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Major Maps

Strategic Enrollment Management and Student Success

Visit majormaps.vcu.edu for the online version with links.
Sponsored by the Office of the Provost
Major map compass icon [View Image]
2021-2022

Communication Arts

School of the Arts

Concentration(s):
Scientific Illustration, Visual Effects
Program description

Communication Arts is the program of narrative illustration and entertainment design. Students in Communication Arts explore the powerful and timeless relationship between art and narrative through drawing. A Bachelor of Fine Arts in Communication Arts will help to broaden your artistic skills and conceptual understandings while giving you the opportunity to explore and expand your interests in observational drawing, digital image making, concept design, comics and graphic novels, storyboarding, and mixed-media illustration.

Career opportunities

The Bachelor of Science in Communication Arts helps develop creative, flexible, and multidisciplinary artists who enjoy greater career possibilities in an increasingly competitive global job market. Our career markets span all opportunities involving narrative illustration and entertainment design including 3D modeling, storyboarding and comics, professional illustration, and visual effects.

Change of major requirements

Completion of the Art Foundation Program is a prerequisite for entry into all fine art and design departments.

Students are required to submit their application and required portfolio here.


Typical application deadlines are November 1 (for spring applicants) and April 1 (for fall applicants).


Bachelor-level job titles
  • 3D Environment/Character Artist
  • Character Designer
  • Comic Book Artist
  • Concept Artist
  • Game Designer
  • Infographics Artist
  • Motion Graphics Artist/Animator
  • Scientific Illustrator
  • Storyboard Artist
  • Visual Effects Artist
Graduate and professional level job titles
  • Consultant
  • Director of Communications
  • Editor
  • Public Relations Manager
Highest level of math required
  • Quantitative Foundations requirement only
Science required
  • Natural Sciences requirement only
Foreign language requirements
  • No
Additional tuition/fees
  • Yes
GPA requirements (to progress/graduate in the major)
  • 2.0+ cumulative GPA to graduate, 2.0+ major GPA to graduate
Department name:
Department of Communication Arts
Building/room location:
Franklin Terrace, Suite 201
Campus (where 75% of courses are taken):
Monroe park
Phone:
(804) 828-3658
Email:
bbirchett@vcu.edu

Major map compass icon [View Image]
Major map

Explore
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE
GET REAL EXPERIENCE
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE

Experience
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
  • Schedule an appointment with your advisor to explore minors, certificates, and plan your required REAL experience.
  • Get familiar with the research process with the VCU Libraries Research Basics Guide.
  • Talk to professors about your research interests, electives, and strategies for success in your classes.
  • Explore innovation and business/non-profit creation classes with the da Vinci Center.
  • Learn the foundational and technical skills needed to master upper-level studio coursework.
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
  • Discuss personal and professional interests with faculty.
  • Take a service-learning class to get involved with local organizations while earning credit.
  • Volunteer to address a social issue and check out Hands on Greater Richmond for opportunities.
  • Learn about the Sophomore Year Experience in Cary & Belvedere.
  • If living on campus, join the Residence Hall Association.
  • Learn about opportunities and connect with diverse groups and associations through OMSA events.
  • Attend student art exhibitions, Richmond’s First Fridays art walk, and other regional art events.
BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE
  • Make friends with diverse perspectives and join a cultural or identity-related student organization.
  • Explore social issues, develop cultural competency skills, and engage with faculty through iExcel pop-up courses.
  • Investigate globally-focused courses in your major by pursuing language coursework or setting language proficiency goals with advisors and faculty.
  • Apply for the Critical Languages Scholarship.
GET REAL EXPERIENCE
  • Complete a gap analysis with your career advisor to identify key skills required for your professional field.
  • Seek out practical experience through independent skill-building, internships, shadowing, or part-time work.
  • Explore global career options with a career advisor to set goals for getting your dream job.
  • Organize examples of your academic and professional experiences, accomplishments, and reflections in an ePortfolio.
  • Attend career and internship fairs and other professional development events.
  • Pursue a digital badge to highlight the knowledge, skills, and experiences employers and graduate schools value.
  • Be involved with VCUarts service learning programs and courses, exhibition and community project opportunities, clubs and organizations, and the Dean’s Grants.
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
  • Connect with alumni on VCULink for career advice, industry contacts, and meaningful professional relationships.
  • Conduct informational interviews or shadow someone in a field of professional interest.
  • Ask a faculty or staff member to be your academic and professional mentor and to provide future letters of recommendation.
  • Meet with a coach at The Money Spot to set financial goals, understand student loans, and create spending plans.
  • Talk to your professors about what electives can help lead to your dream job: consider the skills you will need and choose classes to get the most out of your learning experience.

Experience
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
  • See your academic and career advisors to discuss graduation progress and career planning.
  • Enhance your business, software, technology, and creative skills using LinkedIn Learning.
  • Research and experiment with your art projects to practice mindful learning.
  • Connect with programs, opportunities, and groups in which you are interested.
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE
  • Build language proficiency and cultural competence by carrying out your plans for study abroad, internships, and service-learning.
  • Update your resume to include how you have developed your communication and interpersonal skills for future work on multidisciplinary and multicultural teams.
  • Get required REAL experience and effect community change by using iExcel’s Active Citizen’s Toolkit to vote and volunteer.
  • Explore new cultures at one of Richmond’s wide array of festivals.
  • Prepare for future work on multidisciplinary and multicultural teams by showcasing your interpersonal skills on your resume.
  • Research and speak to your advisor about courses and arts opportunities that connect you to our diverse communities and communities across the world.   
GET REAL EXPERIENCE
  • Take advantage of mock interview opportunities through InterviewStream or meeting with a career advisor.
  • Update your ePortfolio.
  • Apply for the Graduate School Mentorship Program to learn more about graduate school and the graduate student experience.
  • Secure any internship and independent study opportunities you have been considering.
  • Take advantage of opportunities like being published in our VCU magazines or having your work displayed in The Anderson.
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
  • Discuss possible directions in the arts as they relate to your goals and courses.
  • Make a plan with your academic, career, and faculty advisors for applying to graduate school or land a micro-internship.
  • Study for and complete any standardized exams required for graduate school the summer before senior year. 
  • Prepare for job offer negotiation by researching salaries, benefits, and other opportunities for flexibility.
  • Create a professional online resource of your work and arts endeavors.

Excel
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
  • Schedule an appointment with your academic advisor the semester before you graduate to ensure that all graduation requirements will be met.
  • Choose REAL electives to diversify your skillset and round out your degree.
  • Maximize your final year with every opportunity that is relevant to your postgraduate goal and discuss the best options with your advisor and faculty.
  • Discuss your senior projects with your professors & advisor. Consider ways you intend to display your work in our Communication Arts Senior Expo.
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE
  • Carry out globally-oriented research projects with multilingual faculty and international partners.
  • Read scholarly articles about diversity in your field.
  • Master your answers to interview questions about your experience working with diverse populations.
  • Plan for how you will grow your cultural agility after graduation.
  • Attend cultural and diverse events for additional skills that translate into future successes.
GET REAL EXPERIENCE
  • Meet with your academic or professional mentor and identify examples of your experiential learning to share with employers.
  • Publish your original research in Auctus: The Journal of Undergraduate Research and Creativity.
  • Consider becoming an educator through programs like RTR, which prepare graduates from a variety of majors to become teachers in high-need schools.
  • Connect with organizations in your scope and career direction like the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators (GNSI).
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
  • Prepare for graduation by making a plan to complete licensing exams, applications, and self-marketing activities.
  • Single out prospective employers and create a job or graduate school search strategy at least 8 months before graduation.
  • Have a personal statement or cover letter reviewed by Career Services. 
  • Connect with the Office of VCU Alumni Relations at Grad Fair, Grad Bash, and the VCULink Industry Network or alumni chapter.
Visit majormaps.vcu.edu for the online version with links.
Sponsored by the Office of the Provost
Major map compass icon [View Image]
2021-2022

Communication Arts

School of the Arts

Concentration(s):
Scientific Illustration, Visual Effects
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNINGGET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITYBUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCEGET REAL EXPERIENCEPREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
ExploreYear 1
ExperienceYear 2
  • Schedule an appointment with your advisor to explore minors, certificates, and plan your required REAL experience.
  • Get familiar with the research process with the VCU Libraries Research Basics Guide.
  • Talk to professors about your research interests, electives, and strategies for success in your classes.
  • Explore innovation and business/non-profit creation classes with the da Vinci Center.
  • Learn the foundational and technical skills needed to master upper-level studio coursework.
  • Discuss personal and professional interests with faculty.
  • Take a service-learning class to get involved with local organizations while earning credit.
  • Volunteer to address a social issue and check out Hands on Greater Richmond for opportunities.
  • Learn about the Sophomore Year Experience in Cary & Belvedere.
  • If living on campus, join the Residence Hall Association.
  • Learn about opportunities and connect with diverse groups and associations through OMSA events.
  • Attend student art exhibitions, Richmond’s First Fridays art walk, and other regional art events.
  • Make friends with diverse perspectives and join a cultural or identity-related student organization.
  • Explore social issues, develop cultural competency skills, and engage with faculty through iExcel pop-up courses.
  • Investigate globally-focused courses in your major by pursuing language coursework or setting language proficiency goals with advisors and faculty.
  • Apply for the Critical Languages Scholarship.
  • Complete a gap analysis with your career advisor to identify key skills required for your professional field.
  • Seek out practical experience through independent skill-building, internships, shadowing, or part-time work.
  • Explore global career options with a career advisor to set goals for getting your dream job.
  • Organize examples of your academic and professional experiences, accomplishments, and reflections in an ePortfolio.
  • Attend career and internship fairs and other professional development events.
  • Pursue a digital badge to highlight the knowledge, skills, and experiences employers and graduate schools value.
  • Be involved with VCUarts service learning programs and courses, exhibition and community project opportunities, clubs and organizations, and the Dean’s Grants.
  • Connect with alumni on VCULink for career advice, industry contacts, and meaningful professional relationships.
  • Conduct informational interviews or shadow someone in a field of professional interest.
  • Ask a faculty or staff member to be your academic and professional mentor and to provide future letters of recommendation.
  • Meet with a coach at The Money Spot to set financial goals, understand student loans, and create spending plans.
  • Talk to your professors about what electives can help lead to your dream job: consider the skills you will need and choose classes to get the most out of your learning experience.
Year 3
  • See your academic and career advisors to discuss graduation progress and career planning.
  • Enhance your business, software, technology, and creative skills using LinkedIn Learning.
  • Research and experiment with your art projects to practice mindful learning.
  • Connect with programs, opportunities, and groups in which you are interested.
  • Build language proficiency and cultural competence by carrying out your plans for study abroad, internships, and service-learning.
  • Update your resume to include how you have developed your communication and interpersonal skills for future work on multidisciplinary and multicultural teams.
  • Get required REAL experience and effect community change by using iExcel’s Active Citizen’s Toolkit to vote and volunteer.
  • Explore new cultures at one of Richmond’s wide array of festivals.
  • Prepare for future work on multidisciplinary and multicultural teams by showcasing your interpersonal skills on your resume.
  • Research and speak to your advisor about courses and arts opportunities that connect you to our diverse communities and communities across the world.   
  • Take advantage of mock interview opportunities through InterviewStream or meeting with a career advisor.
  • Update your ePortfolio.
  • Apply for the Graduate School Mentorship Program to learn more about graduate school and the graduate student experience.
  • Secure any internship and independent study opportunities you have been considering.
  • Take advantage of opportunities like being published in our VCU magazines or having your work displayed in The Anderson.
  • Discuss possible directions in the arts as they relate to your goals and courses.
  • Make a plan with your academic, career, and faculty advisors for applying to graduate school or land a micro-internship.
  • Study for and complete any standardized exams required for graduate school the summer before senior year. 
  • Prepare for job offer negotiation by researching salaries, benefits, and other opportunities for flexibility.
  • Create a professional online resource of your work and arts endeavors.
ExcelYear 4
  • Schedule an appointment with your academic advisor the semester before you graduate to ensure that all graduation requirements will be met.
  • Choose REAL electives to diversify your skillset and round out your degree.
  • Maximize your final year with every opportunity that is relevant to your postgraduate goal and discuss the best options with your advisor and faculty.
  • Discuss your senior projects with your professors & advisor. Consider ways you intend to display your work in our Communication Arts Senior Expo.
  • Carry out globally-oriented research projects with multilingual faculty and international partners.
  • Read scholarly articles about diversity in your field.
  • Master your answers to interview questions about your experience working with diverse populations.
  • Plan for how you will grow your cultural agility after graduation.
  • Attend cultural and diverse events for additional skills that translate into future successes.
  • Meet with your academic or professional mentor and identify examples of your experiential learning to share with employers.
  • Publish your original research in Auctus: The Journal of Undergraduate Research and Creativity.
  • Consider becoming an educator through programs like RTR, which prepare graduates from a variety of majors to become teachers in high-need schools.
  • Connect with organizations in your scope and career direction like the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators (GNSI).
  • Prepare for graduation by making a plan to complete licensing exams, applications, and self-marketing activities.
  • Single out prospective employers and create a job or graduate school search strategy at least 8 months before graduation.
  • Have a personal statement or cover letter reviewed by Career Services. 
  • Connect with the Office of VCU Alumni Relations at Grad Fair, Grad Bash, and the VCULink Industry Network or alumni chapter.
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