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Communication Design Certificate FAQs

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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

Do I need to send in an application and application portfolio to get accepted to the program?
You do not need to apply or send a portfolio if you are planning to begin or already have started your  coursework at the beginning of Level 1 (First course: Foundations of Graphic Design). If you are applying to begin coursework at Level 2 or Level 3, you must apply and upload a portfolio of design work. 

Can I try out a course or two before committing to the program? 
Yes. Students may transfer up to 6 MassArt credits into the Certificate program. This can include credits for required courses taken before enrolling in the Certificate program. To apply transfer credits to program requirements, the courses must be taken in the correct order (see course sequence), and must earn a grade of  B- or higher.

Can I get transfer credits from another college toward Level 1 program requirements? 
To receive transfer credits as exemption from a required course, you must submit images of work that demonstrate the skills, knowledge, and accomplishments equivalent to that course. For Level 1, see course descriptions, and send an email to requesting transfer credits toward the specific course, with up to 10 images of work attached (no portfolio site links).  

Do I need to know whether or not I want to complete all 3 levels when I start?
No. You’ll be given the opportunity to enroll at the next level upon successful completion of the previous level.

Do I have to pay for the program (or any level) all at once?
No. You pay “as you go”—when you register for a course, you’ll receive a bill for and pay for that course. 

What do I include in a portfolio if I want to apply directly to begin at Level 2 or Level 3?
Students can only be admitted directly into Level 2 or Level 3 if they submit a portfolio of communication design work that demonstrates the skills and experience to begin at that level. Submit 10 of your best design projects that show the quality of your design work, and the scope and complexity of design projects you have completed. Make sure the details of your typography are clearly visible. 

  • To apply to begin at Level 2, work must show skills and portfolio work equivalent to Level 1 which includes Foundations of Graphic Design, Typography, Graphic Design 1, Intermediate Typography, and UX Design. Skills include: multi-component design systems, conceptually-based design, strong skills for typography including multi-page typographic layouts, type/image integration, knowledge of and skills for professional typesetting practices.

  • To apply to begin at Level 3, students must have an advanced design student portfolio or professional design portfolio showing complex projects of significant scope combining type and image integration in screen-based as well as print-based contexts.

I have some experience with graphic design and/or have taken some graphic design courses, but I’m not sure which level is the best fit for me. What should I do?
Students who believe they may have the skills to begin at Level 2 or Level 3 are welcome to contact the program coordinator to discuss before applying. 

What if I can’t follow the 28-month schedule to take the entire sequence (through Level 3)?
It is not required that students complete the entire sequence in 28 months, or any of the levels in specific amounts of time. It is not guaranteed, however, that courses will be offered in semesters other than those listed on the Course Schedule (link). Please contact the program coordinator to discuss, if needed.

What if I need to take time off during the program?
Students are allowed up to one calendar year time off during the 28 month sequence. Please contact the Program Coordinator if you have a situation that may require you to take frequent time off.

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 courses (depending on the student and workload):

  • Foundations of Graphic Design: 10-12 hours out-of-class time per class meeting
  • Typography, GD2, Intermediate Typography, UX Design: 12-s15 hours out of class time  per class meeting
  • Advanced design classes: 15-18 hours out-of-class time per class meeting
  • Intermediate and Final Portfolio: 20-25 hours/week
  • Note: 2-credit courses held during January break are intensives and may require up to 25 hours per week for the 3-week duration