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Visual Communication Design

If you have an eye for design and a heart for art, then what are you waiting for?

Stevenson's career-focused Visual Communication Design program will teach you the technical and critical-thinking skills to position you for a successful career in today's design fields.

  • Overview


    Bachelor of Science

    This major is designed to prepare students for professional practice and graduate study in graphic design, advertising, marketing communications, electronic or print publishing, web and interactive design, digital imaging, motion graphics, or related fields. As students prepare for a career in Visual Communication Design, they develop a research-based design process and produce a portfolio.

    Stressing manual skills and applications of evolving technologies, the curriculum is characterized by a high-level of problem-based learning that encourages risk-taking and critical-thinking, immerses students in real-world scenarios, includes academic experiences and professional activities outside of the classroom, and allows for significant collaboration between students and between students and faculty.

    You can also choose from one of three tracks to further your educational experience: Interactive Design, Motion Graphics, or Photography.

    What Will You Learn?

    • Solve communication design problems by thinking creatively and critically.
    • Produce communication design solutions, considering audience, cultural, ethical, human, and market factors.
    • Create, compose, and critique visual forms as well as verbal and nonverbal messages in response to design problems.
    • Acquire material and technical skills necessary to realize designs solutions according to professional standards and practices.
    • Apply art history, visual culture, communication, and design research to visual communication practice.
    • Plan, execute, present, revise, and justify design ideas and solutions independently and as a collaborative team member.
    • Apply academic preparation to professional and cultural experiences both within and beyond the classroom.

    A complete listing of learning objectives for the Visual Communication Design program can be found in our Academic Catalog.
    Learning Objectives

    Why Study Visual Communication Design?

    The program is rigorous, rich, and engaging. You will begin working toward an art-related career from the outset by taking art courses and working on the computer during your first year. Portfolio reviews allow you to grow your skills.

    At the end of your freshman and sophomore years, you will present your work to a panel of art faculty. In your junior year and senior year, your junior project will be critiqued by a focus group. As a senior, your portfolio will be reviewed one-on-one by a professional artist or designer from Baltimore or a surrounding area.

    Finally, you can choose from one of three tracks to further advance your skill set: Interactive Design, Motion Graphics, and Photography.

    • Artist and designers love to make stuff and we have fully-supported state-of-the-art studios where students can work with large-format and 3D printers, vinyl plotters, drawing tablets, and bindery equipment. Students can also borrow professional-level photo, video, and lighting equipment to use for their projects.
    • Benefit by being taught by faculty who are fully engaged in the field, including accomplished designers, painters, printmakers, sculptors, and photographers.

    • Meet internationally known designers through the Artist-in-Residence program. These accomplished artists lecture at the University and will work with you in three-day workshops.
    • Take advantage of the career focus: The first-year seminar course introduces career possibilities. The second-year internship preparation course allows you to explore your career goals while you develop a basic portfolio and look for an internship. The fourth-year Portfolio and Professional Development course helps you polish your presentation and professional skills, enabling you to begin your job search before graduation.

  • Courses & Requirements

    Courses and Requirements

    The courses listed below are required for completion of the bachelor’s degree in visual communication design. Students must also complete the requirements for the Stevenson Educational Experience (SEE).

    Specific pre- and co-requisites for each course are listed in the course descriptions.

    Visual communication design majors may take the general course of study or may select the interactive design, motion graphics, or photography track.

    Major Requirements

    FYS 100 First Year Seminar
    ART 106 Introduction to Art History
    ART 110 Fundamentals of Design I
    ART 113 Fundamentals of Design II
    ART 116 Drawing I
    ART 117 Drawing II
    ART 205 Art History Survey Topics
    ART 305 Topics in Art History
    CM 101 Public Speaking
    CM 211 or Intercultural Communication or 
    CM 255 or Small Group Communication or
    CM 270 New Media Communication
    FMI 102 Cinema II: Continuity
    PHOTO 141 Basic Digital Photography
    VCD 125 Fundamentals of Digital Media
    VCD 208 Web Design I
    VCD 210 Communication Design I
    VCD 211 Communication Design II
    VCD 230 Typography I
    VCD 290 Internship Preparation
    VCD 308 Web Design II
    VCD 310 Communication Design III
    VCD 390 Internship
    VCD 410 Portfolio & Professional Development
    VCD 450 Senior Capstone

    Communication Design electives must be chosen from the following:

    Specific courses and exact number of credits are based on the declared track. Consultation with an academic advisor is strongly encouraged.

    IAD 380 Advanced Interactive Studio 
    IAD 381 Mobile and Responsive Design
    IAD 480 Interactive Design Special Topics
    MOGR 330 Typography in Motion
    MOGR 331 Intermediate Motion Graphics
    VCD 370 The Relationship of Design and Business
    VCD 380 Professional Design Studio
    VCD 440 Designing for a Target Market
    VCD 480 Design Studio Special Topics

    Materials and Methods electives must be chosen from the following:

    Specific courses and exact number of credits are based on the declared track. Consultation with an academic advisor is strongly encouraged.

    ART 215 Painting I
    ART 217 Figure Drawing
    ART 219 Printmaking
    ART 250 Topics in Alternative Fine Art Processes
    ART 315 Surface Design
    ART 351 Special Topics
    PHOTO 140 Black and White Film Photography
    PHOTO 241 Intermediate Digital Photography
    PHOTO 242 Fashion and Portrait Photography
    PHOTO 250 Alternative Photographic Processes
    PHOTO 341 Advanced Studio Photography
    PHOTO 342 Documentary and photojournalism
    PHOTO 480 Photography Special Topics

    Students must also complete the courses for the general program or one of the tracks listed below:

    Visual Communication (General Program)

    VCD 330 Typography II
    Six credits of Communication Design electives. (See list above)
    Six credits of Materials and Methods electives. (See list above)

    Interactive Design Track

    IAD 380 Advanced Interactive Studio
    IAD 381 Mobile and Responsive Design
    IAD 480 Interactive Design Special Topics
    VCD 330 Typography II
    Three credits of Materials and Methods electives. (See list above)

    Motion Graphics Track

    MOGR 330 Typography in Motion
    MOGR 331 Intermediate Motion Graphics
    MOGR 431 Advanced Motion Graphics and Effects
    FMI 211 Basic Screenwriting 
    Three credits of Communication Design electives. (See list above)
    Three credits of Materials and Methods courses. (See list above)

    Photography Track

    PHOTO 241 Intermediate Digital Photography
    PHOTO 341 Advanced Studio Photography
    PHOTO 342 Documentary and Photojournalism
    PHOTO 480 Photography Special Topics
    ART 305 Topics in Art History
    One Photo Elective from the following: 
    PHOTO 140 Black and White Film Photography
    PHOTO 242 Fashion and Portrait Photography
    PHOTO 250 Alternative Photographic Processes  
    PHOTO 480 Photography Special Topics 

    Last Updated: 06/07/2017

    Advising Worksheet

    Stevenson University is committed to providing its students the academic resources necessary to succeed.

    Through this commitment, Stevenson equips its students with a path to graduate in four years. Download our Advising Worksheet for Visual Communication Design below for more information.
    Advising Worksheet

  • Tracks & Minors

    Tracks and Minors


    Interactive Design Track

    The Interactive Design track within the Visual Communication Design major provides students with a solid foundation and in-depth experience in the theory and practice of producing design solutions for a variety of interactive media platforms including Web, social media, mobile devices, tablets, and emerging interaction technologies. Special emphasis is placed on effective information architecture, user interface, and user experience design, as well as the aesthetic role of quality universal design that impacts visual perception and choice in interactive digital environments.

    The Interactive Design track prepares future professionals by exposing them to contemporary and historic visual contexts, real-world projects, and industry-standard software and technologies. Graduates may pursue careers in a range of areas including web design and development, mobile and responsive design, social media strategy, multimedia and streaming media production, electronic publishing, digital prototyping and imaging, online advertising, interactive motion graphics, mobile applications and game design, and other interaction design related fields.

    Motion Graphics Track

    The Motion Graphics track provides students who are interested in design, animation, and video with a solid foundation in the theory and practice of producing motion graphic design. Motion graphics are visible daily on television, movie screens, the Internet, mobile devices, and location-specific displays. This track prepares future graduates by exposing them to historical contexts, real-world projects, and industry-standard tools (software and equipment). Extra attention is devoted to narrative and visual communication structure through systems of sequence and arrangement. Motion Graphics students may pursue a career in diverse areas including: television stations or networks, film production, advertising and design studios, video post-production, museum exhibition, education, or in-house production at private and public institutions.

    Photography Track

    Today’s Visual Communication Designers must be creative problem-solvers and image-makers capable of working across a variety of media. Likewise, photographers must not only be able to take compelling images that communicate ideas or tell stories, but must also possess wide-ranging technical skills and the ability to market oneself. The Photography track is designed to expand the Visual Communication Design student’s capabilities in photographic processes and digital-imaging techniques. The Photography track prepares career-oriented graduates to become professionals in commercial and advertising photography, portrait and fashion photography, photojournalism, graphic design, and image post-production, as well as for graduate study.


    Students explore design theory, design thinking methods, professional practices, design culture, and histories of art and design. Visual communication design courses encompass a variety of media and forms and include group work, client-based projects, print design, interactive development, and user experience design.

    The minor in Visual Communication Design requires successful completion of a minimum of six courses and 18 credits with an IAD or VCD prefix (see exceptions below and note that some ART courses and PHOTO 141 will also count toward the minor).

    Courses ineligible for this minor include:

    Last Updated: 06/07/2017

What Can You Do With This Degree?

Graduates of our Visual Communication Design program embark on many rewarding career choices, including:

• Advertising Design
• Art Direction
• Corporate Identity/Brand Design
• Exhibition or Environmental Design
• Special Effects Artist
• UX/UI: User Interface/User Experience Design
• Web/Interactive Design

Curious about internships and job placement after you graduate? Visit our Office of Career Services.

career services

Visual Arts & Design Portfolios

Students planning to major in Fashion Design, Film & Moving Image, and Visual Communication design are allowed to submit a portfolio of work to enhance their application and to be considered for talent-based scholarships.

Portfolio Details

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