Visual Communication degree programs are often misunderstood. What exactly is visual communication, anyway?
Is it graphic design? Yes!
Is it photography? Yes!
Is it audiovisual studies? Absolutely!
What about digital media? Yes, it’s that too!
Wait, I thought it had to do with communication? It does!
The reason visual communications degrees can be confusing is because visual communication is a broad field that encompasses the various ways people share information and how an audience receives that information. A degree in visual communication can lead you to exciting career paths such as photojournalists, graphic designers, or photographers, and so much more.
Check out our 25 best bachelor’s in visual communications degrees and start your journey into this vibrant career.
What is a Bachelor’s in Visual Communication?
A bachelor’s in visual communication, often called a VisCom degree, is an extensive blend of areas like graphic design, photography, journalism, and digital media. Undergraduate degrees in visual communication may be a bachelor of arts or science, but most commonly, bachelor of fine arts. Some visual communication programs focus on creating images that communicate effectively. Others focus more on how visual media affects an audience and culture.
Visual communication majors will take courses like the history and theory of communication but also hands-on studio courses such as:
- Web Design
- Digital Photography
Some of the top visual communications degree programs allow students to specialize in areas such as commercial art, audiovisual, or photojournalism. Most bachelor’s in visual communication degrees are at least 120 credit hours and divided into general education courses, major courses, and electives. Internships and capstone portfolio projects are typically requirements for a VisCom degree.
While requirements for admission into VisCom programs vary, most require at least a handful of prerequisites with a 2.5 minimum GPA. Some require portfolio reviews, and more competitive schools may require a higher GPA, acceptable test scores, and an extensive portfolio review process.
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Careers for Visual Communication Majors
Visual communication majors can pursue a variety of career paths that involve critical thinking, creativity, and of course, great communicative skills. Basically, you have an array of options as a visual communication design major, depending on your interests. Check out the following list of career options for Viscom majors:
- Art/creative director
- Communication manager
- Publication designer
- Website designer
- Graphic designer
- Multimedia animator
- Design education
The most common careers that stem from a visual communication degree are graphic designers, photographers, and website designers. However, the visual design field is massive.
Basically, if the career involves design and communication, it’s fair game for a visual communication major. Many top visual communication design colleges offer specializations—so if you’re looking to study a specific facet of this industry, look for schools that offer concentrations that align with your interests.
Likewise, some students use the visual design major as a pathway to graduate school. A master’s in visual design leads to careers in academia, such as teaching or research.
Bachelor’s in Visual Communication Salary Potential
Because the field of visual communication is so vast, salary potentials range depending on the job, location, and of course, credentials. The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides some median salaries for those in the visual communication design field, so let’s take a look.
Graphic designers, one of the most common careers in the VisCom industry, earn an average of $53,380 per year. The highest earners bring in more than $93,440, while the lowest earners make less than $31,720 annually.
Web designers are in high demand. BLS reports that jobs in web design and web development are increasing at a rate of 13%. Web designers earn around $77,200 annually. Likewise, special effects artists and animators bring in approximately $77,700 each year, and the need for professionals in this field is also increasing at a rate of 16%.
Photographers earn around $41,280 per year, at a rate of $19.85 per hour. With a bachelor’s degree in visual communication, photographers can expect to earn a higher salary of at least $24.46 per hour.
What are the Best Bachelor’s in Visual Communications Degrees?
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Iowa State University
Iowa State University, known as the nation’s “most student-centered university,” is bustling with excitement from the Big 12 Conference to the study abroad opportunities. At Iowa State, you will find ten schools and colleges, 100 majors to choose from, and 800+ student organizations. Our top-ranking degree, Iowa State’s Bachelor of Fine Arts in graphic design, is one you won’t want to miss.
The BFA in graphic design is 123.5 credit hours that includes a 30-credit core design curriculum followed by three years of graphic design courses like the following:
- Typography I and II
- Digital Photography for Graphic Design
- Graphic Design History/Theory/Criticism
- Graphic Material and Processes
Graphic design majors will also complete both an internship seminar and a capstone project.
Through Iowa State’s BFA program, you will gain skills in creative problem solving, visual communications, and interaction design. You also have study abroad opportunities—including a semester in Rome or a design tour in Europe. Iowa State reports that 100% of its graduates are employed or continuing their graduation within six months of graduation.
University of California-Berkeley
Founded in 1868, the University of California—Berkeley holds the #1 ranking of Top Public Universities by the U.S. News & World Report. UC Berkeley offers more than 350 degree programs, including a Bachelor of Arts in media studies. While this academic program integrates liberal arts, social studies, and humanities, it also explores the media’s role in economic, political, social, and cultural life.
Within the BA in media studies, you can choose among three concentrations:
- Digital studies
- Global cultural studies
- Media law and policy
Through core classes, you will study media history and theory and examine media’s role in the political world. This program includes deep critical analysis from electronic and print media to the impact of public policy on media.
The major requirements for UC Berkeley’s BA in media studies are:
- Four prerequisite courses
- Four media studies core courses
- Three concentration courses
- Two courses additional electives
If you are interested in this interdisciplinary program, check out the application details here. Note that you need at least a 3.2 GPA in related coursework if you are a transfer student.
The Ohio State University
One of America’s largest academic institutions, The Ohio State University, is continuously ranked among the Top 20 by the U.S. News & World Report. The Ohio State University’s Department of Design was established in 1968, and more than 3,000 alumni have passed through! You will find a unique Bachelor of Science in Design (BSD) emphasizing visual communication design.
Ohio State’s top BSD in visual communication focuses on a range of digital tools and advanced computing technology to present complex data clearly. This program entails 47-50 credit hours of general education courses and 72 credit hours of major requirements. Expect to take design courses such as:
- Design Fundamentals
- Visualization Principles
- Design Research
- Collaborative Design
- Design History
All coursework culminates into a final capstone project, which is useful for future employers, too! Ohio State visual communication graduates begin careers in consulting offices, government design agencies, corporate design departments, and more. If you see yourself at Ohio State, check out application details here.
North Carolina State University
North Carolina State University is a leading public research university known as “the forefront of teaching and research in design.” NC State is about learning by doing, which is why more than 36,000 students call themselves part of the Wolfpack! NC State’s Bachelor of Science in technology, engineering, and design education with an emphasis on graphic communication is one of the best.
A unique aspect of the BS in technology, engineering, and design education is that it is well-rounded and emphasizes innovation and active learning. As a student, you will study technical graphics and design processes in order to effectively communicate ideas and solve problems. A 14:1 student-faculty ratio ensures that you will receive the personalized attention necessary to thrive.
You also have opportunities to get involved through student organizations like the Technology and Engineering Education Collegiate Association (TEECA). Interested in traveling abroad while earning credits? You may find yourself studying in China, Italy, Puerto Rico, Spain, or Mexico! NC State reports that its graphic communication graduates are in high demand and usually have jobs lined up before graduation.
University of Texas-Austin
Founded in 1883, the University of Texas at Austin has a lot to be proud of. U.S. News & World Report ranks UT Austin #14 among Top Public Schools, National Universities. UT Austin’s academic programs spread across 18 colleges and universities, including the notable School of Design and Creative Technologies, where our #5 ranking is housed.
Through SDCT, you will find both a B.F.A. and B.A. in design that are defined as “rich, multifaceted educational experiences” that prepare students for careers in design or entrepreneurial endeavors. Both options are equally engaging and will lead to solid career options. The BFA is a pre-professional, studio-based degree, while the BA focuses more on the liberal arts background.
Regardless of whether you choose the BFA or a B.A. in communication design, expect to take an array of exciting courses like:
- Design Studio
- Design History
- Design Research
- Images in Communication
- Design Theories and Methods
Your senior year will be spent working on a semester-long capstone project, and BFA students will showcase their work in the Visual Arts Center. If you see yourself at UT Austin, make sure to check out the admission details here.
University of North Texas
Known for its community of “dreamers and doers,” the University of North Texas is one of the nation’s largest and well-known universities! UNT’s College of Visual Arts and Design is highly ranked among the best and offers 29 degree programs. UNT’s best communication design degree creates creative thinkers and problem solvers and is worth checking out!
The top bachelor of communication design major comes with two tracks: graphic design and user-experience. The graphic design track focuses on image-making, color theory, and typography through visual communication. While the user experience track also emphasizes design, it focuses on meeting the wants and needs of potential users and audiences. Both tracks require a 2.75 GPA and a portfolio review.
UNT communication design graduates are armed with the following skills:
- Design principle implementation
- Critical thinking
- Design process facilitation
- Technology/software implementation
- Professional design communication
All of these skills are highly marketable, and UNT communication design graduates have no trouble finding jobs. UNT is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).
Northern Arizona University
Northern Arizona University is built on a “student-first” foundation, which is why the school is so successful in offering top academic programs like our #7 ranking. Among 95 undergraduate programs is a Bachelor of Fine Arts in visual communication with two emphasis areas: motion design and graphic design.
NAU’s BFA produces graduates who are skilled in using art, design, and technology to communicate visually. As an NAU student, you will study topics such as:
- Aesthetic and conceptual judgement
- Color and type
- Digital images
- Motion graphics
- Project management
NAU’s BFA curriculum is divided into art/design history, theory and criticism, studio, technology, and specialization classes.
NAU visual communication graduates are ready to pursue careers in all types of design fields such as:
- Advertising/graphic design
- Experience/interface design
- Interaction design
- Print production design
- Corporate media design
Admission to NAU’s visual communication program is stricter than admission to NAU. You need to complete 13 units of prerequisites and maintain a 2.5 GPA or higher. Additionally, there is a profile requirement.
University of South Carolina
With more than 200 years of history and tradition, the University of South Carolina boasts many recognitions, including the Nation’s Best first-year experience among public universities (U.S. News). Additionally, both Kiplinger and Forbes rank UofSC among Best Value in Public Colleges, so if you’re looking for an affordable Bachelor of Visual Communication, look no further.
UofSC’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication features a Bachelor of Arts in visual communication where you will learn how to tackle issues through skills in graphic design, web design, film, and photography. In addition to “Carolina Core” and college requirements, you will complete 60-73 credits of program and major courses. Expect courses such as:
- Media and Society
- Principles of Visual Communications
- Graphics for Visual Communications
- Design of Online Content
- Informational Graphics
A capstone portfolio project is also required. In addition, you can choose an optional concentration in sports media and society, which is 12 credit hours. UofSC visual communication graduates can work in any facet of design such as:
- Web design
- Marketing, and more!
University of California-Davis
The University of California-Davis is one of the most highly ranked universities in the world. Along with U.S. News & World Report rankings, The Wall Street Journal recognizes UC Davis as the 5th best public university in the country. Likewise, Washington Monthly ranks UC Davis second among Affordable Elite Colleges.
UC Davis’s design programs, housed in the Department of Design, are known for placing emphasis on “socially responsible, human-centered, and sustainable practices.” UC Davis offers a Bachelor of Arts in visual communication that focuses on context, content, and form and how they are related. While this program is an interdisciplinary degree that incorporates psychology, anthropology, and computer science, you will also study areas like:
- Print media
- Screen media
- Time-based media
- Three-dimensional media
- Intercultural communication
UC Davis’s BA in visual communications major offers loads of opportunities such as research projects, internships, and study abroad experiences. There are plenty of student resources, including facilities, programs, and student clubs listed here. If you are interested in checking out UC Davis’s low-cost bachelor of visual communication, check out the application details here.
Princeton Review ranks Auburn University #1 in the nation for “Colleges with the Happiest Students!” However, this isn’t all! Auburn is also ranked as a top research institution with a Carnegie R1 classification and among the “100 Best Values in Public College” by Kiplinger. Auburn’s Bachelor of Arts in media studies: visual media offers a comprehensive approach to film, TV, music, and digital media.
Through Auburn’s undergraduate program, you will complete a series of courses that focus on:
- Narrative/documentary films
- Branded video
- Audiences and fan cultures
The goal of Auburn’s program is to learn critical methods of media analysis. Along with coursework and collaborative projects, you will also complete a required internship during your final year.
Auburn visual media graduates hold a strong foundation for an array of jobs in digital media. Many go on to begin careers in filmmaking, motion design, television, and visual effects. Check out this video to learn more about Auburn’s digital media track.
Carnegie Mellon University
Carnegie Mellon University, a private global research university, is highly ranked in multiple areas, including #20 Private U.S. Universities by Times Higher Education. Among the oldest and most respected in the nation, Carnegie Mellon’s School of Design features a customizable Bachelor of Design (BDes) that is equivalent to a BFA.
The BDes offers its program as either an interdisciplinary program or with a focus on one of three specific tracks:
- Products (industrial design)
- Communications (graphic design)
- Environments (physical and digital design)
- During your first year, you will study all three design tracks, which should lead you into a single track focus that matches your interests and career goals.
During your final year, you will collaboratively design and present a capstone project that emphasizes service and/or social innovation. You will have ways to get involved through group projects and internships, and study abroad opportunities. Each year, the School of Design hosts the career event, Confluence, attended by 70+ top design companies. If you’re interested in Carnegie Mellon’s design program, check out the admission process here.
Among the best public research universities in the country, Purdue University consistently holds top rankings including #5 Most Innovative School in the U.S. by U.S. News & World Report. Additionally, Purdue reports that 59% of its students graduate with no debt! Purdue’s BFA in visual communication design major develops its students as “problem seekers and solvers” through effective communication through visual products.
As a Purdue visual communication design major, you will gain technical and conceptual skills in:
- Image generation
- Visual structure
- Color design/composition
- Web design
- Professional practice
You must pass a portfolio review during your second year in order to progress in the program. While your first few years are spent exploring design areas, your final two years will include mentoring, competitions, internships, and other skill development.
Purdue visual communication graduates are prepared to dive into careers in design offices, corporations, advertising agencies, and more. Specifically, you may find yourself in leadership positions such as:
- design director
Purdue admission details are here
New York City College of Technology
Here’s something that sets CUNY College of Technology (City Tech) apart: This top bachelor of communication design is the only NASAD accredited BFA of all CUNY Colleges. This degree program will provide a solid foundation in visual expression while developing your abilities to “frame, research, and solve increasingly complex visual communication problems.”
City Tech’s top bachelor of communication design’s 120 credit hours are divided into the following:
- General education/flexible common core: 21 credits
- Liberal arts/sciences: 42 credits
- Upper-level studio courses: 18 credits
- Upper-level strategy courses: nine credits
- Upper-level skills courses: 12 credits
While the majority of the degree focuses on the three categories of classes: studio, strategy, and skills, you will fill in the blanks with electives. You can also specialize in any of the following areas:
- Graphic design
- Motion design
- Web design
City Tech communication design graduates are qualified to become art directors, graphic designers, web designers, and illustrators, to name a few. Some are now employed by notable organizations like The New York Times, Google, and Ralph Lauren!
Washington University in St. Louis
Founded in 1853, Washington University in St. Louis is a private research school known for excellence in teaching, research, and service. WashU’s Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts offers 15 unique degree programs, including our #14 ranking—the Bachelor of Fine Arts in communication design.
WashU’s BFA in communication design major stands behind its purpose to “train designers and illustrators to cultivate intelligent, creative practices.” This program is fully customizable. You can either focus on illustration, narrative design, or interactive design, or a blend of all three. Approximately 65 credits are studio courses, and you will complete both a capstone project and an annual thesis exhibition.
This program is truly centered on students, which is why you can choose a second major in design or even a minor like one of the following:
- Creative practice for design
- Human-computer interaction
- Studio art
If you’re interested in applying to Sam Fox School of Design, you need a strong academic background and a creative portfolio. The portfolio should include 10-20 works and is required for all applicants.
Syracuse University, a private research university in New York, includes a community of 22,000 students from all over the globe. Syracuse consists of 13 schools and colleges and 200 majors, not including the online degree and certificate programs! Syracuse offers a BFA in communication design major with courses modeled on professional practice.
This BFA features so many exciting opportunities— from group portfolio shows in New York City to study abroad trips to London, England. The coursework is centered around areas such as:
- Graphic media
- Creative processes
- Design history
- Project management
Communication design majors waste no time jumping into group projects related to advertising, marketing, social media, and business practices.
Check out what a Syracuse communication design graduate says about her experience in the program here. Graduates have no trouble finding jobs. In fact, many work as designers and creative directors for the country’s most prestigious firms. If you’re interested in joining the Syracuse community, review the application details here.
Loyola University—Chicago is the city’s Jesuit, Catholic university with a host of recognitions, including a 99% Graduation Success Rate by the NCAA. Nearly 17,000 students are enrolled at LUC, and you may be one of them after you check out the Bachelor of Fine Arts in visual communication!
LUC’s BFA in visual communication prepares its students to enter career fields as design professionals. You will study graphic design history, theory, and put your skills into practice through studio courses. Along with general education credits, you will complete 45 credits of major visual communication courses like the following:
- Color Theory
- Two-Dimensional Design
- Modern Art
- Visual Communication
- Digital Media
During your final semester, you will complete an internship and a fine arts capstone project. LUC visual communication graduates have career opportunities like the following:
- Branding and corporate identity
- Web design
- Motion graphics
- Interface design
- Digital product design
If you’re ready to learn more about LUC and all it has to offer, check out this page to find a virtual tour and admission details.
Northwestern University is a top-ranking private research university in Illinois. Made up of three campuses and 12 schools and colleges, Northwestern offers a vast range of undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs. At Northwestern, you will find a Bachelor’s in communication studies, perfect for those who want to explore communication ranging from interpersonal interaction to global media.
Northwestern’s communication studies major is designed to “prepare students to take their place as responsible leaders, engaged citizens, and pioneering problem-solvers in their communities and chosen fields of work.” Coursework is centered around communication as it relates to culture. Sample courses include:
- Theories of Persuasion
- Communication and Culture
- Communication and Technology
- Rhetoric of Popular Culture
Additionally, research is a cornerstone of this program, and each student will take a communication studies research seminar. Northwestern Office of Undergraduate Research offers various research options that many communication studies majors take part in. Graduates find careers in a wide variety of areas such as:
- Political organizing
- Public affairs
- Public relations
What do comedian and actor Ken Jeong, the President of the WNBA, Lisa Border, and former U.S. Senator Elizabeth Dole have in common? They all are Duke University alumni! Duke University is a prestigious private research university with a competitive acceptance rate. But once you’re in, you’re sure to graduate from one of the nation’s most notable universities.
Duke Trinity College of Arts and Sciences has an entire department devoted to visual and media studies. The programs offered are built on gaining critical understanding of visual and media practices through history and today. The Bachelor of Arts in visual and media studies includes 13 required courses such as:
- Introduction to Visual Culture
- Theories of Visual and Media Studies
- Visual and Media Studies Capstone
The rest of the coursework includes electives that you can choose based on your interests. You are also encouraged to travel and take courses abroad to gain cultural experiences. Additionally, there are opportunities to gain relevant experience through internships.
University of Notre Dame
The University of Notre Dame is a private Catholic research university with a rich history. Founded in 1842 by Rev. Edward Sorin, Notre Dame continues to offer top-notch academic programs centered on faith. Notre Dame’s Bachelor of Fine Arts in visual communication design combines visual arts and technology to teach its students to communicate ideas effectively.
The BFA in visual communication design supports the idea “that a designer can make a difference not only in the strategic plan of a business but also in the world.” The program requires 66 hours of coursework, equal to 21 courses in the major area. Sample courses include:
- 2D and 3D Foundations
- Art History
- Advanced Visualization
Students are encouraged to apply for internships during their second year, which means you will gain hands-on experience earlier than in some other programs. Additionally, studying abroad in London or Rome is also an option! Notre Dame graduates begin careers in all types of design fields, from web and interaction design to environmental graphic design.
Loyola University-New Orleans
Established in 1904, Loyola University—New Orleans is a private, Jesuit university devoted to teaching, research, creativity, and service. Loyola’s School of Communication Design grew from an experimental radio station before World War 1. Today, you can earn a Bachelor of Arts in mass communication with a focus on the visual aspects.
LOYNO’s BA in Mass Communication – Visual Communication, at its core, will “teach you to tell a story—introduce a brand or issue in a relevant way and promote it through the lens of a global camera.” One of the best parts of this BFA is that you can personalize it to make it your own. In addition to three core classes, you will round out the rest of this degree by choosing from discipline-specific electives.
Core courses include photography and videography, where you will learn technical, aesthetic, and visual skills. Additionally, you will study the significance of visual communication from a historical and cultural context. At LOYNO, you will have access to state-of-the-art camera equipment while you work in the Brand Lab, a student-run agency that works with for-profit companies.
Founded in 1887, Pratt Institute is globally recognized as a leading art and design college. The campus is located in Utica, New York, and boasts a historical and contemporary blend of architecture. Pratt’s Bachelor of Fine Arts in communications design includes three emphasis areas: graphic design, advertising art, and illustration.
The goal of the BFA in communications design is to prepare students to become “effective visual communicators, inspired makers, critical thinkers, and versatile creative professionals.” Regardless of the track you choose, you will complete core classes like:
- Space, Form, Process
- Light Color Design Lab
- Themes in Art and Culture
- Literary and Critical Studies
Pratt’s communications design program is housed in historical Brooklyn, New York—the perfect place to find creative inspiration. Graduates are equipped to pursue careers in all design areas like the following:
- Design studios
- Branding agencies
- Cultural institutions
- Publishing companies
- Educational institutions
- Advertising agencies
If you’re ready to apply to Pratt, check out this link where you will find the application and portfolio requirements.
University of Cincinnati
Founded in 1819, the University of Cincinnati has been named “Among the top tier of the Best National Universities” by U.S. News & World Report. More than 46,000 current students and 300,000 call themselves UC Bearcats! UC offers a Bachelor of Science in communication design with a strong background in visual problem-solving.
The BS in communication design includes a core curriculum of a series of design studio courses such as:
- Design Aesthetics
- Motion Design
- Interaction Design
- Applied Professional Practice
Starting in your second year, you begin co-op experiences to gain skills in the visual communication field. To graduate, you must complete five semesters of professional co-ops and obtain at least a 2.0 GPA.
UC VisCom graduates work anywhere—from design firms to branding and corporate identity to healthcare systems! Some graduates become independent freelancers, and others pursue further education. UC’s College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning seeks academically gifted students from diverse backgrounds. Check out the required application materials here, and note that you can also submit an optional portfolio.
Seton Hall University
Seton Hall University has been one of the nation’s leading Catholic Universities since its founding in 1856! Awarded for academic excellence by The Princeton Review, U.S. News & World Report, and Bloomberg Businessweek, Seton Hall is home to more than 10,000 students and offers more than 90 majors.
Seton Hall’s Bachelor of Arts in visual and sound media allows you to concentrate in one of the following areas:
- Media studies
- Television production
- Sports media
- Sound production and engineering
You will complete 45 credits to satisfy the degree requirements in courses like:
- Introduction to Media Studies
- Introduction to Visual Theory
- Electronic Age in America
- Evolution of Film Art
All facilities, like the radio station, editing lab, and sound production lab, are available for students as early as your freshman year! You will begin applying your skills right away through PirateTV and WSOU 89.5FM and gain valuable internships. With a student-to-faculty ratio of 12.1 and an employment rate of 97%, you won’t want to miss Seton Hall’s visual and sound media program.
Located in Nashville, Tennessee, Belmont University is a Christian university known for its strong academics, innovation, and service. Belmont’s Watkins College of Art offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts in design communications that teaches students not only design fundamentals but visual communication skills that “gives definition to our culture and worldview.”
If you are looking for a career in design or wanting a degree that leads to graduate school, this one is for you. You can choose from one of four tracks:
- Web development
- Design administration
You will complete 55 credit hours in major courses that are divided into fine arts, design, typography, and interactive design.
In addition to hands-on studio courses, you will study the historical context of design and how it relates to culture. You will create a portfolio of design work as a part of the requirements that will also prove beneficial when applying for jobs after graduation. Belmont communication design students are employed with notable companies such as Paramount, Sony, Nike, and Airbnb!
Fashion Institute of Design & Mechandising
The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising may be our final ranking for this article, but that definitely doesn’t mean it’s the least admirable! FIDM is a private college with multiple locations in California and award-winning faculty! With notable partnerships with brands such as Disney, Nike, Pixar, and Nordstrom, FIDM offers exciting opportunities to its students.
FIDM’s Bachelor of Arts in visual communications major is a comprehensive degree that prepares students for careers in design. You will study both the theoretical and application parts of visual communication and take courses such as:
- Presentation Design
- Color Theory
- Concept Visualization
- Trend Forecasting
The BFA curriculum focuses on creating “immersive consumer experiences” to engage, inspire and meet business goals.
As a FIDM visual communication student, you will learn from professional faculty with extensive industry experience. The partnerships and networking opportunities ensure students have opportunities to gain vibrant experience in the field. FIDM reports that its graduates work in careers such as:
- Experiential designers
- Design managers
- Brand developers
- Digital PR directors
- Visual design directors
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a visual communications bachelor’s degree?
A visual communication bachelor’s degree is typically housed in a university’s journalism, fine arts, or communication department. It may be a bachelor of arts or science but is most commonly a bachelor of fine arts. The visual communication major is broad and encompasses visual arts, graphic design, photography, audiovisual, photojournalism, and more.
The best communication design degrees include a strong background in history and theory along with plenty of studio courses. Some visual communication programs include internships and all of them entail a capstone portfolio that seniors present before graduation.
What jobs can you get with a bachelor’s degree in visual communications?
While the career outlook for visual communication majors is vast, check out the most common jobs you can get with a bachelor’s degree:
Graphic designers create visual concepts, physically or digitally, to communicate ideas that inspire, inform and captivate consumers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Publication designers, also called editorial designers, design the layout and visual aesthetics of magazines, newspapers, books, and other media.
Web/app designers create websites and apps that communicate using creative methods. These professionals combine color, text, and graphics to be appealing and easy to understand for its users.
Multimedia animators create animation and graphics for media such as television, video games, and movies.
Visual communication leads to commercial photography careers. Commercial or advertising photographers take photos of products or subjects in order to advertise. Photographers may work for a commercial business or be self-employed.
What is the job and salary outlook with a bachelor’s degree in visual communications?
The job and salary outlook for someone with a bachelor’s degree in visual communication and design is promising. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts growth in the following careers:
The job outlook for photographers is rising at 17%, much faster than average. The median income is $41,280 per year.
Film and Video Editors and Camera Operation
The job outlook for film and video editors is increasing by 29% and at least 18,300 new jobs are predicted between 2020-2030. Film and video editors make around $61,900 annually.
The job outlook for graphic designers is currently increasing by 3%. While this is slower than average, it’s still an increase! Graphic designers earn a median salary of $53,380 each year.
In our digital era, it’s no surprise that jobs in web design and development are increasing at 13%, faster than average. BLS estimates that 25,500 new jobs will be needed between 2020-2030. Web designers and developers earn around $77,200 annually.
What types of courses can I expect in a visual communications degree program?
Expect to take a wide range of coursework that focuses on both history and theory and application. Much of a visual communication degree program entails studio-based courses where you will practice skills such as digital tools and drawing techniques. The following is a list of VisCom courses you can expect to take:
- History of Visual Communication
- Graphic design
- Digital media
- Audiovisual Communication
What is the difference between visual communications and other graphic arts degrees?
Choosing between visual communications and other graphic arts degrees may be confusing because these fields seem similar in nature. They are similar, but the difference between visual communications and other graphic arts is that VisCom is the broader field.
Visual communication is known as a well-rounded approach that includes all facets of graphic arts like graphic design, animation, photography, and illustration. Because visual communication is a broad field, the best communication design degrees offer concentrations like digital photography or advertising.
Can you get a bachelor’s in visual communication online?
Most of the visual communication undergraduate degrees presented in this article are on-campus programs. While you may be able to take some communication design courses online, the nature of a visual communication degree includes hands-on practice done in studio courses. If you are looking for a visual communication online degree, then check out the online programs from the University of Maryland Global Campus in the “Top Searched Programs” section.
Top Searched Programs:
The best colleges with visual communications majors are not limited to our top visual communications degrees. Check out the top searched programs:
University of Washington
The University of Washington’s Bachelor of Design in communication design is one of the largest undergraduate programs at the university. The design and visual communications major emphasizes creating visual solutions to complex problems in our contemporary culture
University of Maryland Global Campus
If you’re looking for a visual communication online degree, then check out the University of Maryland’s online bachelor’s degree in graphic communication. Similarly, you can also earn an online bachelor’s degree in communication studies if you’re interested in journalism, business, or digital communication. UMGC offers high-value visual communication design degrees that are flexible and affordable.
Kent State University
Another top searched school is Kent State University, which offers both a B.A. in visual communication design and a B.F.A. in visual communication design. Kent State also features a handful of minors to customize your program and some impressive graduate school options.
Falmouth University’s main campus is in the United Kingdom, but you can earn a visual communication online degree from wherever you are! Falmouth’s B.A. in visual communication is a two to three year program depending on whether you complete it full or part-time.
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