IVA / About

The Interdisciplinary Visual Arts degree allows students to develop intellectual and creative strengths and plan for future careers within the learning context of the visual arts. Students are encouraged to work with faculty and art advisers to develop individual educational and career goals that take full advantage of options and opportunities afforded by this degree.

Individuals in this degree program develop their skill and knowledge through completion of selected courses in studio art (ceramics, fibers, metals, painting, printmaking, sculpture, and photography), art history, and experiential learning.

Students also have the opportunity to choose from various interdisciplinary studio art topics (ART 360) and complete a senior project (ART400). Students may also investigate related areas, such as film studies, architecture, business, comparative history of ideas, digital arts and experimental media, and computer science. In addition to academic studies, many Interdisciplinary Visual Arts students participate in internships in preparation for future careers in visual art related fields such as education, arts administration, museum and gallery work, architecture, art therapy, animation, interior design, fashion design, fine arts, art conservation, film and media, advertising and marketing.

The IVA Honors Track encourages increased and sustained achievement of undergraduate students through a minimum GPA requirement, competitive admissions process, advanced coursework, and culminating exhibition leading to a Bachelor of Arts with distinction in Interdisciplinary Visual Arts.


—Engage in and explore the diverse and influential issues raised via the study of visual literacy and the practice of the creative process.

—Build technical proficiency, skill, and contextual knowledge of traditional and non-traditional areas of artistic practice, art history, visual culture, and criticism.

—Learn to research, question, organize and synthesize information about existing ideas and practices, develop new ideas and areas of inquiry, write about and articulate issues to peers, faculty and the community at large.

—Develop written, intellectual, and creative strength and plan for future careers within the specific academic context of the visual arts while benefiting from broad study across diverse learning communities at the University of Washington.

—Understand and practice an experimental approach to problem solving.

—Build a strong awareness and knowledge of the power and transcendence of visual images and their ability to communicate ideas, excellence and understanding across gender and age boundaries, culture and language barriers.

—Combine critical thinking and problem solving with the development of ideas and conceptual skill.

—Understand working methods and develop the ability to translate a conceptual idea into a creative solution.

—Develop a close familiarity with the notion of ‘research’ and the blending of theoretical and material practice.

—Apply a self critical, articulate, and individual approach to finding aesthetic solutions to visual issues and challenges.


Art majors complete a senior year series of 400 level capstone courses culminating in public shows of graduating student work in the Jacob Lawrence Gallery.

Students prepare and deliver public source presentations and are responsible for participating in group and individual exhibitions in the CMA and Sand Point galleries and/or in other public spaces in Seattle.

Portfolios and written artist statements are prepared by students and reviewed by faculty.

Courses in professional practices are completed with an eye to recognizing the learning accomplishments of students.

“As an Interdisciplinary Visual Arts major, I am not only able to make art, I am learning how to become a creative thinker. It’s important to me when I graduate to be able to go into a job where I can apply my creative thinking to solve real-life problems.”

Jing, IVA BA

“For me, being an Interdisciplinary Visual Arts major encourages me to explore other areas of study on campus. Last year, I took ART 360 along with a sociology class that helped me understand the impact of visual images in the world today.”

Alex, IVA BA