Visual Studies: Art, Practice and Technology, BA

Visual Studies at the University of Pennsylvania prepares students to forge innovative connections across the disciplines that study vision and images. Students acquire a critical awareness of seeing and the problems and possibilities for investigating, thinking, and writing about seeing in the 21st century. Fundamentally interdisciplinary, the Visual Studies Program partners with the Departments of Philosophy, Psychology, History of Art, Fine Arts, and Architecture. Students may also find interest in Penn Programs such as Cinema Studies and Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies or outside of the School of Arts and Sciences in the Annenberg School of Communications, and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

Sector C enables students to develop skills in the making of art ranging from the two- and three-dimensional to the digital and time-based media, and includes both fine arts and architecture tracks.

The minimum total course units for graduation in this major is 35. Double majors may entail more course units.

For information about the General Education requirements, please visit the College of Arts & Sciences Curriculum page.

College General Education Requirements and Free Electives
Foundational Approaches + Sectors1 + Free Electives20
Major Requirements
Stage 1 - Core Courses
VLST 1010Eye, Mind, and Image1
VLST 1020Form and Meaning1
or VLST 1030 3 Dimensions: Time and Space
Stage 2 - Core Courses
Select 2 courses from each Sector:6
A. Philosophy and Science of Seeing: 2
Visual Neuroscience
Research Experience in Perception
What is an Image?
Select one of the following:
Introduction to Philosophy of Mind
Philosophy and Visual Perception
Philosophy of Perception
B. Art and the Culture of Seeing:
The Artist in History,1400-Now
American Art
Modern Art: Picasso to Pollock
Art Now
The Rise of Image Culture: History and Theories
Select one of the following:
Art and Civilization in East Asia
Art of Global Asia
Introduction to Visual Culture of the Islamic World
C. Art Practice and Technology:
Form and Meaning (course not used in Stage 1)
3 Dimensions: Time and Space
Select one of the following:
Video I
Drawing I
Art, Design and Digital Culture
or one approved alternate course (See Website)
VLST 3010What is Visual Studies?1
Stage 3 - Concentration Requirements
Art Practice and Technology: 2
Select 4 course units of Art Practice & Tech4
Select 1 course unit of Philos/Science or Art/Culture1
Stage 4 - Capstone Course
VLST 3950ASenior Project0.5
VLST 3950BSenior Project0.5
Total Course Units35

You may count no more than one course toward both a Major and a Sector requirement. For Exceptions, check the Policy Statement.


Important - Check for Pre-Requisites on PSYC and some FNAR courses. 


Four courses (4 course units) in your concentration and one course (1 course unit) from another Sector. (Note: No Stage 2 courses may be double-counted in Stage 3).


Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 3.70 in the Major.

  • Senior Project Completed (Grade of A)


The degree and major requirements displayed are intended as a guide for students entering in the Fall of 2023 and later. Students should consult with their academic program regarding final certifications and requirements for graduation.