Bachelor of Arts (BA): Visual Communications Degree Overview

A Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Visual Communications is a general studies program that explores principles in drawing, computer graphic design, visual communication techniques and interaction design. Learn about the BA and what to expect upon graduation.

Essential Information

BA in Visual Communications degree programs teach students to become proficient in the use of digital tools, such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, and school them in all forms of visual communication, such as web, packaging, book, and magazine design. This degree program provides traditional classroom and hands-on studio experiences; portfolio development and a capstone project are often required. A high school diploma is the minimum prerequisite for admission, and some visual communications programs ask to see evidence of a student's art and design abilities in a portfolio.

Bachelor of Arts in Visual Communications

Within the BA in Visual Communications program, students delve into design fundamentals, drawing techniques, visual literacy, technical communication, and digital media design. Some schools also mandate that students minor in business, marketing, or the humanities. Students can expect to take general education coursework within the major as well as course topics such as:

  • Design history
  • Color management
  • Web design
  • Typography
  • 3-D design

Popular Career Options

As trained visual communicators in both print and electronic media, graduates have opportunities to work for advertising agencies, design studios, publishers, and in-house art departments. Entry-level positions open to recent graduates include:

  • Graphic designer
  • Web designer
  • Assistant art director
  • Illustrator
  • Multimedia artist and animator

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Employment opportunities for graphic designers are expected to show little or no change between 2014 and 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS also reported that graphic designers earned a median annual salary of $46,900 as of May 2015.

Employment of multimedia artists and animators is expected to increase by 6% between 2014 and 2024, which is about average compared to all occupations, and these workers earned a median annual income of $63,970 in 2015.

Continuing Education Information

Professional work experience is one way for recent graduates to receive additional training in new and updated software programs. Formal instruction is also available at colleges and design schools. Students who are interested in advancing their design education could pursue a Master of Arts or a Master of Science in Communications.

BA programs in Visual Communications help students improve their art and technology skills. That way, when they graduate, they can pursue entry-level careers in the design field or enroll in related master's degree programs.

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