Bachelor of Fine Arts Program

The Department of Painting + Printmaking has a national reputation, based on the professional profiles of our faculty and on the outstanding accomplishments of the students who graduate from our department. We are one of the largest departments of Painting and Printmaking in the country. All of the other departments in the School of the Arts at Virginia Commonwealth University developed from the Painting and Printmaking Department, which was established in 1928. For over 70 years we have made significant contributions to the development of the School of the Arts’ reputation as one of the premier art and design schools in the country.

The Painting And Printmaking Major

Painting, Drawing and Printmaking form the core of our major. Students may concentrate in Painting, Printmaking, or both. Much of a student’s time as a major is spent developing basic and advanced skills in these disciplines.

We have excellent facilities in both analog and digital approaches to studio practice. Painting studios are large and light-filled. Print studios cover intaglio, lithography, screen printing, and digital media. The Center for Digital Printmaking, founded in 2005, fosters terrific opportunities for added dialogue and exchange regarding fast media and slow knowledge in the 21st century.

Painting + Printmaking Student Handbook (2020-2021)




Students spend two semesters in the Art Foundation Program (AFO) prior to entering a major department, such as Painting + Printmaking. AFO students can participate in learning experiences to sample what it might be like to be a Painting + Printmaking major by taking “project” classes in their first year. Recent courses have included Introduction to Painting, Introduction to Printmaking, and Conceptual Drawing. Painting + Printmaking faculty also typically teach at least one course a semester in AFO.

If you are an incoming freshman: APPLY NOW to VCUarts.


If you are a current VCUarts student in AFO, you will apply to major in Painting + Printmaking. In the Spring semester, following Spring Break, Art Foundation students with a GPA of 2.0 or greater are eligible to apply for admission into one of the following Art and Design departments: Art Education, Communication Arts, Craft / Material Studies, Fashion Design, Graphic Design, Interior Design, Kinetic Imaging, Painting and Printmaking, Photography and Film, or Sculpture + Extended Media. During this portfolio review, departments review students’ artwork and their academic performance. Most dedicated students are accepted into their preferred major. Detailed portfolio review guidelines are emailed during the month of February. There are information sessions, workshops, and advising available to facilitate all students through this process.

If you are a current VCU student and want to change your major or add a double major or add a minor in Painting + Printmaking, you must submit a change of major/minor application online. Please note that you may only apply for a Painting + Printmaking major/minor after the completion of the Art Foundation Program. If your primary major is outside of VCUarts then you must first apply to the Art Foundation Program.

If you are a current VCU Student: APPLY NOW as a Change of Major


The Department of Painting + Printmaking welcomes transfer applications. Applications will be reviewed after all components have been received, including transcripts, test scores, references, and portfolio. After acceptance to VCUarts, transcripts from previous institutions will be reviewed to determine whether an applicant has successfully completed the requirements of the first-year Art Foundation Program.

If you are a transfer student: APPLY NOW to VCUarts and Painting + Printmaking


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Faculty and students in the Department of Painting and Printmaking work together in a professional and creative learning environment. The undergraduate curriculum enables students to adopt a specialized focus within the discipline and use elective options to pursue other areas of interest in the School of the Arts, the university and the community. It also permits students to tailor a course of study suited to their professional and personal ambitions. The undergraduate program provides students with opportunities for concentrated experiences in both practice and theory as a foundation for independent exploration and artistic development. Classroom discussions invite students to examine a range of contemporary critical issues, which enable them to understand their own studio work in relation to historical continuum. As students develop their skills in critical analysis they are challenged to articulate and justify their ideas both visually and verbally.

Please check the VCU Bulletin for the most up to date information regarding curricular requirements, a typical four-year plan of study, and a list of courses that are generally offered by the department.


PAPR 493. Internship for Painting and Printmaking. 1-6 Hours.
1-6 credits (40 work hours per credit). May be repeated for a maximum of 12 credits. Enrollment is restricted to juniors and seniors in School of the Arts with permission of the department chair. A practicum that provides students with valuable real-world experience to work in the field of contemporary art.

Internships are encouraged and should be related to the field of Painting + Printmaking/Contemporary Art to be eligible for PAPR credit. For example, a student may pursue an internship with an art collection, museum, gallery, publication, art fair, or artist. Popular internship options include: Studio Two Three, Triple Stamp Press, 1708 Gallery, VMFA, Candela Books + Gallery, Visual Arts Center of Richmond

Students can either be paid OR receive credit for an internship, but not both. Paid internships are not eligible for PAPR credit.

If a student is pursuing an internship for PAPR credit, the following conditions must be met:

The student’s time commitment (hours/week and date range) must be finalized prior to the end of add/drop and will influence the amount of credit awarded. The internship will take place during the dates of the credited semester per the academic calendar.

The internship supervisor must email Noah Simblist ( and Kat Wilson (, specifically describing what the internship entails, a description of the business, and the time commitment. They should also confirm that the internship is unpaid.

The internship supervisor will then be responsible for emailing Noah and Kat with a midterm progress report and again with a final evaluation at the conclusion of the internship.

The internship proposal must be submitted and approved before the deadline for add/drop in order to receive credit. Please plan ahead to allow time for review.

Please submit the Painting + Printmaking Internship Form if you are interested in pursuing an internship for credit.


Students considering Independent Studies are encouraged to instead enroll in currently offered PAPR courses to meet their curricular requirements. If a student is having difficulty filling their schedule, they should meet with their advisor to discuss available courses. Independent Study requests must be endorsed by the student’s advisor to ensure all other options have been considered. In most cases, an independent study will only be granted if it is the only option for a student to graduate in the semester that the independent study course is requested.

Please check the VCU Bulletin for the most up to date information regarding curricular requirements.


Overrides will not be provided into courses that are full when there are spaces open in other sections of the same class. If all sections are full, students must have the explicit written permission of the instructor as well as the consent of the department to over enroll a full course. These overrides are not guaranteed. We encourage students to check for openings throughout the add/drop period and add the class directly if a space opens up.

Request an override.


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Financial Aid

For the most up-to-date information on university base tuition and fees, visit the Student Accounting website. You can see how VCU tuition compares to other top art schools here.

Financial aid is available. You must fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). To learn more, or to download the FAFSA, please visit the VCU Office of Financial Aid or the FAFSA website. The priority deadline is March 1st. Please follow up with our Office of Financial Aid a few weeks after you complete the FAFSA to ensure you are not missing anything.



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Scholarships and Awards


Scholarships and awards are available at the time of admission but are also available to current students based on both merit and need through an annual application process. Students compete for either school-wide scholarships through a nomination process or can apply directly to their department for a series of scholarships.



Each fall, the Undergraduate Scholarship Program grants financial awards to outstanding students entering VCU. Selection of scholars is made on the basis of merit in the area of academic achievement and artistic talent.

Freshman Scholarships are awarded to fall semester applicants only, who apply by November 15th. We also encourage all applicants seeking scholarship consideration to submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid.


Incoming student must apply by January 15 to be automatically considered for talent scholarships — no separate application needed!

Simply submit your application, Slideroom portfolio, and ACT or SAT scores to be considered. Scholarship recipients will be selected based on academic merit and artistic talent.

The new Talent scholarship awards range from $5,000 – $12,000 per year and are renewable for up to 4 years.


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