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Visual Communication & Digital Media Arts Major

Program Requirements


Program Requirements and Information

The Visual Communication and Digital Media Arts program is one that enables and empowers students for a career in visual communications and media arts. Students who follow this concentration are introduced to opportunities in graphic design, digital art and imaging, and multimedia. By building upon foundation courses, students merge skills in art, technology, and communication.

Currently, this program leads to the Bachelor’s of Science degree in VCDMA. Additionally, students from other departments may seek to minor in VCDMA and should develop a track scheme with faculty in VCDMA. The minimum number of semester hours required for the bachelor's degree is 120–123 depending on the concentration. Students who choose to concentrate in a particular area must consult with a VCDMA faculty advisor.

The original BA program was replaced by the new BS degree and major in VCDMA with (5) five, new concentrations in Advertising Design, Digital Media Arts, Digital Cinema and Time-Based Media, Animation and Motion Graphics and Fashion Design. All current and incoming freshmen and transfer students must follow the new BS program.

  • To strengthen students’ knowledge, demonstrative skill, and application of visual communication, digital art, and the elements and principles of art & design
  • To produce students that are highly qualified for various opportunities and careers in visual communication, new media, and the digital arts
  • To provide the global community with visual artists that are critical thinkers, problem solvers, as well as culturally, socially and environmentally conscious designers, creators and producers
  • To provide fine arts majors a survey of courses in design, including new media, web/multimedia, installation art, fashion design, and product design
  • To assist students in career and future educational pursuits by networking with the professionals in the visual communication and media industry
  • To provide students access to state-of-the art design, digital imaging and multimedia technology, as well as the ability to conduct research and participate in collaborative, sustainable and interdisciplinary projects
  • To introduce students to visual and media artists, designers, and especially those of color who have contributed to the field of technology, art/design, and media, and to further introduce contemporary visual artists/designers incorporating art and technology into their creative work and in industry

Admission Requirements

The student must officially declare fine arts as a major in VCDMA (and select a concentration) by entering it on his/her initial application for admission or by submitting the Declaration of Major form. Students are entered as premajors and then after passing appropriate portfolios reviews, coursework, etc. students move onto becoming majors.

All students applying for admission to visual communication and digital media arts are required to demonstrate their skills via a portfolio that highlights ten (or more) examples of professional artwork; design, illustration, ceramics, drawing, sculpture, digital art/graphics, photography, and painting.

This should be submitted via a CD-ROM or DVD-ROM or through slides. Work should be labeled with title, brief description, medium, and dimensions. Students must also take the necessary prerequisites carefully read course descriptions and meet with their academic advisor BEFORE registering for any class. The academic advisor must approve all courses before registration.

Students must also download, read, complete and provide each full-time VCDMA faculty member, VCDMA program coordinator and additional full-time faculty with the VCDMA Portfolio Review Form. This form must be provided with each digital portfolio on a CD-R or DVD, as well as a link to students' online portfolio.

Transfer Students 

Transfer students are expected to present/maintain a comprehensive portfolio of their work prior to acceptance in the department, meet with the VCDMA academic advisor, and complete a transfer credit evaluation and meeting. Contact the DFPA's office or the registrar's office for more information.

Minor in VCDMA 

A minor in VCDMA (and in a specific area of concentration) requires completion of 21 studio hours and 3 semester hours in art history, for total of 24 credit hours. Students seeking to minor must meet with a faculty advisor to design a program based on the students' needs and program requirements. See VCDMA Minors (pdf) for a list of courses and also consult with VCDMA Program Coordinator/Advisor.

Special Requirements

Students must also successfully pass the English Proficiency Exam. It is recommended that the exam be taken after successful completion of English 101 & 102 and before the end of the junior year.

Portfolio Requirement

ALL VCDMA students are expected to keep a comprehensive portfolio of their work for periodic inspection; to participate in student art exhibitions, and faculty reviews in order to proceed to the junior level and graduation. Students are also required to maintain this portfolio as well as a sketchbook, blog and other sources of documentation and research. A final exhibition and final portfolio assessment/review is required to graduate. Be sure to visit and get useful information on portfolio tips here, as well as internships and careers on the VCDMA Resource page.

Art & Design History Requirement

Students must also complete a minimum of (12) twelve credit hours in art/design history with a mandatory requirement of ART *404 History of Modern Art/VCDM 367 Design History/VCDM 365 Fashion History/VCDM 394 History of Animation (*based on specific concentration, see advisement sheet and or advisor for details).

Graduation Requirements

Students concentrating in VCDMA or art must earn at least a grade of “C” in courses taken in the major (this includes ART/VCDMA, MUSIC and THEATRE courses within the DFPA). Otherwise the course(s) must be repeated. Students who show evidence of fundamental weakness in an area of will be required by the advisor and/or department chair to take additional course work in that area.

VCDMA students are required to present/maintain a comprehensive portfolio of their work for periodic inspection and to participate in all student art exhibitions and faculty reviews in order to:

  1. proceed to the junior level
  2. for their senior thesis and as part of their requirements for graduation

These reviews and the successful completion of VCDM 498 Senior Thesis are requirements for graduation. A portfolio review form must be provided with each digital portfolio on a CD-R or DVD, as well as a link to students' online portfolio.

Senior Thesis 

Students should also review and refer to the VCDMA Senior Thesis Proposal Guide  and the VCDMA Senior Thesis & Exhibition Requirements

All VCDMA Students are required to submit a minimum 2-page, typed proposal (with additional sketches, maquettes, storyboards, mood boards or fashion patterns, etc., online and physical portfolio, blog, sketchbook) – based on a specific area of concentration and based on proposed final exhibition and theme before taking VCDM 498. The entire body of senior thesis exhibition work must be approved and completed a minimum of one semester prior to taking VCDM 498, one year before is highly suggested.  Students are also required to maintain a sketchbook during their matriculation at Bowie State University. Please refer to Thesis Proposal Guidelines for assistance and directions for typing the thesis proposal.

VCDMA Faculty must approve this senior thesis proposal (typed) before a student can take the course and/or mount their final show. This proposal must demonstrate a specific theme, concept or area of focus within a student's given concentration and area of research, and successful mastery in the artwork as well as writing for and about the work; and again in an area of discipline specific to VCDMA.

These items should be submitted with portfolio at least one semester prior to taking VCDM 498, and must be approved by at least (3) full-time VCDMA/ART faculty members, including the VCDMA Program Coordinator/Advisor. Students must also plan their final exhibition with permission and approval of Gallery Director, and follow all requirements for mounting a professional exhibition in the BSU Gallery.

Students are also required to complete a final assessment of their senior show, exit survey and final portfolio review in order to meet graduation requirements. Students who fail to adhere to this policy may be in jeopardy of not graduating or in being asked to leave the program. Students are also required to complete an internship or apprenticeship by taking VCDM 491 Internship in Art and Visual Communication in their respective career field prior to graduation.


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