Education

Best Online Digital Art Degree Programs of 2022

Learn more about the top Digital Art programs, what to expect, job prospects, and how to choose the program that’s right for you.

Digital art is the process of creating art using digital technology. Digital art can be created using a variety of media, including photography, video, and computer-generated images. Digital art degrees can prepare students for a variety of careers in the arts, including graphic design, advertising, and web design.

Digital art degrees offer a broad overview of the arts, covering topics such as art history, studio art, and design. Students in digital art degree programs learn about the different aspects of creating art, and how to use digital technology to create art.

How to Choose the Right Digital Art Program

When it comes to choosing the right digital art bachelor’s degree program, there are many factors to consider. Cost, location, and time to degree are all important factors, but prospective students should also research the curriculum and specializations offered at each program.

Digital art programs often feature a core curriculum of art and design courses, along with classes in digital media. Students interested in a specific area of digital art, such as 3D modeling or animation, should research the programs to find one that offers a track in that area. Many programs also require students to complete an internship or capstone project.

Prospective students should also research the admissions requirements for each program. Many programs require a portfolio of artwork, and some may also require a minimum GPA. Students with transfer credits may wish to prioritize programs with generous transfer credit policies.

Finally, students need to check a program’s accreditation status before applying. Accreditation ensures that a program meets quality standards and that credits earned at the school will be transferable to other institutions.

Best Online Bachelor’s in Digital Art Programs

The best online programs for Digital Art ranking is based on key statistics and student reviews using data from the U.S. Department of Education. Some of the metrics influencing how the rankings are determined include graduation rate, average salary for graduates, accreditation, retention rate, and cost.

Rank 1
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL

The Bachelor of Arts in Digital Arts and Sciences (BADAS) degree from University of Florida is a cross-disciplinary program that covers production, animation, and game design. The program is designed for students who are interested in exploring the digital edge of these fields. BADAS students will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in every aspect of the new and developing digital landscape – from design and production to animation, from programming to game design.

Rank 2
Oregon State University
Corvallis, OR

The Bachelor of Arts in Digital Communication Arts from Oregon State University is an online program that focuses on the intersection of media and life. The program aims to turn students into new media leaders of the future by focusing on critical thinking, analytical skills and creative expression. The curriculum includes coursework in media management, new media visualization, applied media aesthetics, social media strategies and more.

Rank 3
Millersville University of Pennsylvania
Millersville, PA

The Bachelor of Arts in Interactive and Graphic Design from Millersville University of Pennsylvania is a cutting-edge degree that offers both breadth and depth of study in the field of design. The program provides students with opportunities to learn best practices and design with new technology. By keeping current with technological demands placed on the discipline, graduates can work in different environments that contribute to local, regional, and global economic vitality. The online program is typically completed part-time and courses are offered year-round to allow students to complete their degree faster.

Rank 4
California Baptist University
Riverside, CA

The online Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design and Digital Media degree program at California Baptist University is designed to prepare students for a career in graphic design or to help them advance their career by improving their skillset and knowledge in the field. The program is based around hands-on projects and portfolio building, and covers a wide range of topics in design and digital media.

Rank 5
Maryville University of Saint Louis
Saint Louis, MO

The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Digital Media degree from Maryville University of Saint Louis is a flexible program is 100% online with no campus visits required, and students can choose from six start dates. The curriculum is designed to give students the knowledge and skills they need to become highly valued visual communicators, which can open doors to a number of different career paths in the dynamic field of digital media.

Rank 6
Maryville University of Saint Louis
Saint Louis, MO

The Maryville University of Saint Louis’ online Bachelor of Fine Arts in Digital Media is a 128-credit hour program that is designed to help students develop skills in digital media. The program includes coursework in digital media, art history, and interdisciplinary studies. The digital media core curriculum focuses on topics such as design research, theory, and process, designing for meaning, typography, and more The art/design history core curriculum focuses on world arts and ideas, myth, meaning, and symbol in art, and graphic design history. The interdisciplinary core curriculum focuses on contemporary communication, new and social media, marketing, and digital media.

Rank 7
The University of Montana
Missoula, MT

The University of Montana’s online Bachelor of Arts in Media Arts degree enables students to explore and develop their creative potential through the study of digital technologies. The program provides learning opportunities in interactive media, web and internet technologies, gaming, and a variety of digital design applications including sound, still image, motion, and animation. The degree requires the completion of core courses in media arts, writing, and theory, as well as University general education courses.

Rank 8
Boise State University
Boise, ID

The Boise State Bachelor of Arts in Digital Innovation + Design is a 120-credit program that prepares students for careers in digital design and related fields. The program is delivered entirely online and features three certificates that students can choose from to customize their degree. These certificates are in content production, user experience design, and data analysis. The program also includes a student success curriculum that helps students develop the skills they need to thrive in the modern workplace.

Rank 9
University of Arizona
Tucson, AZ

The Bachelor of Arts in Design Arts & Practices from University of Arizona provides students with a foundation in design history, theory and practice from an interdisciplinary perspective. The degree is project-based, with courses that focus on innovation with new technology and the development of creative strategies to address contemporary issues. Students will take courses in art, design, information studies and technology, progressing from core skills into larger theories and issues. The degree culminates in a final capstone project.

What to Expect From an Online Bachelor’s in Digital Art Program

Students in a bachelor’s in digital art program learn how to create art using various computer software programs. The degree typically takes four years to complete and requires about 120 credits.

Most programs include core coursework in digital art fundamentals, along with classes in design, color theory, and composition. Students also learn about animation, 3D modeling, and web design. In addition, many programs offer concentrations that allow students to focus on a specific area of interest, such as game design or motion graphics.

To succeed in a digital art program, students need to be creative, detail-oriented, and able to work independently. They should also be proficient in the use of computers and various software programs.

Common Digital Art Courses

A digital art degree program will cover a range of topics from the history of art to the use of various software programs. The courses below are some examples of what you might take as a digital art major.

Photography

This course covers still photography, with an emphasis on the digital workflow from capture to output. Students learn about the technical aspects of photography including camera operation, lenses, light, exposure, and digital imaging. They also develop an understanding of the aesthetics of photography and how to use composition, light, and color to create strong images. Students shoot assignments using digital cameras and edit their images using industry-standard software. Upon completion, students should be able to shoot, edit, and output digital photographs using industry-standard software and techniques.

Graphic Design

This course covers the design process, from idea generation to final product, with an emphasis on effective visual communication. Students will learn to use industry-standard software to create both static and animated graphics for web, print, and video. Topics include typography, layout, color, and image manipulation. Upon completion, students should be able to create both static and animated graphics that effectively communicate a message to a target audience.

2D Animation

This course covers the principles and techniques of animation through the creation of original projects. Topics include the study of timing, spacing, squash and stretch, anticipation, follow-through, arcs, staging, straight ahead and pose-to-pose action, secondary action, character animation, lip sync, walk cycles, and run cycles. Upon completion, students should be able to create an original 2D animation project that demonstrates an understanding of the principles of animation.

3D Modeling

This course covers the principles and techniques of 3D modeling for use in animation, gaming, and product design. Topics include an overview of the 3D production pipeline, polygonal and subdivisional modeling, texturing, lighting, and rendering. Students will use industry-standard 3D software to create models of increasing complexity, and will learn to troubleshoot common modeling problems. Upon completion, students should be able to create high-quality 3D models suitable for use in a professional setting.

Typography

This course introduces the basic principles of typography as applied to both digital and print media. Emphasis is placed on typefaces, type classifications, type anatomy, type families, legibility, readability, and the grid. Upon completion, students should be able to apply the principles of typography to create effective digital and print designs.

Career Options for Digital Art Graduates

Graduates of digital art programs work in a variety of industries, including graphic design, web design, advertising, and video games. They may also work in fields such as film and television.

Graphic Designer

Graphic designers produce visual content to communicate messages. They conceptualize and design layouts for advertising, brochures, magazines, and corporate reports. They may also work on branding, package design, exhibition design, and web design, as well as create logos, icons, and other visual elements. Graphic designers often work with a team of other designers and marketing specialists and need to be able to take direction and feedback, as well as collaborate effectively. They also need to be able to present their ideas clearly and persuasively to clients and other stakeholders.

Art Director

Art directors are responsible for the overall look and feel of a project, whether it’s an ad campaign, a magazine, a website, or a TV show. Working with a team of designers, illustrators, and copywriters, art directors come up with the concepts for visual materials and then oversee the execution of those concepts. In some cases, art directors may also be responsible for the actual creation of the materials.

Creative Director

Creative directors are responsible for the overall vision and execution of creative projects in advertising, marketing, publishing, film, and other industries. They work with teams of designers, illustrators, copywriters, and other creatives to develop concepts and bring them to life. A typical day might involve brainstorming ideas with a team, reviewing and giving feedback on design concepts, meeting with clients, and presenting finished work. Creative directors must be able to think outside the box, come up with fresh ideas, and inspire those around them to do the same.

3D Modeler

3D modelers create three-dimensional representations of objects, both real and imagined. They use computer-aided design (CAD) software to turn 2D sketches and blueprints into 3D models. Once the model is complete, they may use it to create a prototype of the object, which can be used for testing or marketing purposes. In some cases, 3D modelers may also be responsible for animating the object or character to create a realistic representation of how it would move in real life.

Front-End Web Developer

Front-end web developers design and code the visual interface of websites and applications, working alongside back-end developers who handle the server-side of things. They use a variety of programming languages and tools—such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript—to create responsive, interactive user interfaces that are fast, easy to use, and look great on any device. In addition to building interfaces, front-end developers may also be responsible for doing some light user experience (UX) work, such as wireframing or prototyping.

Insights From a Digital Art Graduate

Darien Huff is a Graphic Designer at Apple. He has a bachelor’s degree in digital art from the Rhode Island School of Design. Darien has over 7 years of experience in graphic design and has won multiple awards for his work.

ClimbtheLadder: What were the biggest takeaway(s) you got from your Digital Art program that you may not have gotten otherwise?

Darien Huff: The biggest takeaway from my Digital Art program was the importance of thinking outside the box and taking risks. In the real world, you often have to think on your feet and come up with solutions to problems that you may have never encountered before. It’s important to be able to think creatively in order to come up with the best solution.

In addition, it’s important to be able to take risks. Sometimes the best solutions come from taking a risk and trying something that you may have never thought of before.

ClimbtheLadder: What should students interested in Digital Art be good at?

Darien Huff: Students interested in digital art should be good at problem solving, as a lot of the time you will be given a design problem and will need to come up with a creative solution. You should also be good at time management, as you will often be working on multiple projects at once and will need to be able to juggle your time effectively. Additionally, it is important to be a good communicator, as you will need to be able to explain your ideas to clients and colleagues. Finally, it is helpful to be proficient in the Adobe Creative Suite, as this is the industry standard for design software.

ClimbtheLadder: Was there anything about your Digital Art program that you didn’t expect or anticipate?

Darien Huff: I didn’t expect the program to be so competitive. I was constantly being compared to other students and their work. It was a lot of pressure to be the best.

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