Graphic Design – Associate in Applied Science

The graphic design program prepares students for entry-level positions in design organizations. Graphic design graduates find employment in a variety of settings including the publication and printing industries, advertising and marketing organizations, and graphic design department of corporations, government agencies and retailers.

Minimum credits: 60
Minimum cumulative GPA: 2.0
Minimum grade in all courses: 2.0
Minimum Jackson College credits: 15

GEO 1: Write clearly, concisely and intelligibly

Take the following:

Course # Course Name Credits Prerequisites Notes
ENG 131 Writing Experience I 3 ENG 085 and ENG 091

This is an intensive writing course. Narrative and descriptive modes are stressed. Basic research strategies are introduced. An end-of-the-semester portfolio is required.

GEO 2: Recognize the importance of equity and inclusion in a diverse society

Choose one of the following:

Course # Course Name Credits Prerequisites Notes
ANT 131 Cultural Anthropology 3 ENG 085*

Cultural anthropology is a one semester introductory course. The course focuses on the thesis that every society is based on an integrated culture, which satisfies human needs and facilitates survival. The course also explores the ways in which our own culture fits into the broad range of human possibilities.

COM 250 Intercultural Communication 3 ENG 085* and ENG 090*

(Students cannot receive credit for both COM 250 and COM 350) This course will explore how diverse cultural orientations influence the way we perceive and interact with an increasingly culturally diverse world. We will discuss the causes of intercultural conflicts in different communication settings (interpersonal, small group, school, workplace and global) and how to manage them effectively.

HIS 211 Minority Groups in America 3 ENG 085* and ENG 090*

Sociology of dominant-minority relations in contemporary American society. Attention to specific ethnic, religious, and racial minorities in terms of prejudice and discrimination.

HUM 131 Cultural Connections 3 ENG 085 and ENG 091

This interdisciplinary course examines contemporary issues, their human and technological components, and their historical precedents through art, music, literature and philosophy.

PLS 262 International Relations 3 ENG 085* and ENG 090*

Survey contemporary world affairs and examine the nation-state system, the struggle for power, and factors creating harmony and hostility among states.

GEO 3: Demonstrate computational skills and mathematical reasoning

Take the following:

Course # Course Name Credits Prerequisites Notes
MAT 130 Quantitative Reasoning 4 MAT 030

Quantitative Reasoning develops student skills in analyzing, synthesizing and communicating quantitative information. Cultivates algebraic reasoning and modeling skills through a quantitative literacy lens. Emphasizes critical thinking and athe use of multiple strategies in applied contexts. Topics include proportional and statistical reasoning, probability, and evaluation of bias and validity.

GEO 4: Demonstrate scientific reasoning

Choose one of the following:

Course # Course Name Credits Prerequisites Notes
GEL 109 Earth Science 4 ENG 085*, ENG 090* and MAT 033* or higher

This course serves as a foundation for the Earth sciences and Earth science majors. Emphasis is placed on laboratory experience and class discussions to reinforce scientific principles. Earth science case studies are covered in detail. In laboratory, the students will learn how to apply basic scientific principles through active learning and application. This course has a laboratory component.

NSC 131 Contemporary Science 4 ENG 090* and MAT 020* or higher

An interdisciplinary course that introduces the nature of science as a process. Particular topics from biology, chemistry, physics, geology and astronomy covered with an emphasis on critical thinking and evaluating evidence to examine competing theories. This course is ideal as a first science course for students whose science background is minimal, who are anxious about science, or who have not had a science course for several years. Course includes a laboratory component.

GEO 5: Understand human behavior and social systems, and the principles which govern them

Choose one of the following:

Course # Course Name Credits Prerequisites Notes
PLS 141 American National Government 3 ENG 085, ENG 091

Develops a systematic framework for the interpretation of political activity in the United States. Numerous models explain the theoretical foundations of government and the decision-making process.

PSY 140 Introduction to Psychology 4 ENG 085* and ENG 090*

Overview of the field of psychology, including learning, development, emotion, motivation, personality, abnormal behavior and psychotherapy.

PSY 152 Social Psychology 3 PSY 140 or SOC 231

(SAME AS SOC 152) Theoretical synthesis of social influences, including attitude formation, social and cognitive development, aggression, prosocial behavior, prejudice, conformity, culture and gender differences, influences, group processes and interpersonal attraction will be studied.

SOC 231 Principles of Sociology 3 ENG 085* and ENG 090*

The discipline and its contributions to understanding the fundamental processes of social interaction. Includes development of self, socialization process, groups and social structure. Application of sociological principles to our society by examination of relevant research.

GEO 6: Understand aesthetic experience and artistic creativity

Choose one of the following:

Course # Course Name Credits Prerequisites Notes
ART 112 Art History: Renaissance to Present 3 ENG 085*

This course is a survey of art history and aesthetics covering art from the Renaissance through the 20th century.

ENG 210 Introduction to Film 3 ENG 085* and ENG 131

Students are introduced to film as a visual art and to basic film terms and techniques, such as composition, movement, editing and sound. Readings in film history, genre, theory and criticism. Includes JC Winter Film Series.

MUS 132 History of American Popular Music 3

Students explore the development of popular music in America and focus on the musical, social and economic influences of commercial music in an historical context.


Choose one of the following:

Course # Course Name Credits Prerequisites Notes
ART 101 Two-Dimensional Design 3

Students will learn the principles and elements of 2-D design and practice their application in a variety of hands-on studio projects. Critical thinking skills such as problem solving, understanding the creative process (from idea to finished product), and addressing visual and conceptual themes are essential parts of the course. These skills are reflected in studio projects.

ART 103 Drawing I: Foundations 3

This course introduces basic drawing principles and techniques in a studio setting. Students explore contour and tonal drawing using various subjects and media in both observational and conceptual drawings. Projects will incorporate a variety of ability levels, as well as traditional and non-traditional media (including digital images). Students will draw from a nude model. Critical thinking skills such as problem solving, understanding the creative process (from idea to finished product), and addressing visual and conceptual themes are essential parts of the course, reflected in the studio projects. An end of semester portfolio represents students’ growth and artistic development.

ART 152 Painting I: Design & Color 3 ART 103

The elements and principles of design and color are introduced to create basic painting composition in a studio setting. Emphasis is given to techniques using acrylics and/or watercolor media. Critical thinking skills such as problem solving, understanding the creative process (from idea to finished product), and addressing visual and conceptual themes are essential parts of the course, reflected in the studio projects. Students will paint from a nude model. Gallery trips, as well as other field experiences, are key aspects of this course. Students work with the instructor to mount an end of semester exhibition, showcasing their artistic growth and development.

Choose two of the following:

Course # Course Name Credits Prerequisites Notes
BUA 122 Successful Small Business 3 CIS 095*, ENG 085* and ENG 090*

Do you have what it takes to own your own business? Discover that, as well as sources of financing, forms of legal ownership, niche marketing, and most importantly, how to avoid business failure.

BUA 231 Advertising, Promotion & Public Relations 3 CIS 095*, ENG 085* and ENG 090*

Students study the principles and practices of numerous promotional tools used in marketing communications. Topics include creation of advertising, media strategies, message appeals, plus the use of specialty advertising, sales promotion and public relations to help sell goods, services and ideas.

CIS 131 Methods in 3-D Prototyping 1 ENG 085*

Students propose concept development and build three-dimensional product mock-ups. Dexterity, craftsmanship and implementation using innovative logistical methods are practiced and delivered.

CIS 133 Brand Identity Design 1 ENG 085*

This course introduces students to common contemporary practices of corporate brand identity design. Review and discussion of brand-building concepts are researched and analyzed.

CIS 137 Digital Photography I 3

(SAME AS ART 137) This course demonstrates how to use and handle a digital camera, capturing the image, editing and processing images for output — such as printing, or preparing images for upload to the internet for websites or social media platforms. The class will include techniques and instruction on layout, composition, rules of design, history of photography, and Photoshop® or image altering program applications.

CIS 138 Image Editing Applications 1 ENG 085*

Students will be exposed to current applications and technical aspects of image manipulation in a variety of contexts. They will become familiar with applications through research, demonstrations, and structured exercises as well as open-ended assignments.

COM 240 Interpersonal Communication 3 ENG 085, ENG 091

(FORMERLY SPH 240) Students will learn to improve communication in one-on-one and small group situations. In this course, students will examine basic verbal and non-verbal elements affecting communication between individuals in family, peer group and work contexts. Specific units of discussion include intrapersonal perspective, conflict resolution, self-disclosure, message generation, intercultural messages and non-verbal communication.

ENT 101 Entrepreneurship: Creating Your Own Job 3 CIS 095*, ENG 085* and ENG 090*

There will be only one constant throughout your career, and that constant is change. The preferences of consumers are constantly changing, entire industries are rising and falling, and hard-working people often are finding themselves looking for a job. This course provides you with the foundation to design your own job, whether in the context of an existing organization (i.e., as an “intrapreneur”) or as someone who starts a new enterprise (i.e., as an “entrepreneur”). In this course you will learn more about your own strengths and weaknesses, as well as the key characteristics shared by successful entrepreneurs. You’ll also gain skills for matching your strengths with a business idea that fits you well, so that both you and your customers will benefit. Finally, you will begin developing analytical tools to help make sound decisions in a rapidly-changing world.


Take the following:

Course # Course Name Credits Prerequisites Notes
CIS 126 Digital Design Fundamentals 3 MAT 131, MAT 133 or MAT 135 (MAT 135 preferred), and ENT 085*, and ENG 090*

Students explore fundamental methods used to compose persuasive digital layouts. Strategies in aesthetics, personal methodology, industry-standard practices are performed with the intent to deliver a clear, unique and proficient message.

CIS 127 Introduction to Creative Software 3 ENG 085*

Understanding the full potential and limitations of software is essential to the success of graphic design students. Introduction to Creative Software is an entry-level course that takes the student who is new to graphic design and creative careers into this dynamic industry and lets them explore common software used.

CIS 128 Typography & Layout 3 CIS 095*

Learn principles of type identification, selection and use in the professional rendering of comprehensive layouts. Utilization of tools, materials, and techniques of rendering emphasized.

CIS 132 Graphic Illustration (Adobe® Illustrator®) 3 CIS 095*

Learn how to create professional looking illustrations using Adobe® Illustrator®. This course introduces student to techniques used by professional designers and illustrators.

CIS 134 Graphic Imaging (Adobe® PhotoShop®) 3

Learn the intricacies of scanning and editing images for producing practical and expressive images on a computer using Adobe® PhotoShop® software.

CIS 135 Open Source Web Design 1

This course will explore several open source web design software programs available, their risks and advantages in the web development arena. Students will create an eCommerce website, learn to manage the site using open source utilities available and discover strategies for security of website information and eCommerce transactions.

CIS 136 Integrated Design I (Adobe® InDesign®) 3 CIS 095*

Learn the basics of desktop publishing using Adobe® InDesign®. Students use computers and laser printers to create professional-looking publications that incorporate illustrations and bitmap graphics.

CIS 183 Introduction to Animation 3

This course introduces students to the techniques necessary to produce animated digital image sequences.  Using industry standard software tools, students develop graphics and initiate the movement of their 2D and 3D objects in frame animation by actions such as rotating, scaling, and tweening.

Prerequisite: CIS 134

CIS 188 Print Production 3

This course introduces students to technologies and techniques involved with the printing process. Concepts behind the printing press, ink, and color are addressed and methods are applied.

Prerequisite: CIS 127 and CIS 136

CIS 234 Graphic Technology Applications 3 CIS 128 and CIS 132

Students prepare for career opportunities by defining areas of employment and identifying prospective employers in the graphic design profession. Students also create a professional portfolio to be used for employment interview purposes.

CIS 245 Internship/Externship 3 Instructor Permission Required.

This course will provide comprehensive work experience to assist students in the development of essential skills to be successful in a chosen career. The position must be obtained by the student and approved by the department before registration is permitted.