Visual Communications


Program News

Upcoming Deadlines for Fall 2014 program entry

Application Deadline:  April 14, 2014
Portfolio Deadline:  April 21-25, 2014

The Visual Communications curriculum has been revised, effective fall 2013. Historically, two program options have been offered; graphic design and web / interactive media. Starting in 2013, there will not be a spring program entry point. The revised program includes content from the graphic design and web/interactive media curriculum and new content in digital publishing for mobile devices and web content management systems. These revisions to our degree will maximize the skills and career readiness for program graduates. Prerequisites include a few more options to meet application requirements. 

See program prerequisites below.

What can I do with a degree in Visual Communications?

A degree in Visual Communications will give you the skills to enter the field of graphic, web, and digital media design. Designers are creative thinkers and problem solvers who create visual solutions that meet their clients' needs. The designer's process involves analyzing, brainstorming, and developing concepts that address the client's need to inform or market to a target audience in a visually compelling way.

Graphic designers prepare artwork and designs for many purposes and in a variety of media. Some examples include brochures, logos, business identity systems, advertisements, product packaging, web sites, user interface, motion graphics, and interactive displays.

Information Sessions

You are encouraged to attend an information session or contact one of the Professional Technical advisors for planning help.

Degree Information [PDF Format]

What is the Visual Communications Program?

The Visual Communications Program prepares students for entry into careers in the print, web, and digital media design fields. The 90-credit curriculum balances the development of conceptual and visual problem solving skills with development of technical skills and knowledge of current industry practices.

The first year of study includes foundation courses in art and design and is open to all WCC students. Admission into the second year is by special application. In the second year, students learn skills in up-to-date computer technology with courses in illustration, typography, digital imaging, publication design, web design and interactive media design. The second year may also include an internship at a supervised worksite where the student gains practical experience in the field.

For more information including program course descriptions and sample student schedules, download the Visual Communications Information Packet 2013/2014. To view examples of student work, see the Student Showcase.

What are the program prerequisites?

To apply for admission to the second year of visual communication courses, the following prerequisites must be met:

  • Placement into ENGL 101, or completion of ENGL 100 / ESLA 117
  • Completion of the following courses:
    • Art 112 - Drawing I (3 or 5 credits) and,
    • Art 115 or 116 - 2D or 3D Design & Color (3 or 5 credits) and,
    • Art 185 - Introduction to Graphic Design (5 credits) and,
    • One of the following
      • Art 100& - Art Appreciation or,
      • Art 114 - History of Graphic Design or,
      • Art 150 - History of Photography or,
      • Art 205 - Western Art 18th-mid 20th Century or,
      • Art 215 - Western Art WWII-Present 

What is the application process and deadline?

Admission into the second year Visual Communications program is by special application. 

Application Deadline:  April 14, 2014
Portfolio deadline:  April 21-25, 2014

Late applications to the program will be considered only if there is space available. You must complete the following steps by the program application deadline to be considered for program acceptance:

STEP 1 – Apply to Whatcom Community College.
Students must be enrolled at WCC and have an active Student Identification (SID) number in order to apply for the Visual Communications program and pay related fees.

  • New Students:
    • Apply to WCC online.
    • Unable to apply online?
      • Request a WCC application by email at, by phone 360.383.3001, or in person at the Entry/Advising Office, LDC 116.
    • Get your SID Number. Once your completed WCC application has been received you will be sent a SID number via email within two to three days.
    • Once you receive your SID number, proceed to STEP 2.
  • Returning Students: Contact the Registration Office to reactivate your student account and SID, then proceed to STEP 2.
  • Current Students: Proceed to STEP 2 and use your active SID.

STEP 2 – Obtain and complete Visual Communications selective application forms.
To obtain Visual Communications selective entry application forms:

STEP 3 –Pay application fee and submit all application forms and materials.
Students must pay the application fee and submit application forms, with all supporting materials, on or before the application deadlines to be considered for the second year of the Visual Communications Program:

  • Pay application fee. Students may pay the Visual Communications program application fee ($25) in one of two ways:
    • Go in person to the WCC Cashier's window and pay the application fee with cash, check or credit card. You must have your SID number and identify the program for which you are applying. It is suggested that you complete the Application Fee Payment Form and turn it in with your payment.
    • Mail a check along with the Application Fee Payment Form directly to the WCC Business Office.
    • Note: The application fee is non-refundable. If you are not admitted to this program with your initial application, there will be no refund of the fee. If you reapply to this program within one year, you will not need to pay the fee again.
  • Submit Visual Communications Application Form and supporting materials by the application deadline. Submit the completed Visual Communications Program Application for Selective Entry form, including all required documentation, in one complete packet to the WCC Registration/Records Office in person or by mail. Your packet should include:
    • Completed Application for Selective Entry admission
    • Completed Applicant Checklist
    • Official transcripts from all previous attended colleges where you earned credits that may apply to the Visual Communications degree. (Including transcripts in this packet is not necessary if you arranged to have them sent directly to WCC Admissions).

All materials, whether delivered in person or by mail, must be received at the WCC Registration/Records Office by the deadline to be considered for the Visual Communications Program. Incomplete files will not be considered for acceptance. Late applications will be considered only if there is space available.

  • Submit portfolio of art/design samples in a separate packet by the Portfolio Deadline to Cascade Hall (CAS) 145 on the WCC Campus.
    • Please see the "Portfolio Submission" section of the Visual Communications Application  form for specific requirements.
    • You may include work done in art classes or work done independently.


Career & Salary Outlook

Graphic design occupations are currently in demand in Washington State. As an entry-level designer, you may be hired in the range of $15.10 to $18.02 per hour; the average hourly wage for Washington’s designers is $25.77 per hour. Many Graphic Designers are self-employed.

Sources: WA State Employment Security Department, September 2013; Washington Occupation Information System, 2013.

Apply Now to WCC 
Apply to VisComm Program
Information Sessions 
Other Prof Tech Programs
Student Showcase

Advising and Education Planning
360.383.3080 for appointment

Program Coordinator
Karen Blakley
Cascade Hall, Room 160

What Students Are Saying About VisCom

"WCC's Visual Communications program really helped bring my graphic design skills up to industry standards.  The instructors are very knowledgeable and the traditional art classes provided a good foundation for the computer design training."
- James

Whatcom Community College

237 W. Kellogg Road, Bellingham, WA 98226

(360) 383-3000

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