Bachelor of Visual Communications: Degree Overview

In bachelor of visual communications degree programs, students acquire skills in conceptualizing and designing visual messages. Programs also teach how to implement projects for print and electronic media.

Essential Information

A Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Visual Communications includes instruction in graphic design, animation, photography, and other creative and technical subjects. Students may have the opportunity to specialize in a particular area such as graphic and interactive design. A comprehensive senior project is usually the last requirement to earn the degree, and can include a final project, exhibition or field experience.


Bachelor of Visual Communications

Prerequisites for admission may include a high school diploma or equivalent as well as portfolio of work in certain cases. The visual communications curriculum gives students opportunities to draw, take pictures, create digital images, work with type, and design web pages. Instructors provide training in current design software and techniques. Studio classes offer the same kind of equipment used in the industry. In addition to introductory courses in art and art history, coursework typically includes:

  • History of visual communication
  • Graphic design
  • Typography
  • Illustration
  • Digital media

Popular Career Options

New graduates will find work in advertising, digital media, graphic design, publishing, film, television and the game industry. With a professional-level portfolio, the aspiring professional might also consider freelance work. The National Association of Schools of Art & Design considers the BFA the preferred credential for obtaining entry-level positions in the communications industry. Common job titles available include:

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

Salary and Job Outlook

In May 2014, there were 261,600 graphic designers employed in the U.S. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that this number will increase by 1% during the 2014-2024 decade. Additionally, the BLS reported in 2015 that the median annual salary for graphic designers was $46,900.

Continuing Education Info

In addition to receiving training in new and updated graphics software, students with a BFA in Visual Communications will be eligible to apply for entrance into a graduate program. Degrees awarded at this level include a Master of Arts (MA) in Applied Communications, an M.A. in Communications and a Master of Science in Communications. Master's degree programs provide students with in-depth information in theory, research and teaching, as well as provide students with hands-on training through class projects or internships. Graduate students may also have the option to complete programs that include a thesis.

Bachelor of visual communication programs allow students to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to work in fields such as graphic design, photography, animation, and more. Graduates can also look into relevant master's programs that may open up further employment opportunities.


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