BA in Visual Art


Program Description

The purpose of the BA (Visual Art) Degree is to develop students' creative, imaginative and critical knowledge, skills and academic research capabilities to practice as artists within the domains of the visual-cultural industries, and/or to engage in postgraduate study in visual art.

The BA (Visual Art) Degree programme will equip students with a thorough knowledge of visual art practices, discourses, theories and research methodologies. The programme facilitates the creation of meaning through art; research within art history and criticism; contemporary artistic production7 civic agency; visual identity and visual technologies. The programme will focus on creative and critical thinking according to ethical and professional standards, in order to explore experimental, transformative and inter-disciplinary approaches to the making, reception and analysis of art within pan-African and international contexts.

In keeping with the University's focus on promoting African scholarship, the BA (Visual Art) programme addresses the need for academically adept, discipline-sophisticated and civic-minded graduates who are able to respond to the challenges of visual culture in a globalized environment. The programme is accessible to students in the Faculty of Humanities who wish to study Art History and Theory up to level three. The Department of Visual Art may recommend Visual Art students access to certain cognate modules offered in the Faculty of Humanities.

Career Opportunities

Graduates could work in many areas of the visual art industries, including:

  • Professional artist
  • Art education and training
  • Art gallery and museum curating and management
  • Art consulting
  • Arts Writing
  • Art criticism, research and journalism
  • Printmaking and print studio management
  • Paper-making and paper product design
  • Community and arts project management
  • Visual events management General and graphic novel illustration
  • Aspects of digital photography, video production and editing

Admission Requirements

BA (Visual Art) [B8BAQ6)

Senior certificate or equivalent qualification with the minimum APS or M-score Attendance of an entrance assessment and submission of a portfolio at the assessment Completion of the National Benchmarking Test (NBT) for Academic and Quantitative Literacy (AQL)

Average Point Score (APS)

A minimum APS of 23 with Mathematics or 24 with Mathematical Literacy is required to apply for the programme.

  • Min APS
    • 23 With Mathematics
    • 24 With Maths Lit
  • Languages
    • Language of teaching and learning*
      4 (50 – 59%)
    • Other recognised language**
      4 (50 – 59%)
  • Mathematics
    Maths:4 (50 – 59%)OR
    Maths Lit: 5(60-69%)
  • Other requirements
    submission of a specified portfolio

*English, Home Language or English First Language
** Home Language or English First Additional Language


This scoring system is used if the applicant completed school prior to 2008 or A/O levels.

A minimum M-score of 8 is required is to apply for the programme.

Candidates meeting the minimum requirements (APS or M Score) for the BA (Visual Art) Degree will be invited to an entrance assessment opportunity comprising the following:

  • A portfolio submission including the two compulsory works as described overleaf
  • A practical drawing skills assessment
  • An interview
  • A written component

The assessment commences at 08:30 on the set dates and candidates are required to bring a sheet of white cartridge paper (size A2), a set of pencils, an eraser, a pen and lunch.

For additional information about the Visual Art Department please log onto or Alternatively you can contact the Departmental secretary: Mrs Elda Majola on the contact details listed hereunder.

Portfolio Requirements

  • Your portfolio of artworks should consist of between 6 and 10 pieces of your best work. These may be drawings, paintings, photographs, prints, sculptures or good quality reproductions (photographs, or digital images on CD ROM).
  • All portfolios, as well as individual pieces of work, should be clearly labelled with your name and contact details. A note from your parent, guardian or teacher, verifying the authenticity of all your work, must accompany the portfolio.
  • At home, you must also complete two compulsory projects (See below) designed to assess your drawing ability, imagination, sensitivity to colour, proportion, design skills and a general ability to communicate visually.
  • These two compulsory projects will form part of your portfolio submitted at the entrance assessment, and will help the department to assess your overall potential as a Visual Art student.

Project 1: Drawing of a wooden chair (approximately 1/2 - 3hrs to be completed at home)

  • Subject: Produce an accurate drawing of a wooden chair against a plain background. The whole chair must be represented.
  • Medium: Pencil on white cartridge paper.
  • Size: A2 (420mm x 594mm) in vertical format.
  • Consider the following:
    1. Do a number of sketches to explore the best composition before attempting the final drawing.
    2. Carefully consider the placement of the chair within the defined drawing area.
    3. Keep line work fresh and spontaneous.
    4. Ensure that the pencil is always sharp and use the eraser sparingly.
    5. Do not make use of mechanical drawing equipment such as rulers, compass sets, etc.
    6. Avoid large and illegible signatures – print your name in the lower right hand corner.
    7. Be aware of the factors that will aid in rendering the form of the chair, such as light, shadow, background/foreground contrasts, texture and context.
    8. Remember that irrelevant detail and decorative pencil smudging will not improve a poorly constructed drawing.

Project 2: Self-portrait in colour (approximately 9 hrs to be completed at home)


  1. Produce a self-portrait with favourite objects using colour.
  2. The portrait must be naturalistically rendered but may also include expression.
  3. Any objects included in the composition should help to provide insight into your personality.
  4. The portrait should be the most important and largest visual element in the picture.
  • Medium: Any water-based paint e.g. watercolour, poster paint or acrylics.
  • Good quality cartridge paper or board may be used.
  • Size: A2 (420 mm x 594 mm).
  • The project will be assessed on drawing and painting skills, composition, sensitivity in the use of colour and imaginative interpretation of the theme.

NB: Submission of a portfolio must only take place once you have officially applied to the university and have been invited by the faculty to participate in the selection process.

All images in this brochure are of student work from the Department of Visual Art, Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture, University of Johannesburg.

Registration and Start Dates

Registration starts in January and lectures in February for both Undergraduate and Postgraduate course work programmes.

All research programmes for Masters and PhD can register throughout the year.

End Date: Academic starts in January and ends in December. Programme deadline is determined by the duration of the programme.

Contact Details

Department of Visual Art
Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture [FADA]
University of Johannesburg
Aukland Park Bunting Road Campus

Ms Elda Majola [Secretary]
011 559 1117

FADA Information Centre
011 559 1117/ 1098 | or

Last updated Sep 2019

About the School

Vibrant, multicultural and dynamic, the University of Johannesburg (UJ) shares the pace and energy of cosmopolitan Johannesburg, the city whose name it carries. Proudly South African, the university i ... Read More

Vibrant, multicultural and dynamic, the University of Johannesburg (UJ) shares the pace and energy of cosmopolitan Johannesburg, the city whose name it carries. Proudly South African, the university is alive down to its African roots, and well-prepared for its role in actualising the potential that higher education holds for the continent’s development. Read less