Jul 13, 2024  
OHIO University Undergraduate Catalog 2015-16 
OHIO University Undergraduate Catalog 2015-16 [Archived Catalog]

Visual Communication, School of

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Scripps College of Communication
School of Visual Communication
250 Schoonover Center
Athens, OH 45701
Phone: 740.593.4898
Fax: 740.593.0190

Tim Goheen, Director
Rebecca Sell, Graduate Director

Visual Communication, The School of

The Scripps College of Communication offers a visual communication degree with four specialized sequences, built upon an interdisciplinary foundation. The School has been twice recognized as a Program of Excellence in photography and visual communication by the Ohio Board of Regents. Students earn a Bachelor of Science in Visual Communication degree.

The program is designed to provide students with a realistic, broad-based, professionally oriented education in visual communication, while providing a liberal arts background necessary for a strong academic foundation.

The Sequences

Information Design: Interactive

The Information Design (Interactive) sequence combines the professional practice of interactive and web design, user experience, and web development. Students do their storytelling through interactive websites, mobile platforms, and other methods including motion graphics (animation), video, informational graphics and data visualizations. Graduates of this program work as interactive designers, website developers, motion graphics designers and mobile app designers.

Information Design: Publication

The Information Design (Publication) sequence tells stories through design, typography and infographics and data visualization with the goal of creating dynamic and engaging publications that are online, in tablet form or in print. Graduates of this sequence work as magazine, newspaper, and tablet designers, information and data visualization designers, corporate public relations communications designers, and art, creative and communications directors.

Commercial Photography

The Commercial Photography sequence focuses on advertising photography, product and still-life photography, fashion and portrait photography, architectural and interior design photography, and the business aspects of operating a photographic studio. Commercial photography graduates go on to become studio owners, magazine photo editors, digital retouchers and photographers within the advertising industry.


Students who are interested in using photography as a communication tool to show people and situations without staging or controlling the subjects are suited for the photojournalism sequence. Graduates in this major work in the news and communication field, and undertake careers at magazines and newspapers. They also work as photo editors, event photographers, and multimedia and graphics editors.

Goals of the School

The goals of the School of Visual Communication are (1) to equip students with the necessary skills to be successful in the visual communication industry, and to provide them with the background and motivation to enable them to compete for leadership roles in the field; (2) to provide assistance and professional guidance in visual communication to working photographers, editors, and other personnel, newspapers, press services, magazines, industrial photographic departments, trade associations, multimedia and educational media production units, and cultural and scientific visual communicators; (3) to set high standards for visual integrity and communication ethics; and (4) to foster and promote scholarly research and creative activities.


In an effort to provide practical training, one advisor-approved internship is required for the degree in Visual Communication. Internships should be approximately 400 hours of paid and supervised work in your field. Any qualified student may compete for an internship. Many students have several internships before graduation.

In recent years, Ohio University visual communication students have worked in paid internships at newspapers magazines and in advertising, commercial photography, fashion industry, and web design. Internships have been available in almost all states and several international locations.

Many Ohio University visual communication students are active members of the Ohio News Photographers Association and other state press photographer groups, and are student members of the National Press Photographers Association, the Society for News Design, National Association of Black Journalists, and the American Society of Media Photographers. Ohio University students have been highly successful in state and national competitions sponsored by these organizations.

Bachelor of Science in Visual Communication

Admission Requirements—B.S.V.C.

The School of Visual Communication (VisCom) admits a limited number of students; the school seeks applicants who are academically and creatively talented, and who are engaged in their education. While the admission deadline is February 1, early applications are encouraged. All university application materials must be received by the deadline. After your file has been reviewed and you have been accepted to Ohio University, Undergrad Admissions will mail you an acceptance letter followed by an email inviting you to an Open House where you can visit VisCom facilities and meet members the faculty. Please feel free to bring examples of your creative work to the Open House to show faculty.

For additional information about general admission guidelines please visit the Undergraduate Admissions page at http://www.ohio.edu/admissions.

It is highly recommended that all students in the school have their own computer and a portable hard drive with at least 1 TB of data storage for use in completing class assignments. The OHIO University Bobcat Depot (http://bobcatdepot.ohio.edu/main/home.aspx) offers a lineup of portable Apple computers at attractive prices.

Students majoring in the Information Design (Publication and Interactive) sequences are required to have access to a computer with appropriate software by the time they enter VICO 1014, their first design class. Please contact the school for current hardware and software recommendations.

Photojournalism students entering VICO 2390, a photojournalism class (which is taken during the fall semester of one’s freshman year), must own or have full-time access to at least one professional-level 35mm DSLR camera, two lenses, and necessary accessories. One lens should have a 28mm or wider focal length (or digital equivalent) with an f/2.8 or faster aperture The second lens should be a 135mm to 200mm equivalent focal length, also with a f/2.8 or faster aperture. Zoom lenses are also acceptable if they meet the fixed aperture requirement of f/2.8. In addition, students must have a dedicated electronic flash and a suitable professional tripod.

Commercial Photography students entering VICO 2221, (which is taken during the spring semester of one’s sophomore year), a commercial photo class, are required to have full-time access to a professional-level dSLR of at least 12 mega-pixels. In addition to the camera, one wide-angle lens, one telephoto lens, (or two zoom lenses that cover these focal ranges) an electronic flash meter, and a professional tripod are also required. It is highly recommended that students purchase a portable hard drive with at least 1 TB of data storage.

Transfer Students

The School of Visual Communication will consider transfer students twice a year, and only when openings are available. As a selective admission program, there are a limited number of seats  available in each sequence. To accept a transfer student, an opening must become available. A very limited number of openings usually occur in each major sequence each academic year.

The following policy has been established by the School of Visual Communication as a means of selecting the best-qualified students for the program. The academic quality of the curriculum depends in part on maintaining enrollment at a number that may be effectively served by our faculty and our facilities. The school is dedicated to top-quality instruction, and this policy is one means to maintain that goal. Students transferring with over 60 hours of credit will find it difficult to complete the school’s curriculum in two additional years.

Here are the procedures:

  • If you are transferring from another institution, you must be accepted by Ohio University first and you must have a 3.0 or higher GPA at the time of transfer.
  • If you are an Ohio University student, you must attend a transfer information session held at 10 a.m. on the 4th Friday of each term.
  • For Ohio University students, if there are openings in the sequence you are seeking, a sign-up sheet will be placed in the VisCom office on the Monday of the 8th week of the term for interviews the following Friday.
  • Ohio University students must bring a current copy of your DARS or transcript, a resume, three letters of recommendation, a statement of intent letter, and a portfolio to the interview.
  • Successful applicants will be enrolled conditionally, and then have two consecutive terms to complete VICO 1000 and JOUR 1330 with a grade of C or better before final admission.

Transfer sequence requirements for students inside the School of Visual Communication:

Students with 30 to 60 earned credit hours may apply to transfer sequences within the school after meeting with their adviser and making a written request to the school’s faculty. Faculty approval and available openings in the requested major sequence are considered before students will be allowed to transfer sequences.

Students with over 60 earned hours must meet the same transfer requirements as non-VisCom majors.


    Bachelor of Science in Visual Communication

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