The Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Visual Commuication is designed to produce graduates who are skilled in using art, design and technology to creatively communicate ideas and transform messages into visual communication. Through the rigorous coursework, students will develop skills in using aesthetic and conceptual judgment, color, type, symbols, digital images, multi-media, interactivity, motion graphics, photography, and project management to produce messages that clearly inform, effectively communicate brand experience, and persuade viewers.
Do you like to solve problems, sketch, and create? Do you have an eye for detail? If images and visual technology delight and inspire you, then careers in the expanding universe of media are calling. The Visual Communication program can teach you to think critically and convey ideas with precision and impact. You will sharpen your creative thinking and analytical skills in the School of Communication's core studies while you boost your tech-savvy in cutting-edge laboratory and studio courses. Learn to use color, form, type, and symbols to craft powerful messages. You'll develop your personal voice while seeking a universal message in your work.
By harnessing aesthetic judgment with project management skills, you'll learn to persuade viewers and forcefully communicate your client's message. Our alumni have started successful independent design practices and work for some of the country's leading firms, including Body Glove, Yahoo! Games, Teva, and Nike.
To receive a bachelor's degree at Northern Arizona University, you must complete at least 120 units of credit that minimally includes a major, the liberal studies requirements, and university requirements as listed below.
In addition to University Requirements:
Please note that you may be able to use some courses to meet more than one requirement. Contact your advisor for details.
|Minimum Units for Completion||120|
|Highest Mathematics Required||MAT 114|
|Emphasis, Minor, Certificate||Required|
|University Honors Program||Optional|
|AZ Transfer Students complete AGEC-A||Recommended|
|Progression Plan Link||View Progression Plan|
The Visual Communications program develops the analytical skills and creative passion in our students to be designers, animators and professional artists who creatively, yet strategically, resolve challenging visual design problems across a variety of media in an artistic, visually compelling manner.
In our program, students begin by building a strong foundation in the elements, principles, and processes of design. They build upon this foundation across their studio classes by engaging in the creation of increasingly complex designs focused on solving real-world problems. As a student progresses through the program, they incorporate a multi-disciplinary approach by applying concepts from art history, communication theory, drawing, and their liberal studies requirements to issues of design. Cutting-edge software and technological applications are then integrated into their experience. Particularly, students learn to apply design principles to software in a manner that provides the skills to adapt to the newest technologies in expectation for the technologies which will emerge in the future.
To be effective in the world of design, our students learn to develop excellent relationships with clients, and work collaboratively to co-create projects in teams. By learning how to communicate effectively with clients and utilize the talents and strengths of design colleagues, our students learn how to creatively navigate relationships to develop the best design products.
Our faculty members know that the elements, principles, and processes of design, the software, the ability to collaborate; all of this is just the beginning. Our program is taught using small, studio-based courses, one-on-one faculty mentoring, and advanced facilities. Yet, the ever-changing world of design requires its practitioners to learn throughout their careers and constantly keep their skills up-to-date. Our program and faculty provide the strategic approaches to learning that will sustain our graduates’ abilities in a continually evolving field for years to come.
Overall, our integrative approach develops students who are capable of applying fundamentals to solve increasingly complex design problems in technologically innovative ways, and result in a portfolio of work designed to launch them in their career.
Student Learning Outcomes
Outcomes align with Standards from the National Association of Schools of Art & Design Accreditation
Admission to the Visual Communication Major is contingent upon:
Approval of student portfolio submitted online through the VC 181 Portfolio Review class and reviewed by the Visual Communication faculty.
All VC courses at a 200-level or above are restricted to students who successfully complete the first year of Pre Major requirements and pass the Portfolio Review.
Take the following 70 units with a Grade of "C" or better in each course and a minimum GPA of 2.5:
Visual Communication Pre Major Requirements (13 units)
Visual Communication Major Requirements (36 units)
Emphasis Requirements (Select one):
All majors must earn the grade of "C" or better in their freshman composition required course and their foundation mathematics course.
Students must complete VC 161, VC 261, and VC 262 before enrolling in emphasis courses (Graphic Design: VC 303, VC 343) or (Motion Design: VC 305, VC 345)
Please note that you must complete the last five of your emphasis courses at Northern Arizona University.
Additional coursework is required, if, after you have met the previously described requirements, you have not yet completed a total of 120 units of credit.
You may take these remaining courses from any academic areas, using these courses to pursue your specific interests and goals. We encourage you to consult with your advisor to select the courses that will be most advantageous to you. (Please note that you may also use prerequisites or transfer credits as electives if they weren't used to meet major, minor, or liberal studies requirements.)
Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also take. For prerequisite information click on the course or see your advisor.