Online Communication Design Degree Programs

Communication design degrees combine graphic design, advertising, writing, art direction and many other fields. Although programs specifically in communication design are hard to find online, you can pursue related online undergraduate programs in areas like graphic design and multimedia. Learn about your degree options, the online format and coursework. Get more info on job options in the communication design field. Schools offering Communication Design & Interactive Media degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Levels of Communication Design Degrees Can I Pursue?

A degree in communication design combines the study of art, design, advertising, writing and production with other disciplines. You can pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Communication Design at a traditional college campus, but this degree isn't available online. If you're interested in online study, you can choose from many related degrees and certificates, such as an associate's degree in graphic design and multimedia or a Bachelor of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications and Design. These types of programs focus heavily on the visual aspect of communication design and are more common at private, for-profit online schools. Programs related to visual communication are more plentiful at the associate's and bachelor's degree level, but graduate programs are also available.

Degree OptionsBachelor's degree in communication design are on-campus; related degrees can be found online
Online Course StructureNo special requirements other than software that may be required by your school
Common CoursesDigital imaging and illustration, art history, principles of design, marketing fundamentals
Career OptionsArt director, advertising executive, graphic designer, creative director

How Does the Online Program Work?

Online components vary depending on the type of visual communication program, whether it be marketing communications, multimedia or graphic design, but many programs related to communication design are available fully online and allow you to work at your own pace. Instructors are available for support via e-mail, sometimes even on the weekend or during evening hours. Assignments and quizzes may have due dates, but you generally don't need to log in to the programs' course management system at specific times. You may receive textbooks in the mail, and you may utilize e-mail and discussion boards to work on group projects with fellow students.

What Courses Will I Take?

Coursework varies depending on the type of visual communication degree that you pursue, but you can expect to study topics related to graphic design, Web design, advertising, publications, public relations and business. An associate's degree in this field takes roughly two years to complete and a bachelor's degree generally requires at least four years of study; both undergraduate programs have general education course requirements. The following are some typical courses you might take in an undergraduate visual communication, marketing communications, Web design or graphic design program, which all share characteristics of an on-campus communication design degree program. Visual communications degrees with a design focus include more courses in art and design, while those with a marketing communications focus include more business and marketing classes.

  • Marketing fundamentals
  • Advanced Web design
  • Advertising and branding
  • Principles of design
  • Print design and publication
  • Art history
  • Global marketing issues
  • Computer applications
  • Digital imaging and illustration

What Can I Do With a Visual Communication Degree?

Undergraduate programs in visual communications, marketing communications, graphic design and multimedia can prepare you for a wide variety of creative careers. Those programs that are focused on visual communication and design are more likely to prepare graduates for design positions, while marketing communication degrees are more likely to lead to careers in advertising or marketing. Some potential career options, depending on the focus of the degree program, include:

  • Advertising executive
  • Creative director
  • Graphic designer
  • Production designer
  • Web designer
  • Illustrator
  • Art director
  • Publication designer

Combined with experience in the field, degrees in visual communications, whether focused on design or marketing, can prepare graduates for careers as art directors or creative directions. As an art director, you can work for a variety of design or advertising firms, managing the design and presentation of a wide variety of media. You'll be involved in a project from concept to completion and will have final say over what is presented to the client. Salaries vary depending on industry and location, but the mean annual wage for art directors in 2014 was $97,850, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov).

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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