Undergraduate Overview

Student Financial Services: How to Apply for Financial Aid

Thursday, December 2, 6:30 p.m. CT

Join us to learn more about filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), applying for scholarships and identifying other sources of funding, and understanding your undergraduate award.

The Visual Communication Design department's undergraduate curriculum is structured to encourage the development of both generalized and specialized activities, as well as hybrids of both. Students acquire a thorough intellectual understanding of the implications, strategies, and roles of visual messages as well as the visual abilities necessary for conceptualization and creation and the technical tools and business skills required in professional practice.    

Focus Areas

The major areas of focus are physical media (print, objects, and environments) and virtual media (interactive and time-based media) and include:

  • Books/bookbinding
  • Coding/programming/scripting
  • Data visualization/diagrams/maps
  • Design issues
  • Film titles
  • Fonts
  • Identity systems
  • Illustrations
  • Image text narrative
  • Installations/way finding signage
  • Interface design
  • Letterpress printing
  • Methodologies
  • Museum exhibitions/kiosks
  • Packages/package graphics
  • Posters
  • Print production and offset printing
  • Digital/screen-based production
  • Publications/magazines
  • Strategy
  • Symbols/web icons
  • Theory
  • Typography
  • Websites/design for mobile phone and tablets
  • Video

Portfolio Review

Students must pass a Visual Communication Design department portfolio review in order to enroll in intermediate courses in the department. The following Visual Communication Design courses are required in order to submit a portfolio to the department Portfolio Review.

  • VCD 1001 Introduction to Visual Communication
  • VCD 1002 Illustration Technologies Lab  
  • VCD 2011 Beginning Typography
  • VCD 2012 Type Technologies Lab
  • VCD 2001 Beginning Graphic Design
  • VCD 2002 Image Studio

Please refer to the:




The department has an active AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Arts) student chapter. Led by a faculty member, the chapter holds regular meetings, hosts the department’s noon hour lectures in which professionals from the city and faculty from the department present their work, conducts tours of Chicago studios, holds an annual Town Hall AIGA event at the school, oversees a biannual portfolio preparation seminar for all students preparing their work for submission to the department portfolio review.

The department also has a relationship with the CIPB (Chicago International Poster Biennial), an international competition representing leading designers from throughout the world. Every two years, together with CIPB, the department holds a series of events including juror-led student workshops, entry jurying, and jurors’ lectures.