About Visual Communications

Who we are

Visual Communications is a program at Chemeketa Community College in Salem, Oregon. We offer two degree tracks: AAS in Graphic Design, and AAS in Multimedia Arts, in which students study photography, filmmaking, and motion graphics & animation.

Both of these degrees give students a platform from which to launch a creative career.

Degrees We Offer

Graphic Design AAS

Turn your creative side into a career. Take classes in design, layout, logo design, illustration, and typography and earn an Associates degree in graphic design.

Learn about Graphic Design

Multimedia Arts AAS

Enter the dynamic world of media arts as you study photography, filmmaking, and motion graphics in the Visual Communications program.

Learn about Multimedia Arts

Degree Overview

Graphic Design Degree:

In the Graphic Design degree track, students work closely together in all classes, sharing common studio space and computer lab facilities. Opportunities to work in traditional media alongside new media abound in both required and elective classes. As part of the program, all students develop skills in graphic design, web design, layout, typography, and digital media, as well as the teamwork, creative problem solving, and life-long learning skills essential to a successful creative career. Students produce a print and/or digital portfolio of work, including a personal stationery package and résumé, in preparation for entering the job market.

Multimedia Arts Degree:

Students opting for an AAS degree in Multimedia Arts have a unique path of study that is mostly separate from the other degree tracks within Visual Communications. This includes a separate portfolio submission and application process, and an academic focus on photography, motion graphics/animation, and filmmaking. Initiating the degree track with a cohort of other students in the fall, all Multimedia Arts students take the initial software class (joined by Graphic Design students) before diverging into photography and time-based media during their first year.

The second year of study includes more motion graphics, filmmaking, and portfolio building courses that culminate in a portfolio or demo reel exhibition that ranges in form and media depending on the student’s choice of focus.

Multimedia Arts students have a number of opportunities to work on live jobs, collaborate with other students within the other degree tracks, and experience a range of cutting edge media equipment, facilities, and techniques. Similar to the other Visual Communications degrees, there are regular advising meetings to assist in successfully completing the degree in two years (as a full-time student), or three years (as a part-time student taking less than the full load). The purchase of a multi-terabyte hard drive and digital camera that provides manual controls and capable of high definition video is required of all students by the second term of their first year.

Program Application

Visual Communications is a limited enrollment program. Students, regardless of the degree they are seeking, must apply in spring for entry the following fall term. All degrees takes a minimum of two full years to complete, and students must begin the program fall term.

Some students choose to spread their coursework over three years which allows for more in-depth study and often culminates in the completion of one or more degrees. Students interested in completing a bachelor’s degree have a few transfer options and should meet with the program chair before beginning the program.

Visit the How To Apply section for step-by-step instructions for getting into the program.

Getting Started

The Visual Communications program has special admission requirements and enrollment limits. Attending a program overview session is required in order to learn all current program information and application procedures. Sessions are scheduled throughout the year, and dates are posted online.

The first step to entering this program is to take part in a process, which includes taking the college’s free placement test and meeting with Chemeketa’s Advising and Counseling staff. You may need to complete program entry requirements. Then your advisor will help you develop an individualized program of study, which may include one or more of the following:

  • XMTH5001A Numerical Reasoning (non-credit)
  • WR115 Introduction to Composition (4 credits)

The Visual Communications program accepts digital applications for fall entry only. Students may apply for the program while completing the prerequisite courses listed above. If you have questions about program requirements, contact the Visual Communications Program Chair (Peter Hoelter) at peter.hoelter@chemeketa.edu.

What is it like to be a part of VC?

As part of the VC program, you will learn not only the technical skills, but also the teamwork and creative problem solving essential to a growing and changing career. For Graphic Design majors, you will produce both a print and a digital portfolio of work including a personal logo, résumé and web site in preparation for entering the job market. A portfolio show, introducing you to the business community, is part of spring term your final year. For Multimedia Arts students, a demo reel is produced as part of your capstone course.

Small class sizes allow for one-on-one critiques with instructors and lots of personal attention. You'll find instructors who are passionate about what they teach and students who are equally dedicated to their class work. We have two Mac labs with the latest software, including the full Adobe Creative Cloud.

VC is an intense and demanding program. You will be challenged and you will work harder than you ever thought possible. The program is a great launching pad to wherever your creativity takes you.

Next steps

This page is a starting place for your research, but we encourage you to visit and learn more.

  • We schedule informal overview sessions many times during the year. At this time, you will have the opportunity to meet with faculty and students, see examples of student work, tour the VC area, and get answers to all of your questions.
  • Get inspired by viewing work created by our student in the Student Work section.
  • Read our Frequently Asked Questions to learn even more about work it is like to be VC student.
  • Visit the How To Apply section for step-by-step instructions for getting into the program.