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​Communications Design

Enhance your ability to solve real-world problems and build a deep set of graphic media skills.

Communications design student presents project to class

Communications design coursework explores the creative process, communications theory, design history, and project management, in addition to illustration, photography, typography, and production processes. Graduates of the program leave Syracuse prepared to forge careers in the creative design space.

I worked as the art intern for Martha Stewart Living Magazine. I designed pages for the magazine, created web templates for DIY projects, sat in on various meetings and assisted in photoshoots.

—Abby Starobin ’15, Communications Design

About VPA

Home to the visual and performing arts at Syracuse, VPA supports the creative process and professional development. The College is divided into seven areas: the School of Art; the Department of Communication and Rhetorical Studies; the School of Design; the Department of Drama; the Rose, Jules R. and Stanford S. Setnor School of Music; the Department of Film and Media Arts; and the Department of Creative Arts Therapy.


Core coursework covers design methods, project management, and creative problem solving. Sample courses include:

  • Introduction to Design Thinking
  • Design Skills & Processes
  • Design Project Management
  • Communication Design Problems
  • Design Research
  • Drafting for Designers

View official major requirements.

Practical Experience

Take advantage of learning opportunities outside the classroom to supplement your coursework and develop your skills.

  • Showcase your work to design professionals at the annual two-day senior portfolio show held at Syracuse’s Lubin House in New York City.
  • Enjoy the professional studio facilities, shared computer labs, printing lab, and fabrication lab at the Nancy Cantor Warehouse in downtown Syracuse.
  • Engage with an impressive array of nationally and internationally known visiting designers.
  • Intern with designers and creative directors at some of the leading firms in the country.

Study Abroad

Build up your resume and broaden your perspective with a study abroad experience during your time at Syracuse. Consistently ranked among the top 25 international education providers in the U.S., Syracuse Abroad offers more than 100 programs in 60 countries. 

Communications design majors most often go abroad to Syracuse University centers in Florence and London.

Life After Syracuse University

With a degree in communications design, you can pursue careers such as:

  • Art director
  • Graphic designer
  • Illustrator
  • Multimedia artist
  • Animator
  • Web designer

Or pursue a graduate degree in business, collaborative design, or museum studies. Past graduates have continued their education at many of the most prestigious graduate schools in the U.S.