Graphic Design: Associate of Arts

Program Information

Degree Type: 
Associate in Arts

Provides a comprehensive foundation of study, emphasizing the development of theoretical, practical, and technical skills within the Graphic Design field. The program uses sequential courses that build and develop skills in a range of studio classes. Offers courses in print, front-end web design, and motion graphics. Elective courses are included to add experience in related tracks such as digital photography, illustration, and animation. Employs computer applications and tools as well as design techniques to assist the student in developing the range of skills necessary to compete in the multi-media field of graphic design.

Program Goal: To provide a foundation for success in the field of graphic design including print, front-end web design, and motion graphics, by providing experience with both software and equipment used in the industry. Geared to students seeking entry-level design work or transfer to a 4-year college design program.

Learning Outcomes: 
  • Create visual communications for an intended message, from conceptual development to final artifact using a range of media, both traditional and digital, for final output both printed and digital.
  • Incorporate historic and contemporary design influences, both period and designer, in the creation of design solutions.
  • Implement appropriate typographic treatments for print and digital communications. This includes typesetting, legibility, and style as well as expressive communications.
  • Sketch and refine preliminary concepts for traditional and digital outcomes as well as conceptual ideation.
  • Illustrate fundamentals of design through the development of both traditional and digital applications.
  • Apply color theory to the creation of digital and traditional design solutions, including color correction and developing intended emotive reactions.
  • Utilize current graphic design terminology and methodology as a basis for discussing and evaluating works of design, both student and professional.
  • Construct vector and raster files for use in print, motion and digital outcomes.
  • Develop digital work environments and appropriated file formats for saving work as well as for distribution of final output, prepare for print or file transfer.
  • Utilize current industry software and equipment.
  • Develop and present a portfolio of projects for use in seeking an entry-level position or transfer to a four-year degree program.

Degree-Specific Requirements

All students receiving an Associate Degree are required to meet Degree-Specific Requirements AND General Education Requirements. Courses listed in the Required Core and/or Required Support Courses may also be used to fulfill Degree-Specific and General Education Requirements. Developmental courses (those numbered below 100) cannot be used to fulfill these requirements.

Attention: It is the student's responsibility to review the entire program form before making course selections for registration purposes. The College recommends that students meet with an advisor or counselor well in advance of registration deadlines and before making course selections.

General Education Requirements: 

The following courses are required in this program and satisfy HFC’s General Education Outcomes for this program. Students who change their program will need to confirm in advance that they are completing all required courses for their specific program of study, including additional General Education courses. All Associate in Arts degrees require at least 24 General Education credits total, including at least three credit hours from each of the five areas below. For this program:

  1. Civil Society & Culture: Complete at least nine credit hours from the following:

  2. Communication: Complete the following:

  3. Computer Technology: Complete the following:

  4. Critical Thinking & Information Literacy: Complete the following:

  5. Quantitative Literacy: Complete one of the following:

NOTE: For this program, General Education minimum credits: 24

Degree-Specific Requirements: 
  1. Wellness Group: Complete one course.

  2. Humanities: Degree-specific requirements for Humanities are fulfilled within the Required Core Courses.

  3. Complete a total of 8 Science and Mathematics credits (including Science and Mathematics courses taken from the General Education: Quantitative Literacy group) from:
    Astronomy (ASTR), Atmospheric Studies (ATMS), Biology (BIO), Chemistry (CHEM), Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Geology (GEOL), Mathematics (MATH), Physical Science (PSCI), Physics (PHYS), Science (SCI).

  4. Social Science: Degree-specific requirements for Social Science are fulfilled within the General Education Civil Society and Culture group.

NOTE: For this program, Degree-Specific minimum credits: 7

Minimum Number Of Credits To Graduate: 
68.0 (Including Options/Electives)

Requirements are Subject to Change

The information represented here is for the current catalog year. If you were admitted prior to this year, please check your requirements under the Program Evaluation section of WebAdvisor.

Other Information

Year Established: 
Program Code: 


Social Science, Arts, and Fitness Division: 313-845-9625,, Fine Arts Bldg, Room: F-140
Victoria Shepherd: 313-845-6487,, Fine Arts Bldg, Room: F-149

Transfer Information

Transfer Options/Requirements: 

The College has articulation agreements and/or transfer guides to help students who want to transfer to other institutions once they have completed their studies at HFC. Articulation agreements ensure that graduates from HFC can transfer to another institution and work towards a bachelor’s degree without a loss of coursework completed at HFC. Transfer guides denote the transferability of HFC coursework toward specific degree programs at other institutions. It is important that students who intend to transfer to another institution consult the appropriate articulation agreements and/or transfer guides to ensure the transferability of the courses they take to the institution they plan to attend. Articulation agreements and transfer guides are available on the HFC Transfer Resources page. For additional resources and assistance with transferring, students are encouraged to work with HFC’s University Transfer, Advising, and Career Counseling Center (313-845-9612,, Learning Resource Center). Students enrolled in this program frequently transfer to institutions such as:

  • Wayne State University
  • Eastern Michigan University
Career Opportunities: 
  • Production Designer
  • Graphic Designer
  • Visual Designer
  • Front-End Web Designer
  • Content Management Design
  • Illustrator
  • Animator
  • Motion Designer
  • Content Developer
  • Layout Artist