The following are the required courses for this major. Students who attend Orientation and meet with the Education Department can obtain personalized academic counseling to complete the program. Transfer credits, changes in curriculum, and other factors may affect the academic plan for individual students. The FIDM Education Department can provide additional information.

Associate of Arts (A.A.)

GNST 1040
English Composition
In this process-oriented course, students combine deep, disciplined research with careful writing and revision to produce a thoughtful, creative, and personally meaningful research essay. They learn to formulate focused research questions, identify and investigate credible sources, and synthesize expert opinion with their own insight in support of a clearly defined, complex thesis. The emphasis is on curiosity, exploration, and discovery. As part of the process, students also gain confidence and competency in two primary areas of written expression: organization and mechanics.
GNST 1230
Color & Design Theory
An introductory study of the principles and elements of color and design theory. Students critique aspects of a visual representation by analyzing the components of design and the use of color by the artist.
GNST 1450
College Mathematics
An application course focusing on mathematical concepts used in everyday life. Students integrate computation and analysis with authentic learning in graph analysis, Venn diagrams, analytical geometry, statistical measures of central tendency and variation, and financial mathematics. Prerequisites: To register for GNST 1450, students must successfully pass the math placement test or pass GNST 450.
GNST 1600
Effective Speaking
A course in oral communication designed to give students poise, speaking confidence, and the ability to develop and produce a focused, well-organized speech that holds the audiences attention through effective delivery methods. Presentational skills and audience-centered communication are emphasized.
GNST 1650
Critical Thinking
Designed to foster independent thinking, this course strengthens students capacity to reason clearly, critically, and creatively, including the ability (1) to analyze the arguments of others, (2) to synthesize effective arguments of their own, and (3) to solve problems skillfully. Students also gain experience in reading closely and conducting purposeful, imaginative research skills essential to the examination of demanding social, moral, political, and personal issues.
GNST 2020
Survey of Western Art I
A survey of art, architecture, and design from the Prehistoric Period through the Middle Ages. Included are the social, economic, cultural, political, and religious influences which have prompted or affected the art of each period. Students examine works of art and their iconography, stylistic techniques, and different media, with the goal of being able to recognize, understand, and discuss various art forms in their broader contexts.
GNST 2420
Survey of Western Art II
A survey of art, architecture, and design from the Renaissance through the 20th century. Art movements such as Realism, Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Fauvism, Cubism, Abstraction, and Surrealism are studied. Particular emphasis is placed on the artist's role in society and the effect of society on art.
GNST 2750
Seminar in the Arts
A survey of the arts from a variety of origins, both classical and contemporary, with a particular emphasis on a diversity of fine, performing, and applied art forms. Students attend events that explore the following: pictures, sculpture, music, theatre, cinema, dance, architecture, and literature. Students gain an understanding of the different roles associated with these various art forms and critique these art forms through discussion, oral presentations, and essays, integrating their perceptions into their final projects.
GNST 2960
American Political & Economic History
A survey of American history from 1930-2000. Emphasis is on the political and economic features, both domestic and foreign, that contributed to the emergence of the welfare state and the nations rise to global leadership after World War II. The course provides an understanding of the Great Depression, the Second World War, the Cold War, Americas eventual emergence as the worlds only superpower, and the interrelation of all these factors.
MMKT 1550
Marketing & Brand Development
Marketing & Brand Development introduces and highlights the basic marketing principles which provide the framework for understanding the importance, value, and impact of marketing and brand management.
SMED 1100
Introduction to Social Media
This course introduces students to the history, theory, and technology of social media. Students explore the different social media outlets and have hands-on experience with social media technology. Students learn how to use this new media productively, and have a framework for understanding and evaluating social media platforms
VCOM 1250
Survey of Visual Communications
A survey of the visual communications industry and how image and corporate identity run through all visual media.  Students examine and analyze visual marketing, graphic identity, e-commerce, fashion styling, event planning, exhibit design, trade show promotion, vendor manufacturing, retail store planning, retail theme environments, and visual merchandising.
VCOM 1350
Ideation Sketching
An introductory course in which students learn how to execute loose, quick, freehand sketches beginning with observed, existing spaces, simple elevations and plan views without perspective and to advanced invented visuals, illustrating solutions to various design and visual merchandising problems. Emphasis is placed on speed, confidence, clear communication, use of notation, credible scale, and research. In class and homework assignments consist of many small sketches as students communicate and use appropriate methodology to develop and express ideas. Prerequisite: GNST 1230
VCOM 1480
Perspective Sketching
Students learn skills and techniques which enable them to use perspective to create dramatic and effective sketches, drawings, and computer images. Prerequisite: VCOM 1350
VCOM 1850
Trends: Past, Present & Future
This course introduces students to the methodology behind tracking and forecasting trends for the fashion and design industries. Students analyze key movements in design and the wider cultural events influencing them from the late 19th century through the 21st to develop an understanding of what drives consumer behavior and how design professionals track trends.
VCOM 2020
Layout & Design
This course introduces the formal elements of line, shape, color, texture, and composition as well as the principles of design balance, scale, emphasis, repetition, and unity. This course integrates image and type use to communicate meaningful concepts for visual presentation. Prerequisites: VCOM 2180, VCOM 2350
VCOM 2130
Mobile Photography
This course enhances students appreciation of the skill and creativity of photography by challenging them to produce their own photographic art using mobile cameras. Emphasis will be placed on making the most out of the limitations and opportunities available with these cameras including lighting, locations, framing, and post production using Adobe software. Prerequisite: VCOM 2350
VCOM 2180
Computer Rendering
An introduction to Adobe Illustrator as a design and rendering tool. This course provides students with hands-on experience using the computer to create graphic collateral, fixture diagrams, and store layouts.
VCOM 2220
Materials & Props (6 hours)*
This class exposes students to a variety of materials, including plastic, wood, metals, and tile, and their application to the industry. Students explore methods, materials, and techniques for producing visuals for the industry. Includes a three (3) hour lab. Prerequisites: VCOM 1250, VCOM 1900
VCOM 2350
Computer Graphics
An introductory computer graphics course in which students learn PC applications of Adobe Photoshop, analyze problems of visual thinking, design, and graphics, and present creative solutions. Prerequisite: VCOM 2180
VCOM 2380
Advanced Digital Imaging
Students learn intermediate-to-advanced features of Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator and enhance their software skills to digitally create professional quality pieces to include in their visual communications portfolio Prerequisites: VCOM 2420
VCOM 2460
Design Installation (6 hours)*
An introduction to the crafts of visual presentation. Students receive hands-on experience in working with the tools and materials used to produce merchandise presentations and window displays. Standards of excellent craftsmanship are stressed as students design and install portfolio-quality visual presentations. Includes a three (3) hour lab. Prerequisite: VCOM 2220
VCOM 2510
E-Commerce & Visual Merchandising
Students will explore the future of visual merchandising and key innovations in areas of virtual and augmented reality, creating an experience for the consumer. Students will also explore through case studies the importance of understanding customer needs and look at the changing demands in visual merchandising for retail brick and mortar and e-commerce businesses. Prerequisite: VCOM 2020
VCOM 2640
Public Relations for Entertainment & Fashion
An introduction to public relations, marketing and event planning. Students will learn the basic skills used to create a full marketing and public relations campaign and put together a successful event. The course will incorporate the creative and strategic thinking involved in a full-fledged communications plan. Students will examine how marketing, including events, and public relations can increase exposure and media attention for a company, organization, product, individual or program. Through case studies, guest speakers, hands-on projects, workshops and discussions, students will learn how to plan and execute effective public relations and marketing campaigns and plan and produce events. Prerequisite: MMKT 1550 Marketing & Brand Development
VCOM 2730
Merchandising in the Corporate Environment
Students will learn the practices of the Visual Merchandising corporate environment: interpreting marketing promotions visually through window displays, in-store installations at various levels, store outposts, graphics and other collateral elements. Students will research costs of elements, prepare budgets, ensure ease of installation and create different roll-out packages for a large retail chain based on store yearly volumes, sizes, locations, and staffing capabilities. Prerequisite: VCOM 2460
VCOM 2760
Lighting Techniques for Visual Communications
Students will explore lighting techniques and technologies essential to the retail industry through research, conceptualization and hands-on projects. The class will focus on different types of lighting projects including window displays, retail interiors, photography/styling, theatrical/set design, museum and exhibit design, special events, and more. Part of the emphasis will be the use of color in lighting, new technologies, and creating visual effects using light. Site visits and field trips will allow students to experience real life lighting executions in order to understand techniques and equipment. Prerequisite: VCOM 2460
VCOM 2780
Portfolio Preparation & Presentation
This class assists students in preparing and developing a professional portfolio of their work. Students learn to deliver presentations with practical techniques on how to structure the material to be presented, create visual aids, and speak with confidence. Prerequisite: VCOM 2460
VCOM 2810
Experiential Techniques in the Visual World
This class emphasizes the importance of creating exciting experiences to engage customers in brick and mortar businesses in the ever-changing world of the retail industry. An emphasis will be placed on the analysis of the use and effectiveness of existing as well as researching the direction of technologies to create retail environments of the future. Blue Sky ideation will allow students to think creatively in developing a future vision. Students will visit technology companies, forward thinking retailers and non-traditional retail spaces to explore the possibilities of new ways to engage the customer. Prerequisite: VCOM 2460
VCOM 2820
Fashion Styling & Coordination
This course will focus on various styling techniques for photo shoots, runway shows to red carpet events. Students will learn and gain knowledge of professional styling and art direction through lecture and projects from styling for the internet, online blogs to editorial styling. The class culminates in a themed fashion shoot. Lab. Prerequisite: VCOM 2130
VCOM 2840
Entrepreneurship for Visual Presentation
Students understand the marketing and financial data essential to making informed business decisions. Basic financial statements and their interpretation, cost analysis, and relationship to the visual communications industry are included.
Total Units of Credit: 90

* Three (3)-hour lab included in 6 hours.

Some programs offered may require completion of a second year at the Los Angeles or San Francisco campus. Please contact the campus for details.