What will I learn?

The MFA Program in Design/Visual Communications prepares graduate students to assume a leadership role in a complex and expanding profession. To this end, the program develops the philosophy and personal direction of each student and focuses their resources on functional and expressive visual communications. Students concentrate on the philosophical, communicative, and aesthetic relationships of visual problem solving and the interacting skills leading to the effective articulation of concepts.

The graduate program in Visual Communications is oriented toward individuals interested in conducting visual or theoretical research, and in investigating the intersection of function and expression in design problem solving. The faculty emphasizes a rigorous theoretical framework, an historical perspective, and an awareness of contemporary issues as the basis for addressing present and future communication problems.

The program encourages and actively integrates ethical issues and a concern for the natural environment into its curriculum. Faculty continually stress the contextual significance and influence of visual communications design on society and culture and its capacity to affect both the perception and reality of the individual’s quality of life.

Student Learning Outcomes:

1) Students will be able to present fluent verbal and written explanations of research and studio activities.

2) Students will develop a personal vocabulary, approach and vision in creative work.

3) Students will demonstrate a knowledge of historical, social, and cultural perspectives in relation to visual communications and clarify how they influence work.

4) Students will develop the ability to create expressive forms and use them to communicate appropriately.

Which department am I in?

School of the Arts

Study options

Full Time (60 credit hours)

Tuition fees
US$25,956.00 per year

*Price shown is for indicative purposes, please check with institution

Start date

23 August 2022


School of the Arts

325 North Harrison Street,



23284, United States

Entry requirements

For students from United States

Qualified applicants typically have a baccalaureate degree with a major in fields such as biology, chemistry, biochemistry, pharmacy and related sciences. Successful applicants will typically have the following credentials: 300 (verbal plus quantitative) and 3.5 analytical GRE scores (or equivalent scores on the new GRE exam), undergraduate GPA of 3.2 and some laboratory research experience.

For international students

In addition to the general admission requirements of the VCU Graduate School, applicants must have taken 36 undergraduate credit hours in studio art that should include a minimum of 20 credit hours in visual communications and/or related fields. Under special circumstances, these requirements may be waived.

The university minimum TOEFL score requirement is 550 (paper-based) or 80 (Internet-based). The university minimum IELTS score requirement is 6.5. The PTE is also accepted with a minimum score of 65. Deadline: Fall - Jan 15.

*There may be different IELTS requirements depending on your chosen course.


About Virginia Commonwealth University

Virginia Commonwealth University is a top 100 research university and number one public postgraduate arts school in the US.

  • VCU is one of the top 3 research universities in Virginia
  • 21% growth in sponsored awards in a 10-year period
  • 1,600 international students from 108 countries
  • 173-acre campus in downtown Richmond

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