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Spring 2021

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Gainful Employment Information

  • Occupation: Graphic Design • O*NET SOC Code 27-1024.00 • SOC Code 45-4022
  • Program Costs: 
    - Tuition and Fees: $11,885
    - Room and Board: N/A
    - Books and Supplies Approximately: $400
    - No additional costs
  • On-time Completion Rate: Program may be completed in two or three years.
  • Median loan debt incurred by students:
    - Title IV loan debt: $15,700
    - Private educational loan debt: $0
    - Institutional finance plans: $0
application faq

Am I ready to start the Graphic Design Certificate Program?
Students are required to have basic skills in visual language in order to be accepted to the program. Students with no art-making background are encouraged to take a foundational drawing course that focuses on drawing from observation. MassArt PCE offers a number of courses that provide fundamental understanding of visual elements and principles. The program also requires working knowledge of software programs used for graphic design—Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. For students who do not have these skills, PCE offers a 3-credit introductory course Intro to Computer Design with the Adobe Creative Suite.

What should I include in my Portfolio?
A portfolio should show a basic understanding of the elements visual artists use—line, color, texture, shape, composition, value, etc. Include evidence of drawing skill, which could be drawings (or paintings or illustrations) from observation--not from photographs. You may include other types of artwork as well as photography and graphic design, but a portfolio that relies heavily on photography or graphic design is not recommended unless the work is truly distinguished. Work done in a professional environment must be your own.

What else do you look for in an application portfolio?
Variety. Versatility is a critical skill for successful graphic design. Strong application portfolios usually show an openness and interest in visual exploration. If you have taken a variety of art classes or explored a variety of media, include a few images of each. If you specialize in one medium, consider how you might show an ability to translate your skills to graphic design. In addition to your work in your medium, you should include a few images that show exploration of other media, ideas, color palettes, etc.

How many images should I submit? 
15-20 examples of your strongest, recent work.

How do I send in my work?
Your portfolio must be submitted digitally through the online application.

Should I include letters of recommendation?
Letters of recommendation are not required but can be helpful. Letters of recommendation should be on the recommender's letterhead and sent in with your other application materials.

Can I get transfer credit for courses taken before I am accepted into the program?
Required Graphic Design Certificate courses can be taken before acceptance into the Graphic Design Certificate program. A total of 6 credits taken before admittance to the program can be counted towards program credits if the grades are B- or higher; a total of 9 credits can be counted towards program credits IF all courses were taken at MassArt, in the correct sequence, and the grades are B+ or higher. Courses taken at other educational institutions can be transferred only if the course is applicable to the program, it appears on the submitted transcripts with a final grade of B- or higher, the credit system is translatable to MassArt's, and your application portfolio clearly demonstrates competency in the material covered.

general faq

How much time is required outside of class for the program?
Students who commit the time required to produce high-quality work will find a wealth of opportunities available to them.

Time required outside the classroom to complete assignments varies by instructor and student. Approximate estimated time for different classes (depending on the student and workload):

  • Foundations of Graphic Design: 10-12 hours/week
  • Typography, GD1, GD2, Intermediate Type, Interaction Design: 12-15 hours/week
  • Advanced design classes: 15-20 hours/week
  • Intermediate and Final Portfolio: 20-25 hours/week

Do I have to complete the program in three years?
No. Although the program can be completed in three years, it is not required to do so. Graphic Design Certificate students are required to register for at least one course every fall and spring or apply for a leave of absence. Students are allowed a leave of absence for up to one year. Summer coursework is not required. Students wishing to take summers off from school are not required to file for leave of absence.