About This Program
The Sessions College Undergraduate Certificate in Graphic Design provides a thorough foundation in graphic design. Students gain an understanding of the fundamentals of color, typography, and composition and how to apply them using Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. Students apply current production methods and techniques to exciting projects that include poster design, magazine layout, identity design, and packaging design.
I work full-time, so studying online just made things easier for me. It allowed me to be go to work and do school on my own time without the added pressure of having to schedule classes at nights and weekends, causing me to be away from my family.
Student Work By: Anna Spankie, Donek Morton, Dominique Dunn, Oscar Merritt
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.
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. Take a virtual college tour in this video!
The Undergraduate Certificate in Graphic Design is a 24-credit program completed in two semesters. Part-time schedules are available.
- DES 104 Color Theory - 1.5 credits
- DES 101 Typography I - 1.5 credits
- DES 111 Drawing I - 3 credits
- DES 121 Photoshop I - 3 credits
- DES 141 Illustrator I - 3 credits
- DES 105 Design and Composition - 1.5 credits
- DES 131 Logo Design I - 1.5 credits
- DES 201 InDesign I - 3 credits
- DES 102 Typography II - 3 credits
- DES 211 Graphic Design I - 3 credits
The program builds a foundation for entry-level graphic design work or further study. All credits can be later transferred into the Associate in Graphic Design degree program.
DES 104 Color Theory - 1.5 credits
Focus on developing appropriate color systems for graphic design projects. Projects explore the principles, terminology, and applications of color theory, with an emphasis on manipulating color. A working knowledge of the expression and perception of color, and color interaction, lends credibility and sophistication to a designer’s work.
DES 101 Typography I - 1.5 credits
Explore the critical role of typography in graphic design. Course projects build an understanding of the anatomy of the letterform, the distinguishing features of different typefaces, and creative applications of type. An assured grasp of typography is essential in any visual communication project.
DES 111 Drawing I - 3 credits
Learn how to analyze what you see in the world around you and communicate it on paper. Through hands-on projects, and guided by a professional artist, you will explore the critical concepts of line, mass, form, perspective, value, and composition, building a solid foundation for all your art and design work.
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 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.
DES 105 Design and Composition - 1.5 credits
Discover the principles of effective composition in print design and advertising. Composition, literally the assembly of elements, is the artful arrangement that guides the eye and unifies a design work. Case studies and hands-on projects address closed/open space, negative space, movement, and more.
DES 131 Logo Design I - 1.5 credits
Explore the philosophy and process behind designing a logo. Students learn the importance of corporate identity and the different stages in a typical logo design project. The course establishes a solid conceptual and practical grounding for anyone interested in pursuing a career in visual identity, from a design or a marketing perspective.
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. Valuable methods for cutting-edge digital publishing techniques are explored, and 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.
DES 102 Typography II - 3 credits
Learn advanced concepts in typography including type fusion, information hierarchy, expressive type, and 3D type applications. Assignments include advertising, product packaging, civic branding, and currency design. The focus of the course is on improving your design by learning to see type differently.
DES 211 Graphic Design I - 3 credits
Establish a firm foundation for taking on professional design work. You’ll gain insights from industry veterans and explore the challenges of designing posters, logos, magazine covers, book layouts, 3D designs, and brand identities. Looking to establish a career as a freelance designer? The course provides you opportunities to hone your design process, as you research each project, develop concepts, work with iterative feedback, and begin to develop quality pieces for your portfolio.
By completing the program, Undergraduate Certificate in Graphic Design students develop the following competencies:
Create images and design layouts by effectively and efficiently using design software including Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign, and other industry technologies
2. Art/Design Principles
Demonstrate the ability to produce visually compelling work by applying knowledge of color, typography, and composition.
3. Design Process
Develop strategic and compelling designs for a variety of audiences and social contexts.
Produce and present a range of standard professional graphic design projects including graphics, posters, ads, logos, page layouts, and packaging.
To learn more about our outcomes assessment process, visit our Academic Team.
Sessions Student Work
What Our Students Say
VIEW ALL PROGRAM FACULTY
Get expert feedback in classes taught by our industry-leading faculty.
Andrew Shalat is an author, designer/illustrator, educator, and Mac expert who is a regular speaker at Macworld and has written several books on design for McGraw-Hill and Peachpit Press.
Jordon Schranz is an audio/visual artist and designer whose work has been exhibited internationally in New York, Chicago, El Paso, Berlin, Bogotá, and Ciudad Juárez.
Jose Ramos is a publishing solutions specialist and Adobe consultant for the Caribbean region. Jose has Adobe certifications in Adobe Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, InCopy, Acrobat Pro, and Dreamweaver.
Kristen Becker is an educator and a graphic and business designer specializing in e-commerce. With over 12 years of experience as an award-winning educator, Kristen has developed curriculum and taught courses in graphic design, multimedia, and e-commerce/marketing.
Michael Hamm is a Senior UX Designer who has worked for Oracle Corporation and Expedia, and an Adobe Illustrator expert with over 20 years of experience in the creative field.
Piper Nilsson is a graphic/Web designer and educator. Piper has been working with the Web since 1997, working in various roles as a designer, programmer, and information architect, Piper blueprinted sites for such global clients as MetLife, Pepsi, ETS, and Citibank.
Dr. Taz Tally is the president of Taz Tally Seminars and Taz Tally Photography and author of numerous graphics and print production books and instructional videos, CDs, DVDs and online training courses on scanning, prepress and printing, Photoshop, and color correction.
View all faculty.
Our online application process makes getting started easy, fast, and convenient.
What's the Admissions Process?
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.
- 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?
The tuition and fees for Undergraduate Certificate students are as follows:
|Undergraduate Certificate Tuition|
|$510 per credit|
|$6,120 per semester|
|$12,240 total program tuition|
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. (Active service members are exempt from registration fees.) 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 Graphic Design.