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The curriculum offers four undergraduate majors: Art History/Criticism , Media, Studio and Interdisciplinary Computing and the Arts Major. The scope of the courses offered is wide and concerned with developing a coherent and informed understanding of past and recent developments in art and art history. Students who transfer to UCSD in their second or third year may petition to substitute courses taken at other colleges or universities for our lower-division requirements. However, they must show that the courses they have successfully completed are comparable to our own.
Twenty courses are required in studio, media, and ICAM and eighteen courses in art history for the attainment of the bachelor of arts degree. A minimum of twelve of these courses must be upper-division, however, some majors may require more upper-division courses.
All courses taken to satisfy major requirements must be taken for a letter grade, and only grades of C– or better will be accepted in the visual arts major.
A minimum of two-thirds of the course work completed for the major must be taken at UC San Diego. Students who transfer to UC San Diego in their second or third year may petition to substitute courses taken at other colleges and universities for major requirements.
Visual Arts 111, Structure of Art, must be taken at UC San Diego by all students, including transfer students, in the art history, media, and studio majors.
The department offers honors programs in art history, in media, and in studio for outstanding students.
The art history honors program will provide outstanding students with preprofessional experience. It consists of an issue-oriented seminar followed by a directed group study and will result in an exhibition with catalogue, a scholarly conference with a mock publication and/or series of research papers. Students who meet the criteria may, with permission of the art history faculty adviser or the art history honors seminar instructor, enroll in the art history honors program during the last quarter of their junior year or as a senior. This program is open to juniors and seniors who meet eligibility requirements: minimum major GPA of 3.5 (3.3 overall), completion of all lower-division art history requirements, completion of all upper-division art history distribution requirements, and completion of Art Historical Methods (VIS 112) and at least one additional art history seminar. The level of distinction will be determined by the faculty committee on the basis of work in the honors seminar and on the research project.
The media honors program will help students develop high-quality professional portfolios. The honors thesis project is a sequence of individual studies that runs the length of an academic year to provide sufficient time for ideas to develop and critically aware work to be produced. Students may arrange to work with different faculty advisers each term or may engage a single adviser for the year. To be eligible for the honors thesis sequence, students must have at least a 3.5 GPA in the major and have approval of all the advisers with whom they will work. Qualified students may begin their sequence the last quarter of their junior year or during their senior year. At the end of the third quarter, all involved media faculty will meet to critique the overall quality of the final thesis work to determine level of distinction.
Through exhibition, verbal and written presentations and course work, the studio honors program is intended to give the student as strong a technical, critical, and theoretical base as possible. The program is open to juniors and seniors with a minimum 3.5 GPA in the major (3.0 overall), who have completed all lower-division studio requirements and all upper-division groups I, II, III, and IV (subgroup A) requirements.
Students interested in participating in an honors program should consult with the departmental adviser.
Double Major with another department
Please see How to Declare a Double Major. Note that you MAY choose two majors within the Visual Arts Department; see below.
Double Major within the Department
There are three double majors within the Department of Visual Arts: Art History/Theory/ Criticism paired with either studio, media, or ICAM. Students interested in a double major within the department must have at least ten upper-division courses that are unique to each departmental major and the remaining courses may overlap with other major requirements. Students should consult with the departmental adviser for additional information.
Education Abroad Program
Students are often able to participate in the UC Education Abroad Program (EAP) and UC San Diego’s Opportunities Abroad Program (OAP) while still making progress toward completing their major. Financial aid is applicable to study abroad and special study abroad scholarships are readily available. Students considering this option should discuss their plans with an Education Abroad adviser before going abroad, and courses taken abroad must be approved by the departmental faculty adviser. More information on EAP/OAP is detailed in the Education Abroad Program of the UC San Diego General Catalog or on the Major Advising page. Interested students should contact the Programs Abroad Office in the International Center.