Graphic Communication Emphasis

Discover your creativity

Mass Communication students will explore visual-design, photographic image-making, written, broadcast and web-based multi-media processes using the most advanced computer-software, technologies and equipment in upgraded facilities. Students enjoy a high level of career placement upon graduation due to the high demand for knowledgeable and highly skilled professionals in the viable and growing Mass Communication job market.

  • GAIN REAL-LIFE EXPERIENCES by taking up an internship.
  • JOIN A CAMPUS ORGANIZATION: Campus organizations help majors and minors get extracurricular experience in their fields of study and network with other students.
  • GET A CERTIFICATE in journalism, photography, or social media.
  • A MINOR/EMPHASIS IS REQUIRED: Minor in integrated media, sports media, public relations, science communication, photography, or graphic communication.

Click here for more information on the BFA in Graphic Design.

BHSU's Graphic Communication emphasis has classes ranging from graphic design and computer publishing to web publishing, media law, and digital imaging, providing students with a wide variety of skills.

Graphic Communications students are well prepared for the exciting and dynamic world of graphic design and computer publishing.

The Graphic Communication program at BHSU offers:

  • State of the art computer design and imaging labs.
  • Innovative and creative instructors
  • Internship opportunities throughout the area
  • Student organizations where you can enhance your graphic design skills

*Current students, please refer to the DegreeWorks Dashboard in MyBHSU to confirm your major requirements.


There are employment opportunities in a variety of sectors:
» Advertisement
» Audio/Video Specialist
» Broadcaster
» Commercial Photographer
» Creative/Art Designer
» Drone Photographer
» Filmmaker
» Fine Art Photographer
» Graphic Designer
» International PR Specialist
» Journalist
» Logo Designer 
» Multimedia Specialist
» News Editor/Writer
» Photojournalist
» Portrait/Wedding Photographer
» PR Agent
» Reporter
» Speech Writer
» Science Outreach Specialist
»Social Media Content Photographer
» Studio Product Photographer
» Radio Announcer
» Wed Designer

Get Involved on Campus

Jacket Journal & BHSU

Open to all BHSU students, the Jacket Journal newspaper is an award-winning campus organization. Several 400-level labs and the Jacket Journal staff produce a hard-copy newspaper as well as the student campus media online website Editorial, production, photography, and advertising staff positions are available each semester.
Contact to learn more.

The Buzz FM

Bringing the best and only alternative to Spearfish, S.D. The Buzz is the university’s student run radio station. Students from any background or major are welcome.
Contact to learn more or tune in to 89.1 & 90.7 FM to listen.


Students experience television broadcasting by servicing the campus with informational and entertaining programs.
Contact to learn more.

Public Relations Club

BHSU Public Relations club is a professional development group for students focused on career enhancement, community involvement, conferencing, competition, and networking for internships and careers across the country. The group has regional and national affiliations that provide many opportunities for students to network with professional organizations, such as Public Relations Society of America.
Contact to learn more.


Whether students are photography majors or simply someone who enjoys photography as a hobby, this organization is open to all. Get involved in regional or national trips, fundraisers, and small adventures for photographers at every level. Shutterbuzz is a student-run organization that brings photographers together.
Contact to learn more.

What to do with a Graphic Communication Degree

The program prepares students to work on newspapers, magazines, in advertising agencies, or in other environments involving desktop/media publishing or to work on a free-lance basis. This program is designed to give students the competitive edge in their search for jobs in the industry. Students learn advanced-level skills through working on challenging assignments as well as developing their own creative style.

Creative/Art Designer
Creative/Art designers formulate basic layout design or presentation approach, and specify material details, such as style and size of type, photographs, graphics, animation, video and sound. They create custom illustrations or other graphic elements. They also conceptualize and help design interfaces for multimedia games, products and devices.

Layout Artist
Layout artists deal with the structure and layout out of images and text in a pleasing format for printed media. This can include magazine work, brochures, flyers, books, CD booklets, and posters. For something like a magazine, color, typeface, text formatting, graphic layout and more must be considered. Does that title typeface fit the feel of the rest of the article? Are the photos arranged in such a way that is pleasing to the eye, and directs the reader in the right flow or direction? These are just some of the questions a layout artist must ask themselves.

Brand Identity Designer
Brand Identity Designers create the visual identity, the branding, for a company and/or its clients. Brand Identity Designers can create everything from logos, to promotional materials, to advertising programs that establish and promote a corporate identity. Illustration and typography are key areas in which a Brand Identity Designer should excel.

Logo Designer
Logo designers provide a new and innovative way to express the key message of a company through an image. Logo designers take the information given to them by the client and work, using their own creativity along with marketing strategy to find an appropriate image that their client can use to represent what they are trying to encourage, or sell, or what they are about. It is not likely that a company will specialize in logo design or have a position for a designated logo designer. Art directors and graphic designers usually perform logo designs.

Flash Media Designer
Flash Media Designers orchestrate web and CD-ROM experiences using Flash. Flash is used to create interactive components to enrich web sites, CD-ROMs, dynamic banner advertisements, introductions to web sites and visual presentations. Flash jobs can range in tasks depending on company size and structure. A Flash Designer's tasks can include anything from illustration and animation, to file optimization and compression, to Action Script Coding, video editing, and audio manipulation.

Illustrators conceptualize and create illustrations that represent an idea or a story through two-dimensional or three-dimensional images. Illustrators may do drawings for printed materials such as books, magazines, and other publications, or for commercial products such as textiles, packaging, wrapping paper, greeting cards, calendars, stationery, and more. Illustrators use many different media, from pencil and paint to digital formatting, to prepare and create their illustrations. An illustrator consults with clients in order to determine what illustrations will best meet the story they are trying to tell, or what message they are trying to communicate.

Photo Editor/Photoshop Artist
Photo editors/Photoshop artists work with writers and editors to coordinate all photo assignments. They establish, maintain, and revise photography budgets for commissioned, purchased, and stock photography. They also create and maintain a photo shoot calendar that compliments site production deadlines and hire models, photographers, stylists, makeup artists and hairstylists for photo shoots. Photo editors oversee all photo research and assigned photography and make sure all photographers adhere to photography guidelines. They also edit and select all photos for use on the site and ensure photo credits and captions are accurate.

Multimedia Designer
Multimedia designers often work as part of a team to create rich web sites, CD-ROMs, DVDs or exhibition materials. Regardless of the medium they work in, they should be familiar with a variety of story telling tools, such as graphics, sound, video and animation. Some Multimedia Designer positions include creating interactive learning modules, games, advertising campaigns, marketing materials, online communities and intranet systems.

Photographers record & manipulate still images using film and/or digital methods. Jobs in photography fall into five main categories: portrait, commercial and industrial, scientific, news, and fine arts. Prior work experience and educational background job requirements are often debatable, but practical work experience, talent, and professionalism are universal necessities if you want to become a Photographer.

Pre-Press Technician
Pre-press technicians lay out jobs for printing and binding using a variety of graphics software applications to work with technical layout and design components in order to set traps, correct screen angles, produce halftones, duotones, and verify or install fonts on copy sent electronically from customers for one-color, multi-spot color, or four-color process jobs, prepare layout and design upon request of customers, and assist with associated pre-press functions such as stripping and related printing functions in bindery and finishing.

Web Designer
Web designers create the pages, layout, and graphics for web pages, and play a key role in the development of a website. Web designers have the task of creating the look and feel of a website by choosing the style, and by designing attractive graphics, images, and other visual elements, and adapting them for the website’s pages. Web designers also design and develop the navigation tools of a site. Web designers may make decisions regarding what content is included on a web page, where things are placed, and how the aesthetic and continuity is maintained from one screen to the next.

We are updating the 4-year plan for our Bachelor's degree in Graphic Communication. To set up your individual 4-year plan, please meet with your advisor or contact Janette Hettick at or (605) 642-6934.

Graphic Communication Emphasis Requirements

  • MCOM 151 Intro to Mass Communications (gen ed)
  • MCOM 161 Graphic Communication
  • MCOM 210 Basic Newswriting
  • MCOM 257 Intermediate Desktop Publishing
  • MCOM 265 Basic Photography
  • MCOM 315 Computer Production & Imaging
  • MCOM 351 Web Design
  • MCOM 357 Advanced Desktop Publishing
  • MCOM 430 Media Law
  • MCOM 452 Mass Media Issues
  • MCOM 468 Integrated News Lab I
  • MCOM 494 Internship
  • MCOM 300/400 level Elective

Get a certificate in Graphic Design

Are you looking to update your knowledge of graphic design or expand your current job skills with subject matter related to design, but do not wish to enter a degree program? BHSU offers a certificate in Graphic Design.

BHSU has a state of the art digital lab with industry standard macintosh computers loaded with the Adobe Suite. You will get experience with programs such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign.

This certificate is great for high school teachers to expand their knowledge base or be brought up to date on new technology in the field of graphic design. It is also helpful to any education majors who hope to teach design in the public schools.

Course Requirements:

  • MCOM 161 - Graphic Communication
  • MCOM 257 - Intermediate Desktop Publish
  • MCOM 315 - Computer Production & Imaging
  • MCOM 357 - Advanced Desktop Publishing

Questions?  Email Professor Gina Gibson at


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