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Certificate Programs

Certificate Programs

Otis College Extension certificate programs are designed for individuals developing a new career, making career changes, or seeking to enhance exist­ing art or design skills. Programs provide intensive, practical training in a variety of art and design dis­ciplines, combining the study of aesthetic principles with the acquisition of practical skills. Courses are designed to help students develop professional-qual­ity portfolios in their chosen design fields.


Open to all adults, 18 and over, who fulfill prerequisites. (Art Education Certificate Program requires that participants already hold a BA, BFA, MA, or MFA in Fine Art/Design.

Academic Counseling/Portfolio Reviews

Students interested in enrolling in a Certificate Program should contact Otis College Extension to review certificate requirements with a counselor. Certificate students are encouraged to meet with a counselor two times during their course of study:

  • Once they have completed an application to a Certificate Program and
  • The semester prior to completing their certificate

Students should contact Otis College Extension to set up an appointment. For further information, please email or call (310) 65-6850.

Certificate Program Application and Fee

Students entering Otis College Extension Certificate Programs are required to complete a Certificate Program Enrollment Application and pay a one-time $185 application fee. Students should submit a Certificate Program Enrollment Application and pay the Certificate Application Fee prior to enrolling in their third course. Application fees are non-refundable and non-transferable. Only those who have enrolled in a Certificate Program are eligible to receive a final certificate.

Enrollment Status

College Credit (UG): transferrable unit credit. Beginning Spring 2019, certificate-seeking students must take courses at the College Credit (UG) level. Graded on a letter grade system. (“C” grade or better is required for certificate credit.)

Financial Aid

Private student loans are available through Wells Fargo and Sallie Mae to credit worthy students. These private loans are only available to students who are enrolled in a certificate program and will only be certified to cover the cost of tuition and fees for each semester at a time. Please contact the Otis One-Stop at or (310) 665-6999 for further information.

Prerequisite Courses

Prerequisites must be satisfied through previous course work, portfolio, or experience. Portfolios are requested for admission to some courses.

Students preparing to enter a new career without previous art or design experience should complete the recommended prerequisite courses before (or concurrent with) enrollment in a particular sequence. Demonstration of equivalent experience is accepted as meeting prerequisite and beginning required courses.

Portfolio reviews are available by appointment. Please call Otis College Extension at (310) 665-6850 for further information.

Prerequisite Courses: Lighting Design, Product Design, and Textile/Surface Design

Students must take Prerequisite Courses prior to beginning the Core Courses, or have equilalent knowledge. If a Lighting Design, Product Design, or Textile/Surface prerequisite is waived, you will not need to replace this preliminary course with an elective.           

Foundation Courses

Foundation courses are prescribed by the College and are more general in nature. Courses focus on developing your fundamental art and design vocabulary and hand skills. Students must replace any waived Foundation Courses with an elective, to ensure that the prescribed number of courses have been satisfied at the College.

Core Courses

Core Courses are prescribed by the College and specific to your area of concentration. These courses emphasize skill-building, technical know-how, and conceptual development.

Elective Courses

Elective Courses are chosen by the student and must be related to your area of concentration. Courses should be selected to autment your conceptual, technical, or professional skill set.


Certificate students are graded on a letter grade system (A-F), and a permanent record is kept on file in the Office of Registration and Records.

Waiving Courses

Course requirements may be satisfied through previous course work at another institution, a portfolio, or demonstrable professional experience. Students must meet with a counselor in advance to waive course requirements. If transferring course credit from another institution, students must submit official transcripts and have received a grade of "C" or better. In the event that a course is waived, it must be replaced by an elective to ensure that the prescribed number of courses have been satisfied at the College.

Certificate Credit for Completed Otis College Extension Courses

Students may apply credit from prior Extension courses under the following conditions:

  1. Courses were taken at Certificate Credit (prior to Spring 2019) or College Credit status. Non-credit is unacceptable.
  2. Courses were completed with a grade of “C” or better.
  3. Courses were relevant to a specific curriculum requirement in the program.
Professional Experience

Appropriate professional experience in the discipline may be substituted for a core course or courses; documentation supporting this experience or a portfolio of work should be submitted to Otis College Extension prior to beginning the certificate program. The student must fulfill the required number of units to complete a certificate and select courses from the remaining core classes and electives to replace the substituted course.


All required courses and electives must have been taken at Certificate (XT) status (prior to Spring 2019) or Credit (UG) status and have received a grade of “C” or better.

The Certificate Program must be completed within four years of submitting your application and fee. Upon completion of all courses, the student must complete the Petition for Certificate Completion to receive their certificate. Otis College Extension verifies that all requirements have been met and then issues the certificate. Certificates are issued approximately twice per year, in June and December. (Deadline for December 15 is June 15; deadline for June 15 is December 15.)


Certificate Program Enrollment Application

Petition for Certificate Completion