25 Best Online Web Design Degree Programs [2021 Guide]

Home » 25 Best Online Web Design Degree Programs [2021 Guide]

We’ve ranked the 25 Best Online Web Design Degree Programs for 2021. Compare online bachelor’s in web design, careers, salaries, & job growth.

web designer working in his office

In an economy dominated by the Internet and online sales, an Online Web Design Degree can lead to some lucrative career options. There are online options for web design degrees at the associate’s, bachelor’s and graduate levels, with the most common jobs being held by people with bachelor’s degrees.

Best Online Web Design Degrees

There are two main areas in which you can focus your attention with a web design degree:  web design and web development. Although the two job titles are often used interchangeably, there are actually quite a few differences between the two fields.

Select the program that most interests you to jump to that section of the guide:

Although there may be some crossover between web design and health and web development careers, there are some important distinctions to consider.

Web Design

web designers working together on a mobile app

There’s a much more creative element to web design than there is to web development. As a web designer, you must be comfortable with programming, programming languages and coding.

You’ll still have some amount of responsibility for building/coding websites, but your key responsibilities will lie in ensuring the sites look pleasing, memorable and original.

Everything visible on the site, from the colors and fonts used to the images and overall layout, is your territory. For this reason, web design appeals to those who are more imaginative than analytical. If you’re an artist or enjoy visual or graphic design, you could do well as a web designer.

You’ll also work to make sure the website visually makes sense. You’ll need to ensure each tab or link is where it should be, doesn’t lead to broken content and sends the viewer to pertinent information.

For example, this could include talking about the company on an “About Us” page as opposed to somewhere in the middle of the “Shop Our Products” page.

Web Development

web developers working together in the office

While there’s still some need for creativity when pursuing an online web development degree, it’s a much more technical and systematic profession. The majority of the programming, coding and database building on sites is done by web developers.

As a developer, you’ll be far less concerned with how the site looks. Instead, your main focus will be how well it operates.

This will require you to be efficient in numerous programming languages. The most popular of these are currently HTML, Java, JavaScript, C++ and Python. You’ll use these languages, and others, to build the core features of your client’s website.

You’ll also be required to monitor the site’s speed, capacity and performance. You may design some of the visual aspects of the site, but that won’t be your main task.

Web Design Curriculum & Courses

web designers planning together on a white board

The courses you’ll take in a web design program will mostly focus on programming, design and other computer science-related topics.

You’ll also likely be required to take a few core, non-major-specific educational classes here and there, especially if you’re just starting with a web design or web development associate’s degree online.

Common Online Web Design Courses

web design student studying in her home

These ten courses are ones you’ll likely be required to take in any web design program –

  • Interactive Web Design I & II – These courses provide you with HTML and CSS training. You’ll also learn to take your visual and graphic art and turn them into interactive pieces for websites.
  • Survey of Programming Languages – Here you’ll learn all about the wide variety of popular programming languages used in web design and development.
  • JavaScript – Because JavaScript is one of the most popular programming languages used, most web design programs will require you to take a dedicated JavaScript course that dives in-depth into the language and how to use it.
  • Introduction to Information Technology (IT) – In this course, you’ll receive an introduction to the IT field. You might also learn about information security, networking, programming and more.
  • Full-Stack Development – This course should teach you about both sides of web development – front-end and back-end. You’ll learn about developing the core aspects of websites and designing the visual aspects as well. If you haven’t already taken front-end and back-end courses at the associate’s level, you’ll likely be required to take each of those as well.
  • Business for Web Professionals – In this class, you’ll learn about the business world, specifically as it relates to STEM professionals. Common topics covered include proposal management, accessibility, user experience, business skills (finance, management, HR, etc.) and communications.
  • Introduction to Scripting – Here you’ll learn about the scripting language and how to build simple scripts and scripted lists.
  • Introduction to Software Development – Because software development and web development/design use so many of the same basic tools and skills, it’s not unusual to have a required software development class as part of your web design curriculum.
  • Basic Photoshop – Photoshop is a nearly indispensable photo editing tool that anyone working in digital media must be able to use. This class teaches you how to do that.
  • Business of Freelancing – Although careers in web design are booming, many people choose to work as independent, freelancing contractors. This class gives you an overview of the business side of freelance work, including how to submit a competitive bid, managing client relations, self-employment tax law and more.

Other classes might include classes in graphic and multimedia design, photography, principles of color theory, typography and more.

Web Design Careers & Salaries

Web Design Careers & Salaries

There are numerous potential careers if you earn your degree in web design and/or development. Entry-level positions start with a mere certificate or associate’s degree in the field.

They pay decent money. If you continue on with your education and earn your bachelor’s or a graduate-level degree, you’ll have many more career opportunities that pay even more.

The most popular careers are in the web design and web development fields, but those aren’t your only options. You could also work in other computer science-related fields like software development, information technology (IT), computer programming, graphic design, digital publications, and online advertising.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here are some of the careers in the field that might interest you:

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers $135,900
Art Directors $94,220
Database Administrators $93,750
Computer Systems Analysts $90,920
Computer Programmers $86,550
Multimedia Artists and Animators $75,270
Web Developers $73,760
Graphic Designers $52,110
Desktop Publishers $45,390

These are all jobs that could potentially be had if you earn your bachelor’s degree in website design. Several of them could actually be had with only an associate’s degree, but having a bachelor’s degree usually gets you paid a little more.

web designers collaborating on designing an app

Another great thing about earning your bachelor’s degree in this field is that you have the option of becoming your own boss.

The web design and development field is steadily growing. There are thousands of companies out there looking to hire talented people to manage their online storefronts and websites and to work in their IT and other computer/net-related departments. Those are good options for many people.

Others, though, prefer to work as independent, freelance contractors. This could also be an option for you if you choose to work in the web design field. If you don’t want to commit yourself to one company, you could hire yourself out to several different companies and build and manage their websites.

You could set your own hours, charge your own rates and work for yourself. This is, in fact, one of the biggest draws to the tech field for many people.

Admissions Requirements for an Online Web Design Degree

web design degree student studying online at home

When you begin the enrollment process for any new college or university, whether it’s online or on-campus, there are always certain steps you have to take before the school will even consider accepting you. These steps are known as “admissions requirements.”

The admissions requirements for each college may vary slightly, with some colleges wanting very little information from you and others wanting you to submit practically everything except a copy of your family tree. There are a few requirements, though, that you can safely assume most colleges will ask you to submit to them.

  • Completed Application – The first step in applying for any college is to fill out an application. These can almost always be found on the college’s website under the admissions tab and usually ask basic information like your name, contact information, previous schools you’ve attended, emergency contact, etc.
  • Essay – Many colleges require you to write an essay in conjunction with your initial application. Some schools ask you a specific question or give you a writing prompt on which to base your essay. Others simply ask you to write about yourself. You usually submit this as part of your application packet.
  • GPA – Even if a school doesn’t require you to meet a certain GPA requirement for acceptance – some do, while others don’t – they’ll still want to know what your GPA is. This is also usually a requirement to be considered for a scholarship with the college.
  • Official Transcripts – All colleges want to know about any previous education experience you’ve had and will require you to submit official transcripts from your high school and any previous colleges you’ve attended. This helps them determine whether or not you have transfer credits, what level of courses you should be ready to take and whether or not you’ve met any prerequisites they require.
  • Exam Scores – Like the GPA requirement, having a certain exam score is only required for some schools, but almost all schools still want to know what your scores were. This is also another frequent requirement for scholarship consideration.
  • Letters of Recommendation – At the bachelor’s level, many schools don’t require letters of recommendation, but a few do. These should come from people who know you through a professional or educational relationship and can attest to your work ethic and the likelihood of success at the college.
  • Application Fee or Fee Waiver – Some colleges require you to pay a fee with your application. This proves you’re serious about attending the college because most students won’t pay money to apply for a college they’re not seriously interested in attending.If this presents a genuine financial obstacle or hardship for you, though, you can request that your fee be waived. The admissions department may require you to submit some type of financial documentation showing you have a financial need, but they usually will waive the fee if you legitimately need them to do so.

Some colleges may ask for all of these admissions requirements before considering your application for enrollment. Others may ask for only a few. Check out the admissions tab on your college’s website to find out the exact admissions requirements for your prospective college.

Many schools even provide you with an “admissions requirement” checklist so you can easily keep track of everything to make sure you’ve done it all.

Accreditation

Online Web Degree Accreditation

When considering enrollment at a new college, it’s important to assess whether or not the college has accreditation and what kind of accreditation it has. The type you want to look for is regional accreditation.

You can usually find this information on the college’s website. Almost all colleges list their accreditation status there where it’s easy to find.

If, for some reason, you can’t locate it on the website, you can check the accreditation status of any U.S.-based college or university by using the Department of Education’s Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs.

If the college you’re considering enrolling in has regional accreditation from one of the seven regional accreditation agencies, you can feel confident that your time and money will be well-spent. Regional accreditation means the college has met the rigorous standards set down by the accrediting organization.

Your degree should be well-respected, and your credits should easily transfer to any other United States college or university.

Financial Aid & Scholarships

Financial aid for web design degree students

When it comes time to pay for your web design program, don’t forget to apply for financial aid. Most people think of student loans when they hear “financial aid.” That is one option. You can apply for student loans just about anywhere that provides people with loans.

The first place you should apply for loans, though, is the U.S. Department of Education. You can apply for federal loans through the U.S. DOE by filling out the FAFSA. These loans generally have decent interest rates, and the subsidized ones don’t start accruing interest until you’ve completed or withdrawn from college, which saves you a little bit of money.

If, after filling out your FAFSA, your income proves that you have a large enough financial need, you could also be eligible for the federal Pell Grant. Unlike a loan, this money doesn’t have to be repaid.

web design degree student studying online

Additionally, you should apply for as many scholarships as you’re able. You never know which ones you’ll be selected to receive. Merit-based scholarships can be found on your college’s website under the “financial aid” tab.

These are based solely off your GPA and standardized test scores and are usually awarded automatically if you’ve scored high enough.

Other scholarships can be found on dedicated scholarship websites, through your employer, through local or community organizations or even by doing a simple Google search. Like the Pell Grant, scholarships usually never have to be repaid, so the more of those you get, the better off you’ll be.

Web Design Career Paths

Web developers working together in the office

A bachelor’s degree in web design can be a starting point for you to move onto several different career paths within the computer science field. Not all of these paths are exclusive to web design or development either, although those are two of the paths with the easiest transition.

  • Web Design and Development – Everything you learn in the bachelor’s program for web design will help you transition into a web design and/or development career field after graduation. You should become efficient in programming languages, be able to use both HTML and CSS fluently and learn a good deal about visual arts and graphic/visual design.
  • Project Management – A degree in web design easily readies you for a career in project management because you basically go through an entire project cycle with web design. In web design, you start by meeting with your clients to see exactly what they’re looking for out of their websites. You then develop the website for them, test and troubleshoot it and maintain it for maximum performance after it’s done. These are exactly the steps you’d take in project management.
  • Cyber Security – Part of learning to design and maintain a website is learning how to keep it safe from hackers and other malicious attacks. The skills you learn in web design that allow you to do this are also many of the same skills you’d need for a career in cyber security.
  • Computer Programming – All of the coding, programming, scripting and programming languages you learn for web design and development are the same ones computer programmers need to know for their jobs. The skills you gain in a web design program are the same as those needed for computer programming, only instead of building websites, you’ll be using these skills to build computer programs and operating systems.
  • Technical Communication – Technical communication is really just explaining all the things you’d be doing in your job as a developer to non-STEM professionals. The hardest part of this career field is learning all of the technical jargon, techniques, skills and knowledge. You do that in your web design program. Explaining it should be no problem.There’s also a design element concerning written and digital communications. That’s also covered in-depth in a web design curriculum.

Nearly all the skills you’d need to do the above-listed jobs are covered in a web design degree program, making the move into these career fields a fairly simple process.

There may be a few extra courses or workshops you’d want to take to stay at the top of your field, but for the most part, you’re ready for these careers by the time you graduate with your bachelor’s degree.

Choosing an Online Bachelor’s in Web Design

web design student studying at home

Before enrolling in a new college, there are a few things you should compare between prospective schools to find the best fit for you.

  • Cost – Cost is a major factor when choosing the best online program for yourself. You want to make sure the tuition, books and additional fees are all within your budget for college.
  • Degree Program Length – You should set a goal for yourself before enrolling concerning how long you want to spend in college earning your degree. Then, you want to see how long the web design program at your prospective school will take. Also, check to see if the school offers additional summer courses or accelerated programs that might let you finish more quickly.
  • Size of Classes – Find out how many students are usually enrolled in your particular program. If the typical class size is large, is that something with which you’re okay, or would you prefer to enroll in a school with smaller classes so you get more one-on-one time with the teacher? You know your learning style better than anyone else, so try to match your class size with what suits you best.
  • College Credit Transfer Policies – See if your new school will honor any previous college credits you’ve earned. This will save you money and time if you don’t have to retake classes.
  • Campus Requirements – You may think that an online program wouldn’t have campus requirements, but that’s not always the case. Check to see if your program is 100%. If not, find out how often you have to visit the campus and make sure that fits with your schedule.

There is no such thing as a perfect online program. There is a program that is best for you, though. Take your time in researching online programs. Find the one that best fits your needs.

web design degree students studying together in a cafe

What Degree is Best for Web Design?

Unless you want to spend quite a bit of additional time and money on a graduate-level degree, the best degree you can get for web design is a Bachelor of Science in Web Design and Development.

The bachelor’s level degree is the most cost- and time-effective and can open up many more careers for you than an associate’s degree.

How Long is School for Web Design?

There are many different online programs out there with different time frames and schedules. Traditionally, if you’re starting from scratch, it’ll take you about four years to earn a bachelor’s degree in web design. There are options out there that can speed this process up for you.

If you enroll in accelerated programs, you can potentially finish much faster. Additionally, if you take a full course load each summer on top of your normal fall and spring semesters, you can potentially finish quicker.

Do You Need a Degree for Web Design?

While some people who are self-taught or have a certificate from a “boot camp” type of program can sometimes find jobs in the web design field, it isn’t the easiest way to do it. The web design field is hugely competitive right now. Companies and employers want the best.

The easiest way to find a job in the field is to have a degree listed on your resume that sets you apart from other applicants.

Is Web Designer a Good Career?

web designer working on the design of a website

Nearly anything in the tech or computer science-related fields is a good career choice right now. Web design is an especially in-demand field.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for web developers has a 13% expected growth rate through the year 2028, which is quite a bit faster than the growth rate for almost any other career.

What are the Best Online Web Design Certificate Programs?

There is no single “best” online web design certificate program. Find the program that fits into your budget and desired graduation time frame. Find the one that covers all the topics you want and need to learn about web design.

Find the one that fits into your busy schedule. Once you’ve done that, you’ll have found the best online web development certificate program for you.

What Can I Do With a Degree in Web Development?

In addition to becoming a web designer or web developer, there are a lot of other things you can do with a degree in web development.

You could also work in the fields of software development/engineering, information technology (IT), computer programming, graphic design, multimedia design, technical communication and more. It’s a pretty diverse degree.

What Should I Major in to Become a Web Developer?

web developers working in the office

If you want to become a web developer, your best bet is to major in web development and design. You’ll be able to get all the skills and tools you need in this program because it’s specific to the field.

If you can’t find a web development and design program that suits you, though, you could also major in computer science, computer programming or software development and still get most of the skills you’d need to become a web developer.

What Courses Will I Take for an Online Bachelor’s Degree in Web Design and Development?

The courses you’ll take in a web design and development program will mostly center around programming, programming languages, coding, scripting, full-stack development and design.

You may also take some courses in information technology, cyber security, software development and other similar classes.

Should I Get a Web Design Bachelor Degree Online?

Web designer is an incredibly popular profession right now. There are many available jobs, and the projected growth for the field is quite high for the next eight years or so. If you have any interest in web design at all, then a bachelor’s degree in the field could lead to some very lucrative career options for you.

Earning the degree online will also allow you to work from your own home on your own schedule, which is much more convenient than an on-campus college.

Why Should I Choose an Online Bachelor’s in Web Design Degree?

web designers collaborating on a project

If you’re interested in the field of web design, the bachelor’s degree is going to give you the most comprehensive knowledge and skill-set on the subject. Earning your bachelor’s degree will also open up many more options for careers than a certificate or an associate’s degree would.

Earning the degree online is much more convenient than having to make time in your schedule to drive to an on-campus school two or three times a week. It also allows you more flexibility in when and how you complete your work for the program.

Finally, as long as your online program is accredited, you’ll have the same access to financial aid and scholarship resources as you would at an on-campus school. There’s really no reason not to choose an online bachelor’s program.

Are There Any Affordable Online Web Design Degrees?

There are several affordable online web design degree programs. While no college degree is going to be free, there are options that start out at just a little over $100 per credit hour.

Factoring in that it takes you about 60 credit hours to earn a bachelor’s degree in the field,  tuition for the whole program could be as low as $6,000. Considering some bachelor’s degrees cost as much as $40,000 to earn, $6,000 is an incredible value. While not all online programs are inexpensive, there are plenty of affordable options out there.

Universities Offering Online Web Design Bachelor’s Degree Programs

Each of the universities included below are regionally accredited and offer web design bachelor’s degree online.

#1  Arizona State University

Arizona State University

  • BS in Graphic Information Technology

Arizona State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges.

#2  Baker College

Baker College

  • BS in Information Systems – Web Development

Baker College is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

#3  Bellevue University

Bellevue University

  • BS in Web Development

Bellevue University is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#4  Bluefield College

Bluefield College

  • BSBA in Web and Mobile Development

Bluefield College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#5  Brigham Young University

Brigham Young University Idaho

  • Bachelor’s in Web Development

BYU is accredited as a Higher Educational Institution by Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

#6  Champlain College

Champlain College

  • Bachelor’s in Web Design and Development

Champlain College is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

#7  Davenport University

Davenport University

  • BS in Computer Information Systems – Web and Mobile Development

Davenport University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#8  DeVry University

DeVry University

  • Bachelor’s in Web Development and Administration

DeVry University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

#9  East Coast Polytechnic Institute University

East Coast Polytechnic Institute University

  • BS in Computer and Information Science – Software Development – Web Design and Development

ECPI University is regionally accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

#10  Fort Hays State University

Fort Hays State University

  • BA in Information Networking and Telecommunications – Web and Mobile Application Development
  • BS in Information Networking and Telecommunications – Web and Mobile Application Development

FHSU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#11  Franklin University

Franklin University

  • BS in Web Development

Franklin University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#12  Full Sail University

Full Sail University

  • BS in Web Design and Development

Full Sail University is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges.

#13  Hodges University

Hodges University

  • Bachelor’s in Interdisciplinary Studies – Digital Design and Graphics

Hodges University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#14  Grand Canyon University

Grand Canyon University

  • BA in Digital Design – Web Design

Grand Canyon University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#15  Lewis-Clark State College

Lewis-Clark State College

  • BAS in Web Design and Development

Lewis-Clark State College is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

#16  Liberty University

Liberty University

  • Bachelor’s in Web and Mobile Programming

Liberty University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#17  Lindenwood University

Lindenwood University

  • BFA in Arts and Design – Web and User Experience

Lindenwood University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#18  Maryville University

Maryville University

  • Bachelor’s in Digital Media

Maryville University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#19  Northwestern State University of Louisiana

Northwestern State University of Louisiana

  • BS in Computer Information Systems – Web Development

Northwestern State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#20  Rasmussen College

Rasmussen College

  • Bachelor’s in Graphic Design

Rasmussen College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#21  South College

South College

  • BS in Information Technology – Web Design and Development

South College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#22  Southeastern University

Southeastern University

  • BS in Digital Media and Design

Southeastern University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#23  Southern New Hampshire University

Southern New Hampshire University

  • BA in Graphic Design and Media Arts

Southern New Hampshire University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

#24  University of Maryland Global Campus

University of Maryland Global Campus

  • BS in Digital Media and Web Technology

UMGC is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

#25  Walden University

Walden University

  • BS in Information Technology – Web and Mobile Applications Development

Walden is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

Getting Your Web Design Degree Online

web designer working at home

If you’re looking for a career that’s on the rise and becoming more in-demand all the time, web design fits the bill. The need for skilled web designers and developers isn’t getting any smaller anytime soon. If you have any interest at all in web design, now’s the perfect time to find a program that’s right for you.

There are plenty of financial aid options available to help you if money is a factor. There are also numerous online programs that allow you to work from home whenever your schedule allows. There’s never been a more convenient time to earn a college degree.

Surprisingly, there are online web design programs that start at as little as $100 per credit hour, which is a steal when it comes to tuition costs.

If you think you could be happy and successful in the field of web design and development, don’t wait. Do some research. Find a program that’s right for you. Fill out your FAFSA, and apply for some scholarships. You could be in an online web design program as early as this summer, on your way to a promising career.

Sarah Walker
WRITTEN BY
Sarah Walker