Brigham Young University Homepage

Undergraduate Catalog

2013 - 2014

Visual Arts

Linda Reynolds, Chair
E-509 HFAC, (801) 422-7321

College of Fine Arts and Communications Advisement Center
D-444 HFAC, (801) 422-3777

Admission to Degree Program

Admission to the Department of Visual Arts is obtained by department application after completion of the prerequisite core and a portfolio review. For further details, please refer to Students will have two opportunities to apply to their program of choice—one in March and one in November. (This does not apply to the art history major, which is open enrollment.) Please see General Information below for more details, or contact the college advisement center (1-801-422-3777).

The Discipline

The Department of Visual Arts serves five main purposes: (1) to prepare competent professionals in various fields of the plastic and graphic arts; (2) to prepare qualified designers to solve problems inherent in two- and three-dimensional applications; (3) to train historians who can critically appraise works of art; (4) to prepare art educators for teaching the visual arts at the elementary and secondary levels; and (5) to generally develop individuals' aesthetic sense by helping them experience art.

Career Opportunities

The art education degree certifies the student as an art specialist in public or private institutions, grades K–12. Other opportunities for the certified art specialist are in foreign school systems, recreation programs, art museum education programs, and galleries. Students qualify for positions in artist-in-the-schools programs and arts councils and as art consultants/coordinators. The degree also provides a foundation for graduate study leading to advanced degrees.

Most opportunities for careers related to art history exist in teaching at the junior college and university levels. The art history major traditionally prepares students for related graduate study, but it also provides excellent training for many art- and humanities-related careers and provides a solid foundation for entering several professional graduate programs.

The art history major is valuable for those going into any aspect of museum work, including art conservation/restoration, curatorial work, museum research, and museum youth education programs. It is also a useful and often key undergraduate major for careers in art law, architecture, historical restoration, art galleries, auction houses, and art resource/research library studies. Local, state, and federal agencies offer career possibilities related to arts and humanities councils. Combined with one of several other majors, an art history minor helps prepare the student for any number of careers.

Studio art majors are prepared to compete as freelance, self-employed artists, working through galleries, exhibitions, and museums to promote and sell their work. The MFA degree also prepares artists to teach on a college or a university level. Other career opportunities include printmaking, illustration, production crafts, teaching, gallery and museum work, computer art applications, and other related careers.

Design majors are fully prepared for careers in each of the respective disciplines—

  • Graphic design: Advertising agencies, design studios, in-house design organizations, freelance in mediums such as books, posters, signage, billboards, commercials, corporate identity systems, and logos.
  • Illustration: In-house or freelance illustration focusing on book jacket, editorial, corporate, or institutional work; advertising, children's books, concept design, character development, narrative traditions, and computer applications, among others.
  • Photography: Portraiture; commercial illustration; advertising; fashion; architectural photography; photo-journalism; editorial, stock, industrial, fine art, educational, medical, and travel photography; photographic conservation, marketing and manufacturing, and finishing.
  • Animation majors are prepared to work in various disciplines that include feature animation studios, visual and special effect studios, entertainment, computer games, and scientific data visualization.

Graduation Requirements

To receive a BYU bachelor's degree a student must complete, in addition to all requirements for a specific major, the following university requirements:

  • The university core, consisting of requirements in general and religious education. (See University Core for details. For a complete listing of courses that meet university core requirements, see the current class schedule.)
  • At least 30 credit hours must be earned in residence on the BYU campus in Provo as an admitted day student
  • Earn a minimum of 120 credit hours
  • Have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0
  • Be in good standing with the Honor Code Office

Undergraduate Programs and Degrees

Students should see their college advisement center for help or information concerning the undergraduate programs.

Graduate Programs and Degrees

    MA in Art Education
    MA in Art History and Curatorial Studies
    MFA in Studio Art

General Information

Prerequisite Core

All prospective 2D studio 3D studio, art education, graphic design, illustration, and photography students must complete the freshman core program before applying to the Department of Visual Arts. The freshman core will consist of the following open-enrollment courses: VA 111, 114, 115.

Prospective animation students must complete the following courses before applying to a degree program in the department: CSAnm 150, VAAnm 131, and VAAnm 160.

Art history is an open-enrollment program.

Talent Awards

All students, pre-majors and accepted majors, may apply for talent awards by completing the application found online at The deadline for talent award applications is February 1st of every year.

Application Procedures for Freshmen

High school students expecting to be admitted to BYU in Fall semester may apply for the talent award and can be accepted only once a year (February 1st). If accepted to the Visual Arts program through the talent award, then the student would be expected to enroll in the core that first Fall semester and complete the pre-requisite classes.

Sophomore-Through-Senior BFA Degree Program Enrollment

Permission to enroll for sophomore-through-senior-level BFA degree program courses is granted to students upon satisfactory development of skills and creative abilities demonstrated in a portfolio of drawings and designs completed during the preceding year. Faculty from each major will assess portfolios of work submitted by students wishing to advance in their respective fields of study. Students invited to continue are permitted to enroll in specified courses at the next academic level.

Transfer Students

Transfer students in art disciplines must meet with the appropriate area coordinator. Transfer students in design disciplines are required to participate in a portfolio review; the deadline is March 15 for Fall semester, Spring and Summer terms, and November 15 for Winter semester. Contact the area coordinator.

Note: Students not accepted into BFA degree programs may elect to enroll in one of the bachelor of arts programs in visual arts. Students may apply to the BFA program no more than twice.

Degree Program Coordinators/Advisors

Coordinators are appointed to counsel students in each of the eight majors/emphases. Coordinators will advise students about program objectives, course content and sequence, career goals, and other matters pertaining to their major field of study.

Department Probationary Status

Students can be placed on probationary status for the following:

  1. Inadequate academic performance.
  2. Unprofessional attitude and lack of commitment.
  3. BYU Honor Code violations.

Licensure Option

The BA and BFA are professional degrees. This non-degree licensure option is only available to the following Visual Arts majors:

    Emphases in the BA in Visual Arts BFA degrees
    Graphic Design Animation
    Illustration Graphic Design
    Photography Illustration
    Studio Arts Photography
    Studio Arts

Please review the art education major requirements or contact the college advisement center. Note: This is not a second major.