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NKU History

Northern Kentucky University was initially accredited in 1973 and was last reviewed and reaffirmed in 2009. Northern Kentucky University's accreditation extends to all programs offered on Northern Kentucky University's main campus as well as those offered at all extended program sites. Northern Kentucky University is scheduled to receive its next reaffirmation of accreditation review in 2019.

Northern Kentucky University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS) to award associate, baccalaureate, masters, and doctorate degrees. The standards used to conduct evaluations include assessment of the mission, goals, objectives, resources and quality of programs.

The Visual Arts Program is accredited through SACS to award the Bachelor of Arts (BA), the Bachelor of Science (BS) and the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA).


The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges is the regional body for the accreditation of degree-granting higher education institutions in the Southern states. It serves as the common denominator of shared values and practices among the diverse institutions in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Latin America.

The mission of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools is to assure the educational quality and the effectiveness of its member institutions.


Checklists & Procedures


Admittance Review

The visual communication design tracks require admittance via a competitive portfolio review — after the foundations and introductory coursework sequence has been completed — during the middle of the sophomore year. A student must pass this review to be eligible to continue taking courses in the graphic design program. Both BA and BFA degrees in graphic design are offered at NKU.


BA Track

The BA is a general studies degree, teaching the student about design from a broad point of view. This degree requires either a minor or an area of concentration outside of the visual arts, expounding upon the general studies thrust of this degree.


BFA Track

The BFA is a professional degree, recognized as the entry-level degree by the visual communication industry and the National Association of Schools of Art & Design. The BFA degree gives graduates a competitive advantage in the marketplace because of its advanced, specialized coursework, in-depth portfolio development, the senior capstone project and exhibition, and a design internship requirement. Students apply for this degree during their junior year with another, more developed portfolio.


Design Faculty

Portrait of Visual Communication Design Faculty
Julie Mader-Meersman
Office: FA 302
Phone: (859) 572-5670
Portrait of Visual Communication Design Faculty
Hans Schellhas
Associate Professor
Office: FA 301
Phone: (859) 572-7740

Career Paths

Careers in visual communication design are ripe with opportunities. The 21st century multi-media explosion along with the emergence of the web, smart phones and digital tablets has created opportunities for designers and artists like never before. Business and cultural organizations across the planet need compelling visual content for these modern technologies. Combined with new tools such as 3D printing the creative class is helping to revolutionize our world. Here are possible paths your NKU Visual Arts education will prepare you for...

Art Director

Art Lecturer/Visiting Scholar

Arts Management

Arts Organization Administrator

Book Illustrator, Technical/Production

Digital Imaging

Environmental Graphics

Exhibition Designer

Fabric and Textile Designer

Font Designer

Furniture Designer

Graphic Designer - Advertising, Corporate


Multi-media Designer

Package Designer

Product Designer

Professor of Art/Design


Scientific Illustrator

Technical Illustrator

Special Effects Artist

Toy Manufacturer and Designer

TV/Video/Film, Cinematography

User Interface Designer

Urban Graphics Designer

Web Designer, Webmaster