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    Department of Visual and Performing Arts
      Division of Fine Arts

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 Fine Arts

The foundation of the principles and practices of the Visual Arts courses are in drawing and design. It is important for the Visual Arts student to understand seeing and the translation of same onto a two dimensional surface. In the basic courses the introduction of the skills of proportion, perspective, value observation in both achromatic and chromatic stages, and the understanding of illusionary and actual three dimensional forms and space are the foundational skills for the ensuing upper level courses to come. 

Fashion Design

The fashion curriculum in the department of Visual and Performing Arts offers students courses that provides both technical and design skills sought after in the industry.  Student original designs are presented in two-dimensional form, developed through draping and or flat pattern and finally is realized in three dimensional forms in muslin and the finished fabric.  By junior year students have developed a portfolio of work and are encouraged to pursue internships in the fashion field.  These internships provide students with professional networking skills and help them develop a better grasp of what is required of industry professionals.

Graphic Design

The graphic design track is concerned with visual communication and visual problem solving in print, on the web, in digital or hand crafted forms, and in packaging design, as well as in animated sequential art.  The aim is to prepare students with a thorough understanding of the language of design, with the ability to conceptualize ideas, and with the skill set to create original solutions that can communicate in an increasingly image-driven, global society.


Our photography curriculum will enrich the student with a vast knowledge of the photography industry and highlights fashion photography as it's main emphasis.  Beginning with a basic knowledge of photography, you will continue through several courses that include photography foundations, studio lighting, fashion photography and lighting, and photography fine art workshops for you to venture wherever you'd like.  The photography faculty at NSU will help you become the most creative and knowledgeable photographer, helping you grow with your technical skills, as well as critical thinking and theory.


The Division of Fine Arts offer courses in Printmaking designed to expose the student to the theoretical, conceptual and practical aspects of print production, emphasized through an in-depth understanding of history and philosophical explorations in printmaking. 

Students will be trained to work in multiple print media such as Lithography, intaglio, monotype/monoprint, serigraphy and Textile design & printing, collagraphy and digital and photomechanical print processes. Students are trained to learn and combine print processes to develop a individual visual language and individual narrative to express an opinion about the world around them. Students are required to participate in a portfolio/peer critique applying formal terminologies of art.

Printmaking Facilities

he printmaking area is equipped with relief/intaglio presses, lithographic stones and press and a six-station screen-printing and multi-purpose printing presses. A brand new large photographic vacuum exposure unit, several heat press and transfer equipment, screen and acid processing units are among our newest acquisition in the printmaking studio, located on the third floor of the E.L. Hamm, Fine Arts Building with a beautiful view of the Norfolk skyline. Students also have access to a state of the art MAC lab, a digital print outputting room with computerized large format matt cutting equipment on the second floor. 

Faculty in Charge:  Solomon Isekeije, M.F.A Visual Studies -   Associate Professor of Fine Arts & Director Division of Fine Arts. 

MFA/Visual Studies

The Master of Fine Arts in Visual Studies provides highly motivated and mature students with an intensive, multifaceted, educational experience in the visual arts. The M.F.A. is professional terminal degree in studio art, usually completed in two and a half years.  It is not a media specific studio program. This structure allows students the flexibility to explore and develop new working methods without the constraints of a media driven major. 

When a student has completed a semester of graduate work, a Continuance Review is conducted by the entire graduate faculty. Following this review a three-person committee is assigned to students whose work at this point merits continuance in the program. This committee designates one member as the student’s major advisor. The major advisor along with the graduate committee then guides the student through the matriculation process.

At the end of the first year of study (30 semester hours), a Candidacy Review is conducted by the student’s three person committee. The committee evaluates the student’s progress and potential for further development, and then determines whether or not the student continues in the program as a candidate for the degree. Study for the M.F.A. candidate culminates in public solo graduate exhibition, comprehensive written thesis, and oral defense of the candidate’s work. 

The required 60 semester hours are divided in the following manner:

Graduate Studio courses    27 semester hours

Related Academic courses12 semester hours

Directed Field Experience6 semester hours

Graduate Seminars9 semester hours

Graduate Exhibition and Thesis6 semester hours

TOTAL 60 semester hours

A letter grade of A (4.00), A- (3.75), B+ (3.50) or B (3.00) is a passing grade in graduate courses. A grade of B- (2.75) or lower is not a passing grade. Students must maintain a B (3.00) grade point average to remain in the program. Twelve credit hours are required for a student to be considered full-time; and 9 credit hours are required in order to be eligible for financial aid. 

Application Process

The student must complete the online graduate application process as stated in the Graduate School’s application procedure. Along with the general application information, the student must include reference letters, and one official transcript from each college and/or university previously attended, as well a non-refundable application fee. In addition, the student must include a written statement not to exceed three pages assessing background, aesthetic concerns and professional goals; and a digital portfolio. This portfolio must contain at least 20 examples of recent work with all pieces labeled: title, medium, dimensions, and date of execution. This may be in a PDF or PowerPoint format either on a CD or a jump drive. The CD or jump drive clearly marked with the applicant’s name and the written statement is sent directly to the Graduate Program Coordinator care of the Fine Arts Office, room 112 in the Hamm Fine Arts Building. 

An applicant in Visual Studies must have completed at least 12 semester hours of undergraduate art history and must have completed 36 credit hours (or its equivalent) in studio art. An undergraduate cumulative GPA of 3.0 is preferred with exceptions entirely at the discretion of the graduate coordinator and graduate faculty. Transfer credit will be considered at the time of admission. Applicants desiring transfer credit must submit a written request to the Graduate Coordinator along with transcripts from the courses for which credit is desired. A maximum of 9 credit hours may be transferred into the program.

 Before a student can be admitted to graduate school, he/she must have documented proof of having completed an undergraduate degree in an allied field.