Undergraduate Overview

The Department of Visual and Critical Studies serves students seeking rigorous tools to explore cultural phenomena.  The artists, designers, critics, writers, and scholars who teach in the program take a variety of approaches and come from diverse fields.  They share a common interest in understanding the cultural and social meanings of visual experience.  Visual and Critical Studies course offerings focus on interdisciplinary work and often take a feminist, global and comparative approach.

"Saturday with SAIC": October 15

3 - 6 p.m. CT

Join us for a pre-National Portfolio Day event "Saturday with SAIC" featuring campus tours and helpful tips on making the most of your National Portfolio Day experience!

Chicago National Portfolio Day: October 16

12-4 p.m. CT

Meet with reps from SAIC and over 60 nationally accredited art and design schools to get expert feedback on your portfolio.

The Bachelor of Arts in Visual and Critical Studies program (BAVCS) is based on the assumption that BA in Visual and Critical Studies and Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) students have much to learn from one another.  Most of the courses that BAVCS students take are part of the regular BFA curriculum, and courses offered through the program are open to all other students. 

The BAVCS requirements include 18 hours of general electives.  This gives students the opportunity to take, if they wish, additional VCS courses, or to place emphasis on a particular studio or academic area, for example, photography, philosophy, painting, design, or exhibition studies.  All BAVCS students complete a senior thesis project.

BFA in Studio with Visual and Critical Studies Thesis Option

BFA in Studio students may choose a BFA in Studio with Visual and Critical Studies Thesis Option, in which they complete a nine-credit, research-based academic thesis as part of their BFA in Studio degree. 

Selections from the 2017 BAVCS Symposium

Rod Sawyer

The Power of Personal Narrative: Graffiti and Education

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Maddie Kodat

Capturing the Mark of the Hand: Digitizing the Corpus

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Claire Frances Spaulding

Lawn Origin: The Ha-Ha and Aesthetic Ordinance

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