Distinct from the more specialized BFA programs in the School of Art+Design, the BS major in visual arts provides an overview of contemporary art–based research methods and cultural theories, art history, and focused study and practice of a fine art discipline within a broad liberal arts context.

The BS program combines the studio foundations program (required for all undergraduates in the School of Art+Design) with studio concentration (Painting & Drawing, Photography, Printmaking or Sculpture) and electives, courses in art history, and a synthesizing senior project. Students may choose from other art electives offered by the School of Art+Design, as long as they have taken the prerequisite courses. With half of their required credits earned outside the visual arts, many BSVA students complete a double major or a minor in the humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, or performing arts. This freedom offers students access to the full range of programs at Purchase College.

The Neuberger Museum of Art and Performing Arts Center on campus serve as active resources and integral components of the curriculum. Study abroad programs may provide enrichment and global perspectives to the course of study. Internships may also provide a practical connection between academic studies and potential career paths.

Academically engaged, visually attuned, and skillful students who wish to initiate this course of study will be admitted by portfolio review. Upon completion of the program, students may pursue careers in such cultural organizations as museums, galleries, and nonprofit organizations; art journalism and publishing, marketing and advertising; and other professions that require creative problem solving and inventive solutions. Graduates of this degree program will also be prepared to continue study in graduate and professional programs.

Updated 9-29-20


In addition to fulfilling General Education requirements, undergraduate students majoring in the visual arts BS program must complete the following requirements (58-59 credits), as outlined below:

Note: All students are expected to maintain a minimum GPA of 2.0 to remain in good academic standing.All required studio arts classes must be completed with a grade of C or higher in order to advance within the degree. Any required studio arts grade of C- or below must be repeated.

Foundation Courses: 17 credits

  • VIS 1050/ComX: 2 credits OR
  • VIS 2150/Key Class: 1 credit
  • VIS 1060/Foundation Drawing: 3 credits
  • VIS 1070/Extended Media: 3 credits
  • VIS 1080/Visual Language: 3 credits
  • VIS 1260/3-D Processes: 3 credits
  • VIS 1330/Lens and Time: 3 credits

Art History Courses: 12 credits

  • ARH 1020/History of Art Survey II: 3 credits
  • ARH1021/History of Art Survey II Discussion: 1 credit
  • ARH —/One course in the history of art prior to 1800 (lower-level) 4 credits
  • ARH —/Art history elective (modern/contemporary) 4 credits

Studio Electives: 18 credits

  • V —/Visual arts studio electives: 6 credits
  • V —/Visual arts studio electives (upper level): 12 credits

Synthesis Courses: 12 credits

  • VIS 3880/BSVA Seminar: 4 credits*
  • SPJ 4990/Senior Project I: 4 credits
  • SPJ 4991/Senior Project II: 4 credits

*Effective for students entering Fall 2023 and later, VIS 2880 is no longer being offered and VIS3880 is changing from 3 to 4 credits. 

Students are also expected to abide by the policies and procedures laid out in the A+D Student Handbook.