• Visual Communication
    At MTSU, students learn through hands-on experience
  • Visual Communication
    VisCom students help each other through collaboration
  • Visual Communication
    Today's world needs people who know how to communicate visually
  • Visual Communication
    The VisCom program challenges students to do their best

Visual Communication

The way that content is designed and displayed is an important and fast-evolving component of the information revolution. MTSU students enrolled in this concentration learn how to work with the technology used in both digital and print publication, while also studying theories and practices of visual communication. Topics range from traditional typography to digital design. The main emphasis of the visual communication program is on publication design, including print and interactive media that deliver information, opinion, and entertainment via newspapers, magazines, books, newsletters, brochures, websites, and mobile apps. Those who have career interests in communicating visually can find a starting place in MTSU’s School of Journalism.

Creative director connects dots with media, technology

Christina Carden, a 2001 graduate of the MTSU program, is creative services director of Journal Communications custom media company. She oversees quality and creative direction for design and photography and has worked to advance interconnectivity of media and technology for Journal in both new products and workflow efficiency. Carden helped create Journal's first iPad app for the North Carolina Travel Guide as well as implemented a digital content management system. She minored in both Art and Computer Science while earning her B.S. in Journalism with a concentration in Graphic Communications, the program's previous name. She also has worked as an independent contractor in both new and traditional media (9dotsproject.com).

VisCom faculty brings wealth of worldwide experience

Philip Loubere, assistant professor, teaches applications classes, including Information Web Design. He has worked as a news artist at the&nbsp;<em>Seattle Times</em>,&nbsp;<em>San Jose Mercury News</em>, and&nbsp;<em>Orange County Register</em>&nbsp;(1996-2008). Sanjay Asthana, associate professor in journalism, teaches courses in visual communication, globalization, communication technologies, and cultural studies. He has authored the books&nbsp;<em>Youth Media Imaginaries from Around the World</em>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<em>Innovative Practices of Youth Participation in Media</em>. Leslie Haines, associate professor, is the former academic director of the graphic and Web design and advertising programs at the Art Institute of Tennessee–Nashville. She has also run her own advertising and design business. She has won 19 ADDY awards and serves as a judge for ADDY competitions across the country.

Visual Communication graduates have both the technical and conceptual knowledge needed to successfully deliver compelling stories on both print and digital platforms. Some possible professional pursuits:

  • Art director
  • Book designer
  • Communications director
  • Digital publications designer
  • Editorial artist
  • Editorial designer
  • Graphic artist
  • Graphic designer
  • Illustrator
  • Multimedia director
  • Publications director
  • Web designer 

Employers of MTSU alumni include

There are employment opportunities at large companies that have their own design departments and with design studios serving smaller companies. There are also opportunities to serve clients directly.

The Department of Labor projects graphic designer jobs to grow by 13 percent from 2010 to 2020, which translates to 37,300 possible new jobs.

  • CJ Advertising
  • Day Communications
  • Gannett Design Studio
  • Hip Zipper Vintage
  • Journal Communications
  • Murfreesboro Daily News Journal
  • Murfreesboro Pulse
  • PR by the Book
  • The Murfreesboro Post
  • The Tennessean (Nashville)
  • True North Custom Media

MTSU's School of Journalism offers work leading to the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree with a major in Mass Communication. Concentrations are available in

Undergraduate or graduate students outside the College of Media and Entertainment may choose to minor in Mass Communication with an emphasis in any of the School of Journalism’s concentrations.

A Master of Science (M.S.) degree is available in Mass Communications, and a Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) in Recording Arts and Technologies.

The sample schedule below is based on the current undergraduate catalog. It is not a substitute for academic advisement. Contact your advisor if you have any questions about scheduling or about your degree requirements or consult the undergraduate catalog (catalog.mtsu.edu) for a complete list of requirements and electives.

You may choose to attend a summer term to reduce your load during fall or spring terms but still stay on track to graduate in four years. (Refer to the scholarships website for information regarding use of the Lottery Scholarship for the summer term.)

NOTE: Learning Support courses will alter the sequences on this map. Missing milestones could delay your program.

Visual Communication Academic Map

School of Journalism
Middle Tennessee State University | Murfreesboro


Suggested Fall/Spring and Summer/Fall/Spring Four-Year Schedule

Click here for printer friendly academic map.

CourseHoursMilestones/Notes CourseHoursMilestones/Notes
ENGL 1010 (Comm)3Must earn B or higher for JOUR 2710* ENGL 1020 (Comm)3Must earn B or higher for JOUR 2710*
MATH (Math)3  HIST 2010, HIST 2020, or HIST 20303 
JOUR/EMC/RIM 10203  Hum/FA (Rubric 2)3 
Soc/Beh Sci (Rubric 1)3  Nat Sci (Rubric 1)4 
Hum/FA (Rubric 1)3  COMM 2200 (Comm)3 
ENGL 2020, ENGL 2030, or HUM 2610 (Hum/FA)3  VCOM 20103 
JOUR 27103Prereq: B or higher in ENGL 1010 and 1020 Minor 1 course3 
HIST 2010, HIST 2020, or HIST 20303  Minor 1 course3 
Nat Sci (Rubric 2)4  Minor 2 course3 
CSCI 1150, INFS 2200, or INFS 31003  Soc/Beh Sci (Rubric 2)3 
*2.50 GPA required for admission to School of Journalism *2.50 GPA required for admission to School of Journalism
JOUR 36503  VCOM 38103 
Minor 1 course3  Minor 1 course3 
VCOM 29503  VCOM 39103 
JOUR 34503  Minor 1 course3 
Minor 2 course3  Minor 2 course3 
JOUR conceptual requirement3See advisor VCOM 41803 
Minor 1 course3  JOUR 3580, JOUR 4000, or JOUR elective (upper-division)1–3 
Minor 2 course 3  Minor 2 course3 
VCOM 40103  Minor or elective course3 
JOUR 3090/3091, JOUR 3530, EMC 3020, or EMC 30603–4  Elective3 
NOTE: Visual Communication students must have two minors.


CourseHoursMilestones/Notes CourseHoursMilestones/Notes
ENGL 1010 (Comm)3Must earn B or higher for JOUR 2710* Hum/FA (Rubric 1)3 
ENGL 1020 (Comm)3Must earn B or higher for JOUR 2710* Hum/FA (Rubric 2)3 
MATH (Math)3  Nat Sci (Rubric 1)4 
JOUR/EMC/RIM 10203  HIST 2010, HIST 2020, or HIST 20303 
COMM 2200 (Comm)3  Soc/Beh Sci (Rubric 2)3 
Soc/Beh Sci (Rubric 1)3  CSCI 1150, INFS 2200, or INFS 31003 
HIST 2010, HIST 2020, or HIST 20303  JOUR 27103Prereq: B or higher in ENGL 1010 and 1020
Nat Sci (Rubric 2)4  Minor 2 course3 
Minor 1 course3  Minor 1 course3 
ENGL 2020, ENGL 2030, or HUM 2610 (Hum/FA) 3  JOUR 36503 
VCOM 20103  VCOM 29503 
Minor 1 course3  VCOM 38103 
*2.50 GPA required for admission to School of Journalism *2.50 GPA required for admission to School of Journalism
Minor 1 course3  Minor 2 course3 
JOUR 3090/3091, JOUR 3530, EMC 3020, or EMC 30603–4  VCOM 39103 
JOUR conceptual requirement3See advisor JOUR 34503 
Minor 1 course3  Minor 2 course3 
Minor 2 course 3  VCOM 40103 
Minor 1 course3  VCOM 41803 
Minor 2 course3  JOUR 3580, JOUR 4000, or JOUR elective (upper-division)1–3 
Minor or elective course3  Elective3 
NOTE: Visual Communication students must have two minors.


Graduation information may be accessed here.

Dr. Sanjay Asthana


Leslie Haines
Associate Professor


Philip Loubere
Associate Professor


Visual Communication

VCOM 2010 - Introduction to Visual Communication
3 credit hours

Required for candidacy. Overview of concepts for effective visual communication; the role of visual elements and design practices in a cultural, historical, and political context; basic typography and design, electronic and digital composition and reproduction, and technological aspects of design and production.  

VCOM 2950 - Visual Communication Applications
3 credit hours

Introduction to software applications used in publication media design, related hardware and peripheral components applicable to publication design, and electronic publishing procedures.  

VCOM 3520 - Special Topics in Professional Issues
3 credit hours

(Same as ADV/JOUR/PR 3520.) Prerequisites: JOUR 3090 and admission to candidacy. Special topics in journalism, advertising, public relations, and visual communication focusing on practical applications. Topics change each semester and have included investigative, environmental, sports, and political reporting; visual editing; international public relations; and advertising account management. May be repeated up to 6 credits.

VCOM 3810 - History of Visual Communication
3 credit hours

Explores various creative and critical dialogues between principles and practices, movements and paradigms, art, science, and technology relating specifically to journalism and visual media from the printed to the digital.  

VCOM 3910 - Basic Visual Design
3 credit hours

Prerequisites: Admission to candidacy; JOUR 2710, VCOM 2010, and VCOM 2950. Basic design process for publication; in-depth analysis of typography, copywriting, art and illustration, photography; theory and practice of color reproduction; diverse design images; informational graphics, production methods of design for print and electronic media. Cannot be taken concurrently with VCOM 2950.

VCOM 3980 - Information Web Design
3 credit hours

Prerequisite: Admission to candidacy or permission of instructor; upper-level standing. Introduces software, design principles, and technology used for creating news and information website and interactive Web elements. Overview of social, political, copyright, and ethical issues involving websites and social media.

VCOM 4010 - Information Design
3 credit hours

Prerequisites: Admission to candidacy; VCOM 2950 or 3910. Principles and practices of publication design and production with emphasis on newsletters, magazines, newspapers, and contemporary formats; use of traditional and electronic information services as a resource; selection and use of photographs and illustrations for publication; preparation of design for print, electronic, or multimedia publication.  

VCOM 4180 - Senior Portfolio
3 credit hours

Prerequisites: Admission to candidacy; VCOM 4010. Capstone class in the VCOM concentration. Students revise and create print and digital designs for the purpose of professional portfolio presentation. Professional topics are discussed, including creative strategies, legal and copyright issues and client relations.