Graphic Design Certificate Program

SMU Graphic Design Certificate | Frequently Asked Questions

About the Graphic Design Certificate Program

About Graphic Design Class Scheduling

About the Coursework & Materials

About Financial Aid/Assistance

Other Policies

About the Graphic Design Certificate Program

I don’t have a college degree.  Can I still enroll in the certificate program?
A college degree is not required to earn a SMU Graphic Design Certificate, but you need a minimum of 4 years of professional work experience in any field. Contact a Program Advisor at (214) 302-8568 to see if you qualify for enrollment.

I'm not very technical, can I handle the graphic design program?
The purpose of the certificate is to allow you to familiarize yourself with all practical aspects of graphic design, and obtain some insider knowledge in the process. Mac or PC users, graphic designers, programmers, casual users alike will gain a clearer understanding of graphic design software and techniques.  All you need is a working knowledge of computers and the internet.

I've been doing graphic design for several years. Will I gain much from this certificate program?
This depends on what kind of training you've already had in graphic design. We invite you to take a look at the course details and to evaluate whether they cover skill sets or topics you are not familiar with.

I still have additional questions. Does SMU have advisors for the Graphic Design Certificate that I can speak to further? 
Yes, please contact us at smuthink@smu.edu and our Program Advisor will be in touch with you within 24 hours.

About Graphic Design Class Scheduling

I have a full-time job - can I fit this certificate program into my schedule?
This certificate program was designed for working professionals. Courses are offered in the evening to fit your busy schedule. The 9-month Graphic Design Certificate cohort is offered multiple times throughout the year.

About the Coursework & Materials

Do students choose their own graphic design project for the capstone course?
Yes. Some students choose to work on a portfolio piece for their own services. Others create marketing pieces for a fictional organization. Still others choose to create pieces for a family member or friend that owns a small business. 

Will I receive grades in each class? Are there any exams?
Students do not receive grades for individual courses; however online exams are administered for each core course. Students enrolled in the graphic design certificate program must achieve at least a 75% on these exams in order to pass the course.

What if I don’t pass the exams?
Each student is allowed two attempts to pass an exam. Successful completion of the Graphic Design Certificate Program is based on the successful completion of the tests as well as an evaluation of your homework and final project in the capstone course. 

What is the minimum software that I need to have in order to complete this certificate?
During the certificate program, you will be working on a real-world graphic design project and will require use of the Adobe Creative Suite. The certificate students are required to  purchase this software for use during and after the program.

Financial Aid/Assistance

Can I get a loan for the cost of books and supplies as well as tuition?
No. However, you can apply for a Sallie Mae Smart Option loan for continuing education studies through the link on our website.

Note that some programs sell out weeks before the start date.  If you plan to apply for a Sallie Mae Smart Option loan, begin your application early to allow for adequate processing time. 

Can I start a class while I am waiting for my loan to be approved?
No. But once we receive notification that your loan has been approved, you can start registering for classes.

Do I need to fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)?
No. The FAFSA is used only for degree programs.

Other Policies

Registration Confirmation

After your registration has been processed, you will receive an e-mail with your course confirmation which will contain the following information: course schedule, course location, parking pass, suggested parking and map. Please check your confirmation thoroughly to verify that everything is correct as soon as you receive it.

Your building name and classroom number are printed on your confirmation and can be found online in your student course record.  If for any reason you have not received or lost your confirmation, be sure to gather all necessary information from our office during normal business hours, 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m., Monday–Friday.

Student Withdrawal Policy

CAPE makes every effort to assure a quality learning experience.  If you choose to withdraw from a certificate program, please notify us in writing (via email: smuthink@smu.edu, fax: (214) 768-1071, or U.S. mail: SMU Continuing and Professional Education, P.O. Box 750275, Dallas, TX  75275-0275) before 5:00 p.m., ten business days prior to the certificate program start date.  A full refund will be issued, minus a $25 processing fee.  No refunds will be given after this date.

If you choose to withdraw from an individual class, please notify us in writing (via email: smuthink@smu.edu, fax: (214) 768-1071, or U.S. mail: SMU Continuing and Professional Education, P.O. Box 750275, Dallas, TX  75275-0275), before 5:00 p.m., three business days prior to the class start date.  A full refund will be issued, minus a $25 processing fee.  No refunds will be given after this date.  No refunds are issued for certificate application fee payments.

Failure to attend class does not constitute withdrawal. 

Refunds

All refunds will be made in the form of the original payment.  Please allow up to six weeks to receive check refunds.

Course Transfers

You may transfer a course registration one time, within the guidelines of the withdrawal policy.  If you fail to attend the class you transferred into, you forfeit the course tuition.

Class Cancellations

CAPE reserves the right to cancel or reschedule classes due to low enrollment. Such decisions are made three business days prior to the class begin date. If a course is rescheduled for any reason, those registered will be contacted to verify availability for the rescheduled date.  If those registered are not available for the rescheduled class date, tuition will be refunded in full.  If the class is cancelled and a new date is not available, tuition will be refunded in full.

Graphic Design Certificate Completion

You will have 18 months from your first day of class to successfully complete the program.  The program can be completed in as little as 7 months, however most students complete the program in 9 months.  In the event that you experience personal or professional reasons which delay your completion of the program or fail to successfully pass required exams, the following policy applies:

    1. The 18 month clock begins on the first day of class.   
    2. The program must be completed within the 18 month period so students should plan their schedules accordingly.  This means that the last day of class of the last necessary area must be completed within the 18 month period.
    3. After 18 months from the student’s first day of class, when the student originally begins the program, the student’s enrollment in the program expires. The student will be removed from participating in the program. If s/he has not successfully completed the program within the 18 month window, her/his program status is “incomplete” and s/he will not receive a certificate of completion from the program.
    4. After 18 months, a former student may reapply to the program and will be subject to the program’s current tuition and space availability.