certificate

Design Communication Arts

Ignite your creativity and prepare for a career in graphic design. With the Design Communication Arts Certificate, learn how to think like a designer while developing the visual literacy needed to thrive in a professional setting. Feel confident and ready to start your career as a graphic designer through portfolio reviews, a capstone course, mentorship and internship opportunities.

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. 

What our students say.

What our certificates have done for our students.

85%

feel a certificate helped them enhance their careers

1 in 4

received a salary increase after starting a certificate program

50%

switched careers after completing a certificate program

85%

recommend a certificate program to others

Source: UCLA Extension Certificate Graduates Survey

Expect more from your education.

Learn from Industry Leaders
Shirin Raban
Seminar

Design Your Career

Receive personalized study & career guidance from the Visual Arts program director.

Free enrollment for DCA certificate candidates
Learn More

The Design Communication Arts program refined my skill set, gave me great portfolio pieces, and helped me land my first 'real' job as a designer.

Ellen Campbell
Design Communication Arts Certificate Graduate

Courses

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

Required
DESMA X 479.7P
Typically Offered: Winter, Summer
DESMA X 481.99Z
Typically Offered: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer
DESMA X 482.10
Typically Offered: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer
DESMA X 479.6A
Typically Offered: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer
DESMA X 479.6E
Typically Offered: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer
DESMA X 479.6P
Typically Offered: Fall, Spring
DESMA X 481.11
Typically Offered: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer
DESMA X 481.47
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 479.4A
Typically Offered: Fall, Winter, Spring, 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.
ART X 430
Typically Offered: Fall, Winter, Summer
DESMA X 481.99QV
Typically Offered: Winter
DESMA X 479.5B
Typically Offered: Spring
DESMA X 479.7B
Typically Offered: Fall
DESMA X 479.8B
Typically Offered: Winter
DESMA X 481.99QU
Typically Offered: Winter, Summer
DESMA X 481.99AF
Typically Offered: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer
DESMA X 481.99FG
Typically Offered: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer
DESMA X 481.99QT
Typically Offered: Fall, Spring
DESMA X 479.47AA
Typically Offered: Fall, Spring
DESMA X 481.4AA
Typically Offered: Winter
DESMA X 481.55
Typically Offered: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer
DESMA X 481.60
Typically Offered: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer
DESMA X 481.61
Typically Offered: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer
DESMA X 482.14
Typically Offered: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer
DESMA X 489.5F
Typically Offered: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer
DESMA X 499C
Typically Offered: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer
DESMA X 479.6BB
Typically Offered: Spring
DESMA X 479.6C
Typically Offered: Spring
DESMA X 479.6D
Typically Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer
DESMA X 479.79H
Typically Offered: Fall, Spring
DESMA X 479.7F
Typically Offered: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer
DESMA X 479.7K
Typically Offered: Fall, Spring
DESMA X 479.8K
Typically Offered: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer
DESMA X 479.9D
Typically Offered: Summer
DESMA X 481.43
Typically Offered: Winter
DESMA X 479.3A
Typically Offered: Winter
DESMA X 479.3AB
Typically Offered: Winter
DESMA X 479.4B
Typically Offered: Winter, Summer
DESMA X 479.4D
Typically Offered: Fall
DESMA X 479.5D
Typically Offered: Summer
DESMA X 479.5K
Typically Offered: Winter, Summer
ART X 428
Typically Offered: Winter
ART X 438.9
Typically Offered: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer
ART X 439.90
Typically Offered: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer
ART X 440.22
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

10000.00

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

The Design Communication Arts certificate is approved for international students (F-1 student visa).

International applicants must demonstrate English language proficiency by submitting test scores from either TOEFL, IELTS or iTEP. Some applicants may be exempt from this requirement if certain criteria are met. 

English language proficiency (minimum*):

  • TOEFL iBT: 83
  • IELTS Academic: 6.5 overall
  • iTEP Academic-Plus: 4.5 
*Admitted international students whose test scores are below 100 on TOEFL iBT, 7.0 on the IELTS Academic, or 5.1 on the iTEP Academic-Plus will be required to take 1-2 supplemental English as a Second Language courses.

 

Learn more:

Academic Requirements & English Language Proficiency

International Students: How to Apply

Contact Us

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

Programs you may also like...

Keep up to date on the latest news and offerings in UX/Graphic Design

vector icon of building

Corporate Education

Learn how we can help your organization meet its professional development goals and corporate training needs.

Learn More

vector icon of building

Donate to UCLA Extension

Support our many efforts to reach communities in need.

Innovation Programs

Student Scholarships

Coding Boot Camp

Lifelong Learning