Graphic Design

Next Program Entry:
March 23, 2021
(Tuesday and Thursday evenings, 6:30 – 9:30 p.m.)
9 months
*Classes will meet online.
Priority Rate (until two weeks before start date): $3,745
Standard Rate: $3,995.
In a competitive marketplace, brand recognition and design ingenuity are crucial. Businesses turn to graphic designers to create and maintain their brand identity and to support their marketing and online presence. Learn to plan, manage and deliver professional graphic design projects.

Who Should Attend?

  • Aspiring graphic design professionals seeking a strong foundation in the latest Adobe software
  • Seasoned graphic design professionals looking to transition from traditional hand-rendering to digital design on the latest Adobe software
  • Graphic design or administrative professionals seeking to enhance their design skills and training

Why Choose SMU?

SMU is consistently ranked among the top 100 universities in the United States by both Forbes magazine and U.S. News & World Report. By earning your certification through SMU PRO, you will be recognized across the country as having qualifications endorsed by a prestigious and sought-after university
  • Convenient evening classes for working professionals
  • Up-to-date instruction on the latest tools and techniques
  • Instructors who are proven professionals

Key Benefits

  • Learn new skills utilizing the latest industry techniques and Adobe software.
  • Hone your new skill set as you work on assigned design projects between class sessions.
  • Create a robust final project to serve as the foundation for your professional graphic design portfolio.
  • Build relationships as you learn alongside your peers.

Online Learning Requirements

This course will be offered virtually for Fall 2020. The well-being of our students and community is our top priority, and we are excited to deliver dynamic and engaging courses in a fully online format.

Students will interact with instructors and other students through Zoom and SMU GO's Learning Management System (Canvas). To maximize classroom instruction and your learning experience, we require the use of video & audio devices during the Zoom meeting. It will be necessary to have reliable internet with sufficient bandwidth to support the use of video during class.

Registered students will receive individualized communication with further instructions to help you prepare for class.

The SMU PRO Graphic Design Certificate program consists of over 100 hours of graphic design education, completed over nine months.
The SMU PRO Graphic Design Certificate program is offered in a cohort format. Each cohort is structured so that you and your fellow students progress through the program together, guided by expert instructors. Courses build upon one another with assignments and lessons, allowing you to hone your design skills in between class sessions. The certificate program culminates in a Capstone Course, in which you'll create your final, portfolio-bound design project, with the guidance of your instructor.

Entrance Requirements

Admission to the SMU PRO Graphic Design Certificate program requires:
A four-year undergraduate degree or four years of related professional work experience
A personal laptop computer (to bring to classroom sessions)
Adobe Creative Cloud software installed on the laptop
High-speed internet access
Basic computer knowledge
Certificate Program Completion Requirements

Complete and pass each class below with a score of 70% or better:

  • Introduction to Graphic Design
  • Adobe Acrobat
  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Print Graphics with Photoshop
  • Adobe InDesign
  • Graphic Design Certificate Capstone (pass with a score of 70% or better).
The following courses make up our Certificate in Graphic Design.

Introduction to Graphic Design

Graphic design is the visual expression of ideas. A graphic designer’s role is to translate, communicate — and sometimes advocate — by giving form to ideas. With more and more digital communication, graphic design is thriving since graphic designers are now needed for both print (flyers, brochures, etc.) and digital (web templates, digital billboards, banner ads, and so on) design.

Adobe Acrobat

Adobe Acrobat's Portable Document Format (PDF) is the industry standard for exchanging electronic documents. Acrobat can maintain your page layout and prevent changes to documents, even when they are shared with others.

Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator is the industry’s leading tool used to create professional vector graphics for print and web designs. Used by design professionals worldwide, Illustrator provides precise and powerful drawing tools and a host of time-savers for busy professionals.

Adobe InDesign

Adobe InDesign takes desktop publishing and design to another level. In this course, you'll learn to use the extraordinary power of InDesign to create multi-page documents and prepare them for print or export as a PDF.

Print Graphics with Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop is the industry standard for producing professional graphics and an essential tool for most design professionals, whether they work on digital or print images. In this course, you'll learn to retouch digital photos by cropping, sizing and perfecting contrast, color balance and many other tools.

Graphic Design Certificate Capstone

In this course, you'll experience the process used by professional freelancers and design firms to create professional-quality design. You'll come to understand, in theory and practice, what makes good design — in form and space, in color fundamentals, in translating key messages into design and in utilizing typography and images effectively.


Tuition and Fees

  • Tuition for the SMU PRO Certificate in Graphic Design is $3,995.
  • There is a $50 non-refundable application fee before you submit your completed registration form.
  • Textbooks and Adobe Creative Cloud subscription 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.
  • SMU faculty, staff, students and alumni save 10%!
  • Some students may qualify for veterans’ benefits. For more information, please contact Robert Hurst, SMU Veterans Assistance and Outreach Coordinator, at 214-768-1104.
  • Corporate billing is available.

Financing Options

Students may qualify for a Smart Options Continuing Education Student Loan, offered by Sallie Mae. Your Sallie Mae Loan application must be completed and approved 14 days before the first day of the program. Loan cannot exceed the cost of tuition. Contact our admissions team for details.

Next Steps

  • Complete the online application and attach a photocopy of your undergraduate transcript or diploma when prompted.
  • SMU PRO will confirm your acceptance and facilitate your payment for the program of your choice.

Program Requirements

Do I need to have a college degree to enroll in the program?
To enroll in the program, you need to have a bachelor’s degree or at least 4 years of professional work experience in any field. If you do not have a bachelor’s degree, please highlight your 4 years of experience on your resume for clarification. Contact a Program Advisor to see if you qualify for enrollment.
I am not very technical; can I handle the graphic design program?
Whether you are an aspiring graphic design professional or a small business professional, this certificate program offers all practical aspects of graphic design. If you have a working knowledge of computers and the internet, we can equip you with a strong foundation in design skills and software.
I have been doing graphic design for several years; will I benefit from this program?
This depends on what kind of training you already have in graphic design. Take a look at the course details to evaluate whether they cover skill sets or topics you are not familiar with.
How many hours outside of class will I need to devote to studying?
Plan on spending an additional 3 hours a week on course material.
Will I receive a grade in each course? Are there exams?
Students receive letter grades for each course. Online exams are administered for each course, with the exception of the Capstone where students complete a final project.
Are there any required textbooks or additional costs?
Some of the Graphic Design courses require textbooks. At least one week before each course begins, you will receive an email notifying you of the books you will need. It is required to bring your own laptop to each course with Creative Cloud downloaded and installed (see below).
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. This subscription is available through and student discounts may be available. 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.
Do you have Capstone project examples I can view?
To receive links to examples of updated student projects, please e-mail a Program Advisor with your request.
I have a full-time job; can I fit this certificate program into my schedule?
This certificate program is designed to fit the schedule of a working professional. Courses meet in the evenings over a nine-month period. If for some reason you need to miss a class, you must contact the instructor to receive missed materials; you cannot make-up a class.

Registration / Enrollment

Do you offer financial assistance? Will it cover the cost of textbooks?
This certificate has been approved by the VA for use with the GI Bill®. For more information, please contact Robert Hurst, SMU Veterans Assistance and Outreach Coordinator, at 214-768-1104.
SMU has a relationship with Sallie Mae for their Smart Options Continuing Education Student Loan for those enrolling in the entire package. To apply for this loan, follow the steps outlined on the Enrollment and Financing page. Please note that your requested loan amount cannot exceed the program tuition. YOUR SALLIE MAE LOAN APPLICATION MUST BE COMPLETE AND APPROVED 14 DAYS BEFORE THE FIRST DAY OF THE PROGRAM.
How do I register?
To register for the certificate program package:
  1. Register for the program online, and pay the non-refundable $50 fee. Payment of the application fee does not guarantee a seat in the class/program.
  2. Upon registering, you will receive, via email, a confirmation receipt* and the program application. Return the completed application and requested documents to or fax them to 214.768.1071.
  3. Your student advisor will confirm your acceptance and send accepted students a welcome email with the next steps toward enrollment.
*Please note that your seat in the program is not guaranteed until registration is paid in full.
Can I make multiple payments throughout the program?
Payment plans are not available currently. Please check back soon for more information.
Can I still sign up if the program is full?
Admissions for this program are on a rolling basis and a spot is not guaranteed until registration is paid in full. If a course you want to take is full, join the waitlist and we will notify you if a spot opens up. Students on the waitlist are not obligated to register if/when a space becomes available.
I still have more questions; can I speak with an advisor?
Yes, please e-mail and our program advisor will be in touch with you.
Instructors for the graphic design program were chosen through a rigorous process to ensure that they are both masters of their craft and effective at teaching complex technical topics with clarity and sometimes even humor!
Below are short biographies of several current graphic design program instructors. As with any educational program, our instructor roster may change from semester to semester. You can always contact us using the form on this page to find out who is teaching a particular course.

Karen Damwijk

Karen has spent time working in Michigan, California, and Dallas a multimedia designer, graphic designer, instructional designer, and a creative manager for ad agencies and directly in large corporations; including Yamaha Motorsports and Johnny Rockets Restaurant. She brings her industry experience and creative knowledge to help engage students in the classroom, and has taught with the program since Spring 2016. Karen previously taught at Monroe County Community College in Michigan, and at summer camps on the University of Michigan campus.


Alyssa Galganov

Alyssa is an Adobe enthusiast with a strong desire to learn the latest in graphic design techniques. She brings over 15 years of experience in advertising, publishing and interactive design. Currently, she is working on various projects with a UX design team at Sabre. She spent 10 creative years at the Dallas Morning News working in their advertising agency and has consulted on special projects at Freeman, American Airlines and RTKL. Other interests include photography, travel and spending time with husband, Richard.


Karen Gogerty

Karen Gogerty has more than 15 years of graphic design experience with a strong background in creative design, branding, typography and photography. She specializes in creating, promoting and managing strong brands through a consistent design perspective. She works primarily in print mediums, but also has experience in web and online applications. She is a creative and conceptual planner who uses her business insight to drive simultaneous projects, identify new opportunities, and use resources efficiently all while meeting the strategic goals of the corporation. She has managed the brand of an established, billion-dollar company, and as a professor has introduced the love of graphic design to the next generation of artists. In addition to her design background, she has professional experience in managing people and has empowered a large team to execute daily promotional events. She has a BA and MA in advertising and integrated communications, respectfully.


Toni Schuster

With an MFA in visual communications, Toni M. Schuster, brings 25 years professional experience as a graphic designer, art director, visual design manager and educator.

Her portfolio includes work for private individuals as well corporations. Her papers and projects have been published in Logo Lounge, The Humanities Journal, and other industry related resources.

Through each course she instructs, Toni attempts to create an exciting and concrete learning experience — empowering students to do their possible best.


Stacy Wewe

Stacy Wewe is an experienced visual communication designer with twenty years of experience in print and advertising, covering a wide range of projects including strategic marketing, brand identity, magazine design, packaging (CPG) and web design. She has a bachelor’s in broadcasting and graphic design from Washburn University and a master’s in advertising from Kansas University. Stacy currently freelances and teaches advertising and design classes at the Art Institute of Fort Worth and SMU. 

Did you know?


Average annual salary for visual designers in Texas.


Ad and marketing executives who express need for highly skilled creative professionals.

Top job titles include visual designer, user experience (UX) designer, art director and interaction designer

Get In Touch

Complete the form below to get in touch with a Program Advisor.

Contact Us Talk to a Program Advisor at or 214-768-1184.