Advertising Graphic Design Certificate

Undergraduate Certificate in Advertising Design


August 26, 2024

Program Overview

The Sessions College Undergraduate Certificate in Advertising Design provides a foundation in print and digital advertising. Students develop an understanding of design fundamentals—color theory, composition, type, and layout—and how to apply them using today’s design software tools Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. Students learn the fundamentals of creating advertising and marketing messages that connect with consumers, including concept development, campaigns, and copywriting.

The best part about studying advertising graphic design online is the freedom to living your life and studying when it is most convenient. The ability to have a full-time job, travel, and then still schedule when you can sit down and focus on your work is priceless. The instructors and advisors are there for you no matter what. You are never on your own and you are 100% supported throughout your entire program.

Kristy Nilsson

Undergraduate Certificate in Advertising Design

Truly Affordable Education

Our Fall 2024 tuition is:


50% lower than the average annual cost of tuition at 4-year colleges in the United States.


Significantly more affordable than other online design / digital media colleges.


So affordable that 100% of tuition costs may be covered for eligible students.* Find out today if you qualify.

* Federal student aid and military education benefits available for eligible students.

Program Outcomes

By completing the program, Undergraduate Certificate in Advertising Design students develop the following competencies:

1. Marketing

Conceptualize, create and present work that delivers strategic solutions to address business and customer needs.

2. Technology

Create images and design layouts by effectively and efficiently using design software including Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign, and other industry technologies.

3. Art/Design Principles

Demonstrate the ability to produce visually compelling work by applying knowledge of color, typography, and composition.

4. Design Process

Develop strategic advertising and marketing concepts and campaigns for a variety of audiences and social contexts.

5. Projects

Produce and present a range of professional marketing communication projects for print, digital/social media, and outdoor ads.

Program Curriculum

The Undergraduate Certificate in Advertising Design is a 24-credit online program completed in two semesters. Part-time schedules are available.

First Semester

Second Semester

Course Descriptions

The program builds a foundation for entry-level design work or further study. All credits can be later transferred into the Associate in Advertising Design degree program.

DES 121 Photoshop I - 3 credits

Get a thorough grounding in Adobe Photoshop, the premiere image manipulation tool for print design, Web design, and photography. You’ll learn to choose and use the best techniques for common Photoshop jobs including selecting and isolating objects, creating image composites, masking and vignetting images, setting typography, and improving images with retouching and effects. Every designer must tame this creative powerhouse of a program.

DES 106 Design Foundations - 3 credits

Color is a fundamental medium for any artist or designer. Typography is what sets designers apart from other artists. Composition, literally the assembly or construction of elements, is the artful arrangement that guides the viewer's eye through an image. In this course, you will analyze everything from Grand Masters to Madison Avenue ads to tubes of toothpaste, and discover how color, type, and composition are combined to create effective and powerful visual communications. Class projects challenge you to build and apply your design skills in application to real-life creative scenarios.

DES 141 Illustrator I - 3 credits

Build a working knowledge of Adobe Illustrator, the graphic designer’s vector program of choice. Course projects explore selection tools, drawing tools, layers, the Pen tool, transformations/distortions, type tools, and modifying paths and shapes. Tapping the power of vector software allows you to produce detailed and scalable art for almost any application.

ADV 207 Creative Concept Development - 3 credits

In advertising, illustration, or design, you need to be able generate many ideas for your clients and projects. This class provides you with training in how to identify the needs of each project, brainstorm solutions, challenge your assumptions, and test/evaluate your ideas until you have a winner.

DES 201 InDesign I - 3 credits

Explore fundamental techniques for Adobe InDesign and develop an efficient workflow for both print and digital publishing. The course will impart a working knowledge of InDesign's main capabilities, everything from basic features to using master pages, importing and manipulating objects, controlling text flow and style, and organizing content with tables, layers, links, and conveyor tools. Projects give you give you training in a range of real world print/digital publishing projects: brochures, catalogs, magazines, ePubs, and even an interactive folio for the iPad.

ADV 205 Marketing Design - 3 credits

Learn how to make design decisions through research, writing, and planning techniques that set marketing designers (and their clients) apart from the competition. Class projects challenge you to combine concept, research, planning, presentation, and visual design to build your marketing portfolio.

ADV 206 Copywriting - 3 credits

Every ad designer must grasp the basics of persuasive copywriting. In this class, students will study how text and image interact in effective ad campaigns, learning how to write and edit ad copy for print and digital advertising media and turn written ideas into visual expression.

ADV 201 Advertising Design I - 3 credits

Learn creative approaches to persuading with visuals as you gain an introduction to the history and business of advertising. Case studies from print, Web, and TV showcase advertising concepts at work: persuasion, color psychology and composition, copywriting and typography, and brand communication. Class projects include ads for a wide range of media and a final project in which you create an entire ad campaign.

Studying Online at Sessions

Founded in 1997, Sessions College has delivered accredited and affordable fully online programs for creative professionals for more than 20 years. Earning your Advertising Graphic Design Certificate at Sessions has never been more accessible.

Take a virtual college tour in this video!

What Our Students Say

Program Benefits

Advance Your Creative Career

Advance your creative career in a focused 2-semester program.

By Creatives, For Creatives

Collaborate with a community of creative learners and industry professionals.

Enhance Your Portfolio

Enhance your portfolio with creative projects that put you through your paces.

Structure and Flexibility

Weekly deadlines keep you on track, but with no set login times you can build your studies around your schedule.

Education You Can Afford

Affordable programs with low per credit tuition, and financial aid available for those who qualify.

Open Enrollment Program

Open enrollment with a convenient application process.

Student Work

Career Outlook for Marketing and Advertising Designers

Advertising, promotions, and marketing managers develop and implement programs, promotions, and events that create and inspire interest in products or services. Marketing and advertising professionals need to possess analytical skills, communication skills, creativity, decision-making, interpersonal, and technical and organizational skills.

Exciting Job Opportunities

Graduates could be employed as an Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Manager, Marketing Assistant, Fundraiser, Social Media Manager, Event Manager, Copywriter, Media Planner, Marketing Executive, Media Buyer, Public Relations Specialist, Sales Representative, Marketing Research Analyst, e-Commerce Manager, Marketing Manager, Market Researcher, SEO Manager, Account Executive, Advertising Art Director, Sales Manager, Management Analyst, Brand Manager, Event Planner, Campaign Manager, or Account Executive.

Median Annual Wage and Income Potential

According to the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics the median annual wage for advertising and promotions managers was $131,870, and for marketing managers was $157,620 (as of May 2023).

Job Projections and Employment Trends

Employment opportunities for advertising, promotions, and marketing managers are projected to grow 6 percent from 2022 to 2032.

There are about 34,000 openings projected for advertising, promotions, and marketing managers each year, on average, over the decade.

Frequently Asked Questions

Our online application process makes getting started easy, fast, and convenient.

What's the Admissions Process?

Open Admissions.

Students entering the Undergraduate Certificate program are expected to have earned a high school diploma, GED, or state-approved home school equivalent. Any students under 18 years of age will need to provide the signed permission of a parent or guardian.

Classes start in January, April, and August, with early start options in February, June, and October. Our online application is simple and convenient, and there is no application fee.

How Long is the Program?

Two Semester Program.

The Undergraduate Certificate program is a 2-semester, 24 credit program. Students can graduate in under eight months and part-time schedules are available.

Will the Program Fit My Schedule?

Weekly deadlines help you stay on track. And with no set login times, you can build your studies around your schedule, wherever you are located. Many of our students complete their programs while working part-time or full-time.

What Software or Supplies Do I Need?

To take this program, you’ll need the following:

  • Mac or Windows computer with an Internet connection.
  • Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign CC software.
  • Your computer must meet software manufacturer requirements.
  • Webcam, headphones or speaker, VPN connection, and microphone connected to the computer for live proctored exams.

There are no textbook or course material costs to participate in this online program. Student discount on Adobe Creative Cloud software is available to enrolled students.

What are the Program Costs?

Truly Affordable Tuition. Since our founding in 1997, we have been committed to making the highest-quality design and digital media education available at the lowest cost.

Our truly affordable Fall 2024 tuition is:

Undergraduate Certificate Program - Fall 2024 Tuition
$300 per credit
$3,600 per semester
$7,200 total program tuition

Per-credit tuition is the same full-time and part-time students. Federal financial aid available for eligible students.

A $200 registration fee is required to process your enrollment in the program. Registration fees are nonrefundable after 5 days from the scheduled beginning of program orientation. See Undergraduate Certificate Admissions.

Is Financial Aid Available?

Federal Student Aid. Federal student aid is available to students who qualify. If you are eligible, you may be able to fund your program using Pell Grants and Federal student loans. Check out our Financial Aid Information pages and ask to set up an interview with our Financial Aid Director.

Military Student Aid. Military servicemembers and their families who are eligible for GI Bill Education Benefits or active service member Tuition Assistance (TA) may also be able to utilize these programs to pay for their education.

Get Started Today

Take the first step on a rewarding creative journey towards earning an Undergraduate Certificate in Advertising Design.

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