Visual Art Undergraduate Programs and Admissions

About the Program

The VISA program provides the student opportunities to showcase their talents and participate in the wider art world of the university and Vancouver.

The Visual Art Students Association (VASA) connects visual art and art history students though events, workshops, and invited presentations. The Undergraduate Journal of Art History (UJAH) gives students an opportunity to have their work published in a student-run university journal. An annual BFA/BA exhibition is staged for graduating VISA students; works selected for this exhibition are prominently displayed and published in the exhibition catalogue.

Students are equipped with the tools and skills necessary to work professionally in the field of contemporary visual art or to pursue further studies, such as a Master of Fine Arts or graduate work in education, architecture, law, or library and archival studies.

Faculty in the Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory are actively involved in research and bring this strength into their teaching at all levels. Undergraduate and graduate seminars enhance the student experience through advanced academic and artistic research. Many VISA graduates have established distinguished careers in the creative, scholarly, and gallery fields.

The program fosters critical and reflexive thinking regarding the visual art within an inclusive and supportive environment. The program fosters an international scholarly perspective, treats interaction with the social sphere as an essential component of academic study, and engages with professional and community groups associated with visual art practices.

Program Structure

The Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory offers four undergraduate programs in visual art:

Program Outcomes

Graduates with a Visual Art major will:

  • Develop a life-long skill as a self-reflexive artist at a professional capacity.
  • Acquire visual literacy, understanding of materials, and technical skills to develop a critically engaged art practice.
  • Employ all basic components—materials, form, time, and ideas—to convey meaning in the production of artwork, and affect in the act of “making” (poiesis).
  • Develop artistic skills in the communal space of the studio laboratory, a space where art making and research coalesce.
  • Have an art vocabulary informed by art theory and art history to draw upon when conceptualizing and making art, resulting in the ability to communicate ideas about one’s work.
  • Process the relationship of intuition to intellect, of thinking to vision, so as to create new links between what we see and what we know, and ultimately, new avenues for producing meaning.
  • Discover differences and commonalities between the realms of visual culture and that of the work of art; to critically respond through the production of art the strategies of contemporary visual media.
  • Communicate complex ideas about art in a broad range of forums, such as lectures, artist talks, studio critiques, group and solo presentations, writing, and conferences.
  • Cultivate critical modes of thinking informed by production and study of the visual arts, to formulate ideas that interrogate dominant structures and that give them the capacity to make meaning.
  • Have an established skill base in various media, such as painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, printmaking, performance, and digital art forms, and be able to identify avenues to adapt/advance techniques toward development of an art practice.
  • Bring an ethical perspective to their artistic praxis in an effort to understand the social, political, and emotive implications of art, enacting responsible citizenship through an understanding of the relationship of the artist to the society at large.
  • Integrate a range of research disciplines offered through the University into the practice of contemporary art.
  • Be prepared to enter the professional world of contemporary art by presentation of a formal artist’s portfolio consisting of art works and artist statements that illustrate the development of their practice.

Specific to BFA Visual Art Major

  • Plan, arrange, and mount personal artwork for a successful art exhibition in collaboration with one’s peers and other professionals.

Specific to BA Visual Art Major

  • Approach research areas through the lens of the visual arts, creating a trans-disciplinary investigation on the development and expansion of meaning applied to other subject areas.

To learn more, see the sidebar to the left or email the Undergraduate Advisor, Greg Gibson.