School of Business and Applied Arts

Truax D3631
1701 Wright Street
Madison WI 53704

Office Hours:
Monday - Friday: 8 a.m - 4:30 p.m. 

CALL: (608) 246-6003 ext. 8
FAX: (608) 243-4754

Graphic Design

Associate Degree in Applied Arts

Program number: 102011


Build solid skills and define your style in the graphic design field with the two-year Graphic Design associate degree at Madison College.

Successful Graphic Design students are creative and aware of visual details. Throughout the program, students apply those strengths to projects based on technical requirements and deadlines. 

At Madison College, you'll understand design fundamentals, learn about emerging trends, and develop professional graphic design skills for big-picture projects and day-to-day tasks. 

Your Graphic Design instructors have knowledge and experience across this creative field and develop courses that combine traditional graphic arts and new media technology. 

As a Graphic Design student at Madison College, you'll have access to more than 100 computers with industry software tools for computer graphics and web page design. 

Once admitted to the Graphic Design program, you may choose to earn an additional associate degree in Visual Communications or Web & Digital Media Design with only two more semesters of study. Attend an Academic Information Session to learn how.

Program Details

Students in the Graphic Design program can attend full or part-time.

Graphic Design classes may be offered at these Madison College campuses:

  • Madison - Truax

Explore financial aid eligibility for this program.

Some of the courses for this program may be available online.

Graphic Design

Your advantages at Madison college

  • Learn from award-winning faculty who share real-world experiences in the graphic design field.
  • Combine a foundation in traditional graphic arts styles and tools with new media and computer graphics.
  • Join the Madison College chapter of the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) to start networking while you are still in school.
  • Show your graphic design work to potential employers in Madison College’s biannual portfolio show.

To Apply

View the admission requirements for application deadlines, materials and requirements.

  • Review the admission checklist to learn how to apply to a program or certificate at Madison College.
  • Attend an Academic Information Session to get started in the admission process.
  • Visit MATC to learn more about the Madison College experience including campus tours and program open houses.

After Acceptance

Once you are admitted into your program, review the Start of Semester Checklist to prepare for your first day of classes at MATC. 


Contact the Enrollment Center at or (608) 246-6210.


Prospective program students, the information below reflects the basic requirements for students admitted for the 2018-2019 academic year. To learn more about Madison College, visit us.

Current program students (including newly admitted), go directly to your Degree Progress Report (also referred to as an Advising Report or Academic Requirements) to view:

  • Progress toward your specific requirements
  • Alternative (in lieu of) courses to meet specific requirements

If you have questions after reviewing your report, please see Advising Services.

First Semester

Second Semester

2 credits

Third Semester

Fourth Semester



6 credits

Recommended Electives


After completing the Graphic Design program at Madison Area Technical College, you will be able to:

  • Implement creative solutions from concept through completion.
  • Apply the principles of design to develop strategic marketing and communication products and services.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in the use of design software, tools and technology.
  • Apply effective legal and ethical business practices and project management skills.
  • Communicate artwork rationale in formal and informal settings.
  • Create innovative visual solutions for a variety of design, advertising, media and artistic applications.

Graduates are fully prepared for the graphic design process including the assessment of client needs, solutions development and analysis, collaboration, concept design, client consultation, pre-press and production. These are some of the aspects of creating graphic designs and illustrations to effectively communicate clients’ messages to their target audiences.


Prospective employers throughout Madison consider Madison College Graphic Design graduates top candidates. Associate degree graduates are ready for a range of professional positions in the field of graphic design, including:

  • Graphic Designer
  • Art Director
  • Production Artist
  • Illustrator
  • Web/Interactive Designer

Graphic design jobs are in advertising agencies, publishing companies, art studios, and advertising and art departments within companies. Madison College classes also prepare Graphic Design graduates with business skills to become freelance graphic artists.

Students are encouraged to join the Madison College chapter of the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) to start networking while in school.

Find open jobs in this industry on Wisconsin TechConnecttmRegistration Required.

  • Estimated Program Cost
    # of Credits for Completion
    Materials/Supplemental Costs
    Other Costs
    Total Program Costs:
  • Graduate Summary
    Graduate Report Summary Overview

    2015 2016 2017
    Number of Program Graduates 43 46 64
    Number of Surveys Sent 43 46 64
    Number of Surveys Returned 33 33 40
    Percent of Surveys Returned 76.70% 71.70% 62.50%
    Available for Employment 33 29 37
    Percent Available for Employment 100.00% 87.90% 92.50%
    Not in Labor Market 0 4 3
    Percent Not in Labor Market 0.00% 12.10% 7.50%
    Available for Employment

    2015 2016 2017
    Graduates Employed 30 24 35
    Percent of Graduates Employed 90.90% 82.80% 94.60%
    Employed in Related Occupation 25 15 31
    Percent Employed in Related Occupation 83.30% 62.50% 88.60%
    Employed in Unrelated Occupation 5 8 4
    Percent Employed in Unrelated Occupation 16.70% 33.30% 11.40%
    Employed - No Response 0 1 0
    Percent Employed - No Response 0.00% 4.20% 0.00%
    Seeking Employment 3 5 2
    Percent Seeking Employment 9.10% 17.20% 5.40%
    Reaction To Training at Madison College

    2015 2016 2017
    Student satisfaction Mean (Out of 4) 3.7 3.3 3.7
    Number of Satisfaction Responses 33 33 40
    Very Satisfied 22 13 27
    Percent Very Satisfied 66.70% 39.40% 67.50%
    Satisfied 11 18 12
    Percent Satisfied 33.30% 54.50% 30.00%
    Unsatisfied 0 2 1
    Percent Unsatisfied 0.00% 6.10% 2.50%
    Very Unsatisfied 0 0 0
    Percent Very Unsatisfied 0.00% 0.00% 0.00%
    Primary Reason for Attending Madison College

    2015 2016 2017
    Number of Primary Reason Responses 33 33 40
    Preparation for Getting a Job 12 18 17
    Percent Preparation for Getting a Job 36.40% 54.50% 42.50%
    Career Change 15 9 18
    Percent Career Change 45.50% 27.30% 45.00%
    Improvement of Existing Skills 2 2 2
    Percent Improvement of Existing Skills 6.10% 6.10% 5.00%
    Preparation for Further Education 1 2 2
    Percent Preparation for Further Education 3.00% 6.10% 5.00%
    Personal Interest 3 2 1
    Percent Personal Interest 9.10% 6.10% 2.50%
    Other 0 0 0
    Percent Other 0.00% 0.00% 0.00%
    When Employment was Obtained

    2015 2016 2017
    Number of When Employment Obtained Responses 29 23 35
    Before Enrollment 5 1 2
    Percent Before Enrollment 17.20% 4.30% 5.70%
    While Attending the College 6 10 12
    Percent While Attending the College 20.70% 43.50% 34.30%
    After Training at the College 18 12 21
    Percent After Training at the College 62.10% 52.20% 60.00%
    Location of Employment (related and unrelated)

    2015 2016 2017
    Number of Employment Location Responses 30 24 35
    In College District 26 21 32
    Percent In College District 86.70% 87.50% 91.40%
    In Wisconsin, Not in District 0 1 3
    Percent of In Wisconsin 0.00% 4.20% 8.60%
    Outside of Wisconsin 1 1 0
    Percent Outside Wisconsin 3.30% 4.20% 0.00%
    Employer Location Unknown 3 1 0
    Percent Location Unknown 10.00% 4.20% 0.00%
    Salary Trend
    Salary Trend 2015 2016 2017
    Full Time Employment (Related Job) Full Time Salary Count 20 11 24
    Average Monthly Wage $3,652 $2,893 $3,063
    Average Hourly Wage $21.23 $16.82 $17.81
    Average Work Hours per Week 40.5 39.2 42.8
    Part Time Employment (Related Job) Part Time Salary Count 1 4 4
    Average Hourly Wage $19.00 $17.25 $18.00
    Average Work Hours per Week 19 17 25.2
  • Graduate Employers
    Total Positions Open for academic year: 2017
    Wisconsin TechConnectTM Jobs* Madison Non-Madison
    Number of Full Time Positions Open 47 80
    Number of Part Time Positions Open 63 57
    Total Jobs 110 137
    Graduate Employers for academic year: 2017
    Employer(s) Job Title City** State*** Positions
    Baker Tilly Graphic Designer
    Blue Dog Creative Graphic Designer
    Brad Nellis Graphic Designer
    Carl's Cakes Cake Decorator/Designer Sun Prairie
    Certi-Dry / Crown Flooring Online Marketing/Graphic Design
    Distillery Design Studio Junior Designer
    Erdman Company Graphic Designer
    Fashion Angels Graphic Designer Milwaukee
    Firepower Design Co Graphic Designer
    First Weber Group Graphic Designer/ Print Shop Coordinator
    Frank Beverage Group Graphic Designer Middleton
    Great Wolf Resorts Inc Production Artist 2
    Healthgrades Production Designer
    Ideas That Evoke Graphic Designer
    Kramer Madison Graphic Designer Waunakee
    KW2 (Knupp & Watson & Wallman) Graphic Designer
    Millercoors LLC Designer Milwaukee
    Nasco International Inc Left Blank Fort Atkinson
    Optimal Health Network Lead Designer
    Pilch & Barnet Graphic Designer
    Planet Wise Inc Website And Digital Design Specialist New Glarus
    Self-Employed Freelance Graphic Designer
    Self-Employed Freelancer Verona
    Spectrum Brands Graphic Designer Middleton
    Swink Designer
    Synqronus Communication Creative Director Monroe
    That's A Wrap Graphic Designer
    UW - Extension Graphic Designer / Web Designer

    * - Wisconsin TechConnectTM jobs are posted through a statewide consortium operated and funded by all 16 of the technical colleges in Wisconsin.

    ** - Only cities outside of Madison will display.

    *** - Only states outside of Wisconsin will display.

    **** - If you have a position to post, please contact Career and Employment Services at