Communication Design (AAS)

  • Communication design has never been more relevant than it is now. If you want to become a creative professional guiding the visual design, graphic design, or interaction design industry, Parsons’ AAS Communication Design program (formerly called AAS Graphic Design) offers you a community in which to develop the conceptual foundation and skills you need. Leading the AAS program are accomplished designers whose professional experience and networks help you enter and thrive in this growing industry.

    This program is part of Parsons’ School of Art, Media, and Technology (AMT).

    Read More About the ProgramRead Less

    Broad, Deep, and Rigorous Education

    This program explores communication design in relation to society and culture, with a focus on transdisciplinary approaches. This rigorous and intensive program builds on your life experience and academic capacities, giving you a solid foundation in typography and interaction. You then progress to advanced topics including editorial design, branding, digital product design, and advertising design. You learn to design for print and digital media, exploring user experience design, publication design, motion design, and printmaking. As a New School student, you also have the opportunity to take electives across the university in related fields: psychology, philosophy, and fashion design, to name a few.

    Award-Winning Students and Alumni

    AAS student designers deepen their professional abilities, master collaborative processes, and add published work to their portfolios through assignments that mirror real-world communication design challenges. Faculty help you submit work for professional competitions that open doors in the industry. Notable AAS alumni include Alex Chung, founder of Giphy; Jennica Bocchino, art director for the New York Times’ T Brand Studio; and Sanchi Oberoi, winner of the 2018 American Graphic Design Award, presented by GD USA magazine.

    Dynamic Curriculum

    The AAS Communication Design curriculum combines historical foundations of the discipline with conceptual approaches and analytical methods for addressing design challenges. The first semester is an intensive survey of the basics, covering core concepts of typography and interaction design. You acquire a critical understanding of typography as a reflection of content and context and learn to use type, imagery, and visual forms to communicate strategically and effectively. You also develop your ability to evaluate the implications of your aesthetic decisions. In coursework focused on interaction design, you investigate the structure and behavior of interactive systems. This study enables you to design products and services that meet human needs — from computers and mobile devices to appliances and beyond. You then apply these foundational skills to cross-media explorations in diverse advanced electives.

    Flexible Study Options

    Students from a variety of backgrounds enroll in the AAS Communication Design program, studying full-time or part-time at our Greenwich Village campus. The program is designed to be completed in four semesters of full-time study, but students who bring transfer credits may complete the program faster. Most students finish the program in about three semesters. The program schedule allows you to undertake internships, in which you apply your learning and engage with industry professionals as you prepare to join the creative workforce.

  • Curriculum

    Communication Design (AAS) Program

    The Associate in Applied Science degree is awarded for completion of 60 credits of coursework. Students may transfer undergraduate credits from other programs or institutions. For more information, please contact the Admission Office. Students must maintain a 2.0 cumulative grade point average and fulfill all program requirements in a timely manner.

    This curriculum applies to students who enter Parsons' AAS Communication Design program in fall 2019 and after. To view degree requirements for the AAS Graphic Design program from prior years, visit the spring 2019 curriculum page or the Academic Catalogs archive.

    Semester 1

    PACD 1010 Design History and Practice 3
    PACD 1100 Core 1: Typography  3
    PACD 1110 Core 1: Interaction  3
    PLEN 1020 Critical Reading and Writing 1  3
    Program elective

    Semester 2

    PACD 1200 Core 2: Typography and Interaction  3
    PLEN 1021 Critical Reading and Writing 2  3
    Program electives
    Liberal arts elective

    Semester 3

    PACD 1500 Professional Practices and Portfolio 3
    Program elective or internship
    Program elective
    Liberal arts electives

    Semester 4

    PACD 2100 Core 3: Capstone   3
    Program electives
    Liberal arts electives
    Total Credits 60

    Communication Design (AAS) Program with Liberal Arts Transfer Credits

    Semester 1

    PACD 1100 Core 1: Typography   3
    PACD 1110 Core 1: Interaction   3
    PACD 1010 Design History and Practice   3
    Program electives*

    Semester 2

    PACD 1200 Core 2: Typography and Interaction   3
    PACD 1500 Professional Practices and Portfolio   3
    Program electives*

    Semester 3

    PACD 2100 Core 3: Capstone   3
    Program electives*
    Program elective or internship
    Transfer Credits 21
    Total Credits 60


    Program Contact

    Part-Time Faculty

    Degree Program Options

    Associate’s Degree (AAS) in Communication Design
    2 years, 60 credits
    Can be completed full-time or part-time
    A professionally oriented course of study that provides essential foundation training and skills development, enabling students to build a competitive portfolio and launch a new career in their chosen industry. Best suited to students who have previous college experience in an unrelated field and want to change careers.

    Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Communication Design
    4 years, 120 credits
    Full-time undergraduate major (also offered as a minor
    A holistic degree program that immerses students in challenging studio courses, art history and critical theory, as well as the wider world of liberal arts. The course of study culminates in a thesis and qualifies alumni for further graduate study. Best suited to first-time college students.
    Explore the BFA degree option

    Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Communication Design
    1 year, 30 credits
    Full-time graduate program
    A professionally oriented program that trains students in highly advanced, specialized design methods and technical skills, enabling students to advance their existing design practice. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in a related design field and/or work experience in graphic design and visual communications.
    Explore the MPS degree option

    Admission Requirements

    Applicant Profile

    The Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree program is most suitable for mature students with some college experience who are clear about their interests in the field of design and prepared for rapid immersion in a professional course of study. The typical student has a bachelor's or an advanced degree and work experience in a field other than design. Admission to the program is based on the prospective student’s maturity, desire to pursue further education, previous accomplishments, and potential for growth. Applicants must have graduated from high school at least two years before to be eligible to apply.

    Application and Financial Aid Deadlines

    Priority Application Deadlines:

    • Fall Term Applicants: April 1
    • Spring Term Applicants: October 15

    We will continue to review applications submitted after the priority deadlines have passed if space is available in the program.

    Financial Aid Deadlines

    • Merit Scholarships:
      All admitted students are considered for merit scholarship awards on the basis of the strength of their applications. International students are eligible only for merit scholarships.
    • Federal Student Aid:
      If you are a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen, we encourage you to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which can be found at The FAFSA is available each year on October 1. The New School’s federal school code is 002780. Students must be enrolled in at least 6 credits per semester to qualify for financial aid. You do not need to wait for an admission decision to apply for federal aid. Submit your FAFSA by our FAFSA priority deadlines, below.

      Fall: February 1
      Spring: November 1

    Application Instructions

    All applicants are required to apply online. Save your work frequently and print a copy for your records. You must complete all required fields and uploads prior to submission.

    Any additional supporting documents that need to be sent by mail must include an Application Materials Cover Sheet. All supporting materials must be received before your application can be reviewed.

    See below for additional information regarding submission of transcripts and recommendations.

    Required Application Materials

    1. Application Form: Complete the online application. All applicants are required to apply online.
    2. Application Fee: The application fee is $50 for all applicants. The fee is paid through the online application and is non-refundable.
    3. Official Transcripts:
      First-Year Applicants: First-year applicants must provide an official high school and/or college transcript. If you are currently in school, submit transcripts for all courses taken to date. Applicants who have attended multiple high schools can submit only the graduating school’s official transcript as long as all prior coursework is listed on that transcript.

      Transfer Applicants: Transfer applicants must submit an official high school/secondary school transcript with graduation date or a General Education Diploma (GED). Official transcripts are also required for each college or university you have previously attended.

      Homeschool Applicants: Homeschool applicants must provide the equivalent of a high school transcript with course or subject titles, duration of study for each title, content of study for each title, and an assessment of performance or “grade” at the time of application. Preferably, the courses completed at home are part of a curriculum developed and evaluated by a nationally recognized diploma-granting organization or agency. Review the Additional Information for Homeschool Applicants section below for more information.

      Applicants with High School Equivalency Tests: Send official GED, TASC, and HiSET test score results via the testing agency. Upon review, applicants may be required to submit additional application materials.

      Submitting Transcripts by Mail: Applicants should make arrangements to have their school or college send transcripts directly to The New School at the mailing address for Supplemental Materials. All transcripts must be received in a sealed envelope with a school official’s signature, stamp, or seal. All documents not written in English must be accompanied by a certified English language translation.

      Submitting Electronic Transcripts (U.S./Domestic Institutions only): The New School accepts electronic transcripts only from our approved vendors:
      • National Student Clearinghouse
      • Naviance
      • Parchment Exchange
      • SCOIR
      • SCRIP-SAFE International
      We do not accept electronic transcripts sent directly by a student or school offices. All international academic credentials must be submitted as indicated in the International Academic Credentials sections below.

      International Academic Credentials: All transcripts not written in English must be accompanied by a certified English translation.

      International Academic Credentials with Transfer Credits: Applicants who attended postsecondary institutions outside of the United States are required to have their transcript(s) evaluated by World Education Services (WES), Education Credential Evaluators (ECE), or another member of the National Association of Credit Evaluation Services (NACES). A course-by-course evaluation must be prepared for each transcript.

      Follow all document requirements outlined on the evaluation service providers’ websites. Evaluations completed by WES or ECE will be sent directly to us electronically by the vendor.

      All other NACES provider evaluations should be mailed directly by the vendor to the address for Supplemental Materials. A copy of the transcript that was evaluated should accompany the evaluation in the same sealed envelope, or the official transcript should be sent directly to The New School by the issuing college or university.
    4. Statement of Intent: Please upload a one-page Statement of Intent, describing your reasons for applying to this program and how you will contribute to your chosen field of study. You should include a thoughtful description of your background and your professional goals and an explanation of how this AAS program will help you realize those goals. If you would like to provide a brief explanation to address your prior academic performance or discrepancies in your academic transcript, please feel free to do so.
    5. Creative Assignment: Please upload your creative assignment with your online application. Save and upload your assignment as a JPEG, PDF, or Word document no larger than 2MB. Additionally, applicants may provide a URL to a website where their creative assignment can be viewed.
      • Communication Design: Select an everyday object. Think about how our backgrounds affect the way we look at it. For example, an engineer might want to dismantle it; a scientist might put it under water to see what would happen; a child might use it to stamp a pattern. Pick three ways of reading or using the object — ranging from scientific to experimental — and document them.
      • Fashion Design: Create a collage that defines the lifestyle of the kind of woman or man for whom you would like to design. Use images taken from magazines, and pay attention to color, textures, and other basic elements.
      • Fashion Marketing and Communication: Write a one-page analysis of a fashion marketing campaign you feel has been successful. (500-550-word limit)
      • Interior Design: Present a collage of images illustrating your ideas for the design of a small advertising agency office in an urban townhouse. Your collage should include details (descriptions, images, or both) of the kinds of furniture, the colors, and the materials you would use to execute your ideas.
    6. Test Scores:

      TOEFL, IELTS, PTE, and Duolingo: All applicants whose first language is not English must submit valid TOEFL, IELTS, PTE, or Duolingo scores. The minimum score required for TOEFL (IB) is 79, for IELTS is 6.5, for PTE is 53, and for Duolingo is 100. Our TOEFL institution code is 2638.

      The New School does not require TOEFL, IELTS, PTE, or Duolingo scores for applicants who have:

      • Attended a secondary school for a minimum of three years where English is the primary language of instruction. However, students who have taken any English as a Second Language (ESL) courses while in high school, regardless of how long they have been in high school, must submit TOEFL, IELTS, PTE, or Duolingo results.
      • Successfully completed two full semesters of non-ESL college-level expository writing
      • Earned a four-year degree from a U.S. college or university or from a university where English is the primary language of instruction (minimum of three years' attendance)

      After reviewing your application, the Office of Admission may require you to submit an English Language Proficiency test score to evaluate your candidacy. We accept scores for tests taken within the past two years. If your scores are older, you must retake the test.

      Applicants also have the option of enrolling in The New School's English as a Second Language (ESL) program. Students must pass Level 5 in order to waive the TOEFL/IELTS/PTE requirement. Visit the ESL website for more information.
    7. Résumé: A brief résumé (CV) listing education, work experience, travel, etc., including dates and positions held, must be submitted online.

    Additional Information and Instructions

    1. Applying to More Than One Program: In any given term, a student may apply to only one department or program within The New School. Applicants who file more than one application in a given semester will be required to withdraw one of the applications, and application fees will not be refunded.
    2. Application Materials: All materials and documents submitted in association with the New School application become the property of The New School and cannot be returned to you or transmitted to a third party.
    3. Application Status: Applications become complete and ready for review once all required items have been received by the Office of Admission. You can check your application status online at the Admission Hub.

      Allow at least 14 days from the date you submitted your application for items to be matched and shown as received on the Hub. Applicants are responsible for following up with schools and recommenders to confirm that items have been sent.

      The Office of Admission will periodically notify applicants by email if their file is missing any documents and again when their file is complete for review. These notifications are sent to the email address provided in the online application.
    4. Interviews: Interviews are not required. Applicants with questions about Parsons or the admission process are encouraged to attend an information session. Please review the Admission Calendar for dates and times.
    5. International University Preparatory Curriculum: The New School welcomes applications from students from all over the world. In order to be competitive for admission, applicants must pursue their country’s university preparatory curriculum. For example:
      • For applicants from an educational system that follows the UK model, we require either completed or predicted A levels from three subjects at the time of application.
      • For applicants from an educational system that follows the Indian curriculum, we require completed or predicted Standard XII (HSC) results at the time of application.
      Students with questions about their curriculum as it relates to admission may email
    6. Homeschool Applicants: We welcome applications from homeschool students. We do not require advanced preparation in every academic area, but applicants should demonstrate substantial work in English, history, social studies, foreign language, mathematics, and science. Review the Official Transcripts information above for transcript requirements. Upon completion of the homeschool curriculum, students must provide proof of high school graduation or an equivalent. We accept official transcripts from a state homeschool association or sponsoring public high school; GED, TASC, or HiSET exam results; individual homeschool transcripts with date of completion; and certificates of completion recognized by local homeschool associations. Upon review, applicants may be required to submit additional application materials.
    7. Readmission: The Application for Readmission should be completed by students who wish to return after an absence of four semesters (fall and spring). If you would like to apply for readmission, review the readmission deadlines and requirements in the Readmission section of our How to Apply information. If you would like to transfer 24 or more semester-based credits, you should apply for admission as a transfer student according to the instructions above.
    8. Mailing Address for Supplemental Materials:
      Parsons School of Design
      Office of Admission (PS 200)
      79 Fifth Avenue, 5th floor
      New York, NY 10003

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