Graphic Communications Majors and Undergraduate Degrees

Read information about associate's and bachelor's degree programs in graphic communications. Find out the prerequisites and coursework for each type of program as well as the career options graduates can pursue.

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Essential Information

A degree in graphic communications prepares students for careers working in digital technology, printing, publishing and new media ventures. An individual interested in the technical side of digital media would gain more from a hands-on, graphic communications career training program such as that offered in a 2-year degree program, while an individual interested in more creative graphic communications careers would benefit from a bachelor's degree program in the field.

Courses that might be taken in an associate's degree program focus on topics such as lithography, digital media publishing and imaging techniques. In a 4-year degree program, students would take courses in layout, graphic design and computer graphics. Bachelor's degree programs tend to allow students to study in a specific area of graphic communications, such as digital production or interactive multimedia. Once they have earned an associate's degree, graduates could pursue entry-level technical jobs in this field, while those who earn a bachelor's degree might be prepared for more supervisory or managerial roles in web design, video production, digital design or graphics engineering.


Associate of Science in Graphic Communications Technology

A 2-year Associate of Science in Graphic Communications Technology is the most common degree program for individuals looking to learn career-specific skills in the field of graphic communications. Classroom experiences and laboratory time provide students with the knowledge and experience to gain an entry-level position working on the technical side of a printing press or media development center.

Students enrolled in an associate degree program in graphic communications learn the practical skills necessary to operate CD-ROM publishing software, develop Internet sites, devise electronic page layout and work with digital media sources. These are the technical skills behind publishing newspapers, magazines, newsletters and other forms of mass graphic communications.

Education Prerequisites

Proof of high school graduation or GED certification is the most common prerequisite to an associate degree program at an accredited 2-year college. Entrance into a graphic communications technology program often involves an understanding of mathematics, chemistry, keyboarding, computer software and computer software. Strong analytical and problem-solving skills are often an encouraged prerequisite for such a program.

Program Coursework

Most courses in an Associate of Science in Graphic Communications Technology program focus on practical procedures that are then demonstrated in a laboratory space. These courses include:

  • Introductory graphic communications
  • Applied typography
  • Specialty imaging techniques
  • Lithography
  • Digital media publishing
  • Product design
  • Image transfer techniques

Popular Career Options

Though job titles and responsibilities will depend on the place of employment, graduates of this graphic communications program may find a job as a:

  • Digital prepress operator
  • Digital media developer
  • Press finisher
  • Page layout technician
  • Output technician

Bachelor of Science in Graphic Communications

A bachelor's degree in graphic communications prepares students for careers on either the management or creative side of the graphic communications industry. For this reason, many 4-year graphic communications degree programs allow students to focus on one particular specialization, such as 3-D animation, interactive multimedia, publishing, digital design or production.

A bachelor's degree program in this field focuses more on the design and aesthetics components of graphic communications than the more technical-focused associate's degree in graphic communications technology. The bachelor's degree program also incorporates subjects from other fields, such as history, mathematics, English and journalism, to give students a more well-rounded appreciation of the field of communications.

Education Prerequisites

In order to enroll in a bachelor's degree program at a 4-year university, incoming freshmen must provide high school transcripts, as well as strong standardized test scores. Many universities also allow transfer students and will accept those individuals who have already earned credits at a 2-year college. Students who declare a graphic communications major at a university will often have to then select a specialty.

Program Coursework

Some coursework involved in an undergraduate program in graphic communications include:

  • Graphic design
  • Graphics layout
  • Video and audio production
  • Project management
  • Computer graphics
  • Basic multimedia
  • Engineering graphics

Possible Career Options

Upon completion of this degree, students may seek a career in a variety of industries. Possible career choices include:

  • Graphic designer
  • Video editor
  • Web designer
  • Production supervisor
  • Associate producer
  • Digital prepress operator
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