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Visual Arts and Society Minor

The interdisciplinary Visual Arts Minor leads students to explore art as a lens through which to view society. It encourages the cultivation of visual intelligence—through both study and practice-based approaches in studio art—relevant to our increasingly visual, media-saturated world and demanded in a variety of STEM and humanities fields. Students learn flexible visual skills and how to apply them to multiple disciplines inside and outside their major, such as business, medicine, law, and the natural sciences. The result is a comprehensive understanding of art and the built environment in a global context, as they intersect with the complexities of historical and contemporary society.

Why do it?

The minor encourages students, especially those who are non-majors, to feel comfortable interpreting and discussing art. It offers opportunities to discover first-hand local arts resources in the community. Students can earn up to 18 Pathways credit hours (42% of General Education requirements) while completing an interdisciplinary minor.

Students will develop skills in visual literacy and composition; critical analysis of sensory experience; prototyping ideas through material and iterative design; and creating solutions to complex, open-ended questions.

Students can customize the minor through diverse and flexible curriculum; access courses usually restricted to majors, such as architecture, studio art, and advanced critical theory; and explore a variety of classes that complement the major. They can choose from classes in studio art, art history, sociology, political science, religion and culture, communication, hospitality and tourism management, urban affairs and planning, international studies, and many more.


The 18-credit Visual Arts and Society Minor has three required courses (3 credits each) and nine credits of electives.

ART 1104: Language of Visual Arts
ART 2385: Survey of the History of Western Art I  -or-
­.  ART 2386: Survey of the History of Western Art II
ART 4104: Interpretation of Visual Arts*
*with prerequisite

Students select the remaining nine credits from a list of cross-disciplinary courses that complement the minor. At least 3 credits must be at the 3000-level and higher. For a complete list of elective courses, consult the Registrar checksheet (follow this link, click on 'checksheets', scroll down to Minors, and find the minor checksheet you're interested in).

Who is it for?

The minor’s inclusive curriculum  will enrich any major by providing students with a deeper understanding of visual culture in global society and their place in it. In particular, one target audience is STEM majors who might not be engaged with the arts and social sciences within their major program.

Photo and Video Gallery

Find out more about the Visual Arts and Society Minor minor on their webpage.

The Minor is hosted by the School of Visual Arts in collaboration with numerous departments across Virginia Tech.

Pathways Concepts

Core Concepts*
1a - Advanced/Applied Discourse
2 - Critical Thinking in the Humanities
3 - Reasoning in the Social Sciences
6ad - Critique and Practice in Design and the Arts
7 - Critical Analysis of Identity and Equity in the United States
*Students are guaranteed to meet at least three of the core concepts listed

Integrative Concepts
Ethical Reasoning
Intercultural and Global Awareness