Visual Studies, BA

The Visual Studies program provides an understanding of the visual arts and illuminates the development of world’s cultures. Coursework equips students with training in art history as a humanistic discipline through the visual analysis and interpretation of works of art.

Visual Studies Major Requirements| Visual Studies Minor Requirements  | Arts Management Minor 

The rich, interdisciplinary Visual Studies curriculum leads to an array of career directions, from museum and gallery work, work in the areas of art appraisal and criticism, and advanced graduate training as professional historians of art.

As a place to study art, the vibrant San Francisco Bay Area offers students an exceptional selection of galleries and museums, including the Asian Museum of Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Museum of Craft and Folk Art, the Contemporary Jewish Museum, and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

Beginning survey coursework provides basic introductions to chronology, cultural study, and visual analysis of the history of Western and Eastern art. Upper division surveys broaden the scope by focusing on particular periods, such as Classical, Medieval, Renaissance, Impressionism and Post-Impressionism, and Modern and Contemporary Art. Students with special interests and an adequate general background may arrange an individualized interdisciplinary or double major. Visual Studies majors also take at least two courses in studio art to gain direct experience with artistic techniques and the creative process.

Advanced students participate in semester-long seminars in methodology and research, as well as the completion of a senior thesis or comprehensive exam. Students planning graduate work in art history are encouraged to learn an international language (e.g., French and/or German).

Internships in art history are encouraged and are arranged to provide students with direct and practical experience, especially in the fields of museum and gallery work. The Bay Area’s museums, galleries, advertising agencies, design firms, and artist studios offer a wealth of internship and employment opportunities.

Minors in art history complete introductory survey courses plus the methodology or research seminars. Two upper division elective art history courses plus one course in studio art complete the minor in art history.

Students may complete an Arts Management Minor with a combination of Visual Studies and Business courses.

Visual Studies is excellent preparation for many careers providing analytic and communication skills you will need for an array of other careers.