Graphic Design | Media Arts

Graphic Design | Media Arts

Program Description

Applications to the Graphic Design | Media Arts program's 2023 Fall Semester have closed. 

If you have an artistic mind and enjoy solving problems, the Graphic Design|Media Arts program is for you. You will graduate from our program with the technical skills and fundamental conceptual theories and techniques needed to produce compelling visual messages.

A form of visual communication commonly used in marketing and advertising to solve problems, graphic designers work with typography, color, and images to design: advertising campaigns, publications, book covers, brand identities, websites, mobile application interfaces, package designs, and much more.

Our program is a Monday-Thursday, block-scheduled program at our Education Square location in downtown Lincoln. You will work at an individual workstation in our graphic design lab to learn design thinking and the creative process. Our classroom simulates a real-world, work environment by having you do all the steps in the design process including research, creating and giving oral and written presentations as an individual and in a team. Your finished design project becomes part of your professional portfolio.

The Web Development & Design Certificate is an efficient, yet comprehensive program focused on teaching those with previous educational or professional experience related to graphic design both web development and web design knowledge.  

This program will provide students with fundamental web development principles by teaching the core development languages of HTML5 and CSS3 while also introducing students to the scripting language of PHP through the exploration of the web content management system WordPress.  Students will be introduced to User Interface and User Experience principles as they relate to web design, and practice these principles while learning and using Figma, an industry leading interface design software.

Awards Offered: A.A.S. Degree
Locations: Lincoln
Formats: In-Person
Start: Fall
Schedule: Full-Time
Estimated Total Cost
$12,672 Associate of Applied Science
Our GDMA program accepts a new cohort once per year in August. Acceptance to the program is based on a selection process outlined on this Program Admissions Checklist (PDF). All incoming students must participate in a program-specific orientation to secure their seat.

You’re a Good Fit

Graphic Design|Media Arts is a technical, portfolio driven, accelerated program. You should have strong spatial skills which will be demonstrated through the Visual Awareness Assessment and portfolio. This assessment will help us gauge your analytical, creative and divergent thinking skills. You will be successful in our GD|MA program if you:

  • have the ability to draw and capture your ideas on paper
  • pay attention to detail and craftsmanship
  • have experience using computer programs like Adobe Creative Suite and are comfortable working at a computer for long periods of time
  • are comfortable receiving constructive feedback and criticism
  • can critically think about a problem
  • have strong time management skills and the ability to meet deadlines
  • are self-driven and able to work on a team in a fast-paced, changing industry
  • want to continue to learn new and update your design skills


Graphic design is one of today's fastest-growing fields. Everywhere you look you see the work of graphic designers. Recent SCC graduates report an average starting annual salary of $39,728. Career options in Graphic Design|Media Arts include:

  • Graphic Designer
  • Front-End Web Developer
  • Interactive Designer
  • Production Artist
  • Package Designer
  • Web Designer


GD|MA has skilled instructors who have worked in the Lincoln and Omaha area at design agencies, in-house, and freelance.

Nicholas Burroughs

As the program chair of the GDMA program, and an instructor, Nicholas works with students not only on a daily basis, but throughout their time in the program. He enjoys teaching students the fundamental principles of design, as well as what to expect in the professional design world.

Nicholas has over a decade of experience as a professional designer including stints at large advertising agencies and small design studios within Nebraska, and has worked with clients as large as Sephora, and Twitch. Throughout this time he also operated his own small design business, working with various businesses and local non-profits.

Prior to teaching at SCC Nicholas taught several classes at Metropolitan Community College in Omaha, NE.

Nicholas Burroughs
Program Chair

  • The next program intake of 20 students will be for the Fall 2024 semester. Applications will be accepted starting February 1, 2024 through March 15, 2024. Acceptance to the program is based on a selection process. If space is available after the deadline, students will be accepted on a rolling basis. Review the Program Admissions Checklist (PDF) for all application requirements

    Step One: Application
    Complete your online application to Southeast Community College.

    Step Two: Math and Reading/English Placement Score
    We accept the ACT, SAT, Accuplacer, or the Next Generation Accuplacer test. SCC uses the reading score for English course placement. Reading scores must be from within the last five years and math scores must be from within the last three years.

    • If you have taken college courses in the areas of math and English, please have an official transcript sent electronically through your previous college and our Testing Center can review.
    • If you do not have any of the above, you can take the Next Generation Accuplacer test through our Testing Center. Please contact our Testing Center at 402-437-2715 to make an appointment.
    • If you have recently taken the ACT, SAT, Accuplacer, or the Next Generation Accuplacer tests and have access to your scores, please send us your scores. We will accept a copy or picture of the scores. Please make sure your name and test date are printed on the page.

    Step Three: Visual Awareness Assessment

    The Assessment consists of five exercises that will assess your basic visual awareness and critical and creative thinking skills. Applicants can prepare for this assessment by conducting brainstorming exercises, critically assess the message of design work from publications such as Communication Arts, and creating still life pencil drawings. There is no cost for the assessment and you will need to allow approximately two hours to complete this assessment. You may only take the assessment one time during each application period. You are able to complete this assessment at the Testing Center at the Lincoln Campus. Please contact the Lincoln testing Center at 402-437-2715 to schedule a date and time to complete the assessment. Once you have completed the assessment, the Testing Center will update the Admissions office.

    Step Four: Prepare Your Portfolio
    Submit a maximum of six (6) examples of your creative art work to the GDMA Applications Drop Box during the application period. The drop box link will be sent to you once an application for the GDMA program has been received. The GDMA program will be looking for students who have an eye for and who can understand and communicate a message visually. Portfolio examples should include still life or other pencil drawings. The portfolio can also include digital art, design work, paintings, and photography that showcase an understanding of: Composition, Texture, Depth, Line, Light, Patters/Shape, and Vantage Point.

    Step Five: Orientation
    GD|MA instructors will be reviewing each applicant’s Visual Awareness Assessment and portfolio against a rubric (PDF). GD|MA will accept the top 20 scoring candidates who meet all other program and college requirements. Applicants will be notified no later than the end of April if they have been accepted into the GD|MA program. Once applicants have been accepted into the program, they will need to attend a college New Student Orientation and a GD|MA program orientation to secure their seat in program. Students who fail to attend orientations will be dropped from the program and will need to reapply for the next available start date.

For more information about the post-graduation achievements of SCC Graduates as well as average starting salaries, refer to the annual Graduate Report (PDF).

For information about the methodologies used to gather the post-graduation student achievement data contained in the annual Graduate Report, refer to the Institutional Research page or contact