Study Web Design: Masters, Training & Online Degree Info

About this article
What kind of job can you get with a master's degree in web design? Find out about degree program requirements, online options and info on courses and web design training.
View available schools

Web Design Master's Degree and Training Programs at a Glance

Web designers are responsible for the visual aspects of a website, including typography, layout and color. Web designers need a strong understanding of how to use graphic design to create effective user interfaces, and they require some knowledge of coding languages, such as HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Since web development and web design are often closely related, master's degree and training programs may combine the two fields.

With training, you can qualify for careers like web designer, web developer and systems administrator. Additionally, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics stated that information security analysts, web developers and computer network architects may see a job growth of 22% from 2010-2020. Web design is a competitive field, and your experience outside of academia will likely be more important than the courses you take. Regardless of your degree, you'll need to stay abreast of trends in design and technology.

Master's Training and Courses
Who Is This Degree For? Individuals looking to advance their career in web design or update their current skill set Individuals interested in acquiring new knowledge or updating their skills in current technologies
Common Career Paths (with approximate median annual salary) - Web developer ($78,000)*
-Senior web designer ($80,000)**
- Creative director ($99,000)**
Courses and training may not qualify you for a job, but can help you develop advanced skills in web design.
- Entry-level web designer ($52,000)**
- Web designer ($62,000)**
Time to Completion 2 years, full-time 1 or more semesters
Common Graduation Requirements - 10-15 courses
- Thesis
Varies based on the number of courses you take and whether you are enrolled in a program
Prerequisites Bachelor's degree Training programs do not generally have specific prerequisites
Online Availability Yes Yes

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011 figures), **Salary.com (May 2012 figures)

Master's in Web Design

Master's programs provide a balance of technology, marketing and design studio courses. You will need strong artistic skills and the understanding of how websites can be designed to serve the needs of a client. The advanced coursework places emphasis on concept development, user experience, aesthetics and research. Within the program, you explore advanced techniques for producing your designs using industry-standard software, such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. You learn HTML and CSS to translate your designs into programming code. Web design is a hands-on degree program; therefore, you may spend a lot time working in computer labs.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Web design can offer a lucrative career option for individuals with artistic proclivities
  • Freelance and telecommuting opportunities are available in the field
  • Web design is a rapidly changing field, and a master's degree program may help you get up-to-date with emerging technologies

Cons

  • Many positions in the field only require a bachelor's or less and experience
  • Web design is a competitive field
  • You may be able to learn the same skills through self-study and stand-alone training courses

Courses and Requirements

A typical program will require the following web design courses:

  • Typography
  • Color Theory
  • Interactive Design
  • Website Management
  • HTML/CSS

You may want to go beyond these design-specific courses to take classes in business, marketing, e-commerce or other areas where you may have gaps in your skill set. Some master's programs require a thesis to complete the program, and this can be a great opportunity to complete an in-depth project to add to your portfolio.

Online Degree Options

Online degree programs in web design are widely available. Fully online programs are available and cover the same faculty-led curriculum of on-campus programs. Online programs may be a very good option if you want to maintain your current employment while gaining web design skills. Programs vary in how interactive their courses are designed to be, so you may want to investigate the different formats offered before committing to a program to find the one that is most appropriate for your learning style.

Get Ahead With This Degree

Since building a career in web design depends more on your experience than your academic background, here are some tips to get ahead while you are still in school:

  • Do not wait until you have a degree to begin working. Once you have done a few sites for free - for family members and friends or sites about your hobbies, for example - you may be able to gain some paying clients.
  • Focus on doing high quality and difficult work that challenges you to learn new ways of designing and building websites, rather than gaining a high quantity of mediocre work.
  • Continue to update your portfolio with your best work to show future clients.
  • Regularly read industry publications and stay in touch with professionals.
  • Keep yourself updated on trends and new technologies.

Training in Web Design

Training courses in web design vary widely in what they offer. You can earn a professional or advanced certificate by taking a series of courses, or you may choose to complete individual continuing education courses to update your current skills. Design training courses are often organized based on the technology or software they train you in, so if you need to develop skills in how to use a specific design program, then you will probably be able to find a course to suit that need.

Certificate programs in website design are generally short-term programs that allow you to update your skills in a wide variety of areas, such as multimedia techniques, web authoring and cutting-edge design technologies. Web design certificate programs are available at several different levels; therefore, you may want to research programs to find one that fits your specific skill level. However, depending on your career goals, training programs may not prepare you for a particular career.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Allows you to take specific courses relevant to your career goals or skill level
  • Offers a flexible scheduling and online opportunities
  • Continuing to learn new technologies is imperative to a career in web design, and individual training courses give you a structure for doing this

Cons

  • Training programs can be limiting compared to a full degree program
  • May not prepare you for employment
  • Many training options focus solely on technologies and do not have options for developing the artistic skills necessary for web design

Courses and Requirements

Common training courses in web design include:

  • Programming
  • Web Fundamentals
  • JavaScript Fundamentals
  • Interactivity
  • Visual design

Some training programs require you to complete a certain number of courses to earn a certificate. This could take the form of a series of foundation courses followed by elective advanced courses. You may be able to choose a specialization area within a certificate program. For the most part, you will be able to dictate the components of your training program.

Online Degree Options

Many training options are offered online. Online programs tend to be even more technology-focused - as opposed to design-focused - than on-campus options. Online training for beginners is more common than advanced training, so you may find it difficult to find appropriate courses if you are already a professional web designer.

Stand Out With This Degree

Web design is a competitive growing field that relies on technology that is always updating. When you are looking for single courses or certificate programs, you'll want to make sure the coursework focuses on the most current version of the design software, as well as cutting-edge techniques. You may also choose to join a professional association while you're a student, such as the AIGA. You can benefit from networking opportunities, discounted software, competitions and conferences.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Purdue University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Education in Learning Design and Technology
      • Master of Science in Education in Learning Design and Technology
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Herzing University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Healthcare Management and Technology Management
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Accounting and Technology Management
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Public Safety Leadership and Technology Management
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Human Resources and Technology Management
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Kaplan University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MSM in Information Technology
      • Master: Information Technology
      • Master: IT/Information Security and Assurance
      • Master: Information Technology - Project Management
      • MS in Cybersecurity Management
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Northcentral University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MSTIM - Computer Science
      • MBA - Computer and Information Security
      • MBA - Applied Computer Science
      • MSTIM - Cybersecurity
      • MSTIM - Information Systems
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Colorado State University Global

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master - Information Technology Management
      • Graduate Specialization - Information Technology
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Georgetown University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Masters of Professional Studies in Technology Management
  • Online Programs Available
    7. American InterContinental University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of IT: Project Management
      • Master of Information Technology - Information Assurance and Security
      • Master of Science in Information Technology
  • Online Programs Available
    8. City University of Seattle

    Program Options

    Master's
      • M.S. Computer Science
      • M.S. Information Security
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Saint Mary's University of Minnesota

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Education in Learning Design and Technology
  • Online Programs Available
    10. Utica College

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA - Cyber Policy
      • MBA - Cybersecurity
      • MBA Economic Crime and Fraud Management
      • MS in Cybersecurity - Computer Forensics
      • MS in Cybersecurity - Cyber Operations
      • MS in Cybersecurity - Cyber Intelligence

Featured Schools

Purdue University

  • Master of Science in Education in Learning Design and Technology

What is your highest level of education?

Herzing University

  • MBA Dual Concentration: Healthcare Management and Technology Management
  • MBA Dual Concentration: Accounting and Technology Management
  • MBA Dual Concentration: Public Safety Leadership and Technology Management

What is your highest level of education?

Kaplan University

  • MSM in Information Technology
  • Master: Information Technology
  • Master: IT/Information Security and Assurance

Which subject are you interested in?

Northcentral University

  • MSTIM - Computer Science
  • MBA - Computer and Information Security
  • MBA - Applied Computer Science

What is your highest level of education?

Colorado State University Global

  • Master - Information Technology Management
  • Graduate Specialization - Information Technology

What is your highest level of education?

Georgetown University

  • Masters of Professional Studies in Technology Management

What is your highest level of education completed?

American InterContinental University

  • Master of IT: Project Management
  • Master of Information Technology - Information Assurance and Security
  • Master of Science in Information Technology

Are you a US citizen?

City University of Seattle

  • M.S. Computer Science
  • M.S. Information Security

What is your highest level of education completed?