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Majoring in Media, Art, or Design?

Students artwork

For students interested in media, art, or design, it can be difficult to choose a major. We offer several degrees and certificates in these areas of study. We are here to help if you're not sure which one is right for you. 

Some degrees (AA, AFA) are designed specifically to transfer to four-year institutions to earn a bachelor's degree. Other degrees (AAS) are designed as career and technical education degrees, so you can enter the workforce upon completion of an associate degree at Montgomery College. 

The three types of degrees offered are: 

  • Associate of Arts (AA): Liberal arts transfer degree (60 credits)
  • Associate of Fine Arts (AFA): Pre-professional transfer degree (60 credits)
  • Associate of Applied Science (AAS): Professional career and technical education (60 credits). Some AAS majors have been successful in transferring to four-year institutions based on resulting portfolios.
  • Certificates: Recognize successful completion of a small number of courses that focus on specific technical skills (minimum 12 credits)

We have numerous articulation (transfer) agreements in place, where you complete an associate degree at Montgomery College and the remaining two years at a four-year transfer institution.

We are proud that Montgomery College is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).

Explore our degrees below, and contact a program advisor or department chair to discuss which major best meets your career and transfer goals. 

What are you interested in studying? 

Frequently Asked Questions

Completing an associate degree in art, design, or media at Montgomery College benefits students both financially and academically. Associate degrees are a total of 60 credits, which are half of the required 120 credits for bachelor’s degrees. Tuition cost at Montgomery College is a small fraction of tuition at UMD College Park, and an even smaller fraction of the high cost of attending an art school. The programs are all part of NASAD accreditation (National Accreditation of Schools of Art and Design), which assures the quality of art/design education provided, as well as benefit students’ transfer and career goals. Montgomery College is one of a few two-year institutions with this art/design accreditation. Furthermore, completion of general education credits ensures transfer of these credits to all accredited Maryland four-year institutions, as required by MHEC (Maryland Higher Education Commission). Last, but not least, completion of a degree is regarded well when applying for either transfer or a job.
Each Department offers art/design merit scholarships primarily based on portfolio and/or academic achievement. Students are encouraged to speak to a program advisor about these opportunities. Students may also find information on scholarship opportunities on department websites. 
Montgomery College is one college with multiple campuses. Students may attend any campus or department to complete their degree program. A few courses are only offered on certain campuses/departments. For example, at this time students majoring in the AFA in Graphic Design must take their graphic design and typography courses at the Takoma Park/Silver Spring campus. Students are encouraged to consult with a Program Advisor prior to enrolling in any classes, to ensure that courses are relevant to the student’s degree program.
  • Animation & Illustration, AAS, are in Rockville Media Arts and Technologies Department.
  • Graphic Design, AFA is collegewide, with four courses in Takoma Park/Silver Spring Visual & Performing Arts Department; and AAS is in Rockville Media Arts and Technologies Department.
  • Interior Design, AA and AAS, are in the Rockville Applied Technologies Department.
  • Media Arts, AA and AAS, are in Rockville Media Arts and Technologies Department.
  • Photography, AAS, is in Rockville Media Arts and Technologies Department.
  • Visual Arts, AA and AFA, are in both Rockville Art Department and Takoma Park/Silver Spring Visual & Performing Arts Department.
Both the AFA (Associate of Fine Arts) and the AA (Associate of Arts) are designed as transfer degree programs, while the AAS (Associate of Applied Sciences) is designed as a career and technical education degree program. The AFA degrees are considered pre-professional and are the first two years of BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts) programs that are professional degrees. The AA are liberal arts degree programs that offer a broad base of general education courses, such as humanities, behavioral and social sciences, and natural sciences, with a concentration such as art. The AA in Art is the first two years of a BA (Bachelor of Arts) in Art, and transfers to four-year universities such as UMD (University of Maryland). The AFA and AA in Art programs share the first 30 credits, which allow for students to change their major without losing credits, time and money - as long as a student follows the recommended sequence of courses. The AAS degree programs are intended for students who plan on joining the workforce upon completion of the program. However, some students have been successful in transferring credits to a four-year institution, based on their portfolio. Students are encouraged to discuss their academic, transfer and career goals with a Program Advisor.
A counselor assists students in onboarding and orienting new students to the first semester at Montgomery College. A counselor is also helpful in identifying student placement in foundational Math and English courses. Program advisors are the experts in the academic and career field of the student’s chosen field. They assist the student with academic, transfer and career goals. It is advisable for a student to seek a program advisor by completion of twelve credits.
This is an agreement between two institutions to transfer all credits from one degree program to another (ex. MC Studio Arts AFA to MICA BFA). Primarily, this allows for students to complete their first two years at Montgomery College with an associate’s degree and complete their last two years at the four-year institution for their bachelor’s degree. Such agreements may require students to follow a particular pathway defined in the articulation agreement. Students are encouraged to consult a Program Advisor for further information.

Transfer Agreements and Information by Major/Area of Study
Career prospects are vast for those with an art and design degree. Upon completion of their studies, students become practicing artists, art educators, art historians or curators, gallery owners, graphic designers, industrial designers, fashion designers, toy designers, animators, illustrators, museum perpetrators, and exhibit and set designers, to name a few. Students are encouraged to speak with a program advisor on career options relative to their interests and proclivities. 
Knowing the intended transfer institution is very beneficial for students. It is important to meet with a Program Advisor to find out if there is a formal or informal transfer agreement with that institution. It is also beneficial to contact the transfer admissions office of the institution and share the list of courses required for the associate degree with them. They will be able to advise in advance how well the credits will transfer to their institution, and any specific elective courses that they prefer a student completes.
The two top transfer institutions for visual art and graphic design majors are UMD College Park and MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art). The third runner-up is Towson University. While UMBC is the top transfer institution for our animation majors. Most Interior Design students transfer to Marymount University, with both GWU (George Washington University) and Morgan State University being the runner-up transfer schools. Many of our students transfer to four-year institutions locally and around the country. Instate tuition is afforded students attending Maryland state universities. Attending a state university at another state results in out-of-state tuition, which can be more than three-times the cost of in-state. Art schools, such as MICA, are the same cost regardless of state residency.