Web Design Curriculum

The online Master of Arts in Mass Communication with a specialization in Web Design and Online Communication includes 37 credit hours: 34 hours of coursework and electives, plus three final credits in the capstone course. The program curriculum is guided by an advisory council of top industry professionals, and all courses are taught by leading faculty of the University of Florida.

For those not pursuing a master’s degree, there is an option to earn a graduate certificate. For more information on the graduate certificate, click here.

Unique Learning Experience

  • Students generally take 2 classes per semester.
  • The fall and spring semesters are 16 weeks and the summer semester is 13 weeks. All courses follow the traditional UF Academic Calendar.
  • Full-time students can complete the curriculum in 18 months.
  • Classes are live and meet during specific times during the week.
  • Live classes allow for interaction and engagement.
  • Click here to view the Course Sequence.
  • Watch a video demonstrating how live classes work. We recently switched to Zoom from Adobe Connect to allow for audio transcriptions and closed captioning.


Web Design Principles (4 credits)
This class is both asynchronous and live. Live meetings are determined each semester by the instructor.

By the end of this course, students will be comfortable creating, coding and posting basic HTML and CSS files to the Internet. Equipped with a historical understanding of the Web’s evolution and key industry-standard design guidelines to ensure strong online presentation, students will have a foundational knowledge of website creation, and will apply it to the planning, design, and development of your own Web page over the course of the semester. Critical thinking will be encouraged through class interactions, projects, and online postings.

Digital Imagery in Web Design (4 credits)
Tuesdays, 7-10 p.m. Eastern time

This course familiarizes students with the development and impact of imagery in interactive media. Students will learn how visual ‘language’ is the basis for developing contextual symbolic meanings that are shared throughout a culture. Semiotics, information design and persuasive communication will be explored in this course. Students will develop communicative images using their knowledge gained through lectures, discussions and Adobe Photoshop training.

Corporate and Brand Identity on the Web (3 credits)
Wednesdays, 6:30 – 9:30 p.m. Eastern time

This course synthesizes two different but complementary tools of communication: graphic design and assembly (both print and electronic). Students will learn the fundamental design principles and techniques for effective visual communication. These principles and techniques are applied, through projects, to achieve a communication objective across different platforms. Students can expect a practical, hands-on experience. A key tool for creating your digital work in this course is Adobe Illustrator. Illustrator is an effective tool for creating original artwork, and for designing logos, banners, icons and navigational elements for online and print. The artwork can then easily be exported to the Web or imported into other programs.

Digital Media Layout and Design (3 credits)
Mondays, 6:30 – 9:30 p.m. Eastern time

This course introduces students to the skills and concepts that will help create documents for both print and interactivity. Using Adobe InDesign, students will apply their understanding of color, type, layout, and design to create a portfolio project. While InDesign permits several possible workflows, this course will focus on those that most readily translate into digital design.

Advanced Web Topics 1: Programming and Specialized Topics (4 credits)
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 7 – 9 p.m.

Students continue their use of HTML5 including video and form processing, along with CSS3 animation, advanced coding techniques and best practices for web design and development. Mobile first, responsive web design is also covered. In the second half of the class, students are introduced to JavaScript and get hands-on experience getting comfortable with JavaScript primitive and complex types, using variables, writing functions and using constructs like loops and conditional statements. Basic project management tools and reinforcement of the design and coding processes including code validation, wireframes, mockups and debugging techniques round out this robust course.

Research Methods in Digital Communications (3 credits)
Wednesdays, 6 – 9 p.m. Eastern time

This course is designed to make students think strategically about how, why and with whom they interact via digital media. By the end of the course, students should have a fundamental understanding of research tools that will help them plan for and evaluate the effectiveness of online communication methods, including a multitude of social media and web tools. Students will understand search engine optimization (SEO) and the consequences – costs and benefits – of local and global messaging and interactivity.

Mass Communication Theory (3 credits)
This class is asynchronous.

The purpose of this course is to explore the theoretical foundations of new media communication. The course traces the development of communication theories and looks at how they apply to new media. In this course, students will: develop an understanding of theories that explain the world of mass media and users of the media, become familiar with theories that explain digital media communications, critically evaluate theories as applied to digital media communication problems, and develop a detailed understanding of a particular theoretical approach.

Advanced Web Topics 2: Advanced Design (4 credits)
Thursdays, 6:30-9:30 p.m. Easter time

This course concentrates on the importance of responsive design and how it has changed the way websites are designed to adapt to a wide variety of devices. Expanding from Advanced Web Topics 1, students will learn more advanced JavaScript, jQuery, SEO and content management systems such as WordPress.

Advanced Web 3: Web Interactivity and Engagement (3 credits)
This class is both asynchronous and live. Live meetings are determined each semester by the instructor.

The purpose of this course is to provide students with an understanding of the most practical tool of a web manager, the content management system (CMS). Using WordPress, students will gain an understanding of CMSs and how they are valuable tools for saving time and handling large amounts of data. Students will also learn more about server scripting using PHP and database integration with MySQL.

Strategic Communication: Ethics and Concepts (3 credits)
Tuesdays, 7 – 8:30 p.m. Eastern time

This course introduces students to the discipline of strategic communications and the ethical issues that can arise from its practice. Students are given a background in important concepts in strategic communication, including branding, target audiences, technologies of strategic communication, the history and evolution of strategic communication, and other topics. Armed with this knowledge, students are introduced to the schools of ethical thought, and apply these to real-world strategic communications contexts.

Professional Internship (3 credits)
This class is asynchronous.

Completing an internship is one of the most marketable experiences you can have on your resume and it allows you to stand out during the job search. This course will provide you with the opportunity to complete projects related to your career goals under the supervision of an experienced practitioner in the field. By the end of the internship, you will have first-hand knowledge of trends in the field, the skills necessary to be employable after graduation and the importance of networking.

*This class can be taken in conjunction with the capstone for financial aid credit requirements. There are prerequisites for this course. The internship must be approved by the professor and the program director.

For more information, see our webpage

Freelance and Professional Development (1 credit)
This class is asynchronous.

This course will connect students’ education in the program and their work experiences to their post-graduation goals, whether that is obtaining a new job, earning a promotion and/or freelancing. The goal is for students to focus on professional development topics so they feel confident marketing their skills after graduation and have concrete materials that will make them stand out to employers and/or clients.

By the end of the class, students should be aware of job search trends, the targeted documents necessary to be employable after graduation and the importance of networking. Students will also learn job-search skills specific to the online communications field such as writing resumes and cover letters, interviewing, networking and negotiating a salary.

If students branch out to freelance, they need to consider the vision for their business, specialties, services, and materials that are needed to interact with clients. Additionally, students need to understand the time it takes to complete projects and the appropriate fee to charge. Students will learn that this requires putting together documents like bids and contracts, and also researching industry standards. Beyond that, students will learn how to use their network and reputations to acquire new clients, set themselves up as industry experts, and develop additional revenue sources.

Students will need to speak to their academic advisor for registration.

Capstone (3 credits)
Mondays, 7 p.m. – 10 p.m. Eastern time

The course is designed to incorporate acquired design and communication skills into a real-world website and communications pitch to a client. The capstone project will incorporate skills such as branding, layouts, strategic communication, research methods, coding and web design. Students will develop a comprehensive communication campaign based on research and client needs. The completed campaign will be presented to the client at the end of the course. All students compete in teams and the client will determine an overall team winner who best captured the client’s vision.

Graduate Certificate

Students in the graduate certificate track complete only the first four courses listed above. Enrolling in the graduate certificate is a popular option for some students, as the application process does not require taking the GRE. Then, while taking these courses, a student can also prepare for and take the GRE. Upon successful completion, students can transfer into the master’s degree track. Learn more about the graduate certificate.

Quick Facts

37 credit hours for a master's degree
14 credit hours for a graduate certificate
100% online via
recorded lectures & live online class meetings
Fall Semester starts in August
Spring Semester starts in January
Summer Semester starts in May

Courses follow the UF Academic Calendar

Download Info Packet


Application Deadlines

Fall Semester
July 1

Spring Semester
November 1

Summer Semester
April 1



Do you want more information? Contact Us!