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Graphic Arts

with an Information Design emphasis

Bachelor of Science

Program Length: 36 months (may be completed in as little as 30 months)

Degree Overview

Graphic Arts with an Information Design emphasis

The Bachelor of Science Degree in Graphic Arts prepares students to plan, analyze, and create visual solutions to communication challenges. The combination of the study of theory and a mastery of in-studio visual communication methods enables students to get messages across in print, electronic, and film media using a variety of methods such as color, type, illustration, photography, animation, and various print and layout techniques.

Graduates may seek employment in advertising agencies, design studios, publishing houses, or corporate communication departments in entry-level positions as a graphic designer, a production artist for a design staff, a free-lance designer, or as a junior art director.

The major objective of the Information Design emphasis is to ensure competency at complex levels of information design creation, adaption, and management; attention attraction and retention optimization; cross-medium information presentation; universal design for professional design and communication; and ethical information design.

Possible employment areas include entry-level to mid-level positions as technical and professional designers, web and mobile content developers, document managers, editors, social media creators, and entrepreneurs.

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Course Descriptions

CourseCourse NameCredits

APP 101 Computer Fundamentals 3.5
COT 320 Professional and Technical Communication I 4.0
COT 350 Technology in Communication 4.0
COT 420 Professional and Technical Communication II 4.0
CSS 101 Psychology of Motivation 4.0
CSS 299 Professional Development 4.0
DES 103 Illustrator Basics 3.0
DES 104 Photoshop 3.0
DES 105 Page Layout Tools 3.0
DES 109 Graphic Design I 3.0
DES 113 Typography 3.0
DES 114 Print Production and Color Theory 3.0
DES 116 Color Theory 3.0
DES 209 Graphic Design II 3.0
DES 240 Information Design 3.0
DES 241 Web Design 3.0
DES 242 Logo and Identity Design 3.0
DES 243 Layout Design 3.0
DES 244 Package Design 3.0
DES 246 Flash 3.0
DES 250 Portfolio Design 3.0
DES 314 Advanced Color Theory 3.5
DES 323 Intermediate Photoshop 3.0
DES 324 Intermediate Illustrator 3.0
DES 336 Graphic Design III 3.0
DES 342 Information Design II 3.0
DES 355 Graphic Design Business Management 3.0
DES 370 Advanced Logo Design 3.0
DES 375 Advanced Package Design 3.0
DES 380 Advanced Illustrator 3.0
DES 420 Universal Design 3.0
DES 460 Advanced Photoshop 3.0
DES 470 Advanced Advertising Design II 3.0
DES 475 Digital Photography 3.0
DES 499 Design Capstone Project 3.0
ENG 101 English Composition 4.0
ENG 223 Communication Arts 4.0
ENG 310 Advanced Interpersonal Communication 4.0
HIS 220 American Civilization 4.0
HIS 300 U.S. History Since the Civil War 4.0
MAN 210 Entrepreneurship 4.0
MAN 223 Internet Commerce 4.0
MAN 436 Selling and Sales Management 4.0
MAN 443 Organizational Design and Change 4.0
MAT 220 College Algebra 4.0
MKT 210 Introduction to New Media Marketing 4.0
MKT 300 Influence and Persuasion in Business 3.5
PHI 221 Introduction to Logic 4.0
PHI 310 Critical Thinking 4.0
PSY 400 Biological Psychology 4.0
SOC 220 Sociology 4.0
SOC 400 Sociology of Aging 4.0
STA 322 Statistics 4.0

Course Description

Click a course to see the course description.

Tip: Reading course descriptions is a great way to help you decide if a degree is right for you.

Computer Fundamentals

This course introduces the elements of several popular computer software programs in word processing, spreadsheet management, and presentation design, Emphasis will be placed on the basic fundamentals of document creation, saving, and printing along with the more advanced concepts of presentation design.

Credits: 3.5

Professional and Technical Communication I

This course introduces students to the nuances of professional and technical communication. Topics include the impact of medium on messages, rhetorical framing of documents, and audience analysis. Students will learn about comprehensive document creation focused on the whole text, medium, graphics, and context of a document.

Credits: 4.0

Technology in Communication

This course focuses on the changes taking place in the technologies of information production, distribution, storage, and display. Emphasis is placed on the interaction of these changes with legal, social, cultural, and communication systems. Students will be required to create and adapt written and graphic design strategies for various communication technologies, including evolving technologies.

Credits: 4.0

Professional and Technical Communication II

This course covers the advanced topics begun in COT 320. Students will refine their audience analysis skill and create professional and technical communication texts in specific areas of business, engineering, and science. Emphasis will be placed on the ethical issues in the field of professional and technical communication and how to resolve common ethical dilemmas.

Credits: 4.0

Psychology of Motivation

Students review skills necessary to be successful in college, including: note-taking, study skills, writing, finding and using information on the Internet, and reading/understanding college-level text. Students are exposed to basic motivation theories, values clarification, and philosophic principles.

Credits: 4.0

Professional Development

This course addresses employment search and acquisition skills. Topics include matching qualifications with job requirements, resume preparation, and job applications. Also includes cover letters, follow-up letters, resignation letters, and recommendation letters. Classroom activities include discussion of basic interviewer questions and interviewing techniques.

Credits: 4.0

Illustrator Basics

This course focuses on vector software to produce detailed and scalable art for most applications. Course projects explore selection tools, drawing tools, layers, the pen tool, transformations/ distortions, type tools, and modifying paths and shapes.

Credits: 3.0


This course is designed to develop proficiency in the Adobe Photoshop program. This course focuses on the features of Photoshop that professionals consider to be the most important. Emphasis is placed on creating, recreating, and editing images in preparing them for web and print.

Credits: 3.0

Page Layout Tools

This course builds a basic proficiency in layout and production techniques currently being used by graphic art professionals.

Credits: 3.0

Graphic Design I

This course focuses on the basic elements of design.

Credits: 3.0


This course explores the critical role of typography in graphic design. Course projects place an emphasis on the anatomy of the letterform, the distinguishing features of different typefaces, and creative applications of type.

Credits: 3.0

Print Production and Color Theory

This course focuses on the technical fundamentals of producing professional print publications, including color theory and pre-press.

Credits: 3.0

Color Theory

This course introduces students to color theory and the application of color to social contexts. Students will learn how color is derived in print and e-formats like CMYK and RGB. Additional emphasis is placed on fundamental color management techniques and cross-platform color strategies.

Credits: 3.0

Graphic Design II

This course implements the basic elements of design with emphasis on effective composition in a variety of projects.

Credits: 3.0

Information Design

This course focuses on visual representation of technical information in a variety of mediums.

Credits: 3.0

Web Design

This course focuses on designing websites with creative interfaces, strong graphic images, functional site organization, and logical navigation.

Credits: 3.0

Logo and Identity Design

This course focuses on developing essential skills for designing logos and corporate identities.

Credits: 3.0

Layout Design

This course uses the principles of effective composition to create multi-page layouts.

Credits: 3.0

Package Design

This course focuses on designing and creating packaging with emphases placed on technical requirements.

Credits: 3.0


This course is designed to develop proficiency in basic drawing and animating tools, with strong functionality, interactivity, and usability.

Credits: 3.0

Portfolio Design

This course focuses on preparing the student's portfolio in preparation for employment. The course culminates in a professional digital and print portfolio.

Credits: 3.0

Advanced Color Theory

This course focuses on advanced color principles, terminology, and applications with an emphasis on managing color choices for graphic design projects. Students will examine the specific properties and optical perceptions of color and learn how to create color harmonies for specific design projects based on logic and research and how color values are relevant to specific products.

Credits: 3.5

Intermediate Photoshop

This course will build on the concepts covered in Photoshop Basics by emphasizing advanced Photoshop techniques. Topics covered include advanced color management, quick masks, photo editing, and features specific to the latest Photoshop upgrades.

Credits: 3.0

Intermediate Illustrator

This course continues to build on the concepts covered in Illustrator Basics by emphasizing advanced Illustrator techniques. Topics covered include advanced color management and use of the drawing tools in Illustrator, logo design, file preparation, advanced typography, and features specific to the latest Illustrator upgrades.

Credits: 3.0

Graphic Design III

This course focuses on the different styles that influence graphic design, conceptualizing projects, reinventing clichés, creating balanced layouts, distilling complex information, and motivating an audience. Course projects include creating complex grids, an annual report layout, poster and book designs, art posters, and a direct mail piece.

Credits: 3.0

Information Design II

This course focuses on advanced information design theories and applications with particular emphasis on ethics, strategies, and techniques of information design for small presentation venues. Mobile devices for high-speed dynamic applications are discussed.

Credits: 3.0

Graphic Design Business Management

This course focuses on the essentials of setting up and managing a graphic design business. Strategies are discussed for presenting a portfolio, finding work, and marketing yourself, in addition to registering a company name, establishing an accounting system, and setting up a corporation. Assignments include a business plan, RFP responses, basic accounting, budgeting, and developing business forms.

Credits: 3.0

Advanced Logo Design

This course exposes students to professional logo and branding design projects. Emphasis is placed on corporate identity, image, branding, and repositioning with reference to intriguing real-world case studies. Course projects offer a range of challenges from a record company logo to an airline branding system allowing students to build personal style within constraints of realistic project briefs.

Credits: 3.0

Advanced Package Design

This course focuses on designing the packaging of branded products for retail display. Course projects include creating packaging for champagne, pizza, and perfume bottles. Additional emphasis is placed on mass-versus-prestige applications.

Credits: 3.0

Advanced Illustrator

This course is designed to provide students with a working knowledge of Illustrator's advanced features from tough pen tool challenges to gradient meshes, symbols, actions, and filters. Topics include creating photo-realistic illustrations and complex patterns, with an emphasis on workflow features to increase speed. This course builds on basic Illustrator skills to tackle high-end projects with depth and dimension.

Credits: 3.0

Universal Design

This course focuses on the universal design theory and teaches how to apply the theory to design practice with particular emphasis on e-applications and design challenges.

Credits: 3.0

Advanced Photoshop

This course focuses on Photoshop's advanced features. Topics include professional approaches to composition, retouching, image correction, and masking. Brushes, lighting textures, and special effects are explored as creative ways of producing high-impact images for print or web media. This course builds upon the basic level of Photoshop and requires projects that are challenging on both technical and artistic levels.

Credits: 3.0

Advanced Advertising Design II

This course focuses on the rules of advertising design from both a creative and a business perspective. Case studies include print, web, and TV media showcase advertising at work; persuasion, color psychology, and composition; copy writing and typography; and brand communication. Course projects include ads for newspapers, magazines, subways, and transit/outdoor applications, and a multi-part campaign.

Credits: 3.0

Digital Photography

This course focuses on advanced photography techniques, approaches to composition and lighting, correcting images using Photoshop, and printing high-quality images. Emphasis is placed on developing a solid technical understanding of the medium and identifying individual expressive vision. Advanced projects explore experimental methods for enhancing photographs with digital effects.

Credits: 3.0

Design Capstone Project

This course requires students to complete an individual or group project that will integrate the skills learned in course work for the program as well as a portfolio that can be used to demonstrate work quality to prospective employers.

Credits: 3.0

English Composition

This course focuses on the principles of effective English composition with a comprehensive review and reinforcement of language arts skills. Emphasis is placed on the four essentials of writing: unity, support, coherence, and sentence skills. Practice in proofreading, editing, revision, and clear thinking is incorporated throughout the course.

Credits: 4.0

Communication Arts

This course focuses on developing critical thinking and communication skills in both verbal and nonverbal areas. Emphasis is placed on debate, panel discussions, committee work, conflict resolution, interviews, and editorial writing.

Credits: 4.0

Advanced Interpersonal Communication

This course is designed to provide students with the skills they need to be effective communicators. Students will apply interpersonal communication skills theory to various situations in order to understand the clear connections between theory, skills, and life situations they will encounter.

Credits: 4.0

American Civilization

This course covers the history of the United States from the American Revolution to the present. Emphasis is on the economic, political, and social development of our country.

Credits: 4.0

U.S. History Since the Civil War

This course offers students an overview of how America transformed itself, in a relatively short time, from a land inhabited by hunter-gatherer and agricultural Native American societies into the most powerful industrial nation on earth. The student will learn how dominant and subordinate groups have affected the shifting balance of power in America since 1863. Major topics include: Reconstruction, the frontier, the 1890s, America's transition to an industrial society, Progressivism, World War I, the 1920s, the Great Depression and the New Deal, World War II, the Cold War, Vietnam, economic and social change in the late 20th century, and power and politics since 1974.

Credits: 4.0


This course is a career-related overview of business startups, idea identification, value proposition, and competitive advantages in a student's area of specialization. The student will be able to identify and evaluate new business ideas; to learn how to prepare and evaluate business plans; and to identify capital sources for new ventures.

Credits: 4.0

Internet Commerce

Introduces Internet commerce basics and focuses on business concepts and applying technology in order to be successful. Other topics include globalizing a company, marketing and advertising, market trends, vendor solutions, credit card verification systems, security auction technologies, storefronts, and overall technology architecture. Students will learn to utilize Internet commerce solutions from process re-engineering to deployment and testing.

Credits: 4.0

Selling and Sales Management

Develops a working understanding of selling processes and sales management. Includes strategy, development, organization, design, motivation, leadership, and performance analysis.

Credits: 4.0

Organizational Design and Change

Focuses on developing strategies and structures that align organizations with their industry environments. Adapting to changes in technology, power structures, and competition is studied as well as planning and implementing changes in internal systems and processes.

Credits: 4.0

College Algebra

Designed to improve skills in numbers and algebraic expressions, solving equations, graphing, sets, exponents, radicals, inequalities, formulas, and applications.

Credits: 4.0

Introduction to New Media Marketing

This course focuses on using social media for competitive advantage, effectively managing and integrating social media into the marketing mix. Emphasis is placed on combining persuasive marketing with technology to influence human behaviors and attitudes that guide socially interactive marketing strategies. New media marketing puts social media to work for business. The course also explores social media’s strongest existing strategies: viral marketing, social networking, mobile marketing, online communities, wikis, and blogs. (Prerequisite: MAN105 or with consent of the Dean)

Credits: 4.0

Influence and Persuasion in Business

This course examines models of influence for leveraging behaviors for rapid and profound change. Students will learn to apply the behavioral and the communication skills needed for driving persuasive change in order to become a trusted opinion leader and effectively access markets. (Prerequisite: MAN105, or with consent of the Dean)

Credits: 3.5

Introduction to Logic

This course focuses on the techniques for determining the validity of arguments and analyzing problems in the world. Topics include a discussion of informal fallacies, Aristotelian logic, and symbolic logic.

Credits: 4.0

Critical Thinking

This course is designed to provide an interdisciplinary approach to critical thinking and challenges the student to question his or her own assumptions through analysis of the most common problems associated with everyday reasoning. The course explains the fundamental concepts, describes the most common barriers to critical thinking and offers strategies for overcoming those barriers.

Credits: 4.0

Biological Psychology

This course introduces the student to the intricate relationship between biology and psychology. The student is exposed to the emerging field of biopsychology in which fascinating new discoveries are constantly being made. Major topics include: anatomy of the nervous system, plasticity of the brain, sensory systems and attention, wakefulness and sleeping, emotional behaviors, the biology of learning and memory, and psychological disorders.

Credits: 4.0


This course addresses the relationships among different social institutions. It examines the dynamics in social groups. Topics covered include the concepts of control, inequity, and change within social groups.

Credits: 4.0

Sociology of Aging

This course contains an interdisciplinary approach that provides the concepts, information, and examples students need to achieve a basic understanding of aging as a social process. This course addresses a broad range of societal issues and covers concepts associated with an aging population. It examines the concept of aging on both an individual and societal level. Major topics include: the history of aging in America; physical aging; psychological aspects of aging; personal adaptation to aging; death and dying; community social services; how aging affects personal needs and resources; and government responses to the needs of aging.

Credits: 4.0


This course focuses on the practical skills needed in statistics analysis. Topics include distributions, relationships, randomness, inference, proportions, regression, and variance. Emphasis is placed on understanding the use of statistical methods and the demands of statistical practice.

Credits: 4.0

Total Courses: 53Total Credits: 182.5

Available at the following locations:

Available Online: This program is delivered fully online.

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See if CollegeAmerica is right for you. Call us at 1-800-622-2894 or request information.