Arts and Imaging Studies

People who work in the arts and imaging field are responsible for designing, organizing, and producing print and Web-based media for business, communication, publishing, manufacturing, entertainment, and advertising markets. This is a very large, exciting field that requires a variety of computer-based and traditional visual skills. The arts and imaging studies program provides opportunities for students to enter various careers ranging from creative to highly technical positions at various degree levels.

Program description

The arts and imaging studies programs include a core component of nine courses (27 credits) plus a required cooperative work experience. The core courses provide a solid foundation for continuing in advanced courses, a baccalaureate program, and employment. Several of the core courses are scheduled during the first year, and additional courses are completed during the second year.

In addition to the core courses taken in the first year, students immediately begin course work in their concentration. Students may choose a concentration in graphic design or graphic technology. Both concentrations consist of 24 credit hours.

All students entering the program will be given an aptitude assessment experience. As a result of this assessment profile, students will be counseled and placed into an initial concentration: graphic design for students with creative aptitude and interest; graphic technology for students with technical/production aptitude and interest. The assessment is not final. Based on success and demonstrated capabilities, students may request or be counseled to change their program concentration.

The program's curriculum includes nine credits of technical electives and three credits of free electives. Students may select their technical elective courses from four different professional focus areas that provide additional depth of skill and knowledge specific to a career pathway:

  • graphic design
  • photography
  • print publishing
  • Web design

Technical electives may be chosen from a concentration area, a list of technical electives or, as appropriate, courses from other related programs. Free electives can be selected from any program within RIT, depending on availability and prerequisites.

All students gain real work experience through one quarter of required cooperative education employment. Upon satisfactory conclusion of the co-op, students complete a required portfolio presentation course in which they refine and complete their portfolio as needed for an application to a baccalaureate program or the search for employment.

On-the-job responsibilities

Depending on the specific program concentration and elective course selection, graduates use computer-based methods to produce drawings, layouts, illustrations, and digital photographic images; prepare documents for print, Web, and digital distribution; produce interactive digital media; perform digital retouching and restoration of photographic images; produce composite digital images; design and produce websites; produce computer animations; plan and produce short edited videos; and operate electrophotographic digital printing and inkjet systems, simple bindery, and finishing equipment.

Places of employment

Graduates usually find employment in a variety of commercial, corporate, government, and educational settings. Examples include computer graphics firms, advertising agencies, art studios, printing or manufacturing plants, prepress companies, in-house printing or marketing departments, book and magazine publishing houses, newspaper facilities, government agencies, industrial training or media departments, educational media centers, and educational institutions.

Graduates may qualify for positions such as production graphic artist, graphic designer, digital photo artist, digital photography technician, digital prepress technician, video technician, website designer, website technician, and digital printing systems operator.


Successful completion of a sampling experience offered during the Summer Vestibule Program and also during the academic year is required. The sampling activities provide opportunities for students to learn about the arts and imaging field, identify career opportunities, and evaluate their interest and aptitude for a degree program.

ACT-AAS minimum score = 18

ACT-AOS minimum score = 15

English-AAS: Placement into the Written Communication II (0502-111) course.

English-AOS: Placement into English level C or above. Students successfully completing AOS degrees typically enter with reading scores equivalent to 8.0 on the California Reading Test.

Mathematics-AAS/AOS: Placement into the Concepts of Measurement (0884-150) course. Typically, students entering this program will have completed at least two years of high school mathematics.

Science-AAS/AOS: Typically, students entering this program will have completed at least two years of high school science.

Arts and imaging studies, AAS degree, graphic design concentration, typical course sequence

Course Qtr. Cr. Hrs.

First Year

Basic Drawing 0855-311 3

Vector Graphics 0855-252 3

Principles of Design 0855-255 3

Bitmap Graphics 0855-251 3

Typography I, II 0855-253, 318 6

Color in Design 0855-314 3

Desktop Publishing I 0855-331 3

Graphic Design 0855-319 3

Writing Seminar 0502-227 4

Freshman Seminar 0887-200 2

Mathematics (Level B)‡ 3

Liberal Arts* 8

Wellness Education† 0

Second Year

Web Design I 0855-342 3

Grid Systems 0855-361 3

History of Graphic Design 0855-315 3

Publication Design 0855-362 3

Digital Photography I 0855-323 3

Identity Systems Design 0855-363 3

Technical Electives 9

Job Search Process 0806-101 2

Liberal Arts* 8

Science (Level B or above) 3

Deaf Cultural Studies/ASL* 3

Cooperative Education 0855-299 Co-op

Third Year

Portfolio Presentation 0855-353 3

Production Workshop 0855-351 3

Free Elective 3

Employment Seminar 0806-201 1

Capstone* 3

Total Quarter Credit Hours 100

External Links