May 30, 2023  
2014-2015 University Catalog 
2014-2015 University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Visual Communications Design, BA

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About the Program

Visual Communications Design (VCD) develops students as problem seekers with the capacity to plan communication strategies and form effective visual products. The curriculum is structured to prepare students for a profession that is evolving rapidly influences by computer technology advances. Students are encouraged to master the technical skills involved in typography, image generation, visual structure, and composition, as well as to think conceptually, articulate ideas, and critically evaluate the form making process. Students interested in VCD combine words, ideas and images in original ways to convey information and promote ideas to targeted audiences.

Points of Pride

  • VCD is one of the majors housed in the new Visual and Performing Arts Building, a state-of-the-art facility built specifically for the visual and performing arts at Purdue. The building includes computer labs built specifically for the VCD program.
  • Purdue has a student chapter of the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA).

Special note regarding portfolio review: An art portfolio is not required to begin this major. However, students are required to pass a selective portfolio review in the spring of their sophomore year at Purdue to advance to upper-level design and complete this major. Selection is competitive and is based on the student’s work in Purdue art and design courses and development as a designer. Students not selected for upper-level VCD work with their academic advisor to change to their second choice major.

Summary of Program Requirements

The Summary of Program Requirements for Visual Communications Design  is a comprehensive list of those categories which a student must fulfill in order to earn their degree. Unlike the full Detailed Program Requirements listed below, complete lists of selectives for any given category are not shown. These summaries are intended to be printer-friendly and less expansive in detail.

Detailed Program Requirements

Please see below for detailed program requirements and possible selective fulfillments.

Design Studies-BA
120 Credits

Visual Communications Design Major Requirements (44 credits)

Prerequisite to Major

  • - Students must complete and achieve a GPA of 3.0/4.0 in pre-visual communications design course before taking ANY additional Visual Communications Design courses.

C. Sophomore Portfolio Review

All Visual Communications 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 VCD 33200 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.


(F) Offered fall semester only (S) Offered spring semester only

Other Departmental /Program Course Requirements (54 - 56 credits)

Other Departmental /Program Course Requirements

Electives (22 - 24 credits)

University Core Requirements

  • Human Cultures Humanities
  • Human Cultures Behavioral/Social Science
  • Information Literacy
  • Science #1
  • Science #2
  • Science, Technology, and Society
  • Written Communication
  • Oral Communication
  • Quantitative Reasoning

Program Requirements

Fall 1st Year

15-16 Credits

15-16 Credits

Fall 2nd Year

15-16 Credits

Spring 2nd Year

15-16 Credits

Fall 3rd Year

15 Credits

Spring 3rd Year

15 Credits

Fall 4th Year

15 Credits

Spring 4th Year

15 Credits


120 semester credits required for Bachelor of Arts degree.

2.0 Graduation GPA required for Bachelor of Arts degree.

32 credit hours at 30000 level or higher required for Bachelor of Arts degree.

Degree Requirements

The student is ultimately responsible for knowing and completing all degree requirements.

Degree Works is knowledge source for specific requirements and completion

Foreign Language Courses

Foreign Language proficiency requirements vary by program.  For acceptable languages and proficiency levels, see your advisor:

American Sign Language, Arabic, Chinese, French, German, (ancient) Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish

Critical Course

The ♦ course is considered critical. A Critical Course is one that a student must be able to pass to persist and succeed in a particular major.

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