Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Visual and Critical Studies students follow a curricular pathway that shares many classes with Bachelor of Fine Arts students before diverging into a unique course of study. Here are the requirements you must meet to earn a BA in Visual and Critical Studies.

Total Credit Hours 132
Core Curriculum  18  
  • VCS 2001 Issues in Visual and Critical Studies (3)
  • VCS 3001 and 4010 Topics in Visual and Critical Studies (6)
  • VCS 3010 Tutorial in Visual and Critical Studies (3)
  • VCS 4005 and 4006 Undergraduate Thesis Seminar I and II: Research and Writing (6)
Studio  36
  • CP 1010 Core Studio Practice I (3)
  • CP 1011 Core Studio Practice II (3)
  • CP 1020 Research Studio I (3)
  • CP 1022 Research Studio II (3)
  • Sophomore Seminar (3)
  • Studio Electives (21)    
Liberal Arts   42
  • English (6)
    • ENGLISH 1001 First Year Seminar I (3)
    • ENGLISH 1005 First Year Seminar II (3)
  • Humanities—including 3 credits global/comparative (15)
    • HUM 3704 Hegel to the 20th Century (3)
  • Social Science—including 3 credits global/comparative (12)
  • Natural Science—including 3 credits visual science (9)
Art History   18
  • ARTHI 1001 World Cultures/Civilizations: Pre-History to 19th-Century Art and Architecture (3)
  • Art History elective at 1000 level (3)    
  • Art History Electives (12)
General Electives   18

Transfer Students

Transfer students must complete at least 60 credit hours of coursework at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) in order to earn a BA in Visual and Critical Studies degree here. Please look at the breakdown of credits required for minimum residency below:

Total credits required for minimum residency66
Minimum Studio credit 15
Minimum Visual and Critical Studies Core Curriculum 18

Interested in learning more?

Visit the Department of Visual and Critical Studies web page for information on the curriculum, faculty and resources offered through the department.

Or, learn about the consecutive degree option for BFA and Bachelor of Arts in Visual and Critical Studies, which is growing in popularity. With additional coursework, you can engage in a sustained investigation of research, writing, and studio practice.

Interested in learning more about how you can apply?

Visit the undergraduate admissions website or contact the undergraduate admissions office at 800.232.7242 or