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Undergraduate Majors

Ohio University's nine undergraduate colleges offer more than 250 programs of study. Students may select from a wide variety of majors, minors and certificates. While most undergraduate programs at the Athens campus are designed to be completed in four years, a limited number of two-year degree programs are available as well.

Visual Communication—Commercial Photography Major (B.S.V.C.)

Major code BS6925

Scripps College of Communication  
School of Visual Communication  
250 Schoonover Center
Athens, OH 45701
Phone: 740.593.4898
Fax: 740.593.0190

Tim Goheen,  Director
Rebecca Sell,  Graduate Director

Program Overview

The school has been recognized twice as a Program of Excellence by the Ohio Department of Higher Education and is a proud component of the Scripps College of Communication recognized by the state as a Center of Excellence — the only college in the state to receive that distinction.

Graduates of the program earn a Bachelor of Science in Visual Communication. The degree program is designed to provide students with realistic and thorough broad-based professionally oriented training in visual communication while providing the necessary liberal arts and cultural background for a strong educational foundation.

Intensive training is offered in publication design including data visualization and informational graphics, with preparation for careers in the magazine, newspaper, corporate and non-governmental organization (NGOs) communication fields; interactive design and UX for web and digital mobile platforms for careers in a wide range of communication settings; documentary photojournalism for newspapers, magazinesm, NGOs, and the Internet; and commercial photography with preparation for careers in the fashion, product, and corporate communication and advertising fields.

Goals of the School

The goals of the School of Visual Communication are:

  1. to equip students with the necessary skills to be successful in the media, and the background and motivation to enable them to compete for leadership roles in the field
  2. to provide assistance and professional guidance in visual communication to working photographers, editors, and other personnel, newspapers, press services, magazines, industrial photographic departments, trade associations, multimedia and education media production units and cultural and scientific visual communicators
  3. to set high standards for visual integrity and communication ethics
  4. to foster and promote scholarly research and creative activities

Admissions Information

Freshman/First-Year Admission

The School of Visual Communication requires an informal interview for admission to the program. During this interview, we would like to learn more about your creative goals and review any examples of creative work you can provide. This is also an opportunity for you to learn about us. If you don't have a portfolio or other examples of your work, we still want to talk to you. Don't let that keep you from coming. For additional information about general admission guidelines please visit the Undergraduate Admissions page at  https://www.ohio.edu/admissions.

For this career-oriented professional program you will need professional equipment to complete assignments and eventually compete in the job market. Ensuring every opportunity for students to excel in a very competitive field, we require use of certain basic levels of equipment. It is highly recommended that all students in the school have their own computer for use in completing class assignments. 

Commercial photography students entering VICO 2221 are required to own a professional-level DSLR of at least 16 mega-pixels. A full-frame 35mm-size sensor is highly recommended. In addition to the camera, one wide-angle lens, one telephoto lens, an electronic flash meter, and a professional tripod are also required.

Transfer Admission

The School of Visual Communication will consider transfer students, both inside the school and from outside the school, twice a year, and only when openings are available. As a selective admission program, there are a limited number of seats available in each sequence. To accept a transfer student, an opening must become available. A very limited number of openings usually occur in each major sequence each academic year. School of Visual Communication major's classes are sequenced and start the fall of the freshman year. Those seeking to transfer at other points (or starting on a regional campus) will generally not be able to complete the degree in four years. Students transferring with over 90 hours of credit will find it difficult to complete the School's curriculum in two years.

All students seeking to transfer into the School of Visual Communication must be interviewed by school faculty. The requirements to be interviewed are as follows:

• You are expected to have a GPA of 3.0 or higher at the time of transfer. If your GPA is lower, please submit a letter of explanation to consider with your DARS.

• All transfer students are expected to attend a transfer information session held at 10 a.m. on the 4th Friday of each term in Schoonover 250. 

• For Ohio University students, if there are openings in the sequence you are seeking, a sign-up sheet will be placed in the VisCom office, Schoonover 250, on the Monday of the 8th week of the term for interviews the following Friday.

• Students must bring a current copy of their DARS or transcript, a resume, a statement of intent letter addressed to VisCom faculty, and a portfolio to the interview.


Transfer sequence requirements for students inside VisCom:

Students changing majors might find it difficult to finish in four years. Interested students should discuss with their adviser and provide a written request to the school's faculty. A request to change sequence will only be considered on the Wednesday of the 8th week of the term.

• Requests will be reviewed by all VisCom faculty. Available openings in the requested major sequence are considered before students will be allowed to change major. For more information about transferring, or the status of transfer openings, contact VisCom Director Tim Goheen.

Opportunities Upon Graduation

Successful graduates find employment in the commercial photography industry or start their own businesses as freelance visual communicators.