The Bachelor of Visual Arts First Year is a compulsory programme for our Visual Arts Degree students. Click here for more information about the First Year

Department of Visual Arts 2019, © Glenn Meyer

The Bachelor of Visual Arts degree at Nelson Mandela University is a one-of-a-kind qualification for South Africa. It offers aspiring artists and designers the chance to pursue their dreams in the visual arts. The rigour and support offered by an intimate learning environment, provided by the oldest art school in the country, the School of Visual and Performing Arts, and underpinned by the only foundation programme that leads to degrees in Fine Art, Fashion and Textiles, Graphic Design and Photography, is what makes this programme unique. 

The generic foundation year (Bachelor of Visual Arts first year) is the keystone that supports creative, intellectual and skill development whilst exposing students to a broad range of learning opportunities sampled from the four discipline streams. By the time the second year comes along, students have explored widely and developed an awareness of the interconnected nature of learning pathways in art and design. The shift into the appropriate discipline stream is; therefore, an informed decision carefully considered and based on individual aptitude.

Besides the obvious skills and knowledge required for an art or design practitioner, the programme also encompasses an understanding of culture and complexity in South Africa, the role of creative people as opinion formers and the importance of interdisciplinary development. To further these ideals, liberal arts inputs from philosophy, cultural studies and psychology, among others, provide a basis for exchanging ideas and understanding one’s role as a change agent in broader society.

The Bachelor of Visual Arts curriculum was specifically created to provide students with sound and rich academic development, the building of vocational and crafting skills, and to allow for solid exposure to entrepreneurial practice. Moreover, engagement with industry professionals and collaborative projects with sister institutions and organisations maintain freshness and real-world exposure to the future working world of our graduates. Through exhibitions of work, fashion shows and events, participation in competitions and on-campus exchanges, students face creative, cultural and professional challenges.

Significantly, the Bachelor of Visual Arts is the platform upon which graduates can grow as academics towards postgraduate study and research or as professionals and self-styled entrepreneurs. Whether it is Ceramics, Painting, Printmaking, SculptureFashion and TextilesGraphic Design or Photography, the Bachelor of Visual Arts is the best formative opportunity for a future in the visual arts. 

Enrolling in Visual Arts at Nelson Mandela University

Please read this page on our first year prgramme:

Potential Visual Arts students are to inquire with:

  • Mrs Roxane Van Wyk

  • Programme Co-ordinator, Bachelor of Visual Arts First Year

  • Email: roxane.vanwyk (at)

  • Tel: 041 504 3379

Information on studying and enrolling at Nelson Mandela University:

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Contact information
Mrs Roxane van Wyk
Associate Lecturer & Programme Co-ordinator, BVA First Year
Tel: 27 41 504 3379

Ms Buyelwa Gxido
Acting Secretary
Tel: 0415043247