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Advanced Graduate Certificate in Visual Communication

Graphics and design. Theory and practice. Technology and media.

Increase your expertise with an Advanced Certificate in Visual Communication.

You already have a master's degree or you've earned a Graduate Certificate in Technical Communication from Southern Polytechnic State University. The Advanced Graduate Certificate in Visual Communication gives you the opportunity to become an expert in the field.

You'll deepen your existing knowledge with theory. You'll apply that theory to hands-on projects in which you'll confront and resolve real-world business issues using the latest technology and media.

And you'll receive quality instruction and guidance from full-time SPSU faculty from the convenience of an online learning environment. With the additional support of your fellow students, you'll learn to create meaning, inspire change, deliver value.

Who enrolls in the online Advanced Graduate Certificate in Visual Communication program?

They are working adults. They are career builders. Career changers. Innovators. Most of all, like you, your fellow students care about communicating visually in a way that connects to an audience. That helps them accomplish their goals or understand a complex concept or process.

Your fellow students are the people with whom you will forge personal and professional bonds. The kinds of bonds that will become integral to the success of your career now and in the future.

What will I learn?

In today's complex world, effective communication takes more than the ability to write and use images. It requires strategy. Our rigorous, graduate-level curriculum will give you the critical and technical skills to become not just a visual communication expert, but also a visual communication strategist.

With an Advanced Certificate in Visual Communication, you'll acquire skills that will endure over time:

  • Sense making: You'll learn to think critically and create visual meaning.
  • Social intelligence: You'll learn to understand a defined audience and create visual communication artifacts that speak to them, that drive them to act.
  • Novel and adaptive thinking: You'll learn to express complex ideas visually in an understandable way.
  • New media literacy: You'll learn to create persuasive and engaging visual communication artifacts for dynamic new media.
  • Transdisciplinarity: You'll learn to combine cross-disciplinary skills to confront and resolve visual problems.
  • Design mindset: You'll learn to create visual communication artifacts that persuade, that produce desired outcomes.
  • Cognitive load management: You'll learn to filter and focus information into visual communication artifacts that engage and persuade a defined audience.

What will my learning experience be like?

Like your previous graduate-level studies, the work is rigorous, challenging, and exciting. You'll work independently and collaboratively on projects that confront and resolve actual business issues faced by real project sponsors.

Your intensive coursework will be entirely online. But that doesn't make it "easy"; in fact, an online learning environment demands more from you. But it also gives more back to you. You will be challenged to set goals and be self directed. You'll increase both the breadth and depth of your knowledge, while making critical connections to full-time faculty members who are experts in the field, as well as your fellow students with whom you share similar goals and backgrounds.

What kinds of courses will I take?

You'll take 6 courses (18 hours). The 5 required courses focus on visual communication:

  • IDC 6005—Visual Thinking
  • IDC 6035—Information Graphics
  • IDC 6042—Applied Graphics
  • IDC 6045—Multimedia
  • IDC 6135—Website Design

You'll select your 6th course from any of our offerings, which include courses in information design, instructional design, business analysis, marketing communication, project management, usability testing, and more.

How long will the certificate take to complete?

Because of its rigor, and other life demands you must meet, the program is designed primarily for part-time study. Students with full-time jobs typically take no more than 2 courses per semester and plan a 2-year timeline to complete the advanced certificate. Full-time study (9 credit hours or 3 courses per semester) is limited to students receiving financial aid or those who are not employed.

Since graduate-level courses require more reading and study and the assignments are significantly more complex, you'll spend at least 15 to 20 hours per course, per week.

How much will it cost?

No matter where in the world you call home, you'll pay in-state tuition and fees. For the 2012–13 academic year, one 3-credit course will cost  approximately $1,215. Visit the Office of Financial Aid for information about funding your education.

How will an Advanced Certificate in Visual Communication enhance my current competencies?

You may already communicate with visuals on a regular basis. But you want to improve your skills beyond the basics. The Advanced Certificate in Visual Communication program will advance your visual competency by teaching you to produce visual artifacts that communicate effectively to a defined audience.


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