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Top 10 Graphic Design Schools in New Jersey (2022 List)

Looking to study graphic design? Also a big fan of fresh produce? Why not head to New Jersey, otherwise known as the ‘Garden State’ for its reputation as a leading producer of cranberries, blueberries and tomatoes!

If you love the culture and cool of New York, but the idea of the big apple sounds too intimidating—worry not, we’ve compiled a list of the top graphic design schools in NJ, only a couple of hours away. But do you really need a degree to become a graphic designer? Read on to the end to discover an alternative option —studying online or on-campus with a boot camp like Shillington could fast-track your creative career and save you time and money. No creative portfolio or experience required.

1. Rutgers University

Location: New Brunswick, NJ
Duration: 3 Years

The eighth oldest tertiary institution in the US, Rutgers University in New Brunswick is a New Jersey establishment. We can forgive them for having their roots as an all-male Queen’s College in 1766. Society has progressed since then and so has Rutgers and they’re definitely one of the colleges for graphic design in New Jersey to consider—in 2022 offering their diverse and interdisciplinary Bachelor of Fine Arts to students from all over the world. It’s an 87 credit program that spans over three years and is geared towards students who want to become professional creatives. Conducted under the Mason Gross School of the Arts, the course diverges from a pure studio skill focus and branches out into a wide range of seminar discussions and theory-based modules. With a future focus, Rutgers follows in the footsteps of many other schools teaching their students how to learn graphic design with an emphasis on engaging with contemporary culture and a forward-thinking framework. Application requirements are pretty standard, with students having to submit a supplemental application and art portfolio for consideration of admission.

2. New Jersey Institute of Technology

Location: Newark, NJ
Duration: 4 Years

If you like to be where the action is, why not study design in New Jersey’s biggest city. A hub of culture and design with performing arts centers, theatre, museums and more—Newark is a great place to nurture creative roots. Nestled under the Hillier College of Art and Design, you can study a design with a digital focus with NJIT’s BA of Digital Design. For nearly 150 years, the school has developed a well-established reputation as a pioneer and innovator in the realm of digital and information technology. Admission requires a portfolio of creative work and the four-year program launches with a foundational exposure year, focusing on a variety of creative media. Unlike other graphic design colleges in New Jersey, the course then diverges into two tracks of study for the remaining three years. Throughout the program, students have access to state of the art digital labs with laser cutters, cintiqs, 3D-printing equipment and depending on your stream—access to the latest software.

3. The College of New Jersey

Location: Ewing Township, NJ
Duration: 4 Years

If you’re looking to enjoy your college experience and spend 4 years pursuing an undergraduate—The College of New Jersey isn’t a bad place to be. The college is located in picturesque suburban Ewing on 289 tree-lined acres of land. To be accepted to their BFA in Visual Arts with a Graphic Design Specialization, you’ll need not only a successful portfolio review but admission to the college as well. No different from other graphic design colleges in New Jersey, their degree sets students up to be competitive and successful design graduates with not only technical but theoretical and conceptual problem-solving skills. With an additional focus on social responsibility, the curriculum also includes coursework in typography, theories, multimedia design and portfolio development. At TCNJ’s School of The Arts and Communication, they develop a college culture of a curious and cooperative community supported by a wide range of facilities to help their students prepare for a wide range of employment opportunities upon graduating.

4. Kean University

Location: Union, NJ
Duration: 4 Years

Located in the town of Union in New Jersey you can study graphic design with Kean University’s Bachelor of Graphic Design. This four-year course is limited and competitive and requires a portfolio of creative work with a minimum of 10 pieces displaying skills in design and drawing. Furthermore, submission of a considered essay is also required. If successful, you’ll commence study in the Robert Busch School of Design, housed in Kean’s greater Michael Graves College of Architecture and Design. Like other graphic design schools in NJ, the course focuses on real-world experience through the Design Studio Practicum ‘Which works like an agency for the Kean community and other regional clients, delivering designs for branding, web, informational and other applications’. The school encourages its graduates to be visual storytellers and allows students to apply design principles in a wide range of mediums, launching off a strong foundation in design theory and fundamentals.

5. Montclair State University

Location: Montclair, NJ
Duration: 4 Years

As the second-largest public university in New Jersey, Montclair State might not be a bad option amongst colleges for graphic design in New Jersey. Located in its namesake town of Montclair, located under an hour from New York the 252-acre suburban campus delivers a diverse and sophisticated academic environment. Their BFA in Visual Communication Design is a program that ‘combines focused studio work in the major with liberal arts courses that cross all disciplinary areas’, and they pride themselves on small class sizes. The study is structured in two components—core requirements and then studio and collateral courses that are paired with free electives. With courses like UI Design, Creative Coding and Motion Design to choose from. Admission to Montclair, like many other colleges, requires a portfolio that will be considered in tandem with previous academic results. The portfolio must have exactly 15 total pieces that demonstrate a range of creative capabilities.

6. Monmouth University

Location: West Long Branch, NJ
Duration: 4 Years

If you enjoy a beachy lifestyle, perhaps you’d want to choose to study graphic design at Monmouth University. Located in New Jersey’s coastal borough of West Long Branch, and just an hour from both New York and Philadelphia—Monmouth’s campus is well positioned in a hub of culture, history, arts, technology and entrepreneurship. In Monmouth’s Wayne D. McMurray School of Humanities and Social Sciences, lives the Department of Art and Design and they offer a BFA in Design and Animation with a concentration in graphic and interactive design. The 4-year course offers a comprehensive curriculum with courses in print, UI/UX, motion graphics and more. Like many other colleges for graphic design in New Jersey, they encourage their students to engage with opportunities beyond the classroom—with community partner projects or off-site internships.

7. Rider University

Location: Lawrenceville, NJ
Duration: 4 Years

A private university based in Lawrence Township, New Jersey—Rider is a good contender for graphic design courses in NJ. If accepted into the course, you’ll study at Rider’s college of liberal arts and sciences. The degree aims to develop student’s skills in the field of visual communication and graphic design, through a combination of foundational coursework and hands-on experience. With a motto of ‘engaged learning’ Rider values a hands-on approach. And with classes conducted in digital studios and labs, students will graduate with the ability to design graphics and collateral across a wide range of applications. Students will also often have the opportunity to work on-one-on with faculty that have extensive knowledge and expertise in their field of work. And there are many student organizations, internship and co-op programs that can be used to gain experience and boost academic credit.

8. Berkeley College

Location: Woodland Park, NJ
Duration: 4 Years

With four campuses in New Jersey, if you choose to study graphic design at Berkeley you’ll be at their Woodland Park location. A solid choice amongst comparable graphic design courses in NJ, Berkeley prides itself on an intimate and focused college experience that feels like family. The inclusive environment boasts a diverse community with people from a wide range of backgrounds, age groups and lived experiences—setting their students up to immerse into a global marketplace. Their four-year course offers an innovative and thorough course to ‘give you more career options and help you stand out in the job market.’ The course is conducted in Berkeley’s modern studios and labs and encourages the building of skills like entrepreneurial teamwork, collaboration and critical thinking—alongside foundational teachings in art and design principles.

9. Fairleigh Dickinson University

Location: Madison, NJ
Duration: 4 Years

Known as a college town, Madison is a great place to put down roots for the duration of your university education—and Fairleigh Dickinson isn’t a bad option if you’re looking for graphic design schools in NJ. As the largest private university in New Jersey, Fairleigh achieved their four-year status in 1948. If you take their graphic design program, nestled in the Maxwell Becton Colleges of Arts and Sciences—you’ll be studying in the Florham campus, whose grounds were interestingly designed by the designer of Central Park in New York City! The four-year course is career-focused, developing creative skills alongside a strong business foundation. And the liberal arts curriculum further develops workplace critical skills through the exploration of diverse cultures, communication and critical thinking.

10. Rowan College

Location: Mount Laurel, NJ
Duration: 4 Years

A good option for graphic design courses in NJ, Rowan College is located in Burlington County and prides itself as a school that puts students first and values diversity. Under the umbrella of their Arts Alive program, you can undertake a four-year Associate of Applied Science in Graphic Design and Digital Media. The course is geared towards building a solid foundation in design concepts and practices with an outlook to graduate prepared for entry-level positions in the design profession.

These schools are great but…what if there was another easier way to study design?

If you’ve read this article or you’ve done your research, you may have come to the conclusion that studying graphic design may not be as simple as you thought.

Being unsure of your creative ability, complex admissions, and the often mandatory submission of a creative portfolio can be more than enough to put you off the pursuit of graphic design education. Not to mention having to spend an average of four years in school, which can be a daunting thought for someone who may have already gone through college and wants a quick career change.

Well, put those doubts aside, because there’s a simple solution—studying with Shillington! In just 3 months full-time or 9 months part-time on campus or online—you could become a fully-fledged, industry-ready designer. No experience required.

At Shillington we believe that anyone has the potential to become a graphic designer, and our inclusive course accepts anyone from anywhere—no creative or academic proof necessary. If you’re ready to dive into design right now—hear from our global graduates and find out more.

Resources Series

Eden Lim
January 12, 2022

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