design, graphic design, or design studies. Usually, these programs take a year or two to complete. Many programs require students to take a certain number of courses or studio hours before they can earn a degree. An internship may be a common requirement in graduate-level design degree programs.

A few degree programs offer an online component. Usually, online degree programs are available to working people who wish to pursue an associate's degree in web or web graphic design. Depending on the program a student enrolls in, a bachelor's degree may also be available in computer or web design from the same school.

People who earn a degree in design may work in fields such as media and the arts designing magazine covers or posters for movies or plays. Industrial designers may work in the automobile industry designing cars or in the electronics and appliance industry designing cell phones or washing machines. Web designers can work for a number of companies building websites. Some people with degrees in web graphics or multimedia design may work as video game or computer software designers.


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