About the Program
Visual Communications Design (VCD) program develops students as problem seekers and solvers with the capability to plan communication strategies and form effective visual products. The curriculum is structured to prepare students for a profession that is evolving rapidly and influenced by computer technology advances. Students are prepared to master the technical and conceptual skills involved in typography, image generation, visual structure, color design, new media, and composition, as well as to conduct research, think conceptually, work collaboratively in teams, articulate and present ideas, and critically evaluate the form-making process. Our program provides students with a broad background and thorough understanding of both medium and message, so that they can combine words and images in original ways to convey information and promote ideas to targeted audiences.
Note: An art portfolio is not required to apply to VCD. Students are required to pass a selective portfolio review in their sophomore year to advance in the program. Selection is based on their development as a designer, as shown by their art and design work at Purdue. Those not passing review work closely with an academic advisor to plan other majors and career paths. Current acceptance rates are available from advisors.
Please visit Visual Communication Design for more information.
126 Credits Required
Liberal Arts Curriculum
Each liberal arts major is designed as a four-year plan of study and includes three types of courses: Major, Core, and Elective. Most students take five courses per semester, with some of each type.
Professional academic advisors meet individually with each of our students on a regular basis to help with course selection, academic planning, and career development, as well as to help students find additional resources on campus.
Departmental/Program Major Courses (78 credits)
A. Art & Design Core (12 credits)
B. Visual Communication Design Core (35 credits)
C. Visual Communication Design Supportive Requirement (22 credits)
E. Other Program Requirements (Required, No Credit)
Sophomore Portfolio Review
All Visual Communication Design students must participate in a mandatory portfolio review during the second half of the spring semester in the sophomore year. Students individually present their work to the collective VCD faculty on specified days by appointment. Work to be included in the portfolio is identified prior to the review period, but usually consists of projects from AD 10500 , AD 10600 , AD 11300 , AD 20500 , AD 20600 , AD 22800 and AD 22900 . Students should prepare for this review by preserving work as it is completed in these courses. Students must pass the portfolio review in order to enroll in AD 31800 and all subsequent courses in the VCD concentration.
Any VCD student who has passed the sophomore review but has not been enrolled and/or completed a 30000- or 40000- level VCD course for more than two consecutive academic years must retake and pass the sophomore review to enroll in 30000- or 40000- level VCD courses.
Senior Portfolio Presentation
A senior portfolio presentation is staged at the end of the senior year. Participation in the presentation, which is open to faculty, students, and selected guests from the professional community, is a program requirement in the VCD concentration.
Other Departmental - Liberal Arts Core For BFA, Professional, & Education (25-34 credits)
The College of Liberal Arts Other Departmental area is designed to be experiential, informative, and relevant to life in a rapidly changing universe. It combines courses that fulfill University Core foundational outcomes, discipline diversity, social diversity, and other languages to produce a well-rounded background for students. Coursework is integrative and collaborative and fosters insight, understanding, independence, initiative, and the desire to reach across divides and redefine our relationship to the peoples and the worlds that surround us.
LA Core III: Linguistic Diversity (3-4 credits)
Proficiency through level IV in one world language
Foundational Requirements (21-30 credits)
Students must complete approved coursework that meet the following foundational outcomes.
- Humanities - all approved courses accepted.
- Behavioral/Social Science - all approved courses accepted.
- Information Literacy - all approved courses accepted.
- Science #1 - all approved courses accepted.
- Science #2 - all approved courses accepted.
- Science, Technology, and Society - all approved courses accepted.
- Written Communication - all approved courses accepted.
- Oral Communication - all approved courses accepted.
- Quantitative Reasoning - all approved courses accepted.
- Double counting of courses is allowed across the various categories.
- All accredited programs whose accreditation is threatened by CLA Core requirement, both professional BAs and BFAs, are exempt from Liberal Arts Core I & II in order to meet accreditation standards and requirements. Liberal Arts Core III: Linguistic Diversity is still required for such programs.
- “Degree +” students (students with a second major outside of Liberal Arts) are exempt from the CLA Core.
University Core Requirements
For a complete listing of University Core Course Selectives, visit the Provost’s Website.
- Human Cultures: Behavioral/Social Science (BSS)
- Human Cultures: Humanities (HUM)
- Information Literacy (IL)
- Oral Communication (OC)
- Quantitative Reasoning (QR)
- Science #1 (SCI)
- Science #2 (SCI)
- Science, Technology, and Society (STS)
- Written Communication (WC)
For current pre-requisites for courses, click here.
- 2.0 Graduation GPA required for Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.
- 32 credit hours at 30000 level or higher required for Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.
- Liberal Arts offers a streamlined plan of study for students pursuing a second degree outside of CLA. Contact the CLA Advising Office for more information.
World Language Courses
World Language proficiency requirements vary by program. The following list is inclusive of all world languages PWL offers for credit; for acceptable languages and proficiency levels, see your advisor.
ASL-American Sign Language
The ♦ course is considered critical.
In alignment with the Degree Map Guidance for Indiana’s Public Colleges and Universities, published by the Commission for Higher Education (pursuant to HEA 1348-2013), a Critical Course is identified as “one that a student must be able to pass to persist and succeed in a particular major. Students who want to be nurses, for example, should know that they are expected to be proficient in courses like biology in order to be successful. These would be identified by the institutions for each degree program”.
The student is ultimately responsible for knowing and completing all degree requirements.
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