Bachelor of Arts (BA): Visual Communications Degree Overview

Read about bachelor's degree programs in visual communications. Learn about programs' admission requirements, curricula, and potential careers from which graduates can choose.

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Essential Information

A Bachelor of Arts in Visual Communications is a general studies program that explores principles in drawing, computer graphic design, visual communication techniques, and interaction design. Future designers examine traditional principles, learn to use digital tools, such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, and are schooled in all forms of visual communication, such as Web, packaging, book, and magazine design.

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. This degree program provides traditional classroom and hands-on studio experiences; portfolio development and a capstone project are often required. In addition, some schools require that students minor in business, marketing, or the humanities.

Course Topics

Within the B.A. in Visual Communications program, students delve into design fundamentals, drawing techniques, visual literacy, technical communication, and digital media design. In addition to coursework, students may have the opportunity to complete a senior capstone project and portfolio. In addition to general education courses, students explore topics in:

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

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

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 opportunities for graphic designers are expected to increase by 7% from 2012-2022, which is about as fast as average, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS also reported that graphic designers earned an average salary of $48,730 as of May 2012. Employment of multimedia artists and animators is expected to increase at a slower-than-average rate of 6% between 2012 and 2022, and these workers earned an average of $69,560 in 2012.

Continuing Education

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.

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    Online and Classroom-Based Programs

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Other Schools:

  • School locations:
    • North Carolina (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Duke University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Design and Applied Arts
        • General Visual Communications Design
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
  • School locations:
    • Indiana (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Notre Dame include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Design and Applied Arts
        • General Visual Communications Design
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
  • School locations:
    • Florida (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Miami include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Design and Applied Arts
        • General Visual Communications Design
        • Graphic Design
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
      • Photography, Film, and Video
  • School locations:
    • Iowa (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Iowa State University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Design and Applied Arts
        • Fashion Design
        • General Visual Communications Design
        • Graphic Design
        • Interior Design and Decorating
      • Musical Arts
  • School locations:
    • Ohio (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Dayton include:
      • Graduate: First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Design and Applied Arts
        • General Visual Communications Design
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
      • Photography, Film, and Video

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