As one of the largest states in the country, California is home to millions of people. While some people think that locals spend all their days lounging on the beach, the state is also home to a number of ski slopes and recreational areas, museums and historical sites. Often called the Golden State, California remains on the forefront of the science and technology industries. The best accredited web design degree programs in California help students gain a foothold in the field. They can use their skills to work for production companies, film studies, private computer companies, and even nonprofit organizations.
School of Engineering, Technology and Media
Located in La Jolla, California, National University is one of the 12 largest largest private universities in the country. Established in 1971, NU includes a School of Engineering, Technology, and Media. Built to assist students interested in the growing fields of engineering and computer sciences, the college expanded its course offerings to include programs in digital design and new media. The Computer Science and Information Systems Department now offers classes in cyber security, information systems, and digital media design. The university ranks as one of the best colleges in the nation for minority students.
Associate of Arts in Digital Media Design
The Associate of Arts in Digital Media Design prepares students interested in working as graphic designers and in similar fields. Built on the belief that all students should leave the program with the same knowledge, every student enrolled in the program takes many of the same courses. Mandatory courses include Effective College English I and II, Media Literacy, and Introduction to Mass Communication. After completing the beginning courses, students take classes on interactive design, principles of web design, digital audio and video, principles of graphic design, and 3-D modeling and rendering.
Students must take four courses for a total of 15 quarter units before declaring a digital media design major, and only after taking those prerequisites can they enroll in digital media courses. Successful completion of the Associate of Arts degree requires taking and passing seven courses in digital media design for a total of 31.5 quarter units and completion of any other required classes.
Bachelor of Arts Digital Media Design
Students can complete the Associate program in as little as two years, but the Bachelor of Arts in Digital Media Design typically requires four years or more. Students learn how to make their own digital media projects, discuss problems with clients, identify new technologies and trends in the field, and create content with different types of software throughout the program. Like many of the top accredited web design degree programs in California, students must take prerequisite courses before declaring a major, and those courses include nine quarter units in media literacy and a public speaking course or communications course.
Before graduating from the program, students must pass 16 courses that cover topics in media storytelling, digital video editing, advanced digital design and camera and imaging software. After finishing 72 quarter units, students will take a capstone course that lets them create a project of their choosing for an additional 4.5 quarter units.
- Council of Colleges of Arts and Sciences (CCAS)
- American Association of Intensive English Programs (AAIEP)
Dr. Mudasser Fraz Wyne, Faculty Head
3678 Aero Court
San Diego, CA 92123
Phone: (858) 309-3433
Computer Science & Information Systems Department
Palomar College is one of the fastest growing community colleges in California. Located in San Marcos, students can enjoy fresh air and sunshine every day on their way to class, and the campus features a number of courtyards and both indoor and outdoor places to relax. The main campus sits on more than 200 acres of land, but the college also has six other campuses located in neighboring areas. Unlike other schools, which divide its campus into different colleges, Palomar College uses departments to identify different fields of study. The Computer Science & Information Systems Department offers classes and programs in digital arts and related fields.
Computer Science Web Technologies (Certificates of Proficiency)
The Computer Science Web Technologies program gives students the chance to earn certification in a specific field after completing a degree, while working on a degree, or without enrolling in a degree program. Certificates of proficiency available from the school include:
- Web Developer with Emphasis in Java/Open Source
- Web Developer with Emphasis in Windows
- Web Server Administrator with Emphasis in Windows
- Web Server Administrator with Emphasis in Linux
Designed for students who want to work in the computer sciences field, these certificates give students the chance to learn additional skills outside of the traditional program. Students take and complete 15 to 17.5 semester units and showcase their skills before earning a certificate. While traditional computer science programs require that students take general education and computer courses, these programs let students focus on learning skills specific to a certain area of web technology. Many students use those certificates to find employment or seek advancement in their current careers.
- Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (ACCJC/WASC)
- Council of Higher Education Accreditation and the Department of Education
Rand Green, Department Chair
1140 West Mission Road
San Marcos, CA 92069
Phone: (760) 744-1150 x8170
Frank R. Seaver College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences
Founded in 1937, Pepperdine University opened as a small liberal arts college with an emphasis on Christian teachings. Several years after opening, the college moved to Malibu, which made it even more popular with students. Many of the buildings on campus overlook the Pacific Ocean, and students enjoy heading to the beach on breaks between classes. The university opened the Frank R. Seaver College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences as a way to help students interested in communications, the arts and social sciences, and the college expanded into computer and digital media fields. Pepperdine’s programs are a great choice for students interested in web design, but also print and video media. Alumni now work in Hollywood and all around the world.
Bachelor of Arts in Media Production
Pepperdine University added a Bachelor of Arts in Telecommunications Production to help students learn more about creating new forms of media. The program, now known as the Bachelor of Arts in Media Production, teaches the importance of using new forms of media to reach the masses. The school hopes that students will learn how to:
- Use technologies when writing, researching and implementing new designs
- Create new changes in media that will impact the world at large
- Evaluate new technologies and ideas to determine how those ideas can impact others
- Shoot and direct in studios and on location before editing the film
- Make ethical decisions when taking on new clients and projects
Students enrolled in the program complete a minimum of 57 semester units in courses related to media production. Those courses include three classes in communications, seven classes in core media production, 10 classes on production sequencing and four classes on sports sequencing.
Master of Arts in Media Production
The Master of Arts in Media Production at Pepperdine University ranks as one of the best accredited web design degree programs in California. While other digital media production companies still focus on shooting for film and television, this program emphasizes the growing use of web-based technologies. Students learn the importance of shooting with digital film and how to turn the footage they shoot into a functional and stylish piece. The college encourages those looking at the big picture to apply to the program.
Every student enrolled in the program takes a certain number of courses and a few electives. Students can graduate with a minimum of 42 semester units. The program involves 29 to 39 units of required courses and four to 12 units of electives. An internship, fieldwork and graduate program are also required, but students will earn quarter hours for the work that they do away from the campus.
Related Resource: Tips for Finding a Good Internship Program with Your Web Design Degree
Bachelor of Arts in Art/Multimedia Production Minor
Students enrolled in Fine Arts, Communications programs and similar programs can declare a minor in multimedia design and earn a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts and learn more about new designs at the same time. After declaring their minor, students will take six four-unit classes that include communication graphics, two-dimensional design, computer graphic design, and introduction to media. They will also take at least one course in beginning photography, video field production, advanced computer graphic design, animation, or art photography for an additional four quarter units. Interested students should talk to an advisor before declaring a major or enrolling in a new course. Some of the upper level design courses require that students take a lower level course first. Declaring a minor in multimedia design gives students the chance to discover more about this growing and changing field without devoting themselves full-time to the study of multimedia design.
- Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)
Rick Marrs, Dean of Seaver College
24255 Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu, CA 90263
Phone: (310) 506-4280
Platt College, San Diego
Platt College, San Diego opened in 1980 as a branch of Platt College in Missouri. Only a few years after opening, the school became a college in its own right and no longer retains an affiliation to the other school. As computer and production jobs increased across the state, the college dropped older programs to make room for new design and production programs. Students can now complete a Bachelor degree in one of four fields or an Associate degree in one of two fields. Located in an urbanized area of the city, the college covers nearly 17,000 square feet and has an enrollment of 400 students.
Associate of Applied Science Degree or Diploma in Graphic Design
Platt College, San Diego remains devoted to providing its students with access to the newest innovations in the field. Its Associate of Applied Science in Graphic Design program specifically targets students interested in changing the way people think about using the Internet. The college also offers a shorter diploma program in graphic design. In addition to showing students how to build new websites from the ground up, professors also show students how to create captivating designs that they can use to entice new clients and find future jobs. During their first terms, students take classes on digital production, typography and design basics, and they take courses on vector graphics, raster graphics, and digital publishing during their second term. Students will also take courses on designing new apps, digital imaging, and publishing to the web. As this degree program is part of the Applied Science field, students will also take general education courses on drawing, math, sciences, English, and creating a portfolio.
Associate of Applied Science Degree or Diploma in Multimedia
The Associate of Applied Science in Multimedia Design is a special program designed for students interested in how new technologies can change the world. While similar to the graphic design program, completing a degree in this field requires an additional semester of coursework. During their fourth term, students take classes on the fundamentals of the web, creating digital videos, and building 3-D models online. Students will also take two art classes, two math and science classes, two social sciences courses, and two language courses. Completion of the program also requires taking a portfolio project course. This class teaches students how to use the knowledge they have to build new websites and designs, but they also learn how to put that work together to create a strong portfolio. The diploma program through the school covers many of the same ideas, but students complete the program faster and receive a diploma instead of a degree.
Bachelor of Science in Media Arts
While some students finish an Associate degree in two years, completing a Bachelor degree requires a commitment of four years or more. The Bachelor of Science in Media Arts from Platt College, San Diego focuses on the growing need for trained and qualified web designers around the world. These designers look at what the clients want, what their customers need, and determine how to build a site that will make both sides happy. Designers today also create apps for smartphones and tablets, and they build social networking sites for clients. Students take a minimum of eight general education classes in languages, math/sciences, social sciences, and art or art history. Students take a variety of classes on the basics of web design, graphic design, and computer science before enrolling in higher level courses. Graduates will take nine higher level courses during their last semesters on programming, web scripting, and content management systems.
Specialized Web Design Diploma
While a degree in web design can benefit some, others will find that they can gain entry-level employment with a diploma. Platt College, San Diego offers several diploma programs for students, including the Specialized Web Design Diploma. Students who successfully complete 30 credit hours of work will receive a diploma. Those credit hours must include six classes in specific topics during their third and fourth terms. Those courses include Introduction to Animation, Introduction to Digital Video, Fundamentals of Web, Programming for Designers, Web Campaign Implementation, and Scripting for the Web. After completing the program, students have the skills necessary to work as web designers, video editors, and interface designers. Former students of the program work in advertising firms, for private companies, and for large corporations. A diploma program is a good choice for students who have some basic skills but need a certificate or diploma to apply for higher paying jobs.
Specialized Advanced Web Design Diploma
The Specialized Advanced Web Design Diploma program covers some of the same topics as found in the lower level program, but students will spend more time in the classroom and learn the skills that employers want. The basic classes remain the same, but students will complete an extra term and take courses on Content Management Systems for Designers, Responsive Web Design, and Web Design for Usability. Web Design for Usability shows how different users will approach and use a site and what designers need to do to make that site functional for everyone who views it, while Responsive Web Design shows students how to build websites with interactive designs. The Specialized Web Design Diploma program is a five-term program, while the Specialized Advanced Web Design Diploma program is a six-term program. Students taking classes every semester can finish the program in two years, while others can receive their diplomas in three years.
- Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC)
- Member of International Graphic Arts Education Association (IGAEA)
6250 El Cajon Boulevard
San Diego, CA 92115-3919
Phone: (866) 752-8826
California colleges now offer students the chance to learn more about web design, computer science, graphic design, and many other topics relating to computers. The top accredited web design degree programs in California offer more than just training; these schools also offer students help with finding a job in the field later.