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Certificate Program in Graphic Design and Digital Imaging

Build strong knowledge of the latest graphic and web design tools with UMass Lowell's online Graphic Design certificate.

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Online Digital Imaging and Graphic Design Certificate

Learn to translate ideas and information into visually compelling print and digital communications materials with UMass Lowell's Graphic Design certificate. This online program features a mix of design courses in photographic imaging, typography, user interface prototyping and advertising design. You will complete numerous design projects for your portfolio as part of this program, gaining hands-on experience using software such as Adobe InDesign®, Photoshop® and Illustrator®.

Upon completing the program, you will possess capabilities in fundamental areas such as web development, image enhancement and manipulation, digital media and interactive screen design.

Career Outlook

Jobs (2022)
% Change (2022-2023)
Median Earnings
Annual Openings
Source: Lightcast (2023) Target Occupations in New England


  • Graphic Designers
  • Web and Interface Digital Designers
  • Art Directors
  • Special Effects Artists and Animators
  • Desktop Publishers

Key Takeaways

Deepen your knowledge on a range of graphic and web design topics, including:

  • Essential concepts of image, form and space relations
  • Page layout, the introduction of color and rendering techniques
  • Design for the user experience on mobile and web devices
  • The creative use of type in visual communication
  • Image capture and preparation for a variety of media
  • Web design testing and advanced CSS layout techniques

One Success Leads to Another

Apply credits from lower credentials to higher ones. Our programs are designed to build upon themselves:

Curriculum Outline

Total Courses Required: 10 (30 Credits)

Course Descriptions

AEST.3600 Aesthetics and Critical Studies of Graphic Design (3cr)

Examination of the aesthetic theories and practice of graphic design. Significant practitioners of the art will be highlighted.


Pre-Reqs: ARHI 2030 History of Art:Preh-Med and ARHI 2040 Hist of Art II: Ren-Mod or Studio Art Minor or Art Minor.

GRFX.2000 Introduction to Graphic Design (3cr)

Exercises, lectures and projects will introduce students to graphic design principles and techniques. Course will begin with a fundamental study of image, form, and space relations, then cover such topics as working with grids, typography basics, page layout, the introduction of color, rendering techniques, history, and more. Students will be assigned a series of projects to enhance their visual communication skills. Formerly 70.291 & 70.210. 3 credits/3 contact hours.


Basic Computer Prof. (CSCE)

GRFX.2020 Fundamentals of Typography (3cr)

Studies typographic concepts, techniques, and the creative use of type in visual communication. Emphasis will be placed upon the history of type design and its context within the graphic design industry. Formerly 70.240. 3 credits/3 contact hours.


Basic Computer Prof. (CSCE)

GRFX.2030 Photographic Imaging (3cr)

Covers the fundamentals of image enhancement, image manipulation, scanning, digital capture and using industry-standard photo imaging software. Image preparation for a variety of media will also be explored. Formerly 70.262. 3 credits/3 contact hours.


Basic Computer Prof. (CSCE)

GRFX.2040 Computer Graphics & Illustration (3cr)

Students will produce a number of illustrations, starting with the traditional approach to illustration and then rendering their concepts using computer illustration and imaging software. Topics include methods for rendering artwork,capturing and expressive illustrative style, and portraying different moods or messages within the illustration. Students will learn to illustrate effectively using the many tools available to them within industry-standard software applications. Formerly 70.264. 3 credits/3 contact hours.


Basic Computer Prof. (CSCE)

GRFX.2120 Website Design (3cr)

This course will focus on the creation of visual content for the web and will explore what constitutes a visually exciting and engaging site. Other topics that will be covered are: file formats, compression, web color strategies, and platforms standards. Formerly 70.379 3 credits/3 contact hours.


HTML & Photoshop (CSCE)

GRFX.3000 Advanced Graphic Design (3cr)

Students will be assigned a variety of advanced-level projects dealing with areas such as logo design, publication design, interactive screen design, direct mail projects, corporate identity systems, poster design, and more. Projects in this class are designed to better develop the students ability to take a project to its final stage and render it as a professional portfolio piece. Formerly 70.391. 3 credits/3 contact hours.


GRFX 2000 or GRFX 2020 Pre/Co-

GRFX.3020 Advanced Typography (3cr)

Studies expressive visual communications of words including type hierarchy, grid organization, and the primary visual communication job of typographic design. Students should be able to articulate ideas and thought processes in relation to their use of type. An extended type project will be completed. Objectives include furthering the student sensitivity to the qualities of letter forms, legibility, and the refinement of technical skills.


GRFX.2020, Fundamentals of Typography, GRFX.2030 Photographic Imaging, GRFX.2040 Computer graphics and Illustration.

GRFX.3120 Advanced Website Design (3cr)

This advanced-level course is designed for students who have completed Website Design. The course will cover topics such as advanced css layout techniques, user-centered design, dynamic pages and testing. Students will have the opportunity to further develop their design and conceptualization skills. Formerly 70.384. 3 credits/3 contact hours.


GRFX 2120 (CSCE) Pre-req

GRFX.3150 Design for Advertising (3cr)

Instruction in the design and layout of commercial advertisements as well as the creative aspects of advertising are integral parts of this course. Practical problems and technical guidance from preliminary layouts to finished work will help preliminary layouts to finished work will help prepare students for the commercial art field. Students will prepare an advertising campaign concept and translate it into a professionally-designed commercial series for use in their portfolios. This course will focus on the integration of design with the overall advertising message. Formerly 70.392. 3 credits/3 contact hours.


GRFX 2000&202,Familiarity/Adob

GRFX.3500 User Interface Prototyping for Apps and Web (3cr)

Project based introduction to design for the user experience on mobile and web devices. It introduces tools, techniques, and information about Human-Computer Interaction and offers an approach to design for mobile devices. Students should be able to articulate ideas and thought processes in relation to their choice of design and type. An extended project will be completed. Objectives include an introduction to user research methods, design validation, and ADA compliance.


GRFX.2020, Fundamentals of Typography, GRFX.2030 Photographic Imaging, GRFX.2000 Intro to Graphic Design.

GRFX.4000 Portfolio Production Seminar (3cr)

This course is designed to help students to organize their work into a professional package and prepare it for presentation. Students may decide to rework existing portfolio pieces or complete additional design projects to enhance their existing portfolios and fully demonstrate their design capabilities. Mock interviews will be conducted in which students will have an opportunity to discuss their work. Includes an end-of-semester portfolio review. 3 credits/3 contact hours.


GRFX 2000,202,211 & 300 Pre-re

Certificate programs differ from degrees in that they consist of fewer courses and may be completed in a relatively short time frame. While they do not offer the broad-based knowledge experience that comes from a full degree program, they offer a concentrated selection of courses which, when taken together, demonstrate expertise in a particular area. While admission to UMass Lowell's undergraduate certificate programs usually requires at least a high school diploma or GED® / HiSET,® many adult students who have already earned their bachelor's, and even their master's degrees, choose to pursue short term certificates to supplement their knowledge of a particular topic.

Undergraduate Certificate Requirements

Students enrolled in UMass Lowell certificate programs must complete all courses and maintain a grade point average of 2.000 or better to earn the certificate. All certificate courses must be completed within a five-year period.

Certificate Completion

Students who successfully complete the certificate program should submit a Certificate Petition Form to have their certificate mailed to them.

Tuition & Fees

Tuition at UMass Lowell is typically half the cost of private colleges, and our online tuition is among the lowest in the nation. Tuition for online programs offered through the Division of Graduate, Online & Professional Studies is the same whether you live in-state, out-of-state or outside of the U.S.

Summer 2024 Tuition

Cost Per Credit Cost Per 3-Credit Course*


Online and Virtual $385 $1,155
On Campus Lowell $3551 $1,065
*Tuition is priced on the listed credit hour unless the contact hour is different. Tuition is then based upon the listed contact hour.
1A tuition increase is anticipated for Fall courses.

Additional Costs

Term Registration Fee $30
Returned Check Fee $30

Please note: Tuition and fees are subject to change.

Tuition Calculator

Estimate the cost of this program with our online tuition calculator

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Looking for Financial Assistance?

UMass Lowell offers a variety of financial aid and scholarship options.


Applying into an Undergraduate Certificate Program

Apply to an undergraduate certificate program using the Online Application Form or by printing and completing the Undergraduate Certificate Application Form in .pdf file format. Applicants will be required to have either their official high school transcript, HiSET®, GED® or their most recent college transcript if applicable, sent to Graduate, Online & Professional Studies at the address below. Applications, transcripts, and other correspondence should be sent to:

University of Massachusetts Lowell
Division of Graduate, Online & Professional Studies
Undergraduate Admissions
839 Merrimack Street, 2nd Floor
Lowell, MA 01854

Undergraduate certificate applications are accepted on an ongoing basis and there is no fee to apply. You will be notified upon acceptance.

Apply Now

Questions Regarding Your Undergraduate Application?

Email OCE_Admissions@uml.edu or call 978-934-2474.

For General Assistance:

Call the Advising Center at 978-934-2474 or 800-480-3190. Our academic advisors are here to help!

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