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Visual & Performing Arts


The Visual and Performing Arts Department at CSUSM provides an exciting multidisciplinary approach to the arts. A B.A. degree in Visual and Performing Arts consists of a sequence of courses presented in the framework of a dynamic experiential, theoretical and technological environment. The curriculum encourages interdisciplinary work, and collaborative as well as individual projects.

Students specialize in one area by following an "Option,” which provides a series of appropriate courses, selected in consultation with a VPA advisor. The department also offers courses in dance, art history, and service learning.

Designed for students who wish to work with digital arts, multimedia, video, and/or web design. This interdisciplinary track emphasizes various digital media including music, video and the visual arts.

Provides course offerings in theory, composition, music technology, performance and survey courses of diverse musical cultures. Music track students are encouraged to explore their own creativity and musical voice.

Provides courses in acting, theater production, and research to performance. Survey courses include European, Latin American and American Theatre, with a strong focus on African American and Latino Theatre.

Designed to nurture students’ innovation and creativity in drawing, painting, and sculpture, as well as with digital media. It allows the student flexibility in choosing among the program's offerings in both studio and contemporary art history.

The Senior Capstone Project is a culmination of a student's work, designed with the input of the student's advisor. Possible Capstone Projects are: a multimedia CD-ROM, full length video, an art exhibit, a collection of music compositions, a recital, or directing, writing, or taking a lead role in a theater production.

The VPA Department is housed in the Arts Building which includes two large performance spaces for dance, music and theatre with state-of-the-art sound, lighting and video equipment. The Department also maintains two music and sound recording and mixing studios with Digidesign Protocols suites and A/V sync. We offer a 24-seat multimedia lab. The video editing lab consists of 15 Final Cut Pro suites, two Media 100 suites, and a streaming server. A suite of music practice rooms is available for music students. Four large art studios are designed for digital arts, painting, drawing, sculpture, and set design. An art gallery is prominently situated at the entrance of the building.

Since its inception, the Visual and Performing Arts Department has been committed to several innovative educational objectives: 

  • Global arts — The VPA Department celebrates the arts of the world with the Indonesian Gamelan, African, Andean and jazz ensembles, Caribbean carnival performances, theatre in Spanish, and many survey courses in global arts.
  • Commitment to the latest technology — The VPA Department offers cutting-edge courses in digital art and music, web design, video, and interactive multimedia.
  • Interdisciplinary approach — The VPA Department includes courses in art, arts and education, arts and technology, dance, music, theatre, art history, and visual arts. Collaboration across disciplines is encouraged among our students and faculty.
  • Building community through the arts — The VPA Department builds community through outreach to schools, art research and exhibits, theatre, dance, music performances and video productions.
  • Support of teaching through the arts — The VPA Department sponsors many outreach programs for teachers throughout San Diego and North Counties, including SUAVE and TAP. The Center ARTES is a new initiative that will create partnerships with art institutions. Workshops for teachers on integrating the arts are also offered through Extended Studies.