Degrees & Programs

The degree programs in Visual and Media Arts combine a variety of skills with a liberal arts education. The programs are designed to support students’ acquisition of conceptual and technical skills while fostering their awareness of current issues, theoretical frameworks, as well as the historical and cultural contexts for art production. Under the guidance of a faculty advisor in the Department of Visual and Media Arts, students may choose between ten degree options. Coursework is augmented by field trips, a campus exhibition program, visiting artists, and international programs. Internships and independent study also enhance coursework, especially in graphic design, where off-campus field experience is required.

First-Year Experiences

During their first year in the Department of Visual and Media Arts, majors complete a set of core classes that are tailored to their area of study. No matter what area of study, these courses are essential in the preparation for the advanced courses and emphasize critical inquiry, discipline-specific methods and hands-on experiences.

As students continue in the department, they continue to hone these skills in the development of a personal body of work under the supervision of faculty mentors in the area. The self-direction nurtured early in the program is reinforced throughout your time at GVSU.


Read more about the first-year experience in Visual and Media Arts


B.A. or B.S. Degree in Art Education

The discipline integrates the practices of art making, art criticism, and an understanding of contemporary visual culture as foundations for teaching art in schools as well as community settings. Art education students complete rigorous training in studio art complemented by courses in the theory and methods of art education. During the last year of the program, majors complete their professional training with assisting and directed teaching opportunities at regional schools. The program leads to teacher certification for visual art in the Michigan public schools at the primary and secondary levels.

Art Education - Program Information


B.A. in Art History

A major in art history provides you with an expansive framework to explore the arts and visual culture. Through the examination of historic and contemporary works produced around the globe students engage with questions of context, interpretation, and how these concepts have changed over time. Through the study and practice of art history you’ll approach the arts as complex and dynamic agents that reflect as well as shape cultural ideas and values. 

Art History - Program Information


B.A. or B.S. in Film and Video Production

A strong hands-on emphasis characterizes the film and video production major. Courses include animation, cinema studies, documentary and nonfiction, fiction filmmaking, new media, and sound design. The curriculum integrates production experience with the insights offered by media history, theory, and criticism.

Film and Video Production - Program Information


B.A. or B.S. in Photography

Studies in photography at Grand Valley State University encompass the history, critical and aesthetic theory, and varied practice of photography as a medium of visual communication and expression in culture and society.

The photography program, in supporting the mission of the university, develops liberally-educated professional image-makers and media scholars through student-centered inquiry and practice in visual communication and the history, theory, criticism, and production of photographic images using state of the art methods, tools and facilities.

Photography - Program Information


B.A or B.S. in Studio Art

The B.A. and B.S. degrees emphasize breadth of experience in the visual arts with an elective component that allows students to achieve an intermediate level of competency in one or more areas. These programs are specifically formulated for the student who wants to combine art studies with another academic area.

B.A./B.S. in Studio Art - Degree Information

B.F.A. in Studio Art

The B.F.A. in Studio Art is designed for students interested in a professional degree in art or design. This degree will prepare students for a career as a professional artist or designer. Eight Emphasis Areas are available to choose from in the B.F.A.

Ceramics - Program Information

Graphic Design - Program Information

Illustration - Program Information

Jewelry and Metalsmithing - Program Information

Painting - Program Information

Printmaking - Program Information

Sculpture - Program Information

Visual Studies - Program Information


Minor degrees

Minor in Art History

The minor in art history is designed to offer students a general introduction to the study of art history and its methods.  It offers students from many disciplines including - studio art, the humanities and professional degrees - the opportunity to examine the contexts for the production of the visual arts.

Minor in Art History Information


Minor in Photography

Studies in photography at Grand Valley State University encompass the history, critical and aesthetic theory, and varied practice of photography as a medium of visual communication and expression in culture and society.

Minor in Photography Information


Minor in Studio Art

The art minor offers students in other majors the opportunity to pursue their interest in the visual arts. Students take seven courses for the minor for a total of 21 credits.

Minor in Studio Art Information


Degree Requirements

For information on Degree Requirements, please refer to the Advising page by clicking here.



Page last modified October 27, 2017