Sacramento Graduate Certificates in Fine Arts and Design

Fine Arts and Design Graduate Certificate Programs are non-degree awards that allow students to conduct post-baccalaureate study in a variety of classic and digitally inspired subjects. A graduate certificate in fine arts and design could be instrumental for those who want to hone artistic talents, build new skills, or learn how to use to use current software.

written by Rana Waxman

Fine Arts and Design Graduate Certificate Programs: Overview

Most Fine Arts and Design Graduate Certificate Programs are structured around just a few, targeted courses. As such, they tend to be shorter than a Masters degree. Many times, a full-time student could complete the certificate requirements in about one year or less, though the length and credits are variables.

Pave the Way to a Masters Degree

Graduate certificate programs in fine arts and design could be an excellent way to earn credentials and decide if a full Masters program is right for you. Some graduate schools also allow either all or a portion of credits earned in their certificate to be transferred into a related Master of Arts (MA) or Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree. Study now, and keep your doors open academically and professionally.

What Is Included in Fine Arts and Design?

Fine Arts and Design traditionally includes the five main arts.

  1. Painting
  2. Sculpture
  3. Architecture
  4. Music
  5. Poetry and Performance Arts (Dance, Theatre)

Modern fine arts are infused with multi-media techniques and practices to include other areas and their offshoots.

These may include:

  • Film
  • Photography
  • Video Production and Editing
  • Design
  • Sequential Art (e.g. cartoons, animation)
  • Conceptual Art (e.g. installations)
  • Printmaking

As Fine Arts and Design Graduate Certificate Programs are typically themed around a singular topic, any of these individual disciplines might form the base of a dynamic course of study. Frequently, there are some set (compulsory) courses with a choice of elective to enable students to tailor studies to professional aims.

O’Net reports that 16% of Museum Curators have a post-baccalaureate certificate.i

Admission Information

The spectrum of fine arts and design graduate certificate programs brings with it different admission criteria. Sometimes, students might need to complete a graduate application, but other times, one might be able to apply to the program directly.

In terms of required material, applicants most commonly need a baccalaureate degree (or equivalent) from an accredited university or college. Programs defined as “advanced certificates” may require students to have their Masters degree, or they may be offered jointly with a specific Masters program.

For more ‘creative’ programs, applicants need to submit a portfolio of current work and an artistic resume along with a personal statement. This essay could discuss an applicant’s personal and professional goals and how the graduate certificate could help them to accomplish these objectives.

Other than these, students may need to furnish the following 3 things:

  1. Current Resume or Curriculum Vitae
  2. Letters of Recommendation
  3. Transcripts with Minimum GPA

Types of Graduate Certificates in Fine Arts and Design

Review the categories on our extensive directory to find one that lines up with interests, goals and learning format needs.

  • Online fine arts and design certificates could engage students in a virtual classroom which is accessible 24/7. Study when and where it is convenient to blend graduate level courses into a busy schedule
  • On Campus fine arts and design graduate certificate programs could provide students with the opportunity to meet others and get a taste of grad school in real-time. Class times may be offered evenings or weekends

Graduate Certificates in Fashion, Retail, Merchandising 

A fashion merchandising certificate could help students identify, market and promote clothing, textiles and accessories. The rise of Internet and e-commerce has generated new practices to learn about and master.

If you have a background in retailing or apparel design, a merchandising graduate certificate could provide insight into product development, promotional strategies, and retail management.

Check out some sample courses, such as:

  • Consumer Behavior
  • Retail Theory
  • Leadership in Merchandising

Graduate Certificates in Fine Art

A fine arts certificate program could provide a one-year, studio-based course of study where participants could create a strong and individualized portfolio. This may be an ideal set up for those who want to experiment on technique, bring new focus to their artwork, or prepare for a future MFA degree.

Students who pursue a Certificate in Studio Arts might have the opportunity to explore painting, sculpture and printmaking. A course plan might include regular studio visits, and participants might grow artistically through group critiques with faculty in addition to studio courses and discussion seminars.

  • Readings and Research
  • Aesthetics
  • Criticism

Graduate Certificates in Graphic Design and Multimedia 

Graphic design certificate programs include both traditional and multi-media inspired courses of study. Participants could learn to use interactive, digital and social media platforms as well as study the finer points of how consumers process information.

As an alternative, one could seek a more intensive program that may be planned-out to help bolster conceptual and artistic skills in a professionally focused curriculum. This type of program could cover core graphic design, typography courses and more.

  • Motion Graphics
  • Visual Systems
  • Interactive Design

Graduate Certificates in Industrial Design

An industrial design certificate program could develop graduate-level expertise in engineering product design, development and production through a practical, hands-on curriculum. Participants could enhance design capabilities as they study topics that relate to manufacturing.

  • Supply Chain Management
  • Designing for Assembly
  • Product Types

Graduate Certificates in Interior Design

An Interior design certificate could jumpstart a career in interior design. Students might build a firm foundation in basic design principles. Courses could enable participants to learn the essential elements needed to create comfortable, functional and beautiful interiors through key topics.

  • Space Planning
  • Color and Lighting
  • Surface Treatments

Graduate Certificates in Media Arts

A certificate in media arts could be devoted specifically to areas such as film studies, filmmaking, digital media communication, audio visual production or related material. Participants might practice their craft in tandem with coursework that could add to their tool box of software skills for technology-driven platforms.

  • Intro to Multimedia Technology
  • Visual Layout and Design
  • Media Writing

Graduate Certificates in Museum Studies

A museum studies certificate could enable students to acquire the essential knowledge and skills needed to engage with the museum world as professionals. The curricula could feature experiential learning and field research through a practicum internship.

Coursework could bring focus to exhibitions, curation, and conservation. Students may have freedom to tailor their choice of coursework to a certain extent.

  • Museology
  • Introduction to Painting Conservation
  • Creating Exhibitions

A digital curation certificate could prepare current and aspiring cultural heritage professionals to work with digital collections, exhibitions and research data in all types of museums. In addition to preservation methods, participants could fine tune managerial skills.

This type of program may be offered as an addition to a Master of Arts in Museum Studies. Students may thus be required to complete some compulsory courses and an elective. An internship and final research paper may also be necessary.

  • Digital Preservation
  • Foundations of Digital Curation
  • Management of Digital Information in Museums

Graduate Certificates in Music and Audio Production

Music certificate programs could enable music students to develop their artistry, knowledge and performance skills. Students might learn through performance labs and artist masterclass formats in addition to classes in music theory and music history.

In addition to weekly classes, students may have the opportunity to supplement their coursework with periodic trips to performances at major cultural institutions in and around campus. Apart from ear training, music certificate students might explore the following topics.

  • Stage Presence
  • Focus and Communication
  • Interpretation and Artistry

Music enthusiasts could also find programs where they might fine tune specific talents. For instance, a certificate in jazz studies could consist of applied lessons, ensemble participation and jazz electives. Students might choose from any area of jazz study.

  • Composition
  • Trumpet, Trombone, Piano etc.
  • Voice

Graduate Certificates in Performing Arts 

Performing arts certificates could help students refine skills in drama, music dance and related endeavors. A completed degree in a performance art or its equivalent from a recognized school may be required for admission.

A certificate in conducting might provide professional training to those who want to conduct Western art music in choral, orchestral, and wind traditions. Students might gain important hands-on experience in extra-musical activities.

  • Personnel Management
  • Librarian Activities
  • Talent Recruitment and Auditions

Graduate Certificates in Photography

A photography certificate program might cover areas such as photojournalism or digital photography. Students may be encouraged to apply their creativity in new ways to visually record, interpret and process what they see.

Participants might study to enhance their creative output to reach professional quality. Or, for professional photographers, a certificate might provide an avenue to upgrade their technical knowledge and creative process.

In a Graduate Certificate in Digital Photography program, students could learn to use computers to edit, manipulate, and manage high quality still imagery. Coursework could cover methods and workflow.

  • Still Digital Imaging
  • Digital Capture and Output
  • Color Management in Digital Imaging

Graduate Certificates in Web Development and Design

A web design certificate could help students refine their skills in the art and science of interactive multimedia design. Most certificates in web development and design are built around specific web technologies and associated methods.

For instance, in a web development certificate, students might explore the impact of networked technologies in web communications through several key courses.

  • Web and Multimedia Programming
  • Theories of Interactive Computing
  • Basics of Interactive Design

Apart from coursework, participants might work on projects such as the development of websites and interactive multimedia applications. To facilitate studies, on-campus students may have access to a variety of computer, video, and digitizing equipment in their school’s interactive media laboratories.

Apply to Fine Arts and Design Graduate Certificate Programs

Don't have the time to invest in a full-blown master's degree? Improve your resume and skill set by completing a few graduate level courses and studying to earn a Graduate Certificate.

Choose your format and subject to find Fine Arts and Design Graduate Certificate Programs you want to apply to. Then, quickly and easily contact schools using the on-page form. Get started right away!


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