2023 Best Online Visual Communications Degrees [Bachelor’s Guide]

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Explore the best online visual communication degrees, and discover how they can enhance your career in visual arts or media. Find your program today!

Online visual communication degrees can help you learn skills to further your career in visual arts or media. With more knowledge, you may be able to qualify for more job opportunities in the field.

Best Online Visual Communications Degrees

A visual communication major might be right for you if you’re interested in learning the fine points of how to create effective visuals advertisements and other media.

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Keep reading to learn more about what you can expect from a visual or graphics communication degree.

Online Visual Communication Degrees

Online Visual Communication Degrees

A degree in visual communication teaches you how to convey messages effectively through visual arts. Here are some subjects you might study while earning your visual communication online degree:

  • Motion graphics
  • Digital imaging
  • Photography
  • Book design
  • Photojournalism

Online programs can be very conducive to learning how to use technological applications in visual communication. Your instructors will most likely have you complete projects and upload them to your school’s online learning platform so you can receive feedback on your work.

As you go through the program, you can save projects into a digital or web portfolio. This way, when you graduate, you will be able to show samples of your work to prospective employers or clients. Visual communications degrees are especially useful in fields like advertising and media.

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Some professionals help companies decide exactly what their advertisements should look like. Others work for magazines or other publications, working with layouts or helping make decisions about what photographs to print. Working in book design for a publishing company might also be an option.

If you want to combine an interest in art with an interest in technology, you could also apply visual communications knowledge in the field of web design.

Design and Visual Communications Careers & Salaries

Design and Visual Communications Careers & Salaries

Pretty much any job that involves thinking about how an audience perceives and understands visual images could be an option for a visual communications major.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here are some different types of careers that can benefit from knowledge of visual communication.

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers $133,380
Art Directors $100,890
Special Effects Artists and Animators $78,790
Web Developers and Digital Designers $77,200
Public Relations Specialists
Film and Video Editors $62,680
Graphic Designers $50,710
Craft and Fine Artists
News Analysts, Reporters, and Journalists $48,370
Photographers $38,950

Graduates of visual communications programs often pursue careers in arts and design, such as  art director or graphic designer positions. Other possible industries include advertising, marketing, digital design, and web development.

Visual Communication Bachelor’s Curriculum & Courses

Visual Communication Bachelor's

Here are some courses you might take during a visual communications online degree program:

  • Business Communications: You’ll learn about appropriate speaking, writing, and negotiation skills for working in the business world.
  • Design Principles: This course covers the fundamentals of creating visual designs that engage audiences.
  • Graphic Design: You’ll learn how to apply design principles to projects for businesses, such as the creation of logos or brochures.
  • Typography: You’ll learn how to decide what the text should look like in any given project, such as deciding what font to use or how big the typeface should be.
  • Problems and Trends in Visual Design: This course covers common challenges faced by visual communication professionals as well as current industry trends for solving these problems.
  • Web Design: You’ll learn how to apply visual communications principles to create web pages that are attractive and invite interaction from users.
  • Three-Dimensional Design: You’ll study techniques for working with three-dimensional media, such as using object spacing and lighting.
  • Ideation: You’ll practice brainstorming ideas and creating prototypes for projects while collaborating with your classmates.
  • Creative Research: This course covers how humans process information in a digital environment, in which new and sometimes conflicting data is constantly appearing.
  • Media Issues: You’ll study social challenges faced by media professionals.

Exact course titles and requirements will vary at different colleges and universities.

Online Visual Communications Degree Admissions Requirements

Visual Communications Degree Admissions

Here are some common admissions requirements for online visual communications degree programs:

  • High school diploma or GED
  • Official transcripts from high school and any college courses
  • Essay or personal statement describing your reasons for pursuing the degree
  • Letters of recommendation from teachers or other mentors

Exact admissions requirements can vary widely. Some schools also ask that you submit SAT or ACT scores, but a growing number of schools are no longer requiring this.


Visual Communications Degrees accreditation

Colleges and universities can receive regional accreditation to verify that they meet certain minimal standards set by an accrediting agency. Accrediting agencies evaluate colleges and universities on the quality of their curriculum, instruction, facilities, and resources for students.

Attending a regionally accredited school can often be a precondition to obtain certain forms of financial aid. It can also impact your ability to transfer course credits to a new school. You can usually find out if a college or university is regionally accredited by visiting their website.

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For more information on the topic of accreditation, you can visit the US Department of Education’s website.

Financial Aid and Scholarships for Visual Communications Majors

Visual Communications Degrees financial aid

If you are looking for ways to fund your education, you may be able to qualify for state or federal financial aid, employer programs, or scholarships. Federal financial aid can include low-interest loans as well as grants and work-study programs. To apply for federal financial aid, you can start by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

There are also scholarships available from private organizations that are intended to support students of visual communications and related fields. These include:

  • Graphic Web Design Scholarship Program
  • Beck Web Design Scholarship
  • LAGRANT Foundation Scholarship Program

Some schools also offer scholarship opportunities based on merit.

What Is a Visual Communication Degree?

Visual Communication Degree

A visual communication degree is a type of degree that teaches you how to send effective messages to an audience using arts and design.

Visual communication degrees combine elements of both visual arts and communications. You can learn how to best use colors, shapes, text, and other visual elements to inform, tell stories, or sell products and services. Visual communications programs often feature a lot of hands-on projects and classroom discussions to help you learn to analyze the meanings of various visual design elements.

Is Visual Communication a Good Major?

visual communication major

Yes, visual communication is a good major for many undergraduate students. Many people find the field of visual communication interesting because it allows for a high level of creativity and teaches you how to use that creativity to connect with other people.

Visual communication skills can be applied in a variety of artistic careers, such as art direction, graphic design, or photography. The median salary for media and communication workers is $62,340, and the median for media and communication equipment workers is $48,920, which is higher than average (Bureau of Labor Statistics).

These types of careers can be competitive, so your ability to find work will likely depend not only on your degree but also on other factors, such as your geographic location and your level of work experience.

What Can You Do with a Visual Communications Degree?

Visual Communications Degree careers

A visual communications degree can prepare you to make artistic decisions as they relate to conveying meaning and communicating with an audience, rather than just based on what looks good subjectively.

Being able to think about visual images in this way could be useful in just about any occupation in the field of arts and design. You could also apply this knowledge in media—such as books, websites, or magazines—or in advertising and marketing.

Who Hires People with Visual Communication Degrees?

Professionals with visual communication degrees can pursue a range of positions in a variety of industries. Most art directors, for example, are self-employed. Most others work in advertising, public relations, and related services. There are some art directors, though, who are employed by motion picture and video industries, media publishers, or specialized design services.

Graphic designers also tend to be self-employed, but not as much as art directors. Graphic designers also find employment in specialized design services, in advertising and public relations services, in printing and related support activities, and with media publishers.

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A photographer is another type of visual communication professional who is most often self-employed. Some photographers also work for photography agencies, broadcasting industries, and newspaper, periodical, book, and directory publishers.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Bachelors in Visual Communication Degree Online?

Bachelors in Visual Communication Degree

A traditional bachelors degree program with 16 week semesters generally takes 4 years to complete with full-time enrollment. It may take you longer to finish if you are only enrolled in classes part-time.

Online degree programs often feature a wider range of scheduling options, such as accelerated courses that only last 6 weeks or 8 weeks. Some programs also offer asynchronous, self-paced courses. These options can enable you to finish your degree in less time with full-time, year-round enrollment.

What’s the Difference Between Visual Communication Design vs. Graphic Design?

Here are some differences between the fields of visual communication and graphic design.

Visual Communication Design Graphic Design
  • May use graphic design techniques to create images that convey messages
  • More interdisciplinary field, including the study of communications and the psychology behind them
  • May create images that are simply intended to be visually appealing
  • Focuses on the creation of images using software or other tools

There is some overlap in the coursework you would take in either a visual communication or graphic design degree program.

Is a Visual Communication Degree Worth It?

Visual Communications Degree

Yes, a visual communication degree is worth it for many students. Some visual communication positions are projected to experience above average job growth, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Employment of art directors is expected to grow by 11% over the next decade. Meanwhile, employment of web developers and digital designers is expected to grow by 13%. Media and communication occupations overall are projected to see 14% job growth (Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Getting your degree in visual communication could also help you develop a professional portfolio of your work.

Universities Offering Online Bachelors in Visual Communications Degree Programs

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.

Arizona State University

Arizona State University campus

Arizona State University offers an online program for a Bachelor of Science in Design in Graphic Design. The program requires the completion of 26 classes to graduate, and each class is 7.5 weeks long. Courses include Designing Life, Graphic Design History I and II, Principles for Graphic Design I and II, Letterform, and more.

Arizona State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Aurora University

Aurora University campus

Aurora University offers an online BA in Communication with an optional Public Relations and Event Planning track. Students have internship opportunities to gain hands-on experience. Courses are each 8 weeks long and include Business Communication, Human Connection and Relationships, Digital Content Writing, and Audience Analysis and Research.

Aurora University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Bellevue University

Bellevue University campus

Bellevue University offers a Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design that can be earned 100% online. The program is designed to help students become experts in using the Adobe software suite and develop professional portfolios. Course options include Problem-Solving and Idea Generation, Design Basics, and History of Contemporary Graphic Design.

Bellevue University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Grand Canyon University

Grand Canyon University campus

Grand Canyon University offers a BA in Advertising and Graphic Design. The program’s online classes are each 7 weeks long, but students also have the option of taking classes on campus that are 15 weeks long. Students in the program are expected to create professional portfolios and learn to be detail-oriented while still seeing the big picture. GCU emphasizes a hands-on style of learning.

Grand Canyon University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Johnson and Wales University

Johnson and Wales University campus

Johnson and Wales University offers a Bachelor of Arts in Communication. Courses are 8 weeks long and 100% online. The student-to-faculty ratio is 16:1. Graduates of this program often pursue careers in business, human resource management, mass media, mass communication, and more.

JWU is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Liberty University

Liberty University campus

Liberty University offers a BS in Digital Design—Visual Communication. Classes are 100% online and 8 weeks long. Students take on average 3.5 years to complete the program. Courses include Digital Imaging, Interactive Design I, Fundamentals of Editing, and Digital Promotion Technology and Application.

Liberty University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Louisiana State University – Alexandria

Louisiana State University - Alexandria campus

Lousiana State University—Alexandria offers an online program for a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies. The program’s classes are designed to provide the opportunity to synchronously interact with instructors via video conferencing. Students also have a dedicated concierge to help ensure their success from application to graduation. LSU chooses its faculty and instructors for their real-world experience.

Louisiana State University at Alexandria is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Loyola University – New Orleans

Loyola University New Orleans campus

Loyola University—New Orleans offers an online program for a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication designed to help students hone their voices and launch their careers. Students can choose from a variety of specializations, including Journalism, Advertising, Public Relations, and Visual Communication. The program is also available on campus.

Loyola University New Orleans is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Maryville University

Maryville University campus

Maryville University offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Communication program. It is designed to help students advance their careers in business, advertising, education, and publishing. Concentrations are available in Strategic Communication and Emerging Media Strategy. Students also have the opportunity to earn certifications from Amazon, Google, HubSpot, and SalesForce.

Maryville University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Ohio University

Ohio University campus

Ohio University offers a Bachelor’s in Communication through its online platform. The virtual classroom experience allows students to connect while also having the work paced in a way that is convenient for working adults. The program includes studies in journalism, media production, web and print design, communication studies, and telecommunication systems.

Ohio University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Post University

Post University campus

Post University offers a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Media Studies. The program is offered online and on campus. Students can choose a concentration in General Communication, Social Media, or Strategic Communication. Graduates can aim for careers in social media strategy, public relations, education, and more.

Post University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design

Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design campus

The Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design offers an online program for a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design. It includes studies in typography, UI/UX design, visual storytelling, written and verbal presentations, design software, and more. The program is designed to help students become well-versed in industry tools and technology, and the multi-faceted curriculum also provides opportunities to explore the humanities.

Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Savannah College of Art and Design

Savannah College of Art and Design campus

Savannah College of Art and Design offers a BA in Visual Communication with a concentration in Graphic Design. The program is available online and on campus in Savannah and Atlanta. Courses include Drawing I: Form and Space, Design I: Elements and Organization, and Drawing II: Composition and Media.

The Savannah College of Art and Design is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Simmons University

Simmons University campus

Simmons University offers a Bachelor’s in Communications online program. Online courses at Simmons are designed to be interactive and engaging. The application process is intended to be personal and holistic. Graduates of the program often go on to work in news, advertising, editing, event planning, social media, and more.

Simmons University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Southern New Hampshire University

Southern New Hampshire University campus

Southern New Hampshire University offers an online program for a Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design. Students may choose a concentration in 3D Modeling and Animation or Web Design. SAT and ACT scores are not needed to apply.

Students in this online bachelors in graphic design program are given the opportunity to learn from accomplished instructors with real-world experience. The curriculum is designed to help students master advanced design software, including Adobe Creative Suite.

Southern New Hampshire University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

University of Arizona

University of Arizona campus

The University of Arizona offers a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies through its online Global Campus. Topics covered include visual elements in communications, technical writing principles, conflict resolution, and more. Students are given opportunities to create an electronic portfolio demonstrating professional achievement and complete a comprehensive research project on a selected career field.

The University of Arizona is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of Colorado – Boulder

University of Colorado - Colorado Springs campus

The University of Colorado—Boulder offers an online BA in Communication. Courses in the program are 100% online, flexible, and just 8 weeks long. Students can earn certificates in Global & Intercultural Communication, Health Communication, and Strategic Communication. They may also choose a Community Service and Public Affairs pathway or a Media and Cultural Studies pathway.

The University of Colorado Boulder is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of Maryland Global Campus

University of Maryland Global campus

The University of Maryland Global Campus offers an online Bachelor’s in Graphic Communication program. The curriculum is designed with input from employers, industry experts, and scholars. Courses include Introduction to Graphic Communication, Introduction to Drawing, Design I: Arrangement and Color, Intermediate Drawing, and Typography and Layout.

The University of Maryland Global Campus is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

University of Missouri – St. Louis

University of Missouri – Saint Louis campus

The University of Missouri—St. Louis offers a Communication BA with an emphasis in Strategic Communication. Students are required to complete a practicum/internship to graduate. Courses include Interpersonal Communication, Introduction to Mass Communication, Communication in the Organization, Introduction to Advertising, and Introduction to Public Relations.

The University of Missouri-St. Louis is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Wilmington University

Wilmington University campus

Wilmington University offers a Bachelor of Science in Communication with concentrations in Digital Journalism, Public Relations and Strategic Communication, and Visual Communication. The degree can be earned online or at several different campus locations. Graduates work as desktop publishers, public relations specialists, and search marketing strategists.

Wilmington University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Getting Your Bachelors in Visual Communications Degree Online

Bachelors in Visual Communications Degree Online

If you’re interested in studying the relationship between visual arts and communication, a visual communications program may be a good fit for you. Online degree programs, whether it’s a bachelors or a masters in visual communication online, can enable you to attend class from your home or wherever is convenient. They can also make it easier to fit your classes into your current schedule.

A degree program in visual communications can help you develop your creativity and think critically about meaning and symbolism in arts and media. If you’re ready to begin your educational journey, why not start exploring accredited colleges today?

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While attending the University of Georgia, Amy enrolled in both on-campus and online courses giving her the opportunity to explore the pros and cons of each course delivery system. Amy's research is focused on making education more accessible to everyone and how different education methodologies can affect student outcomes.