The communications design program integrates academic study with the highest standards of professional practice through entrepreneurial, project-based learning. This discipline is focused on conceptual thinking and creative problem-solving that results in targeted visual solutions displayed across a range of media. In addition to developing design expertise, students are trained to become adept in presenting, critiquing, and modeling professional behavior.

The communications design program allows the exploration and execution of all aspects reflective of the wide array of opportunities in the professional design industry including: advertising, art direction, branding, copywriting, editorial design, publication design, exhibition design, graphic design, information design, packaging, interactive, web, app, and UX/UI design.

What is the difference between communications design and graphic design? A graphic designer creates specific graphic or visual elements while a communications designer builds a comprehensive strategy and uses graphic design as a tool to communicate a broader message to an audience. Communications designers seek to attract, inspire, and motivate people to respond with favorable impact through visual communication.

Admission + Portfolio Requirements

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In this bachelor of fine arts (B.F.A.) degree program, coursework explores the creative process, communication methods, and project management in addition to illustration, photography, typography, and production processes.

Students also have the opportunity to study abroad in London, England, their junior year. The Syracuse University Abroad program offers the opportunity to take courses in design and design history complemented by studio and academic electives.

Graduates of our program work as designers, art directors, and creative directors at some of the leading companies and agencies in the country including CBX, Chermayeff & Geismar Associates, Landor & Associates, Pentagram, Apple, Major League Baseball, Citi, Havas Health, McCann, Bloomberg, The New York Times, GQ, Wired, and more.

Student Work


Below are the general program requirements for the B.F.A. degree in communications design.

View official major requirements.

Major requirements: 51 credits
Art history requirements: 12 credits
Academic requirements: 6 credits
Academic electives: 24 credits
Studio electives: 18 credits
Free electives: 9 credits
Total Credits: 120