Associate in Applied Science Degree in Visual Arts (A.A.S.)

The Illustration program prepares students for entry-level positions as illustrators or graphic designers in advertising agencies, design firms, publishing houses, production studios, or corporate environments. It also parallels the first two years of study in illustration at many undergraduate universities and art colleges.

As visual communicators, illustrators must learn the same basic design principles as graphic designers and fine artists. The design sequence of courses emphasizes the development of fine art skills as well as creative thinking for visual solutions. Skills and techniques in both traditional and computer-generated forms are introduced and emphasized. Most coursework takes place in a studio using current professional-quality equipment, artistic techniques, and technology.

An advisory commission composed of active design professionals works with the faculty to ensure that the program stays current with the changing technological advances in the illustration field.

  • Apply computer applications to design principles;
  • Illustrate and practice professional design principles;
  • Recognize elements of proper design in professional-quality work;
  • Design professional-quality concepts, both traditional and digital;
  • Demonstrate competence in the design and production of illustrations;
  • Develop and present ideas in both written and oral formats;
  • Create a professional portfolio to serve in the pursuit of further education or employment.

The program may be pursued full-time or part-time. Some courses may only be offered during the day. Students are advised not to take visual art courses out of sequence.

Advertising + Graphic Design degree program

2023-2024 Academic Year
 earlier / Archive
CIP 500402

The course sequence below represents a recommended example of how this degree program can be completed in two years, presuming a Fall Term start and satisfaction of all Developmental Studies (foundation courses) requirements and prerequisites. Actual approaches toward completion depend on each student's anticipated transfer institution, career objectives, or other individual circumstances.

Students are encouraged to meet regularly with an academic advisor or Success Coach to consider options, establish plans, and monitor progress.

Code Course (lecture/lab hours) Credits
To Do This Semester
ART 102 Basic Drawing (1/4) 3

✔ Meet with your faculty advisor to complete an academic plan. Make sure you are aware of any course prerequisites you may need to take, and how long it will take to complete your degree.

✔ Use your online tools: Check your MercerMail daily, utilize features of Office 365, and get to know Student Planning.

✔ Take advantage of Learning Centers or Online Tutoring to support your studies and assignments.

ART 105 Two-Dimensional Design (1/4) 3
DMA 115 Vector Drawing (1/4) 3
DMA 144 Internet Tools and Techniques (1/4) 3
ENG 101 English Composition I (3/0)

ADV 101 Advertising Design I (1/4) 3

✔ Transitioning to college can be challenging. Meet with your Success Coach for guidance and support.

✔ Apply for financial aid by May 1.

✔ Contact professors with questions and use their office hours to develop a connection. Talk with them to get the inside scoop on how your profession works.

✔ Be sure to visit the Career Services office to explore jobs, internships, and career information and get help with your resume and other career tools.

✔ Apply for Continuing Student scholarships at

ADV 230 History of Graphic Design (3/0) 3
ART 104 Life Drawing (1/4) 3
ENG 102 English Composition II (3/0) 3
MAT  — Mathematics elective
  • MAT 120 or 125 recommended. Select in consultation with an academic advisor.

ADV 110 Typography I: Basics of Graphic Design (1/4) 3

✔ Keep in contact with each professor and your faculty advisor. Make sure you are on track to graduate on time.

✔ Work with Career Services to formulate plans for after you've earned this degree.

✔ Develop team and leadership skills by getting involved in activities and clubs.

✔ Apply for Continuing Student scholarships at

✔ Manage your stress! Take advantage of the MCCC pool, Fitness Center, free yoga and Zumba. Reach out for counseling or other support if you need it. Your Success Coach can connect you with resources.

ADV 220 Illustration I (1/4) 3
ART 130 Painting I (1/4) 3
DMA 110 Digital Imaging (1/4)  
  OR 3
ART 150 Printmaking I (1/4)  
DMA 250 Digital Portfolio Seminar (1/4)

ADV 201 Advertising Design II (1/4) 3

✔ Get ready to start your career! Begin the job application process.

✔ Discuss your career plans with your faculty advisor. S/he can help you transition successfully.

ART 106 Three-Dimensional Design (1/4) 3
CMN 111 Speech: Human Communication (3/0)  
  OR 3
CMN 112 Public Speaking (3/0)  
ART  — Art History elective
  • Select from ART 121, 122, 124, 125; PHO 110.
  —    — Professional elective
  • Select from ART 141, 145, 146, 150, 230; DMA 110, 120, 135, 225; PHO 103.
NOTE: Electives should be selected in consultation with an academic advisor in order to assure maximum transfer of credits.
NOTE: Students must earn a minimum grade of C in ADV 101, 110, 201, 220; ART 105; DMA 105 to graduate.