Visual and Performing Arts

Graphic Communications Program

Visual communications has fallen under many different names over the years, including commercial art, graphic design, advertising design, publication design, graphic arts, and multimedia. The TMCC Graphic Communications (GRC) program offers classes that lead to an Associates degree or a Certificate of Achievement.

Instruction includes the use of industry standard graphics software, and GRC computer labs are equipped with the latest Apple Mac Pro and iMac Intel-based computers with support scanners, black and white and color printers, a sound booth for creating and capturing audio, and a complete prepress/print shop facility.

The bottom line is, if you want to learn how to create, produce and reproduce visual graphics that communicate to an audience, then graphic communications is for you. The GRC program teaches the theories and applications necessary to get a job in this exciting field.

See Also: Open Lab Schedule

Program Information

Course Offerings Back to Top

GRC classes are offered during day and evening timeframes. There are two levels of foundation (introductory) classes that all GRC majors must take before moving on to higher-level classes. GRC 107, GRC 109 and GRC 110 are first level. Challenge by portfolio/challenge exam for these classes is available, and students with equivalent experience may skip these classes with department approval. Second level classes are GRC 118, GRC 119 and GRC 122, which focus on merging creative skills with the various software required in print, digital and letterform media. All six foundation courses are offered fall and spring semesters, and sometimes during the summer session.

Not all intermediate/advanced classes are offered every semester, please check the schedule of classes or contact the department for sequencing of courses. While manual skills are important in graphic communications, most classes focus on electronic skills using Apple computers and Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, Acrobat, Dreamweaver, Flash, Premiere, Soundbooth, After Effects and Lightwave 3D software.

See Also: Graphic Communications Course Descriptions

Degrees and Certificates Back to Top

In a recent survey of industry representatives, 60 percent said that an associate's degree related to graphic communications was the level of training they were looking for when hiring for entry-level positions.

TMCC's GRC program offer an Associate's degree and Certificates of Achievement that give training in those areas that employers want. Check out the links below to view degree and certificate requirements or check out our program flow.

Competency-based Program Back to Top

You, as a learner, are the most important part of instruction. In performance-based instruction, we carefully identify what you need to be able to do as a result of an instructional experience. Next, we determine how you can show that you have learned these skills. Finally, we plan learning activities that will help you develop the skills.

Performance-based instruction offers many advantages Back to Top

  1. What you will learn is based on the skills you will need rather than on outlines of information.
  2. You can plan how to invest your time and energy. To help you do that, we tell you right up front what you will learn, how we expect you to show when you have learned, and how you may go about learning.
  3. You know the standards for evaluation before the performance test. You earn a grade according to how well you perform the skills rather than according to how well others in the class perform. You are not graded on a curve.
  4. You are actively involved in the learning. We design learning activities and assignments that teach you to solve problems and to learn on your own.
  5. When you complete a learning experience, you have documentation showing the skills you have learned. You can use this information when you seek employment, admission to further education, advanced standing or transfer of credit.

Program Assessment Back to Top

  1. Over the course of the program, students will complete a portfolio demonstrating an ability to solve increasingly difficult graphic problems.
  2. The portfolio will also contain the student's resume.
  3. Students will complete a comprehensive program pre/post examination. Students must score a 70% or higher on the post test or repeat the test.

What, When and How Back to Top


Core Ability: A broad capability that you will develop throughout a course or program rather than in one specific lesson. Core abilities include skills that everyone needs to succeed, such as problem solving, communication, employability and lifelong learning.

Competency: A major skill, knowledge, or attitude that you will learn as a result of a given learning experience. A competency is specific to a discipline (such as history, math or language) or to an occupational area (such as nursing, accounting or engineering).

Learning Objective: A supporting skill, knowledge or attitude that you will learn as a step toward mastery of a specific competency. Each competency has two or more learning objectives.


Performance Standards: Observable and measurable specifications by which your performance will be evaluated, and a description of the situation under which your performance will be assessed.

Performance Assessment Activity: A statement that tells you what you must do to show mastery of one or more competencies, including instructions for completing assignments, performance assessment tasks or tests.


Learning Activity: A statement that describes what you can do to help yourself master specific learning objectives and competencies. You may think of them as assignments.

In an effort to measure student's growth, each student will complete a pre–class and post-class test and complete a portfolio of his or her work that will include a resume and selected drawings by the student. The student must achieve a score of 70 percent or higher on the post-class test.

Extra Resources: Gainful Employment Data for Certificate

College News

Nursing Program Expanding in 2015

Maxine S. Jacobs Nursing Program will offer new degree and move into enlarged, remodeled facility.

Legacy Event Honors Students and Donors

TMCC Foundation hosts a festive dinner, creating connections for scholars and their benefactors.

Calendar of Events

TMCC Band Concert

Tuesday, October 21
North Valleys High School, 1470 East Golden Valley Rd.

Free Student Workshop: Preventing Identity Theft

Tuesday, October 21
SIER 209, Dandini Campus