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

The new Bachelor of Visual Arts degree at Nelson Mandela University is a one-of-a-kind qualification for South Africa and 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 special. 

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 second year comes along students have explored widely and have developed 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 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 the exchange of ideas and the understanding of one’s role as a change agent in broader society.

The curriculum of the Bachelor of Visual Arts was created specifically 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 a 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 are able to 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

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:

Department of Visual Arts 2019, © Glenn Meyer

Contact information
Ms Hermolene Adams
Secretary: Visual Arts Department: BVA First Year
Tel: 27 41 504 3256

Mrs Andrieta Wentzel
Programme Co-ordinator, BVA First Year
Tel: 083 775 4324

Ms Nomsa Xubane
Co-ordinator Systems Integrations for Registration & Immigration
Tel: 041 504 2161