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 1080
Drawing Fundamentals
A course in which students learn to communicate quickly and effectively through the medium of the sketch, a graphic means for recording and transmitting a visual experience or mental image. In mastering the fundamentals of line, form, composition, and perspective, students acquire the techniques of a visual language which are useful in many endeavors.
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
This course explores financial and consumer math, the geometry of flat and 3-dimensional spaces, and the basics of statistical analysis. Integrating mathematical equations and concepts in the context of problem solving and discovery, students complete projects and assignments demonstrating the effective use of quantitative tools to support their conclusions.
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. Prerequisite: GNST 1040
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 1900
Professional Skills
This course facilitates a comprehensive understanding of the tools and techniques necessary to effectively navigate the complexities of the job market. Students explore critical components of employment in order to prepare for their job search; the ultimate result is placement in their desired career. Students develop the following skills: building a meaningful resume; understanding how to navigate career sites, including but not limited to FIDM Career Network and Linkedin; effectively researching desired industry and organizations; perfecting interviewing techniques and skills; and finally understanding the benefits of a sharable portfolio which can be utilized throughout their careers.
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 2220
History of Design
An exploration of important developments from the Industrial Revolution to the digital age in the history of decorative arts, architecture and ornaments, interiors and furniture, textiles, products, and graphic design.
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 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.
GRPH 1050
Digital Imaging
Students dive deep into the use of Adobe Photoshop to create high-quality image enhancements and photo composites. Students learn additional toolsets and explore more advanced features and improve their imaging skills. Prerequisite: TECH 1100
GRPH 1150
Type & Layout
This course introduces students to document layout using Adobe InDesign. Students learn the tools, menu bar, and palettes as they begin designing single and multi-page layouts. Through design exercises, students examine how the use of grids serve as a structure for combining type and image.
GRPH 1300
Computer Illustration
In this course students continue to build on their illustration skills with vector drawing techniques. From tracing artwork to creating entertaining infographics, more advanced uses of Adobe Illustrator are explored including the use of Libraries and custom palettes. Prerequisite: TECH 1100
GRPH 1420
2-D Design
This course introduces the formal elements of line, shape, color, texture, and composition as well as the graphic principles of balance, scale, emphasis, repetition, and unity. Students also explore all aspects of two-dimensional design and imagery, which is essential to achieve a solid design. Prerequisites: GNST 1230, GRPH 1150, GRPH 1300
GRPH 1500
Critical Concepts
Students are introduced to conceptual thinking and the role of a graphic designer as a visual problem solver. Students identify a design problem, develop a visual solution, and present ideas through thumbnail sketches for group critique. Brainstorming sessions and teamwork are integrated as part of class participation. Prerequisite: GNST 1080
GRPH 1720
This course explores the fundamental traditions of typography combined with computer technology. It provides the foundation from which the students can develop both an understanding of typography and a personal aesthetic.
GRPH 2050
Brand X
Students investigate the visual and physical personality of a current brand and develop an effective visual identity for it, utilizing all applicable marketing materials. Prerequisites: GRPH 1450, GRPH 1720
GRPH 2120
Publication Design
This course helps students craft a variety of image and text-based content into a harmonious and legible design in catalogue and magazine formats for both print and digital delivery. Prerequisites: GRPH 1150, GRPH 1720, GRPH 2780
GRPH 2230
UX Design
This course offers a practical introduction to UX (user experience) design emphasizing the importance of research in the design process. Inspired by this research, students develop solutions for a variety of applications centered around a specific set of users. Wire-framing is used to illustrate design concepts and students learn how to create a clickable prototype. Prerequisite: GRPH 1300
GRPH 2300
Prepress Production
A fundamental class in preparing art files for print reproduction, this course covers desktop publishing, printing techniques (conventional and digital), paper, color, inks, imposition folding, and finishing. Students prepare a design from concept to final reproduction. Prerequisites: GRPH 1450, GRPH 1720, GRPH 2780
GRPH 2380
Packaging Design
Students develop creative packaging solutions that attract attention while communicating visually through the use of three-dimensional form, packaging materials, typography, color, and graphics. Prerequisites: GRPH 2300, GRPH 2500
GRPH 2400
Graphics/Licensing (6 hours)*
This course introduces students to product licensing through the development of original characters and their related products. The students create their own intellectual property and present it as a Style Guide. Includes a three (3) hour lab. Prerequisites: GRPH 2050, GRPH 2120, GRPH 2300
GRPH 2500
Logo/Symbol Design
Students create a logo for a company or product using the elements of design and the psychology of color.  They demonstrate understanding through application and usage of identity to create a brand and public awareness.  Thumbnails, participation, class critiques.  Prerequisites: GRPH 1420, GRPH 1720
GRPH 2540
Applied Branding
This course takes students through the entire graphic design process of creating a professional retail brand. Students define a target audience, invent a fictitious store name, and write a mission statement. For their final presentation, they create a conceptual store brand delivered through a visual marketing plan. Prerequisites: GRPH 2050, GRPH 2120
GRPH 2630
Website Design
Students build on their experience with UX design as they develop web and mobile applications. Students begin using HTML and CSS to design their sites while continuing to emphasize research, design, and functionality. Prerequisite: GRPH 2230
GRPH 2680
Graphic Design Portfolio
This is an advanced class in portfolio development. Students design, produce, and gain experience presenting their work in a professional working environment. They also write a comprehensive resume and present their portfolios before the class. Prerequisites: GRPH 2250, GRPH 2400, GRPH 2500, GRPH 2540
GRPH 2780
Introduction to Digital Photography
This course enhances students appreciation of the skill and creativity of photography by challenging them to produce their own photographic art. Course discussions include terminology, innovations in digital photography, and various experimental processes.  The course illustrates the practice of buying commercial photography for fashion, graphic design, and general marketing purposes, including negotiating with art reps, buyout of stock photography, and coordinating photo shoots. Prerequisite: GRPH 1050
GRPH 2930
Advanced Website Design
This course focuses on responsive web design in order to create sites that work on a variety of devices. Students create a complete interactive site from concept to final development. Prerequisite: GRPH 2630
MMKT 1550
Marketing & Brand Development
This course introduces and highlights the basic marketing principles which provide the framework for understanding the importance, value, and impact of marketing and brand management.
TECH 1100
Introduction to Adobe
This course is an introduction to design techniques, naming conventions, and digital asset management within Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. Students gain basic knowledge of digital design components such as vector and raster graphics, tools, and key menu items, which they use to complete work in their major areas of study. These concepts support use of industry-standard computer aided design tools and facilitate communication between designers, clients, and manufacturers.
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.