Bachelor of Arts in Visual and Performing Arts

Artists create the cultural icons by which civilizations are remembered. What would America’s cultural identity be without the musical contributions of George Gershwin, the exquisite desert paintings and sculpture of Georgia O’Keeffe or the lighthearted cinematic and theatrical work of Nathan Lane?

“The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without work.”
– Emile Zola, 19th century French playwright and novelist

Careers in Visual and Performing Arts

The combination of creativity, communication and critical thinking skills fostered by the School of Arts and Humanities (A&H) makes this degree applicable to a variety of occupations. Graduates with degrees in visual and performing arts enjoy careers such as teaching or working in arts organizations and museum settings as commercial artists and independent artists. Some pursue graduate studies in fields such as law, medicine or the arts.

The University’s Career Center is an important resource for students pursuing postgraduate employment. Licensed counselors are available to provide strategies for mastering job interviews, writing professional cover letters and resumes and connecting with campus recruiters, among other services.

High School Preparation

To successfully obtain a bachelor’s degree in visual and performing arts, students should possess an appreciation for the spectrum of current art forms and an insatiable appetite for learning about historical and emerging media. Beneficial high school preparation includes four years of English and social science, including history; two to three years of a single foreign language; and at least one year of arts curriculum.

Visual and Performing Arts at UT Dallas

Aspiring artists can find an academic home at UT Dallas, which currently boasts more than 150 courses in music, visual arts, creative writing, film studies, dance, theatre, art history and
communication. Students must successfully complete 120 hours to graduate, with 42 hours from the University’s core curriculum and 45 in the major. Students are attracted to the visual and performing arts program at UT Dallas because they can study across disciplines. Visual and performing arts majors specify their following field of study in the optional concentrations: art history, communication, film, dance, music, theatre and visual arts.

About the School of Arts and Humanities

The School of Arts and Humanities prepares students for the changes they will face in a media-rich 21st century. By connecting the visual and performing arts with the humanities (philosophy, literature, history), students learn how to think creatively as well as critically. Faculty members, many of whom are internationally recognized scholars and performers, provide quality instruction on topics ranging from the history of the Holocaust to the world of Harry Potter.

Degrees Offered

Bachelor of Arts: History*, Latin American studies*, literature*, philosophy, visual and performing arts*

Master of Arts: Art history, history, history of ideas, humanities, Latin American studies, literature, visual and performing arts

Doctor of Philosophy History of ideas, humanities, literature, visual and performing arts

Minors Offered

If your academic focus leads you elsewhere at UT Dallas, but you would still like to pursue studies in the School of Arts and Humanities, the following minors are available:

  • Art history
  • Asian studies
  • Communication
  • Creative writing
  • Dance
  • Film Studies
  • History
  • Latin American studies
  • Literature
  • Medical and scientific humanities
  • Music
  • Performing arts
  • Philosophy
  • Spanish
  • Theatre
  • Visual arts

Honors Thesis and Fast Track

The School of Arts and Humanities honors thesis offers the opportunity for advanced creative and scholarly work and recognition. To earn A&H honors, students must graduate with:

  • A minimum of 30 graded, upper-division semester credit hours at UT Dallas.
  • A GPA of 3.67 in a student’s major.
  • The completion of an honors thesis or project evaluated by two faculty members with a grade of at least B+.

*Exceptionally well-qualified Arts and Humanities undergraduates who meet the requirements for admission to graduate school should consider the Fast Track program, which allows them to begin work on an A&H master’s degree before graduation. Qualified seniors may take up to 12 credit hours of approved A&H graduate courses during their senior year, which will apply to their undergraduate degree plans. For more information regarding Fast Track, visit

Additional Facts

Several faculty members have been awarded prestigious fellowships, including those from the Guggenheim, Fulbright, Alexander S. Onassis and Woodrow Wilson foundations. Others are recipients of the Füst Literary Award, as well as awards from the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The school’s centers further enhance students’ educational experience by bringing the concept of globalism to campus, by bringing world events into focus through research and by encouraging innovation and creativity.

The National Science Foundation recently awarded a major grant to the school’s Center for Values in Medicine, Science and Technology to study the mentoring and education that occurs in science laboratories.