Women preparing for a wedding in Liberia. Photo by Kathleen Flynn.

Visual Communications

What will you show the world?

The Visual Communications department prepares students for photography, video and design careers in various traditional and emerging fields. Our industry-tested faculty teach students how to thrive in industries that create content for mass public consumption. The photos, videos and designs they produce—usually for a specific employer or client—serve the public with compelling imagery, stories and solutions that inform, inspire and make a difference.

Students can earn bachelor's degrees in photography or graphic design, or a master's degree in multimedia, photography and design. Visual Communications also offers a minor in communications photography to Syracuse University students outside of Newhouse.

Photography (undergraduate)
The photography major can include video, still photography or both and falls into two general tracks: 1) Photojournalism and Editorial and 2) Commercial and Advertising. Photojournalism/editorial students tell real-life stories about people in ordinary and extraordinary situations, capturing aspects of life in front of the camera as they happen (non-fiction/documentary/news/magazine/sports). Commercial/advertising students focus on creating images of situations that wouldn’t otherwise exist (fiction/illustrative/portraiture/still life/studio). A unique aspect of our program is that all photo students also take courses in the other track to broaden their reach into the marketplace.

Graphic design (undergraduate)
Graphic design is a critical component in nearly every form of visual communications, whether print, digital or virtual. This program emphasizes human-centered design and offers courses that focus on motion graphics, typographic design, branding, publication design, user interface (UI)/user experience (UX), and immersive design (alternate reality/virtual reality), all of which help prepare students for work in a wide variety of fields, including motion graphics, branding, advertising, magazines, web and mobile design, social media, newspapers and books. Some designers find themselves working on/with/in a combination of these. A unique aspect of this program is that students work in a studio environment for real-world clients during their time at Newhouse.

Multimedia, photography and design (graduate)
In our unique master’s program, graduate students can customize their course of study to match their interests and career goals by combining selections from a "menu" of courses. Stretching the possibilities far beyond more traditional programs, students can specialize in disciplines such as photo editing, photojournalism, studio photography, lifestyle photography, editorial, filmmaking, videography, post-production, studio management, entrepreneurship, video production, motion graphics, branding, advertising design, magazine design, web and mobile design, social media, newspapers and books.

Where might you land?

Visual Communications students have gone on to intern and work for corporations, nonprofits and NGOs, including National Geographic, the White House, HBO, Vox, Facebook, the State Department, Sports Illustrated, The New York Times, Blue Chalk Media, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Washington Post, the Near East Foundation, Amazon, NPR, Adobe, The Boston Globe, Hearst Corporation, the Yankees, Getty Images, Allure magazine, NBC, The Accountability Lab, The Players Tribune, Gatehouse Media, IBM, Mapbox, Trip Advisor and Herman Miller. Recent graduates also have gone on to create award-winning films and documentary projects, publish books, become professors, and start their own film production companies, photo studios and design businesses.