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Commercial and Advertising Art


Programs in commercial and advertising art teach people how to convey ideas to businesses and consumers using graphic images.

Programs in commercial and advertising art teach people how to communicate ideas using graphic images. Students learn to use computers to design and lay out text and graphics. They study computer animation and techniques such as engraving, drawing, and cartooning.

Commercial and advertising art programs includes topics such as:

People with a degree in commercial arts might work in a variety of settings, including:


Students begin to develop their professional portfolio during college. This includes samples of work from team projects and independent projects.


Commercial and advertising art is sometimes a concentration in a graphic design program.

Most community colleges and independent art schools offer certificates or associate degree programs in commercial and advertising art. A certificate program usually takes a year of full-time study. An associate degree program usually takes two years to complete.

Most independent art schools, colleges, and universities offer Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree programs in commercial and advertising art. A BFA usually takes about four to five years of full-time study.

Several universities offer Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degrees in commercial and advertising art. A MFA typically requires two years of study beyond a bachelor’s degree. Many people who get graduate degrees in commercial and advertising art teach at the college level.

See schools that offer this program.

Related Educational Programs

Related Careers

Careers Directly Related to this Program of Study

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Program Admission

You can prepare for this program by taking courses in high school that prepare you for college. This typically includes four years of English, three years of math, three years of social studies, and two years of science. Some colleges also require two years of a second language.

For this program, schools recommend that you know how to use a computer and the Internet. In addition, some programs require a separate admissions process aside from the general college admission. In most cases, you have to take required courses and submit a portfolio of your work.

Below is a list of high school courses that will help prepare you for this program of study:

Graduate Admissions

Admission to graduate programs is competitive. You need a bachelor's degree, good grades, and good test scores.

Additional requirements at some schools include:

Typical Course Work

Program Courses

This program typically includes courses in the following subjects:

Graduate Program Courses

Graduate programs that lead to a master's or doctoral degree typically include:

Things to Know

When undergraduate programs require applicants to submit a portfolio, it can include various types of creative work from high school, hobbies, clubs, volunteer work, and community projects.

Students in both undergraduate and graduate classes may be expected to exhibit or publish their work. Often, portfolios are critiqued by fellow students and faculty.


East Side Area

Central Washington University

Walla Walla University

King-Snohomish Area

Bellevue College

Cornish College of the Arts

North Seattle College

Tacoma Area

Northwest College of Art & Design