certificate

Design Communication Arts

Ignite your creativity and prepare for a career in graphic design. Learn how to think like a designer while developing the visual literacy needed to thrive in a professional setting. Feel confident in your skills through portfolio reviews, a capstone course, mentorship and internship opportunities. The Design Communication Arts (DCA) certificate can be completed online or in the classroom. 

This program is perfect for...

  • Those who want to pursue a career in visual communications and graphic design
  • Creative individuals who want to cultivate their talent as visual artists, while learning how to think like a designer
  • Self-taught designers who want to build upon their skills while earning a professional certificate
  • Individuals who want to learn to collaborate with clients, printers, designers, writers, programmers, and anyone else involved in the design process

What you can learn.

  • An understanding of fundamental design principles, tools and techniques for graphic designers, and how to put your ideas into action
  • How to utilize critical thinking, research, and your unique perspective to conceptualize and execute visual communications
  • How to position yourself for the competitive job market, including how to build a strong portfolio that shows off your creative abilities
  • Skills needed to be successful in a professional atmosphere, including strong conceptual and problem-solving skills and how to effectively collaborate with clients and other creative professionals

Turn your passion into a career.

Male and female graphic design students

The Design Communication Arts (DCA) certificate program is designed to help you grow creatively while providing you with the skills to succeed professionally.

The curriculum gives a solid foundation in the fundamentals of graphic design, with elective courses in user experience, photography, and visual arts to choose from. At the end of the program, students participate in a mandatory portfolio review before being awarded their certificate.

You'll not only learn the tools of graphic design, but how to think strategically and develop the visual literacy needed to thrive in a professional setting. If you pay attention and challenge yourself, you will leave the program with confidence in your creative and practical skills, and with a portfolio that reflects your unique lens on the world. 

Formats: Online and In-Person. Can be completed 100% online.

Duration: 1 year (full-time), 2 years (part-time)

What our students are saying.

One common thread connects all of our students, and that's simply the joy of creation. Hear how our rigorous program will prepare you for a career in design.  

Expect more from your education.

Learn from Industry Leaders

"I create a structure for students to thrive and find their own voice."

Shirin Raban

UX and Design Communication Arts Virtual Open House

Join us to discuss career paths, creative outlets, and how our programs can help you achieve your creative and professional goals.

Tuesday, August 30, 2022
12:00PM-1:00PM PT

Learn More

The Design Communication Arts program not only helped me develop a good understanding of fundamental design principles, but more importantly, it helped me build a solid portfolio that I can now use to begin my career in the graphic design industry.

Kevin Kwok
Design Communication Arts Certificate Graduate

Courses

Click below to view the required and elective courses, if applicable, for this program.

Required
DESMA X 479.6A
Typically Offered: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer
DESMA X 481.11
Typically Offered: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer
DESMA X 481.47
Typically Offered: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer
DESMA X 481.99Z
Typically Offered: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer
DESMA X 482.10
Typically Offered: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer
DESMA X 479.4A
Typically Offered: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer
DESMA X 479.6E
Typically Offered: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer
DESMA X 479.2D
Typically Offered: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer
DESMA X 479.3D
Typically Offered: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer
DESMA X 479.6P
Typically Offered: Fall, Spring
DESMA X 479.7P
Typically Offered: Winter, Summer
see all courses
Optional Design Software Bootcamp

This 8-unit intensive bootcamp course can be taken in lieu of taking these 3 required courses:

  • DESMA X 481.11 Photoshop I
  • DESMA X 481.47 Illustrator I
  • DESMA X 481.99Z InDesign
DESMA X 481.60
Typically Offered: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer
Suggested Electives
Select two courses from the list below.
DESMA X 479.4B
Typically Offered: Winter, Summer
DESMA X 482.14
Typically Offered: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer
DESMA X 479.7F
Typically Offered: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer
DESMA X 479.47AA
Typically Offered: Fall, Spring
DESMA X 479.8B
Typically Offered: Winter
DESMA X 479.9D
Typically Offered: Winter
DESMA X 479.4D
Typically Offered: Spring
DESMA X 479.6BB
Typically Offered: Spring
DESMA X 479.6C
Typically Offered: Spring
DESMA X 479.6D
Typically Offered: Fall, Summer
DESMA X 479.79H
Typically Offered: Spring
DESMA X 479.7B
Typically Offered: Fall
DESMA X 482.9L
Typically Offered: Spring
DESMA X 481.99QT
Typically Offered: Fall, Spring
DESMA X 481.99QU
Typically Offered: Winter, Summer
DESMA X 479.7K
Typically Offered: Fall, Spring
DESMA X 480.11
DESMA X 480.22
DESMA X 481.55
Typically Offered: Winter, Summer
DESMA X 481.99AF
Typically Offered: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer
DESMA X 479.8K
Typically Offered: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer
DESMA X 481.99FG
Typically Offered: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer
DESMA X 485.99
Typically Offered: Fall, Winter, Spring
DESMA X 489.5F
Typically Offered: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer
DESMA X 489.5G
Typically Offered: Winter, Summer
DESMA X 499C
Typically Offered: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer
ART X 438.9
Typically Offered: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer
ART X 439.90
Typically Offered: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer
ART X 440.21
Typically Offered: Fall
ART X 440.22
Typically Offered: Winter, Summer
ART X 428
Typically Offered: Summer
ART X 430
Typically Offered: Fall, Winter, Summer
DESMA X 481.60
Typically Offered: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer
see all courses

Estimated Cost Breakdown

All courses in this program are paid for individually, unless otherwise noted. An application form is required to establish candidacy in this program. From the 'Apply Now' button, complete the online application and pay the application fee if applicable.

Application & Candidacy Fee

250.00

Estimated Program Tuition

10250.00

Estimated program textbook/materials

2000.00

*The Application & Candidacy Fee establishes your candidacy in the program for a period of time covering normal progress toward completion and may allow you to access a variety of program benefits.

**Federal Financial Aid Gainful Employment Disclosures

The U.S. Department of Education requires colleges and universities to disclose certain information for any financial aid eligible program that, “prepares students for gainful employment in a recognized occupation”. This information includes program costs; occupations that the program prepares students to enter; occupational profiles; on time completion rate; and for the most recent award year: the number of students who have completed the program, the number of students who complete the program within the estimated duration, the job placement rate, and the median Title IV and private loan debt incurred by those who complete the program. For gainful employment information for this program, visit our Financial Aid page.

Design Communication Arts certificate candidates may earn elective credit by enrolling in an internship or mentorship.

Internship
DESMA X 479.7F

Begin the transition from student to professional designer with an internship in a real world setting.

Learn More

 

Mentorship
DESMA X 482.14

Work one-on-one with an instructor who guides your development of a meaningful project geared toward a portfolio piece, design competition, freelance assignment, or other advanced goal.

Learn More

This certificate is approved for international students (F-1 student visa).

Students participating in courses offered solely by UCLA Extension must meet the English Language Requirements outlined below. Any international student interested in taking classes on UCLA’s main campus must adhere to the English Requirements outlined for UCLA courses.

Acceptable tests and minimum scores

Scores that are equal to or higher than the listed minimum scores from the following tests, taken within the past two years, can satisfy the English proficiency requirement.

  • TOEFL: 80 (iBT)
  • IELTS: 6.5
  • iTEP: 4.5
  • CAE: B (CEFR C1)
  • CPE: C (CEFR C2)
  • TOEIC: 685
  • DUOLINGO (DET): 105

While no other type of test score is accepted in general, students who are affected by test center closures may request an exception to submit an alternate test score.

International Baccalaureates (IB) students or students currently enrolled in an academic institution where the primary language of instruction is English may submit an official academic transcript or verification of enrollment from their school as proof of English proficiency.

Learn more:

International Students: How to Apply

Academic Requirements & English Language Proficiency

graphic designer

Take Your Skills to the Next Level

When you're ready to take the next step in your graphic design career, apply to the Advanced Design Communication Arts certificate program, where you’ll dive deeper into special design topics and further refine your skills with master-level mentorship.
 

Learn More

Contact Us

Speak to a program representative. Hours: Mon-Fri, 8am-5pm.

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