Visual Communications

Undergraduate Certificate

The undergraduate certificate in Visual Communications introduces you to the basic fundamentals of graphic design, animation, image manipulation, image enhancement, and image storage. You’ll learn how to design, develop, and deploy moving text and graphics to create dynamic and interactive digital experiences. This online program also provides an introduction to website design and development to help you obtain a well-rounded set of visual design skills. This certificate program is intended for undergraduate students who seek to heighten their knowledge of visual communication without committing to an academic degree program.

This hands-on program covers the Site Development Associate curriculum and the Web Design curriculum of the CIW Web Foundations Associate certification. After completing this certificate, you may consider pursuing your CIW Web Design Specialist certification.  

Program Courses

The curriculum for this online certificate is reviewed by an advisory council of industry experts for relevancy to today’s marketplace. Course topics include:

  • Website design concepts
  • Project management
  • Adobe Photoshop image enhancement
  • Illustration and design with Adobe Illustrator
  • Motion graphics creation using Adobe Flash
  • Website basics, including CSS, HTML, and JavaScript programming
  • Web 2.0 trends and technologies, including blog and wiki creation

View all courses.

Program Objectives

In addition to the institutional and degree level learning objectives, graduates of this program are expected to achieve these learning outcomes:

  • Discuss the purpose and usage of smart objects, layers and vectors in editing, also differentiate between a raster image and a vector image; also detail the layer concepts of hiding, linking, and setting layer styles.
  • Detail the capabilities of Adobe Photoshop as a tool for editing and restoring digital images; also describe the process for enhancing digital images by manipulating sharpness, color, contrast, hue, brightness, and resolution.
  • Appraise the principles and concepts of effective design for organizing information, for performing site design, and for determining the navigation structure.
  • Assess the principles for designing web pages, including the content, typography, colors, images, and page layout; also examine the use of style sheets to enhance reusability and to design consistent interfaces.
  • Compare and contrast the various image file formats on the Web, including GIF, JPG, PNG, and SVG.
  • Assess the utility of Adobe Flash technology in streaming animations in website design; also assess the use of tweens, anchors, guides, and onion skins to develop Web animations.

Degree at a Glance

Admission Requirements

  • All undergraduate programs require a minimum of a high school diploma or equivalent (i.e. GED).
  • New undergraduate students may be asked to complete our College Readiness Assessment (ADMN100). If you have successfully completed 9 or more hours of college credit, you may reach out to your admission representative to inquire about waiving this requirement.
  • If you have previous college experience, you will be asked to submit your transcripts from previous schools where you earned academic credit.
  • There is no fee to complete our admission application. View steps to apply.

Need help?

Selecting the right program to meet your educational goals is a key step in ensuring a successful outcome. If you are unsure of which program to choose, or need more information, please contact an admission representative at 877-777-9081 or info@apus.edu.


Undergraduate Tuition Rates 

Per credit hour: $270 | $250 with military grant*

View Tuition and Fees Details  

*To help minimize out-of-pocket costs, we offer a tuition grant for U.S. active-duty servicemembers, Guard, Reserve, military spouses and dependents, and veterans that caps undergraduate tuition at the military TA limit. See all military-affiliated student benefits.

Paying for School

Because our university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), (the same as the Ohio State University, Univ. of Chicago, and U.S. Air Force Academy, to name a few), we can accept the following forms of financial aid and payments:

Ways to Save

Undergraduate Book Grant

Ebooks are provided at no cost if you are enrolled in undergraduate courses for credit. The undergraduate book grant is estimated to save $250 per academic semester if you are registered as a full-time student.

Transfer Credits

Accelerate your degree completion by taking full advantage of our transfer credit options, including credit for your previous college courses, military service schools, American Council on Education (ACE) and College Level Examination Program (CLEP) tests, and prior learning experiences.  

Employer Contributions

The university has educational partnerships with many employers and associations. Be sure to accurately enter your employer information when you complete our admissions application. Your employer might also offer a tuition reimbursement plan as one of your benefits.