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College of Visual and Performing Arts
"George Mason is deeply committed to the arts and to educating our students about the significance the arts have in all our lives. This is why the arts are integral to our institution. We encourage active student participation in the many programs and related courses in the arts that are scheduled throughout the year. Students are able to receive a more balanced education, develop a deeper appreciation of the arts, and achieve a more enlightened perspective of the world."
Alan G. Merten
The College of Visual and Performing Arts was established to create an academic environment in which the arts may be considered both as individual disciplines and as interdisciplinary forms that strengthen each other. Courses of study in the college's four departmentsArt and Visual Technology, Dance, Music, and Theaterare designed to lead to careers as creators, performers, teachers, and scholars of the arts, as well as to prepare students for the challenges of a rapidly changing world. In addition to providing strong programs for arts majors and minors, the college strives to ensure that the entire George Mason University student population has the opportunity to experience and study thearts as a key component of a well-rounded liberal arts education.
Studying the arts goes hand in hand with creation and performance. The College of Visual and Performing Arts provides the theaters, studios, rehearsal spaces, computer laboratories, recital halls, and performance classrooms in which students hone their skills. The college's faculty of practicing artist-teachers works closely with students in a variety of curricular and co-curricular creative projects. Once basic techniques are established, students are encouraged to stretch, grow, and experiment within this supportive environment. Students regularly perform, create, exhibit, and otherwise develop their art forms in a wide variety of public venues, enhancing their experience as working artists while enriching the cultural life of the George Mason community.
An education in the arts is deepened by regular contact with the work of distinguished visiting artists. The college is home to the Center for the Arts, which comprises a variety of professional presenting and producing units that provide a diverse program of challenging and entertaining cultural experiences for the entire university community, as well as Northern Virginia and the greater Washington, D.C. area. Artists from across the country and around the world regularly perform in the Concert Hall, give master classes, work with students during extended residencies, and interact with the community in a variety of other ways. The accessibility and vitality of the Concert Hall, TheaterSpace, Johnson Center Gallery, Harris Theater, and other campus venues make the arts pervasive at George Mason University and in our larger community.
William F. Reeder, Dean
Rick Davis, Associate Dean and Artistic Director, Center for the Arts and Theater of the First Amendment
Linda G. Miller, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Student Advancement
Scott Martin, Assistant Dean of Technology, Research and Advancement
The College of Visual and Performing Arts houses four academic departments: Art and Visual Technology, Dance, Music, and Theater.
Each CVPA major features both strong academic preparation in the history and theory of the art form and a wide range of discipline-based technique courses offered by professional artist-teachers. Opportunities for creative work and performance are at the core of most courses of study in the college.
The college offers four master's degrees, including one masters of arts, one master of music, and two masters of fine arts. The requirements for each degree are described in the sections that follow.
The undergraduate degree consists of course work in general education, course work in a major area of study, and electives. The college offers four bachelor of arts (B.A.) degrees, two bachelor of fine arts (B.F.A.) degrees, and one bachelor of music (B.M.) degree. To earn a bachelor's degree, students must complete a minimum of 120 credits, of which at least 45 must be upper-level courses (numbered 300 and above). At least one course at the 300 or 400 level must be designated "writing intensive." All entering students who have not yet satisfied the university-wide requirement in quantitative reasoning are required to take the math placement test prior to enrollment.
Students should consult the "Academic Polices" and "General Education" chapters for information concerning university-wide requirements for undergraduate degrees.
The baccalaureate degree requires students to take a range of courses which:
Students select from a range of courses outlined in the section on general education. Students accepted into the Honors Program in General Education fulfill their core general education requirements with completion of that program of study. The Mason Topics Program provides a way for students to register for two or more complementary general education courses at the same time for four semesters. The professors who teach in this program have coordinated readings and assignments.
The college sponsors some courses that transcend individual disciplines. These courses are administered by the Dean's Office and are designated CVPA in the "Course Descriptions" chapter of this catalog.
The field of visual and performing arts offers many career paths that rely on a strong foundation in one or more art forms but also require specific knowledge and skills in administration and management. The minor in Arts Administration consists of 18 credits, including CVPA 305 (3 credits) and CVPA 489 (3-6 credits). All other credits are to be selected in consultation with a program advisor from relevant courses in the College of Visual and Performing Arts, the Non-Profit Management program in the Department of Public and International Affairs, the School of Management, the Department of Communication, or other appropriate areas of study. The minor is open to all majors in the College of Visual and Performing Arts, and to majors in Art History. All other students must complete 9 credits of arts-related coursework to be eligible for this minor. See the program coordinator for more information.
Students earning undergraduate degrees in the College of Visual and Performing Arts may apply up to 3 credits ofactivity courses offered by the Health, Fitness, and Recreation Resources Department to their general electives requirement.
Undergraduate students earning degrees in the College of Visual and Performing Arts may register for 18 credits per fall and spring semester without dean's permission. Students are advised that they will be required to pay additional tuition beyond the 17-credit university full-time academic load. Students should be cognizant of the time commitments when they register for their courses, especially if they register for high numbers of credits.