MCAD is committed to helping you achieve your educational goals in the way that works best for you. Although the graphic design certificate program generally takes two years, there is flexibility within the program. Your advisor can help you develop a course pathway that works best with your schedule and other commitments.
Interested in gaining some foundation skills prior to completing your application? Here is a list of Continuing Education courses that are popular to take in advance.
Example Program Pathway
Design in Context
HTML + CSS 3cr
InDesign Workshop NA Print Foundation
Typography Foundation 3cr
Illustrator Workshop NA Projects Studio
Web Design: Principles 3cr Advanced Projects Studio
Online Elective Professional Practice Seminar
PB 6405 Design in Context 3
Because the outlines of the profession continually change, the graphic designer must know how to integrate an understanding of visual literacy with broad-based cultural knowledge. This seminar provides a foundation examination of the theoretical basis of graphic design, defining basic concepts and vocabulary used by the profession, such as information architecture, pattern-recognition, grids, proportion, rhythm, sequence, and gestalt. In addition, the course will explore the contemporary history of graphic design from the mid-nineteenth century to the present, with an emphasis on cross-disciplinary inspiration, varied cultural influences, technological innovation, and expanded applications. Great emphasis will be placed on thorough research as an integral part of the ideation process. Throughout the course, weekly exercises and small projects that build on one another provide the student with a comprehensive understanding of the discipline of graphic design.
IDM 6610 Web Development: HTML and CSS 3
In this course, students learn how to create visually appealing, well-organized web pages using HTML and CSS, the fundamental languages for creating content and style on the web. The class begins with HTML and is introduced to tags, links, lists, tables, forms, web standards (old, new, and evolving), and the foundation of web page construction. Then, using CSS, students apply style sheets to HTML, using fonts, colors, divs, spans, layout, and positioning to create a well-crafted web page. The course is geared toward the beginning to intermediate web developer or designer.
PB 6410 Print Foundation 3
The production of high quality printed materials requires the graphic designer to possess a well-developed understanding of prepress requirements and equally well-developed computer skills. This course will focus on the production of print-ready files using Apple hardware, Mac OS X and the Adobe Creative Suite of applications (InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, and Acrobat). We will work with the capture, transfer, manipulation, and delivery of images as well as how to produce print-ready electronic files while learning various aspects of prepress, such as color management, bleeds, image resolution, pre-flighting, proofing methods, and RGB vs. CMYK vs. Pantone usage. Students will visit a printing firm to discuss these topics further with a print vendor and discuss technological innovations in the printing industry.
PB 6420 Typography Foundation 3
This course covers research, ideation, and application related to branding, publications, systems, signage, mapping, and other information architecture projects. By the end of the course, students are expected to demonstrate proficiency in the handling, use, and application of typography.
Prerequisites: Web Development: HTML and CSS (Can be taken concurrently)
PB 6425 Projects Studio 3
This course covers the development of research-oriented projects, varying from personal and public audiences, with an emphasis on the ability to logically and thoroughly communicate proposed design solutions to a broad spectrum of audiences. Projects rely on the accumulated skills and knowledge students have obtained and cultivated.
PB 6520 Typography Studio 3
This course covers large-scale projects in branding, publications, signage, mapping and identity systems, as well as working with outside professionals to explore real-world needs.
Prerequisites: Typography Foundation
IDM 6710 Web Design: Principles 3
In this course, students will be introduced to designing for web and screen. This includes web-specific design fundamentals, best practices, and review of current web design trends. From ideation to client review, students will be guided through each step of the design process including ways to find inspiration, wireframing, using design tools, and preparing a design for client review. Students will complete a final web design project and continue building and refining their web portfolio.
Prerequisites: Web Development: HTML and CSS (may be concurrently enrolled)
PB 6515 Advanced Projects Studio 3
Expanding on the ideas and tools developed throughout the graphic design certificate program, this course is anchored by two projects and complemented by a series of shorter exercises. These student-selected projects will demand complete and comprehensive solutions. The projects can vary from packaging and print to mapping to new media, and each will require an accompanying high-quality presentation and process book. Students will look at the role design should play not only in final visual solutions, but also at each stage of the process within a project. In addition to coursework, students will also learn from class visitors and by attending local events and lectures.
PB 6500 Professional Practice Seminar 3
This course offers advanced work in audience research and extensive portfolio preparation with an emphasis on interaction with outside organizations, corporations and design studios. Students are expected to produce professional, high-quality presentations of their work and accompanying process papers. This course will prepare students for the practice of presenting not only creative work, but also their own selves. Focus will be placed on skills necessary to present and discuss work in a professional creative environment, including physical presentations of ideas, clear verbal communication, rapid development of ideas and concepts, and business etiquette. The final project in this course will be a personal project as well as an exhibition of work in the MCAD gallery.
PB6411 Adobe InDesign and Photoshop Workshop 0
This one-day workshop provides students with an introduction to Adobe InDesign and Adobe Photoshop. Students learn to create print-ready
documents in InDesign, using the basics of the application: work area,
document set up, text formatting, image manipulation, color use and
swatches, style sheets, master pages, and several unique features of
the program including Paragraph Composer, user-definable proxies,
transparency, and OpenType. Learning the basic tools and menus in
Photoshop, students learn to create bitmapped images for print and web
design, using selections, painting, and image-editing techniques
including retouching, color manipulation and modes, levels and curves,
adjustment layers, and masking.
PB 6413 Adobe Illustrator Workshop 0
This workshop will provide an introduction to Adobe Illustrator along with more advanced drawing techniques and tools. A great deal of emphasis will be placed on workflow and how to move seamlessly from Illustrator to the rest of the Adobe Creative Suite, as well as integrating hand-made elements. In addition, students will learn when to use Illustrator over InDesign, or InDesign instead of Illustrator.
PB 6511 Portfolio Documentation Workshop 0
This workshop gives students instruction and guidance in the final preparation and documentation of an individual portfolio. The portfolio is a vital self-promotional tool that can aid in job interviews, portfolio reviews, and presentations of personal work for years to come. The portfolio will be a continually expanding representation of your artistic career, and must exhibit exquisite technical prowess.
In this workshop, students will refresh the basics of photography, camera, lens, lighting, post-production, and file management techniques. These skills will be applied while demonstrating the best practices and techniques of documenting 2-D and 3-D works of art.
Choose One of the Following 3 IDM 6510 Collaborative Workflows 3
This course introduces students to an overview of the interactive world by immersing them in current technologies and trends. Aspects of design, development, and marketing converge to illustrate the workflow process of interactive projects. The project management skills covered in this course will guide students from the ideation process to project launch. A review of the career paths possible in the field of interactive will prepare students for later courses in the program. Students will practice using industry standard web communication tools and project management strategies to present their research. The processes established in this course will be used throughout the program.
IDM 6630 Web Development: PHP and Wordpress 3
This course introduces students to server-side/backend web development, via PHP and the Wordpress content management system (CMS). Students will learn how these tools can be used to create dynamic pages and templates that allow for creating and publishing content without repetitive page development.
Prerequisites: Web Development 1 IDM 6720 Web Design: Branding and Systems Design 3
This course builds on the design fundamentals and tools covered in Web Design Principles and Collaborative Workflows. Students will be introduced to branding for the web, motion design, and designing for applications and content management. Students will also be designing for multiple platforms, emphasizing the constant state of change in the interactive field. A final design project will incorporate these feature-rich interactive elements into a formal specification ready for programming.
Prerequisites: Web Design: Principles, Web Development: HTML and CSS
IDM 6760 User Experience Design 3
Have you ever used a website or app that makes it hard to do what you want? This course explores the UX Design process and leverages it to bridge the gap between functionality and aesthetics, creating a better experience for your users. Guided by user-centered design processes, students will design visual and experiential systems for web and mobile apps that are shaped by such things as: stakeholder interviews, requirements gathering, usability testing, and competitor benchmarking. In the process, visuals such as user environment diagrams, customer experience maps, user scenarios, personas, wireframing, and prototypes will be developed to communicate and generate ideas.
Prerequisites: Web Design: Principles, Web Development: HTML and CSS IDM 6810 Digital Marketing: Principles 3
In this course, students will learn the fundamentals of marketing and how it relates to the design and development process. Students will connect digital marketing practices to the larger concepts of marketing and advertising. Interactive channels will open a new world of connecting with a target market. Marketing concepts of ROI, the marketing mix, and business objectives will be blended with new ways of connecting with engaging target markets. A final project will have students applying skills learned throughout the course by building an interactive marketing plan.