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Bachelor’s Degree Program in Visual Communications Overview

Majors Overview April 19, 2015

Get information about bachelor’s degree programs in visual communications and their coursework, career choices, job and wage outlook, and continuing education choices.

Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Visual Communications

Those who aspire to become photographers, animation artists, or graphic designers in the publishing, digital media, and advertising industries, among other fields, would benefit by earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) in Visual Communications.

Students acquire skills in the conceptualization, design, and implementation of visual messages for both electronic and print media. Apart from a GED certificate or a high school diploma, schools may insist on the submission of a portfolio or completion of a freshman art foundation before allowing students to begin core coursework. Graduates may need to complete a comprehensive senior project, such as field experience, an exhibition, or a final project, before they are awarded the degree.


The visual communications curriculum gives students opportunities to draw, take pictures, create digital images, work with type, and design Web pages. Studio classes offer the same kind of equipment used in the industry, and instructors provide training in current design software. Introductory courses in art history and art may be augmented with core coursework in topic areas such as:

•Digital media
•Graphic design
•History of visual communication

Career Choices

Those who complete the program can seek jobs in the game industry, television, film, publishing, graphic design, digital media, or advertising industries.

Armed with a professional-level portfolio, they may also pursue freelance assignments. The National Association of Schools of Art & Design accredits the B.F.A. program, thereby enhancing the career prospects of holders of a degree in the communications industry. They may seek popular job titles such as:

•Multimedia animator
•Graphic designer
•Website designer
•Publication designer

Job and Wage Outlook

In May 2012, around 259,500 individuals were employed as graphic designers in the United States. Over the 2012 – 2022 decade, these professionals are expected to see slower-than-average job growth rate of seven percent (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). The growth is expected to be predominantly in computer systems design and related services fields (BLS). In 2012, graphic designers brought in an average annual wage of $44,150 (BLS).

Continuing Education Choices

Students who complete a B.F.A. in Visual Communications can, apart from being trained in state-of-the-art graphics software, opt for continuing education by earning a Master of Science (M.S.) in Communications, a Master of Arts (M.A.) in Communications, or an M.A. in Applied Communications.

These programs provide students with in-depth information in teaching, research, and theory apart from practical training via internships or class projects. Graduate students can also choose to participate in thesis-inclusive programs.

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