A.O.S. Graphic Design Course Descriptions

General education classes place an emphasis on principles and theory that are designed to develop essential academic skills for enhanced and continued learning. General education classes are expected to develop critical thinking, problem solving and analytical skills, enable individuals to prepare for and advance in their professional lives. And contribute to lifelong learning.

Technical or occupational courses, as distinguished from general education courses, provide education and training in areas associated with theoretical knowledge, technical skills, occupationally related skills, and associated competencies necessary for the student to achieve the NCAD program objectives.

These descriptions are typical course offerings that make up our curriculum. They are intended to give you a broad overview of the A.O.S. degree program in Graphic Design. Courses are subject to change at the discretion of the College. Changes may include but are not limited to, course name, title, prerequisite, sequence, schedule, content, or credit value. Changes may occur whenever deemed necessary. Prerequisites may be waived by the Director of Education or the class instructor.

Course Descriptions

Semester 1


English Composition 1

EC 101 • 2 Credits

This course explores the development of written communication skills and understanding their importance in personal and professional communication through applied writing.

Public Speaking

PS 101 • 2 Credits

This course is designed to help the student become proficient at the types of public speaking that they will encounter in their personal and professional lives.

Design Culture

DC 101 • 2 Credits

This course is a survey of the history of design culture of the 19th, 20th, and into the early 21st centuries. This course seeks to place the practice of design in a wider cultural context, highlighting the key debates and issues surrounding it. The course allows students to research individual areas of interest to broaden their knowledge of contemporary issues in design.

Digital Design Applications 1

DD 101 • 3 Credits

This course is sets the technical foundation for future college level use of digital technology, in particular digital design software. Students gain an understanding of the computer operating system, and attain a working knowledge of several leading software applications currently used by designers.

Graphic Design 1

GD 101 • 3 Credits

This course explores the application of basic design principles and methods of visual problem solving as used in graphic design. Emphasis is placed on understanding and applying appropriate design methodology and in designing effective visual design solutions.

Design Methods

DM 101 • 3 Credits

This course will focus on the process of design, on methods of problem-solving, formal and informal methods of decision-making and on methods to systematically create or improve design.

Semester 2

Critical Thinking & Problem Solving

CT 151 • 2 Credits

This course is designed to facilitate the development of critical thinking and problem- solving skills. A problem-based learning approach is used in which students are required to analyze and solve conceptual and practical problems.

Digital Design Applications 2

DD 151 • 3 Credits

This course continues to train students in the use of the computer as a tool for designers. Students continue to learn to conceptualize ideas in visual form, investigate digital design solutions, and learn to use industry-standard design software effectively and efficiently.

Graphic Design 2

GD 151 • 3 Credits

This course continues to explore the application of design principles and methods of visual problem solving as used in graphic design. Emphasis remains placed on understanding and applying appropriate design methodology to various creative visual problems, and in designing effective visual design solutions. Students will be expected to expand their proficiency in all aspects of the design process, including creative brainstorming, conceptualizing, critical thinking, collaboration, technical proficiency, and presentation of design solutions.

Typography 1

TP 151 • 3 Credits

This course introduces and explores the fundamental principles of typography; its theory, practice, and history. Students will explore type from an introductory level to a more advance application of type in design.

Web Design 1

WD 151 • 3 Credits

This is an introductory website design and development course. It provides students with a foundational knowledge of web site design and production and the application of that knowledge in the planning, design and development of web pages and web sites.

Business Writing

BW 151 • 2 Credits

Effective written communication in business and technical contexts is an essential skill. This course examines various forms of business and technical writing for Print and Web, developing and practicing professional approaches to researching, formatting, writing, and editing documents in a business environment.

Semester 3


Quantitative Principles

QP 201 • 2 Credits

This course serves as an introduction to the mathematical ideas used in the modern world, with an emphasis on developing students’ problem-solving, critical thinking, and analytic skills in dealing with quantities and their magnitudes and interrelationships

Business Planning & Practices

BP 201 • 2 Credits

This course is an introduction to business for the creative industry, including career development, market research, and freelance issues. In this course relevant creative business-materials are discussed, demonstrated and practically developed by students.

Principles of Marketing & Sales

PM 201 • 2 Credits

This course provides an overview of marketing and sales for creative professionals. Students are introduced to marketing and sales concepts and methods related to creative business, and are required to develop various related materials used in marketing and sales by creative professionals.

Graphic Design 3

GD 201 • 3 Credits

The purpose of this course is to develop core competencies in digital prepress and print production. It provides students with theoretical and practical information regarding the multiple required elements of digital prepress and production.

Typography 2

TP 201 • 3 Credits

This course focuses on continuing the refinement of practical skill and aesthetic sensitivity in typographic principles. This course continues to explore issues of typographic design in context and to develop core competencies in the usage of typography in design.

Web Design 2

WD 201 • 3 Credits

In this course, students continue to develop skill in the conceptualization, design, and production of effective websites through rigorous examination, analysis, and evaluation, through the planning, design and development of web pages and web sites using current web design and development tools.

Semester 4


Business Entrepreneurship

BE 251 • 2 Credits

In this course, students learn about the principles and practical aspects of entrepreneurship as they relate to the creative business industry. This course is designed to equip students with marketing and entrepreneurial knowledge and tools, and to develop strategic business and entrepreneurial thinking.

Principles of Finance

PF 251 • 2 Credits

This course introduces the student to the fundamentals of personal and business finance, particularly finance relevant to creative professionals. Students will analyze typical personal and creative business-related financial decisions, evaluate the costs and benefits of their decisions, and to recognize their rights and responsibilities as consumers and creative business professionals. Practical application of financial concepts as applied in creative business activities will be stressed in this class.

Graphic Design 4

GD 251 • 3 Credits

In this course students will apply theory and process to complex design problems in visual communication. Emphasis will be placed on research, analysis, problem definition, and the development and production of appropriate design solutions.

Web Design 3

WD 251 • 3 Credits

In this course students will practice advanced design methodologies to plan, design and develop complex web design projects.


IN 251 • 3 Credits

Internships are an opportunity for students to earn credit while working, gaining practical experience, and exploring career options in a professional setting. To receive credit, students must complete 135 sponsor-approved (signed) internship hours and meet with an NCAD internship advisor periodically as scheduled throughout the semester.

Students are required to submit signed documentation of a sponsor and receive approval from the NCAD Administration to be enrolled in this class. Students have up to the 12th week of the semester immediately before the start of the regularly scheduled internship course to submit that documentation and receive approval if they are to be enrolled in the class for the following semester.

Student internships may be denied for various reasons at the discretion of the Administration, including if they are determined to not be in alignment with program learning outcomes. Students who do not submit the required documentation by the deadline will be required to take and successfully pass the course at a scheduled later date to meet graduation requirements.


PR 251 • 3 Credits

In this course students will be required to determine specific career goals and to develop a proposed direction to take in their creative efforts. Students will be required to develop their critical and diplomatic communication skills, and to participate fully and honestly in the regular critiques. The student must satisfactorily demonstrate an acceptable level of quality in their work, and in the presentation of that body of their work in the form of a portfolio, in order to successfully complete this course.