Visual Arts Major (BA)

A Bachelor of Arts degree (120 credits) consists of Core Curriculum (30 credits) and at least one major (36–60 credits), as well as minors and/or elective courses of the student’s choosing.

The 36-credit major in Visual Arts includes studio electives in several painting media, calligraphic forms, sculpture, pottery, and photography. Required courses in drawing, world art history, contemplative and studio practice, and professional preparation form the foundation of the degree. Students are mentored in Advanced Studio Practice, Warrior Artist, and Portfolio and Gallery Presentation. The final project includes a digital portfolio, artist's statement, and an exhibition in the Nalanda Art Galleries.

Program Vision

Naropa University's founder, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, an accomplished artist, taught that art joined with meditative practice educates one's whole being, and that when the artist's mind and body synchronize, art expresses a direct and unselfconscious vitality. This is the power and benefit of art to society, and why contemplation and visual art training are interwoven as the foundation of the Visual Arts program at Naropa. Applied to both traditional and contemporary art forms, these two disciplines are reciprocal: contemplation, or awareness practice, becomes the lens that focuses and brightens visual expression; and artistic practice develops the practical means to promote awareness. Beyond endorsing a technique or style, the Visual Arts major trains students to join inner imagination and outer observation. Students develop confidence in creative vision and the technical proficiency and critical thinking to express that vision.

Visual Arts Degree Requirements

Required Courses


  • ART101 2-D Design: Art Techniques and Experimentation (3)
  • ART125 Introduction to Drawing (3)
  • ART200 The Contemplative Artist (3)
  • ART301 World Art I: Ancient to Middle Ages (3)
  • ART340 Contemporary Art History 1945 to Present (3)

Art Genres
Choose 12 Credits

  • ART102 Contemplative Ceramics: Form and Human Contact (3)
  • ART105 Art and Consciousness: Mixed Media and Self-Exploration (3)
  • ART132 3-D Ephemeral Art (3)
  • ART155 Figure Drawing (3)
  • ART180 Sculpture (3)
  • ART215 Watercolor (3)
  • ART245 Introduction to Painting: Realism (3)
  • ART311 Mixed Media (3)
  • ART325 Drawing II: Precision, Perception, and Form (3)
  • ART345 Painter’s Laboratory (3)
  • ART355 Eco-Art (3)
  • ART360 Contemplative Photography (3)
  • ART490 Special Topics in Visual Arts (3)
  • ART499 Independent Study (0.5–4)
  • ATH230 Introduction to Art Therapy (3)
  • ATH330 Art Therapy Theory and Applications (3)
  • ATH430 Art Therapy Studio Methods (3)


  • ART385 Advanced Studio Practice (3)


  • ART440 Warrior Artist: Risk & Revelation in Studio Art (3)
  • ART480 Portfolio and Gallery Presentation (Senior Project) (3)

Total Credits: 36