Graphic Arts Schools in Chula Vista, CA with Degree Summaries

Oct 01, 2018

There are many schools in the Chula Vista area that have graphic arts programs. Read an overview of the programs, requirements and admission info for three schools that are within 20 miles of the city and find out which school is right for you.

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Chula Vista Schools with Graphic Arts Programs

Most graphic arts programs in the Chula Vista area are offered at the certificate or associate's level. This article looks at three schools no more than a half-hour from downtown Chula Vista and the programs they offer. Information that prospective students should know, such as school size, tuition and the graduation rates, are included in a format that makes comparison easy. There's also a little information about a few more area schools that offer graphic arts training.

  • Southwestern College, about six miles from downtown Chula Vista, is one of the top community colleges nationally for conferring associate's degrees. SWC serves the communities stretching from south of San Diego to the Mexican border. It offers a certificate program in graphic applications and an associate's degree program in graphic design.
  • About eight miles north of Chula Vista, San Diego City College (SDCity) is one of the oldest community colleges in California. SDCity offers a variety of art and computer-related programs, including a certificate and associate's degree program in graphic design.
  • Point Loma Nazarene University is a Christian school located 16 miles northwest of Chula Vista. PLNU is the only college in the area offering a bachelor's degree program in graphic design.

Comparison of Schools

The following table offers information that individuals should consider when choosing a school for their higher education.

Southwestern College San Diego City College Point Loma Nazarene University
School Type 2-year; public 2-year; public 4-year; private not-for-profit
Total Enrollment (2017) 18,413* 15,569* 4,417*
Campus Setting Large suburb Large city Large city
Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2017-2018) $1,338 in-state; $6,602 out-of-state* $1,142 in-state; $5,894 out-of-state* $34,600*
% of First-Year Students Receiving Any Form of Aid (2016-2017) 80%* 87%* 92%*
Acceptance Rate (2017) N/A - Open admission N/A - Open admission 76%*
Retention Rate (2016-2017) 74% for full-time students; 45% for part-time students* 66% for full-time students; 38% for part-time students* 89% for full-time students*
Graduation Rate 22% (for students who began in Fall 2014)* 23% (for students who began in Fall 2014)* 74% (for students who began in Fall 2011)*

Source: *NCES College Navigator

Southwestern College

SWC seeks to provide its art students with an understanding of design principles, art history and composition. The associate's degree program is designed for students who wish to transfer to a 4-year school.

Certificate of Proficiency Graphic Applications

This program is designed for students with no prior graphic design experience. Students take classes covering graphic design, layout, computer literacy and digital imaging. Upon successful completion of the program, graduates should have the skills required to gain an entry-level position in graphic design.

Associate in Arts in Graphic Design

The associate's degree program at SWC requires 30.5 units of art and graphic design-related classes. General education units in such areas as writing, science and the humanities are also required. Art classes cover subjects such as drawing and art history, from the Stone Age through modern art. Required graphic design courses include typography, layout and production classes. Additionally, students have the option to take art electives, such as digital photography and digital design.

San Diego City College

The focus at SDCity is to give students a foundation in the principles and elements of color, form, typography and the design process. Students are taught by professional designers and student portfolios are critiqued by design advisors who are active in the field, and also by program alumni.

Certificate of Achievement: Visual and Performing Arts - Graphic Design

The certificate program includes coursework covering basic and intermediate graphic design, digital media and typography. Two classes are devoted to the development of a portfolio. The 30-unit program is designed to provide students with entry-level employment skills or qualifications to enter a university program.

Associate in Arts Visual and Performing Arts - Graphic Design

The graphic design program at SDCity requires completion of 32-33 course units, including general education coursework. Students in this program will take foundational art courses, such as art history, illustration and freehand drawing, as well as graphic design courses covering typography, page layout and identity systems. Over the course of earning the degree, students will develop a portfolio in preparation for employment or transfer to a 4-year program.

Point Loma Nazarene University

At PLNU, all students take core general education courses, such as writing, math, psychology and biblical foundations. A portfolio is not required for admission, but may benefit a student's admissions process.

Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design

Within the graphic design major, students can choose an illustration design, marketing, interactive web design or interdisciplinary concentration. All students take lower division requirements, such as 2D and 3D design, art history, drawing and computer graphics, regardless of concentration. Major concentration courses may include accounting, photography, Web design, printmaking and/or magazine editing. A senior internship is a requirement for graduation.

Other School Options

Located about 20 minutes from Chula Vista, Cuyamaca College offers an associate's degree program and two certificate options in graphic design. On the north side of San Diego, San Diego Mesa College offers certificate and associate's degree programs in multimedia.

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