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Academic Opportunities

The Visual Arts Department encourages students to take advantage of opportunities outside of formal classes to build upon learning outcomes, get involved with the department community, and participate in experiential learning opportunites.

Adam D. Kamil Gallery Shows

Visual Arts majors and minors at the junior or senior level are eligible to submit a proposal to show in the Kamil Gallery (located in Mandeville Center) for one week during the academic school year. Shows may be solo or group exhibitions. Students sign up on a first-come first-served basis on Monday of Week 7 of the previous quarter. Students must bring in a one page typed proposal to sign up.

Due to campus closure in response to COVID-19, the Adam D. Kamil Gallery has moved online for the Spring 2020 quarter:

ICAM Senior Show

Each Spring, the graduating class of the Visual Arts and Music departments' ICAM (Interdisciplinary Computing and the Arts) program have the opportunity to participate in the ICAM Senior gallery show at the Kamil Gallery in Mandeville Center. This show features works like short films, sculptures, interactive games, projection mapped installations, and more.

Conference for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH)

Conference for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH): The purpose of this conference is to recognize research done in the Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities, as well as to encourage UC San Diego undergraduates. The conference is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Students from any school are eligible to present, so long as their research falls within these fields. Poster presentations, artwork, and performances are welcome!

Department of Visual Arts Honors Programs

The department offers honors programs in Art History, Media, and Studio for outstanding students. Students interested in participating in an honors program should consult with the departmental advisor.

 Art History

The Art History honors program (VIS 129G and VIS 129H)  will provide outstanding students with pre-professional 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. Admissions to the Art History Honors Program will be based on the following criteria:

  1. Major GPA of 3.5 or greater
  2. Cumulative GPA of 3.3 or greater
  3. Completion of: all lower division art history requirements, all upper division distribution  requirements, Art Historical Methods (VIS 112), and at least one additional art history seminar
  4. Recommendation of a permanent faculty member


The Media honors program will help students develop high quality professional portfolios. The Honors Thesis project runs the length of an academic year (three quarters) to provide sufficient time for ideas to develop and critically-aware work to be produced. Admissions to the Media Honors Program will be based on the following criteria:

  1. Major GPA of 3.5 or greater
  2. Cumulative GPA of 3.0 or greater
  3. Approval of the faculty advisor(s) whom they will work with each quarter
  4. Recommendation of a permanent faculty member

Students interested in participating in Media Honors will need to: compile a portfolio of their recent work, write a 1-2 page outline of their proposed thesis project, and present these items to the permanent faculty member(s) that they would be interested in working with. If the faculty advisor(s) support the thesis project, you will need to complete the following steps in order to gain admission to the Media Honors program:

  1. Determine the project you would like to pursue over the year and create a project proposal. This needs to include: description of your project, what you will be completing towards the project each quarter, and a week by week timeline (this can be general but will need to be updated each quarter to reflect the workload for the current quarter)
  2. Consent from a full-time Media faculty member to serve as your project mentor
  3. EACH QUARTER, Submit an enrollment authorization request via EASy. you must include your project proposal (from step 1).
  4. DURING THE FIRST QUARTER, have your faculty mentor complete the Media Honors Faculty Form and submit to the Visual Arts Academic Advising Office.
All completed paperwork must be submitted to the department no later than Friday Week 1 each quarter and the same grading option (P/NP or Letter) must be selected each quarter in the sequence as it is not possible to change your grading option from quarter to quarter.



The Studio Honors Program will encourage the development of a clear and unified body of work by each outstanding student admitted.  The Studio Honors sequence is intended to refine and expand the student’s work and to build on conceptual and formal issues with the intention of giving the student a strong technical, critical, and theoretical base. Studio Honors students are highly motivated and driven to independently explore and complete their creative projects in a communal studio setting. Admissions to the Studio Honors Program will be based on review of the following criteria:

  1. Major GPA of 3.5 or greater
  2. Cumulative GPA of 3.0 or greater
  3. Completion of: all foundation level requirements, four intermediate level courses, and one advanced level course
  4. Completed Studio Honors application and supplementary materials   

Special Studies courses (VIS 198/199)

Special Studies courses: A Special Studies course (VIS 198/VIS 199) is an independent study in which a student works individually on a project with a faculty member acting as a mentor. If this seems like something you are interested in, please read the instructions for pursuing Special Studies. Please note: special studies are taken on in addition to all other faculty commitments and therefore is not guaranteed as faculty may not be able to volunteer additional hours depending on their teaching, campus, and research requirements at the time.

Study Abroad

Take classes abroad and develop skills that are critical to a liberal arts education. Classes taken abroad may be petitioned to count towards Visual Arts major requirements.

Visual Arts Senior Studio Exhibition

UC San Diego’s annual Visual Arts Senior Studio Exhibition is a student-run exhibition under the supervision of faculty. It showcases the work of majors and minors in the Visual Arts department. The Senior Studio Exhibition takes place each Spring.

2020 Application Form