Graphic Design

Graphic Design

SMU Graphic Design Certificate | Frequently Asked Questions

Program Fast Facts

DURATION 9 months
FORMAT In-Person
TUITION Priority Rate (before August 23, 2016): $3,745
Standard Rate: $3,995
NEXT DATES September 6, 2016
T/TH Evenings
6:30 – 9:30 p.m.

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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 a related field. Contact a Program Advisor at (214) 621-4834 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 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 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 Cloud software. The programs you will be required to install include: InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, Acrobat and Bridge. Please check with your instructor for any additional Creative Cloud components that may be required. Please note: The Creative Cloud software needs to be downloaded and installed before your first class, the download is large and may take a considerable amount of time.

Are textbooks included?

No, textbooks are not included in the cost of the course and can be purchased online or at a bookstore of your choice. You will receive the book list by email before the first class begins.

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 the certificate program, please notify us in writing (via email: or fax 214-768-1071). SMU CAPE professional certificate enrollment is final as of 3 business days prior to first class start date and programs are intended to be successfully completed in full.  Once you are enrolled, withdrawal from the program or not completing the program forfeits your tuition costs.  We do not provide any prorated refunds or credits for partial certificate program completion. However, students may transfer to another cohort/class free of charge, provided there is space available and time remaining for them to successfully complete the program.

Failure to attend class does not constitute withdrawal.

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

Full details are available in the certificate terms and conditions provided during the application process. 


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.