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Online Graphic Design Degree

Associate of Occupational Studies

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Visual communication plays a vibrant, essential role in our culture and everyday experience. Are you ready to turn ideas into images? The Sessions College Associate of Occupational Studies (AOS) Graphic Design degree provides a thorough creative and technical online training in everything that designers do. You'll immerse yourself in color, typography, and layout, and learn to navigate Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign with ease, as you gain experience an array of branding and print design projects. Discover your strengths and develop a strong portfolio, working with our faculty of professional designers.

On this page: Courses Program Standards Getting Started


AOS in graphic design degree program seal

The Associate of Occupational Studies (AOS) in Graphic Design program is a 2-year fully online program. Classes start in spring, summer, and fall. Credit transfer is welcome and part-time schedules are available.

Progam requirements include 54 credits in art/design and 18 credits in general education. Your onramp to the industry includes a design business course, capstone project, and final portfolio review. Click to view course information below.

Graphic Design Major - Year One

Graphic Design major Myriam Keaton
“The instructors have top credentials and experience and are always there to offer a new perspective, as well as valuable coaching and mentoring.”
- Myriam Keaton, Associate Degree in Graphic Design.

Graphic Design Major - Year Two

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Program Goals

Foundation studies develop proficiency in the traditional elements of art and design. Software and coding classes build skills in contemporary design tools and technologies for digital imaging, illustration, layout, and Web publishing. First-year courses introduce you to drawing, photography, Web publishing, and general education.

Online student work in graphic design Online graphic design degree students are expected to present their work in a final portfolio review. Student work by Rebeccah Robinson.

An integrated general education curriculum helps you develop proficiency in critical thinking and written communication as well as a foundation in psychology, business, computer technology, writing, and art history. Building a foundation for lifelong learning is essential to the college experience, and general education concepts play an important role in your design coursework.

In the second year of the program, you will dig deeper into the tools and techniques that are essential to print designers. Graphic Design majors develop a professional design process as they explore a range of media including layout projects, print production, packaging, and branding and marketing concepts. An elective course allows for further exploration of Web design or digital media.

Graphic Design majors are expected to develop the ability to:

  • Create sophisticated, appropriate color palettes and use color and contrast effectively in their work.
  • Design and lay out typography for readability, impact, or expression.
  • Create drawings in traditional media that show a command of proportion, perspective, and value contrast.
  • Prepare images for professional publication with Photoshop retouching, correction, compositing, or collage.
  • Create engaging and readable layout designs that attract the eye using fundamental design and composition techniques.
  • Develop effective logo designs from a client brief using an iterative design process.
  • Create simple, stylized logos, icons, and illustrations in Illustrator.
  • Manipulate framing, perspective, distance, and lighting to take professional-level digital photographs in a range of settings.
  • Create consistent, engaging, and readable layouts in InDesign for multi-page print publications.
  • Create consistent, visually appealing page designs using HTML and CSS via Dreamweaver or via hand coding.
  • Apply in their work an understanding of English composition, business writing, psychology, computer science, marketing, and art history.
  • Write papers and presentations that demonstrate critical thinking, clear organization, and professional style, grammar, and spelling.
  • Represent their design services to potential clients or employers and manage different aspects of the graphic design process.
  • Identify current areas of strength and prepare and maintain a portfolio of their best design work in print or on the Web.
  • Develop competence in various print design genres including poster design, logo/branding design, magazine layouts, cover design, and packaging.

For more information on courses in this major, view Graphic Design degree courses or browse our complete design degree course list.

For Gainful Employment information on this program, visit this page.

Below, Associate Degree student Kyle Gilbreath talks about his experiences working with Sessions College instructors.

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Getting Started

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Notices and Deadlines

Graphic Design Degree Admissions

Classes start in spring, summer, and fall. To apply to this online Graphic Design Degree program, you'll need to complete our degree application, write an application essay, provide 5-10 samples of art or design, and order transcripts from high school or colleges attended. 

Graphic design degree admissions advisor Mhelanie
"As a trained graphic designer, I really like helping students select their program options. They're getting to take classes I'd like to take myself!" – Mhelanie Hernandez, Director of Admissions

Whenever you're ready, talk to our friendly Admissions admissions staff. Here are some next steps:

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Software and Supplies

Software for graphic design majors

To take this online program, you'll need a computer with an Internet connection as well as additional software and supplies.

Review program requirements for the Associate Degree in Graphic Design program below, and be sure to visit our Student Store for discounts on hardware and graphic design software. You must be an enrolled student to be eligible for educational discounts.

  • A Windows-based or Macintosh computer that meets software manufacturers' requirements.
  • Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and Dreamweaver CS6 or CC software.
  • Microsoft Office software (Word, Excel, PowerPoint)
  • A digital camera with adjustable ISO and adjustable white balance features recommended.
  • Basic drawing supplies including pencils, charcoal, newsprint, and sketch paper.
  • A Web hosting account with an ad-free hosting service.
  • Webcam, headphones or speaker, VPN connection, and microphone connected to the computer for live proctored exams.

Please check course syllabus pages or the catalog for detailed information on course requirements or proctored exams. Your choice of elective may involve additional requirements.

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