Visual Communications Curriculum

The Visual Communications curriculum combines photography, writing, graphic design and critical thinking skills with essential learning in ethics and communications law. You’ll graduate from our program with the ability to work and think on a big-picture level, as well as becoming proficient with the latest technology and developing your critical thinking skills. 

All students take foundational courses in:

Multimedia Storytelling

Working in collaborative teams, students write, design and produce short fiction and non-fiction stories using digital media and the Internet. Emphasis on how story structures change with audience and delivery system.

Introduction to Graphic Design

Teaches underlying principles of visual communications and the fundamental strategies, tools and practices of graphic design; emphasizes visual problem-solving, including conceptualization, typography, layout, image editing and production of print and digital communications.

Introduction to Photography for Multimedia

Explores basic creative principles including composition and lighting; provides technical instruction; develops workflow and post-production processes; and teaches basic editing principles-all in the context of communications photography and multimedia storytelling.

Take a closer list at the courses for each track:

Photojournalism and Editorial Photography Track Courses:

VIS 301

Video and Photography

This course advances students use of creative principles in lighting, composition and storytelling, and expands on technical skills in both video and photography.

VIS 324

Light and Concept

Course assumes foundational skills in camera controls. This course focuses on developing technical and conceptual lighting and postproduction skills used in still and video productions to create compelling editorial and commercial content in studio and on location. 

VIS 405

Photographic Storytelling

Teaches principles and practices of photojournalistic/documentary/editorial storytelling for print, multimedia and video contexts. Topics include news, features, portraits and sports photography; picture story and essay production. 

VIS 425

Visual Editing and Project Development

Teaches students how to develop and edit their own work through semester-long projects while also editing the work of outstanding professionals and analyzing aspects of the editing profession. 

VIS 439

Advanced Projects

Focuses on developing and collecting content for advanced photo and video/multimedia projects; emphasizes creativity, work ethic, personal intention and community-building skills in the service of becoming a better visual communicator. Additional work is required of graduate students.

VIS 485

Multimedia and Photojournalism Capstone

Students work individually and in collaboration to produce advanced still and multimedia photojournalism projects and develop portfolios that reflect their brand.

Top | Photojournalism | Advertising | Graphic Design | Cinematography

Commercial and Advertising Photography Track Courses:

VIS 301

Video and Photography

This course advances students use of creative principles in lighting, composition and storytelling, and expands on technical skills in both video and photography.

VIS 324

Light and Concept

Course assumes foundational skills in camera controls. This course focuses on developing technical and conceptual lighting and postproduction skills used in still and video productions to create compelling editorial and commercial content in studio and on location. 

VIS 405

Photographic Storytelling

Teaches principles and practices of photojournalistic/documentary/editorial storytelling for print, multimedia and video contexts. Topics include news, features, portraits and sports photography; picture story and essay production. 

VIS 434

Commercial and Advertising Photography and Multimedia

This course focuses on production of advanced commercial and advertising content for multimedia and print.  It builds on skills learned in previous lighting courses, while emphasizing professional business practices and working with live talent.

VIS 439

Advanced Projects

Focuses on developing and collecting content for advanced photo and video/multimedia projects; emphasizes creativity, work ethic, personal intention and community-building skills in the service of becoming a better visual communicator.

VIS 484

Commercial and Advertising Photo Capstone

Students work individually and in collaboration to produce advanced still and multimedia commercial projects and develop portfolios that reflect their brand.

Top | Photojournalism | Advertising | Graphic Design | Cinematography

Graphic Design Track Courses:

VIS 317

Typographic Design

Explores essential history, concepts, skills and strategies for thoughtful and informed typographic decision-making in creating elegant and smart design solutions. Focuses on typeface design, the setting of text, and visual strategies.

VIS 327

Type and Image Design

Intermediate course for graphic design majors builds on foundational principles and skills in design, writing and imaging. Students create original print and digital design projects while also considering budgeting and processes.

VIS 447

Motion Design

Teaches technology and strategies in motion graphics and how to build rich storytelling experiences for publication on multiple platforms. Students create multimedia productions using still imagery, video, audio and type. 

VIS 457

User Interface and User Experience (UI/UX) Design

Students will utilize design thinking to create human-centered experiences and useable interfaces for web and mobile, including an interactive prototype for a UI/UX project package.

VIS 467

Immersive Design

This advanced course teaches how to design and build immersive digital environments for the communications industry.  Students explore best practices and theories, and develop the skills and vocabulary to design for mixed-realities using cutting edge technology.

VIS 487

Design Capstone

Students work individually and in collaboration to produce advanced graphic design projects and develop portfolios that reflect their brand.

Top | Photojournalism | Advertising | Graphic Design | Cinematography

Cinematography Track Courses: 

CIN 313

Cinematography Fundamentals

Students explore the fundamentals of digital cinematography art and science utilizing large sensor digital cinema cameras and modern lighting instruments.

CIN 323

Cinematic Light and Lens

Students explore lighting design, grip & lighting instruments, lensing strategies and lens characteristics emphasizing application in cinematic storytelling.

VIS 403

Nonfiction Video Storytelling

Students explore production practices, digital image capture, sound capture, and postproduction processes used to tell compelling nonfiction stories. 

CIN 433

Cinematic Storytelling

Students deepen their understanding of cinematographic art and craft. Emphasis on interpreting scripts from different genres into cinematic images.

CIN 510

Topics in Cinematography

Development of skills that enhance cinematographic storytelling. Different sections will focus on different specialized production practices such as camera movement, previsualization, emerging cinematography, color grading, and virtual cinematography.

TRF 510

Specialized Practice

These four-week mini-courses provide specific areas of study not covered in depth in other courses. Examples: Production Management, Budgeting, Color Correction, Editing, Lighting, Location Sound, Videography, and others based on faculty and student interest.

CIN 483

Cinematography Capstone

Students work individually and in collaboration to produce advanced cinematography projects and develop work portfolios that reflect their brand.

Top | Photojournalism | Advertising | Graphic Design | Cinematography