By Gabrielle Kratsas
In this article, we highlight the top 15 most affordable web design degree online programs available to prospective web design students in 2015.
Imagine creating interactive websites and mobile applications directly from your personal computer at home. The is the essence of an online web design degree. With the help of these 15 colleges, you can learn to do this and much more without leaving home and breaking the bank!
According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor and Statistics, employment of Web design specialists is estimate to increase 20 percent by 2022. Today, the median salary for Web developers is $62,500. With some of these colleges, you could be making that annually within just two-and-a-half years!
Of course, this list is just a starting point for those looking to get an online degree in Web design and web development. More and more traditional and fully-online schools are adding these technologically-related degree programs to their curriculum to meet the consistently-growing need of Web developers.
Methodology for Ranking the Top 15 Web Design Degree Online Programs 2015
The following list was developed using Wikipedia’s list of accredited online colleges, College Navigator and research of each individual school’s online web designs programs and the degree they offer. These schools are ranked according to the average net cost of undergraduate tuition, as reported by College Navigator. The “Unique Courses” sections list a few examples of the many courses offered within each college’s program.
15. Full Sale University in Winter Park, Fla.
Web Design & Development Online B.S.
Net Price: $29,790
Overview: At Full Sail, students learn both the tools and technology necessary to fully comprehend Web design and how to use that education in a career. This degree program covers front end and back end development, as well as Web design on a variety of formats, including smartphones and tablets. Students will learn to concept, code and publish their own standards-based content. They will also master interactive design languages like HTML5, CSS, XML and more.
In 2011, the U.S. Distance Learning Association honored Full Sail with three awards, including one for “21st Century Best Practices.” This university is also mentioned on several “Top Online Web Design Degrees” articles by Best Value Schools, Webdesign Degree Center and OnlineCollege.org.
Unique Courses in Online Web Design: Interface Design & Usability, Web Standards and Interactivity
14. Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester, N.H.
Online BA in Graphic Design – Web Design
Net Price: $28,095
Overview: SNHU’s online Web design programs supplements the traditional graphic design program with digital-oriented core courses to create a balance between artistic interests and practical Web design. According to their program’s webpage, their online Web design program comes with a “considerably less tuition than many other online graphic design degree programs.” Students’ work will initially be developed using Adobe Creative Cloud, but they will conduct usability testing on a variety of other platforms, from desktop computers to smartphones.
According to a national survey in 2012, SNHU’s online bachelor’s degrees ranked in the top 20, nationwide. This school’s Web design degree program is also listed within Webdesign Degree Center and OnlineCollege.org’s best online schools for Web design lists.
Unique Courses in the Online Web Design Degree: Advanced Multiplatform Design, Digital Publishing and Digital Photography
13. Academy of Art University in San Francisco
B.F.A. Web Design & New Media Degree Online
Net Price: $26,905
Overview: A faculty that works in the San Francisco Bay Area creative industry teaches the classes within this program so that students can learn from teachers immersed in the field. According to the program’s website, “The curriculum focuses on visual design, user experience, design strategies, Web design, and motion graphics.” The program has a foundation in Liberal Arts, which supports major coursework by promoting the knowledge, critical thinking and communication skills necessary to enter into the career field.
The Academy of Art University ranked among U.S. News and World Report’s “Best Online Programs.”
Unique Courses: Design Technology, Motion Graphics and Interactive Applications
12. The Art Institute of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, Pa.
B.S. in Web Design & Interactive Media Online
Net Price: $26,307
Overview: AI’s program is designed to prepare students to pursue entry-level career opportunities within Web design and interactive media, including graphic designer and programmer interface website designer. According to the program’s website, the degree is best for Internet-involved careers with a focus on marketing and design. Students will begin by learning drawing and design, digital image manipulation, multimedia system design, scriptwriting, sound, video and animation. As the program progresses, students will move on to classes for interactive information design and Web development. All of the faculty members have been recruited directly from the Web design and interactive media industry.
The Art Institute of Pittsburgh is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Higher Education. It was also listed No. 8 on Best Value Schools’ “Top 10 Cheap Online Web Design Degree Programs.”
Unique Courses: User-Center Information Design, Image Manipulation and Video for Interactive Media
11. Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va.
B.S. in Information Technology – Web Development
Net Price: $23,191
Overview: Instead of having a background in graphic design, Liberty’s web development program has its background in IT, preparing students to meet the growing need of skilled Web developers. Students who participate in this program are trained to develop real-world solutions to the industry’s complex challenges through courses like C# programming and Web enterprise technologies. A few potential career fields listed on the program’s website include front end Web developer, mobile Web designer and user interface analyst.
Liberty is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Unique Web Design Courses Online: Web Architecture & Development, Interactive Design and Information Security
10. Franklin University in Columbus, Ohio
B.S. Web Development Online
Net Price: $22,128
Overview: Franklin’s Web development program aims to put out college graduates who understand ecommerce trends and know how to create Web experiences that capitalize on them. The program will give students a 360-degree exposure to the disciplines required to create premium websites for today and the future. According to the degree program’s page, “you’ll be prepared to manage the entire Web development process, whether overseeing contractors, managing internal teams or collaborating in partnership with others.” The program’s curriculum is created and reviewed by an advisory board of chief technology officers, Web application developers and graphic designers.
Every online student at Franklin has his or her own Academic Advisor for one-on-one support. The university is regionally accredited by Higher Learning Commission North Central Association. They also have specialized accreditation with the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education. Franklin also made a few of the “Best Web Design Degrees” lists mentioned above.
Unique Courses: Human Computer Interaction, Technical Communication and Web Page Construction
9. Independence University in Salt Lake City, Utah
B.S. Web Design and Development Online
Net Price: $21,855
Overview of the Web Design Degree Online: IU’s program is designed to teach students the skills necessary to create Web applications, interactive presentations, mobile applications and user interfaces. This university prides itself at the high level of education they provide to students, and according to the program’s webpage, the school’s standards are equally high for those seeking a degree in Web design and development. All course instructors are qualified and experienced professionals within the career field, and the school assures that “students are receiving the best in quality education and training in Web design and development.” In this program, students are required to conceptualize, code and publish their own standards-based content for different formats and platforms using the variety of interactive languages they learn from their courses.
Independence University was ranked among Best Value Schools’ “Top 10 Cheap Online Web Design Degree Programs,” as well as Best College Reviews’ “25 Best Online Colleges for 2014.”
Unique Courses: Advanced Illustrator, Flash Animation and .NET Programming
8. DeVry University in Chicago, Ill.
Online Web Design and Development Degree Specialization
Net Price: $19,771
Online Web Design Degree Overview: DeVry’s Web design program introduces students to concepts like multimedia standards, business fundamentals, emerging technologies and principles of webpage layout, website architecture, database integration and Web standards. With DeVry’s online learning platform, students can interact with professors as well as other students to ask questions, get help with homework and create threaded discussions. Students will also have access to academic advisors, Student Services and other resources both in-person and online.
DeVry ranked No. 7 on both Webdesign Degree Center and Best Value Schools lists of the most affordable online schools for bachelor’s degrees in Web design. According to DeVry’s website, this school has over 80 years of experience in providing technology-based higher education.
Unique Courses: Proposal and Grant Writing, Perspectives on Technology and Web Design
7. ECPI University in Virginia Beach, Va.
B.S. Computer and Information Science – Web Development Online
Net Price: $18,454
Overview: ECPI’s Web development program within the computer information and science degree takes about 2.5 years to complete. It focuses on providing students the ability to develop and manage functional and visually appealing website with accessible webpage interfaces, interactive and animated graphics, digital media optimized for Web-based delivery and interactive, data-driven webpages. According to the program’s webpage, the learning environment is fast-paced and hands-on. It’s puts an emphasis on developing good communication skills, teamwork, analytical problem-solving and decision-making skills throughout the curriculum.
The East Coast Polytechnic Institute (ECPI) was among the first colleges to offer classes in computer programming.
Unique Courses: Web Client and Server Scripting, Programming and Digital Media Production
6. International Academy of Design and Technology (Sanford-Brown College) in Tampa, Fla.
Web Design and Development (B.S.) Online
Net Price: $17,022
Overview: Sanford-Brown’s Web design program is focused on the use of advanced studies in programming, databased management and Web administration. It also incorporates the basic theories of graphics, text and interactivity for the Web. According to the website, this program offers unique opportunities for those students who are interested in enhancing their creative and technical skills “by combining conventional and electronic techniques plus a foundation of general education coursework that offers students a balanced and well-rounded knowledge base essential to successfully perform and communicate in this industry.”
This past March, Sanford-Brown expanded its mission by uniting with the International Academy of Design and Technology (IADT) in order to improve the education they can offer. Best Value Schools ranked Sanford-Brown No. 4 on their list of cheapest online Web design degrees, and Webdesign Degree Center ranked the school No. 9 on their list.
Unique Courses: Website Advertising And Design, Web Administration and Advanced Server-Side Technology
5. Colorado Technical University in Colorado Springs, Colo.
B.S. Information Technology – Web Development Online
Net Price: $16,852
Overview: CTU’s Web development degree program will familiarize students with current computer networks, protocols and operating systems, while providing students with the opportunity to solve complex problems in a high-level programming language. Students will also be challenged to create, organize and maintain secure and modern database systems, as well as create and design enterprise architecture. To complete their degree, students will prove that they fully understand the goals, processes and techniques of software engineering by creating their own software application. The program’s webpage outlines these details as well as the career paths, alumni experiences and employer experiences within this career field.
Not only is CTU included among Best Value Schools and Webdesign Degree Center’s top 10 lists, but the school also received a 2014 WOW Award for its intellipath adaptive learning technology from the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies.
Unique Courses: Emerging Media and Technology, Project Risk Management and Introduction to e-Business
4. University of Phoenix in Phoenix, Ariz.
B.S. Information Technology with a concentration in Web Development Online
Net Price: $14,252
Overview: Phoenix’s technology degree program helps students develop sought-after critical-thinking skills and leadership abilities as well as skills to design and develop websites for commercial operation. According to the program’s page, “You’ll also uncover the elements of web design, examine web development technologies and learn website commercialization as it relates to marketing, sales and other aspects of business.” The program exposes students to real-life networking scenarios through hands-on labs and simulations. The Web design concentration within the IT program is structured to provide specific theories, competencies and skills necessary for success as a Web professional.
University of Phoenix is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, a member of the North Central Association. Best Value Schools rated this university the No. 1 cheapest online Web design degree program.
Unique Courses: Project Planning & Implementation, Database Concepts and Web Commercialization
3. Baker College in Allen Park Mich.
Bachelor of Web Development Online
Net Price: $12,987
Overview: Through Baker College’s Web development program, students develop the business and technical skills necessary to design, develop, implement and maintain websites for both public and private organizations. According to the degree program’s page, their “bachelor degree program works in conjunction with our Associate of Applied Science degree in Web development to further develop your technical expertise.” The college promises that upon graduation, students will be completely prepared to begin a career in Web development without any additional training.
Baker landed the No. 1 spot on Webdesign Degree Center’s “Most Affordable Online Web Design Schools.” Baker is also accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and has long been recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as an institution of higher education.
Unique Courses: Web Application Development Tools, Visual BASIC and Web Portals
2. Arizona State University in Tempe, Ariz.
B.S. Graphic Information Technology – Concentration in Web Technologies Online
Net Price: $12,380
Overview: According to ASU’s web design program page, “The online Bachelor of Science in graphic information technology provides students with a creative, technological and managerial understanding of graphic information and content creation.” On top of traditional Web development courses, this concentration focuses on print, photography and multimedia. The program integrates diverse applications of digital communication and information as they are used in industry, commerce, education and government. Students learn technologies relevant to the graphic information industry, such as interactive technologies, computer illustration, digital publishing and photography for online delivery.
ASU has subscribed to nationally-recognized Quality Matters (QM) since 2008, which is a faculty-centered, peer review program designed to certify the quality of online courses and improve them through research, literature and best practices for online teaching and learning.
Unique Courses: Leading the Enterprise, Graphic Industry Business Practices and My Technology Venture
1. University of Maryland University College in Adelphi, Md.
B.S. Digital Media and Web Technology Online
Net Price: $9,489
Overview: While preparing students for a career in the field of digital design, students have the flexibility to specialize in Web technology at UMUC. They can also integrate other courses from multiple disciplines to meet their career interests and educational goals within Web design. Students use industry-standard software to create digital works, and the curriculum covers the theories, technologies, techniques and best practices of digital media. This degree program, according to the website, prepares students to work in areas such as Web design, motion graphics, multimedia, animation and graphic design.
UMUC is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education—one of the six regional accrediting agencies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. The school also receives numerous awards annually. According to the website, they won ten this past year.
Unique Courses: Current Trends and Projects in Digital Media and Web Technology, Principles of Web Design and Technology and Advanced Electronic Publishing
This concludes our ranking of web design degree online programs.
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