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The location where your NAIT courses will be held.


The type of certification (degree, diploma, certificate) you will earn after completing your program.

  • Degree - NAIT offers a number of business degrees and applied science and technology degrees accredited by Alberta Advanced Education.
    Applied degree programs offer a stronger emphasis on practical applications of the concepts learned in the classroom
  • Diplomas & Certificates - These credit programs take 1 or 2 years and lead to government approved and industry-recognized credentials.
  • Journeyman Certificate - Hands-on and expert-led apprenticeship and industry training for skilled trades and technology professionals.
  • Continuing Education/Non-Credit - NAIT offers a wide range of non-credit programs and courses for personal and professional development in a number of interesting and exciting fields. These options are great for people who may be working but are interested in studying as well.

Delivery Options

The flexible schedule options for this course including time of day and full/part-time.

  • Day - Courses taking place between Monday - Friday, before 5 PM.
  • Evening/Weekend - Courses taking place on weekdays from 5 PM or later, or Saturdays and Sundays.
  • Online - Sometimes called "Home Study" or "Computer-Based Learning"
  • Distance - Traditional correspondence format. These courses work best if you can't get to a campus or if your schedule can't accommodate fixed class times


The average or expected time it will take to complete your program.

Open Studies

Open Studies allows you to explore credit courses without applying to a program.
It is an opportunity to get a feel for school and what program you want to be in.

International Students

Program availability may be limited for international applicants. Contact your student advisor for more information.

Advanced Credit

You may apply for advanced credit once you have been accepted into the program. Advanced Credit can be Transfer Credit (for completed post-secondary courses) or PLAR (Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition).

Transfer Credit

In addition to the common guidelines outlined on the Transfer and Credit Options section and on the Transfer Credit Request Form (PDF), your program has other advanced credit requirements that are applied to each request including:

  • You must have completed the course or program no more than 2 year(s) ago unless a formalized articulation agreement is in place
  • You must have a minimum mark of C+ in the course(s) or program

Prior Learning and Assessment Recognition (PLAR)

If you do not qualify for transfer credit or credential recognition, Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) may be an option.

Contact the program for additional information about Advanced Credit.

Find quick entry into this creative career

Look around you – virtually every printed, silk screened and digitally-rendered display you see every day has moved through the hands of a graphic communications professional. 

NAIT's intensive 1-year Graphic Communications certificate program will prepare you for entry into the creative and rapidly evolving digital, print and publishing industry. You'll take projects from the creative planning stage through graphic design, digital file creation, customer proofing and final output. You can also expect to gain practical, hands-on experience with industry-standard software and equipment, and get the opportunity to complete a wide range of projects you're likely to encounter in industry.

Before all this, you'll develop a firm understanding of theoretical concepts and methods that are critical in the various press, bindery and large-format processes that follow digital file creation. This technical knowledge is what sets NAIT's Graphic Communications program apart from other technical institutions. 

Employment rates reported by NAIT alumni are for information purposes and do not guarantee future employment opportunities.

Salaries reported by NAIT alumni are for information purposes and are not a guarantee of future alumni income.

Hands-on, industry-relevant skills

The program has an excellent reputation among the Capital Region’s business community; classroom projects often involve design assignments relevant to their current ventures. Direct industry experience is gained through the program’s two-week professional experience component, allowing eligible students the opportunity to apply their technical and interpersonal skills effectively within a workplace environment.

The graphics industry is constantly undergoing change, whether it is new software developments, updates in output equipment and technologies, or trends in design elements. The program is in constant contact with industry and supply representatives to be sure the training demands are being met and grads have the skills necessary for employment. Skills acquired in this program have allowed our graduates to seek employment opportunities all across North America.

Program details

By the time you graduate, you will have gained fundamental knowledge and skills in the following disciplines:

  • applied graphic design and typography
  • computer graphics and image manipulation
  • page layout and document composition
  • computer systems management
  • web design fundamentals
  • digital pre-media technology and electronic output
  • effective communications

 Enter the workforce with confidence

Advances in technology and correspondingly lower costs of publishing hardware and software have significantly widened the scope of computer publishing capabilities, making many applications widely available. Small printing companies, graphic design houses and internal communication departments of large corporations are now equipped to perform many of the production processes previously handled by specialized establishments. These factors have created an increased need for skilled personnel to ensure the efficient production of effective communications.

GrafCom graduates have started their careers with traditional printing companies, graphic design and advertising firms, corporate in-house design, service bureaus, promotional companies, and newspaper and magazine publishers.

The future of graphic communications

In the future, new mediums may replace traditional “ink on paper” technology, such as print on demand, e-Books, PDF files, digital printing, sign and promotions. Graduates from GrafCom will still be in high demand as logos, layouts, advertisements, photo manipulations, typography and design skills will still be required for current and future mediums.

A proud history of creative work

Graphic Communications students and graduates have consistently performed well in competitive design on both local and national fronts. Our grads have also gone on to become successful employees, business managers, sales reps, freelance artists and company owners. In the past, some of our students have participated in logo and identity creations for various non-profit organizations.

Making an impact

Students get opportunities to create live jobs, and contribute to the community. A few of the organizations that have benefitted from the efforts of Graphic Communications students are: Harley Owners Group, Make A Wish, da bom SQUAD, ABRA-KID-ABRA, Pride Run, Alberta Aviation Museum, First Responders Marathon and Prince of Wales Armoury.

Have questions? We've got answers 

General program information

  • Email: gcs@nait.ca
  • Phone: 780.491.3159
  • Fax: 780.491.3160

Norm Peterson, Program Chair


Student Service Centre

  • Email: askNAIT@nait.ca
  • Phone: 780.471.NAIT (6248)
  • Toll free: 1.877.333.NAIT (6248)



View courses for this program

Tuition & Fees

Get an estimate on cost to attend

How to Apply

Information on admissions process

Scholarships & Awards

Funding for students in this program

Term 1

COMM1170Effective Communications
  • Requisites: This course is not available to Open Studies students.
  • Course Equivalencies: ASE170, GC110
  • Open Studies: Not Available

This course will provide learners with the fundamentals of topic research, document writing and presentation. Other topics include proofreading, problem solving, editing and revision of documents.

DSGN1100Design Fundamentals
  • Requisites: This course is available to students in the Graphic Communications program. Co-requisites: GRCO1110, GRCO1120, GRCO1130.
  • Course Equivalencies: GC120
  • Open Studies: Not Available

This course is intended to provide students with the opportunity to explore various theoretical and practical design techniques related to the graphic communications industry. Special emphasis on typography, design principles, composition, planning, colour theory, marketing and technical terminologies.

GRCO1110Graphic Application Foundations
  • Requisites: This course is available to students in the Graphic Communications program. Co-requisites: GRCO1120, GRCO1130, DSGN1100.
  • Course Equivalencies: GC136
  • Open Studies: Not Available

Vector images are resolution independent and can be resized without degradation, these images are adaptable towards a wide variety of media and media sizes. This course will provide you with the opportunity to express your creative and technical abilities using industry-standard vector applications. You will learn the fundamental and basic functions of these applications.

GRCO1120Fundamentals of Page Assembly
  • Requisites: This course is available to students in the Graphic Communications program. Co-requisites: DSGN1100, GRCO1130, GRCO1110.
  • Course Equivalencies: GC135, GC150
  • Open Studies: Not Available

This course introduces you to a page composition application essential in constructing multiple layout projects, with emphasis on text formatting and page composition. You will learn keyboarding skills, measuring systems, and handling fonts to compose a variety of documents.

GRCO1130Foundations of Digital Production
  • Requisites: This course is available to students in the Graphic Communications program. Co-requisites: GRCO1110, GRCO1120, DSGN1100.
  • Course Equivalencies: GC140
  • Open Studies: Not Available

This course will explore the fundamentals of digital pre-media, image manipulations and basic web design. Other concepts include press and bindery theories, ink and paper, spot and process colour. Environmental and safety issues, pdf workflow, colour modes for specific outputs, resolution and halftoning processes will also be covered.

Term 2

DSGN1600Applied Design
  • Requisites: This course is available to students in the Graphic Communications program. Prerequisites: DSGN1100, GRCO1120.
  • Course Equivalencies: GC220, GC280
  • Open Studies: Not Available

This course continues to explore creative design techniques and concepts that were established in DSGN1100. Students will explore advanced principles of composition, colour theories, copyright and trademark issues. Other topics would include designing for various media, planning and budgeting accordingly to specific requirements. Special emphasis will be the exploration and presentation of graphic portfolios.

GRCO1610Applied Graphic Applications
  • Requisites: This course is available to students in the Graphic Communications program. Prerequisite: GRCO1110.
  • Course Equivalencies: GC236
  • Open Studies: Not Available

This course is a continuation of the outcomes explored in GRCO1110. You will enhance your illustrative skills towards the creation of more complex graphic images and documents. Outputting images to a variety of devices and file formats will be a focus. You will complete the construction and design of projects such as stationery packages, menus, advertisements, technical and business illustrations.

GRCO1620Applied Page Assembly
  • Requisites: This course is available to students in the Graphic Communications program. Prerequisite: GRCO1120.
  • Course Equivalencies: GC235, GC250
  • Open Studies: Not Available

Continuing from GRCO1120, you will learn more complex formatting techniques towards the construction of multiple page documents that require binding and finishing considerations. You will complete a series of projects by employing complex text formatting techniques for both single and multiple page layouts and output to various file formats and devices. You will further enhance your keyboarding speed and accuracy by completing a series of tutorials.

GRCO1640Applied Digital Production
  • Requisites: This course is available to students in the Graphic Communications program. Prerequisite: GRCO1130.
  • Course Equivalencies: GC240, GC260
  • Open Studies: Not Available

Using skills and knowledge learned in GRCO1130, this course will focus primarily on industry standard techniques for digital output. Students will learn related topics such as: impositions, digital workflow, colour correction, database, graphic manipulations and the creation of a web portfolio.

GRCO1650Advanced Communications
  • Requisites: This course is available to student in the Graphic Communications program. Pre-Requisites: GRCO1130, GRCO1120, GRCO1110, COMM1170, DSGN1100.
  • Course Equivalencies: GRCO1670
  • Open Studies: Not Available

Independent and problem-solving work habits are key attributes a student should have when entering an industry environment. To incorporate these key requirements, students will complete a variety of projects similar to industry. Included, will be the production of supporting documents for different media and marketing campaigns. Students will liaison with clients that have specific branding and design requirements. This course will provide students essential interpersonal and interaction skills targeted for the Graphic Communications Industry.


Cost Per Credit: $150
Tuition Cap: $1,883

Tuition for International Students

Cost Per Credit: $473
Tuition Cap: $5,931

Mandatory Fees

NAITSA: $129
U-Pass: $175
Health & Dental: $128
Rec. & Athletics: $70

Pay Your Tuition & Fees
How much will first year cost?

Books, Supplies & Program Fees (est.)

Level 1 Term 1: $600
Level 1 Term 2: $200

Dates & Deadlines

We recommend submitting your program application at least 90 days before the application deadline.

Application Deadline: Sep 03, 2019

Term Start Date: Sep 03, 2019

Program Availability Status:  

Domestic Applicants: WL
International Applicants: WL

Entrance Requirements


  • Successful completion of minimum 24 post-secondary credits* within an accredited or recognized arts degree or diploma with an Admission GPA of 2.0 based on the most recently completed post-secondary credits.
  • Proof of English Language Proficiency

*Please note that acceptance into the program does not guarantee transfer credits. Transfer credits evaluation will take place after the student is accepted into the program.

Apply to Program

Apply to the program with step-by-step instructions on how to complete the application process. Please note, processing time may vary for applicants, so we recommend starting early.

Apply nowHow to apply checklist

International Students

This program is open to international applicants. For more detailed information about applying, visit our admissions page. Learn more


Term Definition
Open Program still has seats available.
Waitlisting Program is full and qualified applicants are being placed on a waitlist. For information about waitlists, please visit the Waitlist FAQs.

If you’re on a non-competitive waitlist, you should consider NAIT’s Academic Upgrading program or NAIT Equivalency Tests to become a more competitive applicant.

There is no guarantee that waitlisted applicants will be offered a seat, however it is common for seats to become available until the start of class. As seats become available, they are filled from the waitlist.
Closed Program is no longer accepting applications.
N/A Not available for this term.

*Program availabilty is subject to change without notice.

Scholarships & Awards

NAIT supports over 4,000 students with over $6 million in scholarships and bursaries each year. Many are available for students across a wide range of programs.

Explore our available Scholarships and Bursaries

Apply to NAIT

Learn how to register through Alberta Post-Secondary Application System (APAS) or begin the application process.

Apply Now How to Apply