Graphic Design – Certificate

The process of graphic design uses art and technology for the visual organization of information. The intent is to connect with a specific audience to communicate or expose ideas. This program allows for an understanding of the practical application of graphic design as it exists in both digital and print environments in the industry today. Career opportunities include freelance designer, editorial/publication designer, corporate identity designer, package designer, environmental designer and type designer.

Program Requirements

Minimum credits 35
Minimum cumulative GPA 2.0
Minimum grade in all courses 2.0
Minimum Jackson College credits 15


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.

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 the use of multiple strategies in applied contexts. Topics include proportional and statistical reasoning, probability, and evaluation of bias and validity.


Choose 3 credits from 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.

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.

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 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 230 Practicum in Printing 4 CIS 101

Students receive hands-on introduction on how screen and offset printing works. The class will be project-oriented.

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.