Degree Decisions 

8 years

I have a slight problem right now. Not a huge horrible mess, just a little one, where I am torn between two academic directions. In one corner you have my current degree, Communication Design. I have completed 4ish units and have been learning a lot about design. In the other corner you have this super awesome thing, Graphic Design / Photography (double major and options for minor) which I recently discovered has an online or distance education mode.

Part of me is saying “OMG change to that new degree right now, because it’s the most perfect thing ever”, while another part of me is saying “yeah, that’s cool, but your current degree does cover a lot of topics and areas you like”. Halp!

It’s not a gigantic decision, because both degrees are design based and I would be heading in a similar direction. However, it’s hard to decide which path is the right one to take and which leads to all the treasure… I can only ask myself what I want in the future and what I see myself as. A graphic designer? A Photographer? A Communication Designer? (Wait.. is that a thing?)

Let me break it down into some pros and cons.

I have contacted CSU about the Graphic Design / Photography degree and will see what happens…


  1. Any advice?  🤗
  2. Have you ever had a conflict about what degree to do or path to take?
  3. How did you decide the best option?



41 Responses

  1. Personally, I’d stick with what you’re doing but then I’m lazy 😀 However, it is good that the new one has prior learning so you won’t have to start again from scratch.

    It really depends on what you want as the outcome. Is it for knowledge reasons that you’re doing this or for prospective job opportunities? And which one would better suit the field you want to go into if it is career related?

    Also, I know you’ve listed new environment etc. as a con but that could also be a pro. If the students aren’t overly active in what you’re doing now, perhaps they will be in the new one and they could give you more ideas on projects you want to work on in the future.

    1. Thanks so much for sharing your advice and opinion. I think in a realistic world, Graphic Design is probably the one that would lead to more career opportunities. Because the two (communication design and Graphic Design) are very similar I would probably still be learning many of the same things, I am just still a little unsure.

      You are also 100% right about the new environment not really being a con. (:

  2. Ooooh, this is tough. Whatever you choose, I hope it works out for you. I personally would go for the full-time option because I’d want to get it done ASAP. Even better if you’re not working, but the part-time option is a better route for those who are working . . .

    One thing I was wondering, though, if you did go for the graphic designer route, can you also minor in the communication design field? Would that be an option? That’s another thing that would entice me because then that would make your degree a lot more versatile.

    Do let us know what you decide, Kya. Think on it, and whatever you choose will be the right one 🙂

    1. Thanks so much. I can understand the option to have it finished in less time. I am just taking it slow and adjusting to learning and developing. It doesn’t worry me right now if it takes longer.

      That is an interesting idea and thought to minor in communication design. The one thing I would be conflicted about, is if I had to choose between that and illustration I would probably go specifically for Illustration… which kind of makes me think about what I really want.

      I will be sure to keep you in the loop. :love:

  3. You’ve got a tough decision to make! I was going to suggest double major of Graphic Design and Communication Design because I’m indecisive, but whichever option you choose would be the best one. I would say look into which major is better in terms of job opportunities, but you probably already know that!

    I don’t think I’ve ever had to make a difficult decision as this because I already knew the path I needed to take to get into a graduate school, however, with a Biology degree there are many routes you can take in terms of career path. I just had to decide which route I would take after I decided med school was a no-go.

    Good luck on deciding. Just remember with majors, it’s important to choose the more versatile route. 🙂 You got this!

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your advice. 🙂 I can see why choosing something that was much more versatile would be the better option. I am still mulling it over and hope to come to a decision soon. :’|

  4. Personally, I would choose the Graphic Design/Photography double major for one main reason…

    Pictures sell blog posts.

    Something I learned in my many attempts of making it as a blogger and professional blogger is that all successful (making thousands of dollars a month) blogs have AMAZING pictures! I feel like the graphic design/photography major would be killing two birds with one stone and would benefit you in the end because they both go hand in hand so well. Photography is very important when it comes to web design and blogging because people like visual stimuli and without something to look at it’s just words. While words are important people are not drawn to it.

    That is why, personally, I would take the double major. I feel like it would be the most beneficial in the end for me. Now you got me wanting to look into majors and college and stuff! I would love to go to school for graphic design and photography!

    Any decision you make, know that you’re doing it for yourself, to better yourself, and that’s quite alright. You’re doing something for yourself and your future. Definitely, something to be proud of.

    – Nikki

    1. Thanks a lot for sharing your thoughts. I had not considered it from a blogging perspective, but you do make a very good point. Photography and imagery is used so much now that knowing how to take great shots and having the qualification would really be a great asset.

      You should certainly look into what options are out there for you!

  5. That does sound like a difficult decision to make. I think contacting CSU was a great idea! Before I entered my program, I had difficulty choosing between the residential option and the online option. Like you, I considered both the pros and cons and ultimately decided to ask an adviser for help. They usually have a lot of great things to say and answers any questions you have.

    I think it also depends on what route you want to take after you’re done with your education. If you’re not sure what you want to do yet, the more flexible option might be nicer. On the other hand, if you know what you want to do and feel the graphic design/photography option would benefit you more in the long run, then it may help to choose that one.

    If not, you could always attempt both! Since the graphic design/photography is online, that could always be pursued later. Education is expensive but I always say it is worth it, haha.

    Good luck with whatever you choose!

    1. Thanks so much. It’s a really good idea to speak to someone who has the experience and advice to help make the right decision. I plan to make a few calls and see what happens next. 🙂

  6. I probably am not of much help but my advice would be to choose the one you would learn more from, and maybe stick with communication design? I did a bachelor of arts in communication (so pretty similar to yours) and to be honest, I didn’t learn a lot that I use in my job right now. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do while I was studying and although I was learning a lot at uni, I was also learning a lot on the side.

    I sense that communication design is broad and could have paths in UX, and you are probably learning a lot because it’s broad and there is a variety of subjects. If you really want to focus on graphic design specifically then maybe make the switch? I think that would be the deciding factor – if you really want to focus on graphic design and photography. It doesn’t really mean you want to be a graphic designer or a photographer, but you just want to learn more about it.

    From my previous experience, in the arts (graphic design, photography, etc.) a degree isn’t really looked at much. It’s more about the work you produce and the portfolio you show when you apply for jobs. I was a graphic designer in my first job outside of working as a tutor in the children’s education centre, and I wasn’t studying anything really relevant. I just showed some of my old layouts from my blog when it was at Heartdrops, and I got the job. LOL. And my concert photography came about when I was just taking my camera to bars. (I did study photography as a minor in university but it was film photography, not digital, and I didn’t have any prior experience shooting in low light.)

    I think that whatever you choose, you will definitely learn something. And what you study doesn’t have to completely define what you choose as a career. Arts is a very, very broad area, and even in the industry I think you will find that it’s possible to change careers and do something a little bit different (like me transitioning from graphic design to coding ?).

    Hope that helps ?

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your advice, I really appreciate it. 😀 I think I am more interested in graphic design now. I always thought that I would probably create websites, but a lot of my interest has shifted to creating graphics and illustrations now. It gives me something else to consider. :*3

  7. Ah, this IS a tough one. I would probably look into maybe majoring in both, if that’s possible, because they both seem like excellent choices and I can see why it’d be difficult to choose.

    Whatever you do decide, I’m sure it’ll be the right path for you in the end. Good luck with your decision, and keep us updated!

  8. Tough choice – my question is this can you do the communication design as a minor? If so, my decision would be to do that. Best of luck with whatever you decide to do. I’m not going to answer your questions this time…because I’d dropped out of Uni because I couldn’t make that decision. 🙁

    1. Thank you for your suggestion. It is another great option that I hadn’t thought about before. That is the great thing about sharing an idea on a blog, you get many different thoughts and opinions that make you consider outside of your original ideas!

  9. You have one tough decision to make. I guess you have to think everything over and over again for you to decide. That’s a good thing you already have pros and cons, and that’ll be easier for you to decide. Stick with what you really like. 🙂

  10. the thing with these two is like how physics and math are sort of similar yet are not twins. it’s like what my physics teacher back in high school used to say: someone who is good at physics is usually good or at least, capable of doing math but someone who’s really good at math may not be the same when it comes to physics. what i’m trying to say is that if i have to choose between comm design or graphics design / photography, i’d go with communication design. i think it’s more diverse and has more exploration which makes it a good win-win choice, in my opinion.

    let us first put away the whole “professional recognition” thing by considering other factors such as …if you think by staying in communication design, you can learn lots of things you enjoy AND grow as a designer, then it’s already a win-win, isn’t it? to be honest, in my faculty, there are two specialized streams – graphics design and interactive digital media. now, i don’t know if communication design is just another name for interactive media but based on my experience, i chose interactive media instead of graphics design and it has given me lots of opportunities and exploration. for instance, like georgie said, interface design seems to be something that you can get from communication design. for me, if i stayed in graphics design, i will have no idea how to design UI / UX and i will never know what the heck is the iOS design guideline or google material therefore choosing ineractive media was such an on point decision for me – i can work in prints AND digital, it’s like having the best of both world, if that makes sense. i think if you choose comm design, you can get that experience too. and then after you’re done, you can choose which niche you want to dwell deeper, whether you wanna be an illustrator, a graphics designer specializing in prints or a digital designer who, for e.g, design websites and whatnot. if i were you, i’d first learn a loooot of things so i can have a more diverse mind and options before finally narrowing my choices down for a profession. another proof that i can give you is that… as someone who took interactive media over graphics design, i have seen the differences between me and my best friend who took the graphics design stream. she cannot design UI / UX because she wasn’t taught how to, neither was she exposed to the whole responsive website or UI guideline. but of course, this is just an evaluation from the surface. i think a graphics designer can learn how to design a good UI if he/she taught herself. i mean, there’s always a way if we can learn things ourselves, right.

    it IS a tough choice but i think you should choose based on what you enjoy doing. like georgie said, degree doesn’t really mean much. i have to disagree with communication design not being recognized as graphics design — i mean, okay maybe they’re not the same (because i don’t know what comm design syllabus you have, right) but even a comm design graduate can be a graphics designer. in the end, it all goes back to us, what we wanna do and what we’re capable of doing. hm, i’d say pick the one with more diverse options so you can have a few options before finally downsizing for a profession. besides, it’s university aka the time to experiment and learn all the possibilities one can get 😛

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your advice. It really made me think about things different and how having a lot of options can be really helpful. It’s also interesting to hear from someone who has studied and been through that process. I am glad to hear that you picked the right direction for yourself!

  11. My advice? Pick the major that will challenge you more because not only will it keep things interesting, but you’ll have fun and you’ll grow.

    Last year after failing a class, I was ready to change from my current major (Information Science) to a major like Geospatial Science or Interdisciplinary studies. But after thinking it over, I realized that I wasn’t ready to give up and I retook the class. Now I wouldn’t have it any other way. nVn

    Follow your heart and follow your gut instinct. Whichever major you feel like you belong in, that’s the one you should go with.

    Good luck! :lovey:

    1. Thank you so much. It’s great that you decided to take the class again and found that it was the right direction for you. It takes a lot do something again and you should be really proud you did! ;D

  12. Sounds like both are equally tempting to you in terms of enjoyment and excitement. It might be worth looking at it in terms of what either could give you post-degree. Which is more likely to get you employed, but also give you a career you can be flexible with. I know in the UK Graphic designer jobs are well paid and on the rise, but I wouldn’t know about that where you are. God, I sound like such a mum.

    Not that I did a degree that helped me get a job.

  13. My advice would be what you’re doing. Thinking over pros and cons, and thinking realistically about your future! You got this, and good luck whatever you decide.

    I wasn’t sure if I needed to change my current Associates Degree to match what I want my Masters in, so I asked people in the field, and just did a lot of research and considering. In the end, I realized I can have my cake and eat it too! In my case that’s teach art and become an art therapist later on.

    One day at a time! 🙂

    1. Thank you! I can really take as much time as I need. I am thinking I may wait until the end of the year and see how I feel. That way I can complete the classes I am enrolled in and decide if I want to enroll next year or not.

  14. I like how you broke down the pros and cons between the two majors. It looks like graphic design/photography yields a better outcome. The con is practically having to adjust to a new environment but it’s minor compared to the amount of learning you’ll receive and $$$ after graduation. I always go for the option that gives more income over the course of my career XD. Whatever option you end up taking, I am sure it will be a good choice.

  15. Good luck with choosing a degree plan but honestly, I don’t have a big preference to which major or even degree I want in college. I’m doing it to pass the time, really. My dreams are to have a small family with my husband, as silly as that sounds.

  16. Based solely on the information you gave, I would opt for Graphic Design/Photog. With the option for a minor, could you do the Comm Design? It might be more work and more money but will you graduate any faster or slower? You should look at your dream job and see what you need for that. Also, look at how much more money and see if maybe, it’d be better to stay where you are and take courses for photography or whatever design concepts you’d be missing out on. College can be expensive and you can probably teach yourself a good portion for a fraction of the price.

    1. Thanks a lot for your thoughts. It’s very true that you can teach yourself a lot of things and that there are single courses or even free tutorials that can be so beneficial. 😀

  17. I don’t know how things work in Australia, but are there certifications or associate’s degree (vocational) for photography and graphic design? If there are, I think it would be best to continue with Communication Design and then supplement it with Graphic Design/Photography certifications? I feel that Comm Design is a broad field where you could easily “branch out” to different things and have what they call “transferable skills”.

    But whichever you decide, good luck to you.

    1. Thank you. Not anything that has really stood out to me at the moment. I am sure that there are more options out there and I might have to expand the field a little. 😀

  18. Obviously both are equally appealing, but I think considering the pros and cons thoroughly and weighing them against what you want for your future is the best way to go!

    I had a similar problem a few months ago when it came to my degree, but in the end I stayed with my current plan and just altered my career path to fit my goals and wants in life. I’m SO much happier now, and I have a renewed fire to finish school and stay motivated while doing it!

    For me, deciding the best option was quite simple, but that’s because things just fell into place for me. I hope similar things can happen for you! Happy New Year <3

  19. Honestly speaking, I chose Psychology as my third option. I was about to take up Foreign Studies which the university I attended before do not offer. So, I ended up uninterested to the subjects I took. But then when I shifted to Sociology, :angel: which is my current course, I found myself. Research and more readings. This is what I love most, Kya. So my advice to you is TAKE WHAT YOUR HEART AND SOUL DESIRES. Ask yourself, Is this what I really want? Is this what I really want to be in the next 10 years? And, it’s only YOU who could answer yourself. Best of luck!


    1. Thank you for sharing your advice. In the end you can only follow what you think is right. There is also the option of changing again if things just don’t fit. 😀

  20. Yes, I am always hunted by the conflict of what degree to take. I actually changed my major thrice already. lol What I do is choose the easier one which is obviously not a good idea. 🙁

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