The Visual and Performing Arts Department offers a crossdisciplinary degree that encourages innovative collaboration between disciplines. This focus integrates art history, film studies, museum and gallery practice, music, theatre, and visual arts. Students complete this degree with a primary concentration in one area and develop a comprehensive knowledge in each of the major disciplines. Through studio arts, performance, theory, scholarship, and creative uses of media and technology, students will engage in an investigative approach to the arts, where the local and global converge; where cross-fertilization inspires critical thinking, dialogue and improvisation; and where diversity of thought is intrinsic to artistic process and practice. When students complete this degree, they will have the skills and knowledge to enter graduate school or a variety of careers in the arts.
The Gallery of Contemporary Art, the Heller Center for Arts & Humanities, Theatreworks, and the Visual Resource Center offer students opportunities and venues for professional practice and interactions with visiting artists and scholars.
A program fee of $40 per semester will be assessed to all students enrolled in Visual and Performing Arts courses. In addition, students enrolled in certain courses will be assessed fees to help defray the cost of supplies. Course fees range from $10-$30 per class per semester with a $40 maximum total fee per semester. There is a full refund of the deposit for courses dropped the first two weeks of the term.
- Student will identify with and perceive that one is a member of a department or campus culture with shared interests in the exchange of ideas about performing arts and attending local performances and art events
Learning Outcomes, Visual and Performing Arts, BA
Comprehension and development: perceptions concerning changes in attitude toward certain areas of performance vis-à-vis understanding and greater tolerance for innovation and experimentation.
- Ability to recognize and comprehend aesthetic criteria, artistic genres, and the intention of a variety of performative acts in different contexts
- Understand fundamental characteristics of performance and artistic expressiveness and their application cross-culturally and across disciplinary practices
- Ability to critique direct outcomes of art and performance (e.g., symbolism, metaphoric content, tropes such as parody and satire, cultural representation, improvisatory interaction, subversive intent, etc.)
- Ability to use the full range of resources to understand the complexity of any given arts-related topic, and to generate the requisite knowledge and evidence to create a compellling and coherent research project
- Ability to work collaboratively in groups across the arts disciplines
General Degree Requirements
The Visual and Performing Arts degree is composed of a primary concentration and a group of core VAPA and interdisciplinary courses. The following distribution outlines the requirements for the degree.
60 Credit Hours Total:
- 36 Primary Field (max 42)
- 3 VAPA Foundation
- 6 VAPA Upper-division
- 3 VAPA Capstone
- 6-12 credits secondary field courses (lower and upper division credits)
VAPA BA—Art History Option
General Degree requirements
Students intending to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Visual and Performing Arts with an Art History option must complete 60 credit hours as follows:
- 33 in Art History
- 9 in Visual Art
- 12 in VAPA
- 6 within another VAPA option for the Cross-Disciplinary component
Art History Course Requirements—33 credits
Core requirements: 6 credits
Lower-Division requirements: 12 credits
Upper-Division requirements: 15 credits
Lower and upper-division courses must be distributed among four different areas of study.
These areas include: Ancient Cultures, the Medieval World, the Art of Africa, North American Native Arts, Mesoamerican Art, Islamic Art and Architecture, Asian Art, Renaissance and Baroque Art of Europe, the Arts of the Pacific Rim, the History of Women in the Arts, Public Art and Architecture, Art of the Contemporary Period, and Current Issues in Art History.
Art History Visual Art requirements: 9 credits
(from the following list)
Students with the proper prerequisites may elect to take upper division visual arts courses to fulfill this requirement.
Art History VAPA requirements: 12 credits
Art History Cross-Disciplinary requirements: 6 credits
2000/3000/4000-level courses in Film Studies, Museum & Gallery Practice, Music, or Theatre.
VAPA BA—Film Studies Option
The Film Studies option in the Visual and Performing Arts major is devoted to the study of film as a multicultural and transnational artistic discipline. The emphasis of this track is on film history, theory, and analysis. The department provides an interdisciplinary approach to the study of the moving image, which prepares the student for graduate programs in advanced film and media study or as a component to film making. The Film Studies minor enriches many academic subjects and majors with its critical and multicultural exploration of cinematic expression.
Film Studies General Requirements
Students intending to earn a Bachelor of Visual and Performing Arts with a Film Studies option must complete 54 credit hours in VAPA, film studies and cross-disciplinary courses.
The major option requires 36 hours of course work in the subject beyond the Core requirements for the overall VAPA major, a total of 54 credit hours.
Film Studies Required Courses
Film Studies Required Elective Courses
The upper division requirement: two courses in national cinemas and one course in either a specific director or a thematic/genre approach assures a varied experience of global cinema in its cultural and cinematic context. Other film studies courses explore a variety of national cinemas; offer specialized genre, period, or director study; and focus on various special topics.
Film Studies Internship
Nonproduction (festivals, journalism, teaching assistant duties, etc.) settings are recommended for the internship experience, but a production setting is acceptable if the student has film making knowledge and demonstrated ability. Independent study is restricted to majors and consists of a research project dealing with some aspect of the film studies program not covered in course offerings. The student must propose the topic to a film studies faculty member who serves as the student’s instructor.
Film Studies Cross-Disciplinary Requirement
The cross-disciplinary component requires students to complete 6 hours within VAPA but outside the specialty of film studies. Courses in any of the departmental options of Art History, Music, Theatre, or Visual Arts are appropriate for film studies majors.
Film Studies Overall Course Requirements
Summary of 54 credits required for the VAPA major with a Film option:
The required courses in FILM should be distributed as follows (36 credits):
Lower-Division Requirements (6 credits)
Upper-Division Requirements (12 credits)
Two National Cinema courses 3000 level or above (6 credits)
One Director or Thematic/Genre course (3 credits)
These courses will most often be
Practical Course Requirement (3 credits)
Electives in FILM (15 credits)
VAPA Core and Cross-Disciplinary Courses
Required courses in the VAPA core and cross-disciplinary courses should be distributed as follows: (18 credits)
VAPA Core requirements (12 credits)
- Introductory VAPA course (3 credits)
- Two interdisciplinary upper-division VAPA courses (6 credits)
- Capstone VAPA course (3 credits)
Cross-Disciplinary VAPA requirement (6 credits)
Two electives anywhere inside VAPA but outside FILM.
VAPA BA—Music Option
A Music Concentration is available in the VAPA interdisciplinary Arts Major. This degree track includes a program of music theory, ear training/rhythm, computer music, instrumental and vocal performance. Filling out this curriculum is a diverse spectrum of history and musicology classes in European Classical Music, Jazz and improvised Music, Ethnomusicology, 20th Century Contemporary and Popular Music.
Music Studies General Requirements
Requirements for this major also constitute classes that address interdisciplinary collaborations between music and other areas of the arts. Digital recording and computer assisted music production software is available for creative and collaborative work. In addition, topics on music and culture are explored through cross-listed classes with Ethnic Studies.
Students are required to take private lessons from professional musicians in the Front Range area and participate at a high-level in instrumental and/or choral ensembles such as the Jazz and Improvisation Ensemble, University Choir, Jazz Vocal Ensemble, Chamber Ensemble, Electro Acoustic Ensemble, Computer Music, and Music Theater Performance.
A minor in music is available.
Music Studies Course Requirements
Music Ensemble/Composition Requirements
Music History/Elective Requirements:
Lower division (3 credits):
Upper division (6 credits):
Music Curriculum Electives - 6 credits
VAPA BA—Theatre Option
The Theatre Program offers a Major in Visual and Performing Arts with a Theatre option and a minor in Theatre.
The basic sequence of required courses comprising the Theatre option is designed to provide the student with a theoretical/historical grounding in the art of the theatre and the opportunity to put theories into practice in performance situations. Electives allow students to create a focus of study according to their interests. The academic theatre program sponsors a major student production every spring and several student-directed shows throughout the year. Students may also have the opportunity to participate in productions of Theatreworks, the regional repertory company at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. Students are advised that theatre courses, especially acting courses, are progressive and should be taken in sequence.
The VAPA Major with a Theatre option requires a minimum of 42 hours of course work beyond the core of 18 required for the VAPA degree.
All students must complete the following three required lower-division courses:
These three upper-division courses are also required:
And all students must participate in at minimum five productions earning one Practicum credit in each of the three areas: acting, technical theatre, and directing/stage management:
Students must complete 18 credit hours of theatre electives (12 of which must be upper division):
VAPA BA—Visual Art Option
The Visual Art option either as a major or minor within the cross-disciplinary VAPA degree offers students a wide range of media including digital media, drawing, painting, photography, sculpture/installation, sound collage, and video. Students are encouraged to explore hybrid processes and collaborative relationships between the disciplines of art history, film, museum studies and gallery practice, music, and theatre.
Degree requirements for Visual Arts Option
Students intending to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Visual and Performing Arts with a Visual Art option must complete 60 credit hours: 36 in Visual Art, 12 in VAPA, 6 in Art History, and 6 within another VAPA option for a cross-disciplinary component.
Visual Art Requirements: 36 Credits
- 9 hours at the 2000/3000 level
- 12 hours at the 3000/4000 level
These courses must be completed before enrolling in any 2000/3000/4000-level visual art course:
Art History Requirements: 6 Credits
VAPA Requirements: 12 Credits
Cross-Disciplinary Requirements: 6 Credits
Choose two 2000/3000/4000-level courses in Film Studies, Museum Studies & Gallery Practice, Music, or Theatre.
Upper Division Requirements:
- VAPA 4000 Capstone (taken concurrently with VA 4980 Professional Seminar)
- VA 3000/4000 level courses may be taken twice for credit. (Except for VA 3980 and VA 4980)
Please be aware that AH 3860, VA 3980, VA 4980, and VAPA 4000 are only offered in the spring semester.