Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get into the Department of Communication Arts?
Prospective students, transfer students, and change of majors can apply online.

How many credits do I need to earn a B.F.A. in Communication Arts?
The department offers a 120 credit Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree: this includes credits earned in the Art Foundation Program (Freshman year).

What are the computer requirements?
Current computer requirements can be found at here.

What career opportunities are associated with a BFA in Communication Arts?
The field of communication arts offers many interrelated career opportunities. A broad set of overlapping skills enables the communication artist to work in different yet related fields. A creative, flexible and multidisciplinary artist enjoys greater career possibilities in an increasingly competitive global job market. The Department of Communication Arts offers its students a cross-disciplinary education that ranges from the use of traditional media to a powerful array of digital tools.

Illustration is perhaps the best-known area of communication arts. Illustrators interpret, inform, clarify, and educate. It is a broad and constantly evolving field that ranges from editorial and book illustration to the specialized areas of medical, scientific and children’s book illustration. The ability to observe and draw well is essential to the discipline. The successful illustrator is also curious and willing to learn. Every professional assignment requires research that informs the finished work. The book illustrator must have an appreciation of words and literature. Editorial illustrators may receive assignments in topics ranging from politics to sports and entertainment. The children’s book illustrator must be aware of the needs and developmental stages of children. The fields of scientific and medical illustration require a working knowledge of chemistry, physics and biology. Textbooks also require illustrations that reinforce and clarify scholarly information for schools and universities. Most illustrators eventually specialize in specific areas of their chosen fields.

Concept Art
The concept artist gives visual form to that which does not yet exist. Before a concept can be made or produced it must have visuals, storyboards or models that demonstrate its main characteristics. The concept artist transforms a designer’s schematics into visual forms that show the client how an idea will look. The concept artist can even give us a vision of the future. Concept and pre-production artists facilitate the making of movies and video games by creating visuals of scripts and written ideas. These artists rely on traditional drawing and painting skills along with a fluid knowledge of digital media.

Print and Web Communications
The communication arts field fuses imagery and language in a broad spectrum of print communications. This includes books, posters, magazine spreads, print ads, direct mail, labels, packaging and signage. These all require that the communication artist understand the relationship between type and image in print and on the Web. Digital media expands the range of communicative possibilities to include motion graphics and animation. This knowledge and these tools are necessary in the expanding fields of entertainment and computer game design.

Motion Graphics, Visual Effects, and Games
With computer graphics the digital effects artist brings to life those qualities of moving images that are either too difficult or impossible to produce on a live set. Skills in lighting, modeling, rendering, motion graphics, and animation are also necessary in the creation of three-dimensional imagery.

Comic Books and Graphic Novels
Comic books and graphic novels require excellent drawing skills along with an understanding of literary structure, narrative motion and design. A graphic novelist tells a story by combining multiple communications disciplines in order to achieve a coherent and compelling narrative. Graphic novels, movies and computer games rely on storyboards that facilitate planning and execution. The storyboard illustrator is essential to the development of television programs, movies and advertising campaigns.
The breadth of the communication arts field makes it truly multidisciplinary at a time when creativity and flexibility are necessary to competitiveness in a global economy. Ultimately, this broad range of interrelated career skills rewards hard work, curiosity, insight, vision, and imagination.

Who can I contact for general information?
You can call the Department of Communication Arts main office number, 804.828.3658, or come by our facilities at 812 W. Franklin Street, Suite 201, Richmond, Virginia, 23284