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Visual Arts

Find your creative voice and feed your innovative mind at the Department of Visual Art​s (VA). This visionary department provides an education in which artists and art historians of promise and motivation can explore the horizons of their own talents.

The department’s efforts are devoted not only to the refinement of visual skills, but to the articulation and cultivation of the mind. Students must bring creative force and imagination – qualities that cannot be taught but can only be stimulated and appreciated.

As a developing artist, students couldn’t be in a better place. The department is located in downtown Denver and is at the heart of its thriving, dynamic arts community. Whether students work as an intern at a local gallery or visit one of the nation’s leading museums, our urban setting yields endless opportunities for students to learn, experience and create art both on and beyond the Auraria campus.​​​

Graduating seniors receiving the BA and BFA degrees participate in an exhibition of their creative work and documentation of their scholarship during their last semester of study. This event takes place at RedLine, known for its vision to empower every person to create social change through art. For excellent examples of our student's work, please visit the BFA thesis Website documenting work from 2016​ and 2017​.​

3D Graphics & Animation

Each year between 28 and 34 students are selected for the 3D Graphics and Animation core cadre. Continuation selection for the degree emphasis is conducted at the end of the first year and is by portfolio review based on year one work in both animation and foundational art courses. Should the student candidate not be confirmed into the 3D Graphics and Animation core cadre, a number of fulfilling and equally viable degree options within the College of Arts & Media are available to the student in Digital Design, Film, Recording Arts or Visual Arts.

Program Requirements​

Art History

The art history emphasis familiarizes students with a range of developments in the history of art while developing skills in critical thinking, writing, research and the study of artworks. After an introduction to the canonical traditions of art and architecture, students take advanced lecture courses on specific subjects. This curriculum concludes with capstone seminars on the methods of art historical scholarship as well as a thesis project.

Art Practices

Art Practices is designed for students whose creative work moves across media and who are looking for a more comprehensive critical approach to developing their art practice.

Giving students access to painting, printmaking, casting, fabrication, installation, digital art and photography throughout our studios, this Art Practices emphasis will give BFA students a clear sense of what it is to produce art today across visual media and be competitive in their field.​

Program Requirements​

Digital Design

Through an interdisciplinary approach, the Digital Design program produces designers who use technology in innovative ways and understand the cultural impact of digital technologies to produce solutions for branding, advertising, social causes and to solve human problems. Students become highly competent in visual design using a variety of digital media but they are also focused on why design is valuable, using design thinking and user-centered research to solve complex problems.

Program Requirements

Admission into the BFA Digital Design emphasis or the Digital Design minor is by portfolio review​.​


Students in the illustration emphasis receive instruction in conceptual illustration, digital illustration, rendering, perspective, painting, exhibition preparation, professional practices and the use of various artistic and illustration techniques.  In preparation for a professional illustration career, the course work allows students to master numerous essential digital and traditional tools and work to successfully bring the two together in ambitious and innovative illustrative work.


Students begin their work at CU Denver by enrolling in visual arts foundations and lower division arts courses. This first year to year and a half of studio work prepares students for submitting a portfolio to their choice of emphasis for their bachelor fine arts degree. Students are encouraged to submit to more than one area at the time of their portfolio application.​

Program Requirements​


Admission into the BFA Photography emphasis is by portfolio review. In November of the sophomore year, students are required to submit a digital portfolio, a written statement and unofficial transcripts from CU Denver and any previous post-secondary educational institutions.

While the Department of Visual Arts accepts applications for the spring or summer semester, Photography students are strongly encouraged to apply for a fall semester start. The majority of photography courses are offered in a “fall only” or “spring only” sequence and pre-requisites are strictly enforced. Students who begin in the spring and summer semesters may find that their required courses are not offered until the fall semester.

Program Requirements​


The transmedia-sculpture emphasis encompasses 21st-century digital practice with five-thousand-year-old metal casting process. Students learn how to use a full range of equipment and methods in art making – from working with metals, wood, casting and mold making to performance, live media and interactive digital work.

Program Requirements​