Bard College at Simon's Rock: the Early College
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Visual Studies

A concentration in visual studies acknowledges the profound impact of visual texts in the past and the present around the globe.

This concentration allows students to approach visual studies both creatively and critically. A student in this concentration will have the freedom to explore a full range of visual expression, from painting and sculpture through photography, graphics, film, and digital video. A student may give her or his attention to visual texts’ aesthetics, politics, technological production and reproduction, psychological and/or verbal associations, or their commodification, to name a few directions. In every case the student of visual studies will be expected to respond to visual texts by locating them within cultural and social values.

The visual studies concentration can be approached with a primary focus on either the production of visual texts in studio/practice or on their history and theory. Regardless of the student’s choice of track, the concentration requires classroom exposure to both critical and creative experiences. Students in their first and second year who are intending to moderate into the production track are urged to take foundation level 2D, 3D, and lens-based courses, as their schedules and requirements permit.


At moderation, students will be expected to select a track within visual studies. The minimum number of courses at each level that are required are:

  • two 100-level introductory courses in visual studies, at least one in each track (6 credits)
  • three 200-level courses, two in the primary track (9 credits)
  • two 300-level courses in the primary track (8 credits)
  • one 100/200/300-level approved course outside the Arts Division (3 or 4 credits)

Thus the concentration requires a minimum of 26 credits (including the 6 credits in foundation/survey level courses).

The senior thesis topic must be within the student’s concentration or at least in one of the student’s concentrations.



In order to experience the issues in Visual Studies first-hand, students are encouraged to select courses at the 200- and 300-level from a wide range of options that include filmmaking and video production, printmaking, ceramics, sculpture, 3D design, photography, painting, drawing, dance, theater design, and computer arts.

As a liberal arts college, it's part of our DNA to encourage students to explore their own creativity.


In order to contextualize the field of Visual Studies within the methodologies of history and theory, students are invited to select courses from a wide range of courses that analyze the history of specific visual texts or theoretical courses that address visual texts often alongside other kinds of texts.

Please note—Simon’s Rock offers courses that blend the study of theory and practice of visual texts. The faculty who teach them will determine whether their courses are primarily practical or historical/theoretical or whether they indeed can be applied to fulfilling the requirement for either track.

Courses in Visual Studies 

Students in this interdisciplinary concentration may complete coursework in:  

Course Spotlight

Students working on art projects in painting studio

Studio Art 226/326: Electronic Arts Studio Video Production 

The strong emphasis of the course is on studio production, utilizing the camera, sound, and lighting resources of the Electronic Arts Studio in the Daniel Art Center. Students will be trained in the use of the advanced technology that this space contains, as well as in the theory and methodology of television production within a studio environment.

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