Jul 21, 2024  
OHIO University Undergraduate Catalog 2024-25 
OHIO University Undergraduate Catalog 2024-25

Visual Communication—Photojournalism Major (B.S.)

Major code BS6957*

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

Tim Goheen, Director
Stan Alost, 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 (B.S.) degree 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 visual communication, across multiple disciplines and platforms: Publication design, 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 and video storytelling for newspapers, magazines, NGOs, and online venues; and commercial photography, with preparation for careers in the fashion, product, and corporate communication and advertising fields, advertising-directed video production, plus studio management.

*This program was previously BS6922 which awarded the Bachelor of Science in Visual Communication. Pending Board of Trustees approval (anticipated June 2024), the new program code will be BS6957 and will award the Bachelor of Science effective the 2024-25 catalog year.

Goals of the School

Visual communication is a form of storytelling where visuals are the primary elements used to communicate. Our graduates produce the material that shapes much of what people see and understand about the world — from visual explanations, graphic and user experience design to journalistic photography and persuasive advertising images — our graduates are among the industry leaders creating what you see.

The goals of the School of Visual Communication are:

  1. to equip students with the necessary skills and knowledge to be successful in visual communication careers, and the background 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, and
  4. to foster and promote creative activities and scholarly research.

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. We encourage you to apply and visit, even if you don’t have a formal portfolio. For additional information about general admission guidelines please visit the Undergraduate Admissions page at 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. Because of this, students majoring in Visual Communication are required to have access to a personal computer with appropriate software by the time they enter Fall Semester their first year. Please contact the School for current hardware and software recommendations.

In addition, Photojournalism students entering VICO 2390  must own at least one professional-level 35mm DSLR camera (full frame sensor preferred), lenses, and necessary accessories. One lens should have a 24mm or wide focal length (or digital equivalent) with an f/2.8 or faster aperture. Another lens should be a 135mm of longer focal length (or digital equivalent) with an f/2.8 or faster aperture. Zoom lenses are also acceptable if they meet the focal length and aperture requirement of f/2.8. In addition, students must have a dedicated electronic flash outfit and a suitable professional tripod.

Change of Program Policy

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.

External Transfer Admission

Please review the Change of Program Policy section for information regarding External Transfer Admission policies.

Opportunities Upon Graduation

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


University-wide Graduation Requirements

Ohio University requires the completion of a minimum of 120 semester hours for the conferral of a bachelor’s degree. This program can be completed within that 120-hour requirement. For more information on the minimum hours requirement and other university-wide requirements, please review the Graduation Requirements – University-wide  page.

College-Level Requirements for the Scripps College of Communication

View the College-Level Requirements for the Scripps College of Communication .

VICO Professional Course Grade Requirement

Students must earn a C (2.0) in all professional courses. Professional courses are listed under the student’s major sequence requirement (examples include, but are not limited to, all VICO, JOUR, MDIA, COMS and ART classes). A grade of C- does not meet this standard. Failure to achieve a C or better in a required course (no other class can substitute) after the second attempt will result in the student being dismissed from the School of Visual Communication.

Liberal Arts Requirement - Visual Communication

Complete the following courses:

  • 1 Political Science course: POLS ****
  • 1 History course: HIST ****

Visual Communication Core Requirement

Complete the following courses. A grade of C (2.0) or better is required for any course listed below to meet a school requirement (see VICO professional course grade requirement above):

Art Foundation Requirement

Complete one of the following courses:

Communication Writing Requirement

Complete the following course:

Communication Law Requirement

Complete the following course:


Complete the following courses. A grade of C (2.0) or better is required for any ART, COMS, JOUR, MDIA, or VICO course (see VICO professional course grade requirement above):

Area of Specialization - Visual Communication

Complete a minimum of 12 hours of courses concentrated in an advisor approved area outside of the School of Visual Communication. A grade of C (2.0) or better is required for any ART, JOUR, MDIA, or VICO course. All but one of the courses for this requirement must be at the 2000-level or above. One course may be at the 1000-level. The intent of this requirement is for students to add an additional skill and knowledge set outside of their major. A minor in business or art are recommended for commercial photography students.

Visual Communication Internship

One advisor-approved internship is required for Visual Communication majors. Internships should be approximately 400 hours of paid supervised work in your field.