Arts & Entertainment

The Arts are crucial to the residential experience at UVA, enriching the student body all while inspiring each other to innovate, create, collaborate, explore and discover.

Our artistic programs are also among UVA’s strongest bridges to the community of Charlottesville and beyond. From Architecture to Drama and Dance to Art History and Studio Art, from Music to The Fralin Museum of Art, the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection, Virginia Film Festival, Charlottesville Symphony at the University of Virginia, Heritage Theater Festival, Cavalier Marching Band, and University Singers, the University of Virginia offers an extraordinary array of performances, exhibitions, and creative opportunities for students, faculty, visitors and our entire community.

The impact of the arts at the University dates back to Thomas Jefferson, who ardently and famously advocated for the value culture holds for students here and everywhere. Today, UVA students pursuit of artistic endeavors, whether for future avocation or personal enjoyment, is central to their liberal arts education and will reap benefits for a lifetime.

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Student Demographics

Undergraduate Enrollment by Major (Fall 2016)

  • Art - 110
  • Art History - Unknown
  • Drama - 52
  • Architectural History - 21
  • Constructed Environment - 13
  • Landscape Architecture - 57
  • Urban & Environmental Planning - 85
  • Architecture - 264
  • Arts Administration - Unknown

Degrees Conferred by Major (2015-16)

  • Art- 55
  • Art History- Unknown
  • Drama- 19
  • Architectural History- 3
  • Constructed Environment- Unknown
  • Landscape Architecture- 12
  • Arts Administration- Unknown

Rankings and Data Points

The University of Virginia prides itself for being among the nation's most elite colleges and universities. Both the university and its schools are nationally ranked.

U.S. News and World Report Rankings

No. 2 public university in the country
No. 24 among the 310 "national universities"
No. 5 public university best value
No. 25 most innovative school
No. 1 among public universities in first-year retention and 2015 graduation rate

Average GPA by School (Spring 2016)

  • Architecture- 3.4
  • Arts and Sciences- 3.3



The Studio Art major is designed to accommodate students with various interests and abilities. It serves students who expect to become professional artists as well as welcoming those who plan to pursue careers in fields requiring creative, spatial and design abilities. The department offers a variety of courses in cinematography, drawing, new media, painting, photography, printmaking, and sculpture. Students are encouraged to work in more than one medium over the course of the major in order to expand their creative options. In addition to taking courses across the spectrum of studio art, students are also encouraged to take courses in Art History so that they may acquire knowledge of the wide range of artistic expression and interpretation found in different cultural periods.

Some highlighted courses from the curriculum include:

  • Life Drawing
  • Advanced Painting
  • Advanced Problems in Printmaking
  • Intro to New Media
  • Advanced Film
  • Special Topics in Photography

Art History

Students in the Art History program develop rigorous historical understanding of the circumstances and cultural settings in which art has been created and viewed in a curriculum that spans the ancient Mediterranean; South and East Asia; the Italian and Northern Renaissance; medieval, modern, and contemporary Europe; and the United States. Students are introduced to an expansive range of media: from painting, sculpture, prints and drawings, photography and film, to archaeology, architecture, urbanism, and material culture.

Some highlighted courses from the curriculum include:

  • Art History: Theory and Practice
  • Art and Popular Culture
  • Museum Interpretation
  • American Modernisms
  • Art and Cognition


Drama majors enjoy a combination of a superb intellectual climate and a vital, engaging production program. Students are expected to participate in the production program and work as directors, actors, designers, stage managers, technologists, and playwrights. Students audition for roles in main stage and lab theatre productions and work on various projects, including acting in scenes for directing classes, staging work to be presented in other departments, constructing sets and costumes, and in some cases, serving as a designer on one or more of the main stage productions.

Some highlighted courses from the curriculum include:

  • Acting
  • Directing
  • Production Management
  • Script Analysis
  • History of Theatre on Stage

Architectural History

Through lecture courses, specialized research seminars, independent thesis and dissertation projects, and guest lectures and symposia, students explore key aspects of the built world. The faculty analyzes the sources and forms of creative architectural expression and, at the same time, approaches architecture as a critical feature in a broader social and cultural context. The department’s teaching and research aims to illuminate the changing meaning of architecture for the people who commission, design, build, use, preserve, and demolish buildings, landscapes, and cities. In addition to a strong concentration of specialists in American architecture, the faculty includes specialists in medieval, Renaissance and Baroque, modern European and East Asian architectural history.

As an undergraduate, students may choose between a Architectural History concentration or a Historic Preservation concentration. Some students in the UVA Bachelor of Architectural History program may consider pursuing the M.A. degree in the department by remaining for a fifth year of study.

Some highlighted courses from the curriculum include:

  • History of Modern Architecture
  • Historical Archaeology
  • Special Topics in Architectural History
  • Drawing Historic Architecture
  • History of Landscape Design

Constructed Environment

The Constructed Environment PhD program encompasses both the human-made physical world, and the social relationships that shape its history, theory and development. It has been developed to respond to the wide range of problems and potentials of emerging phenomena across the constructed environment. Examples range from environmental sustainability and global infrastructure, to affordable housing and the rise of the megacity to the implications of digital production and new forms of materiality. Such phenomena are not limited to single disciplines, but require a broader multidisciplinary approach.

Students in the program work closely with advisors and other students in investigations that encompass environmental, economic, social, ethical, esthetic, and historical issues. The focus of individual study may span a broad range of scale, from building components and systems, to buildings, landscapes, cities, and regional and global infrastructural systems such as water, transportation and information, including the policies or practices that define these. The program prepares students for careers in academia, as well as research-oriented organizations in the public and private sectors.

Landscape Architecture

The Master of Landscape Architecture synthesizes the study of ecological systems and cultural contexts, preparing graduates for leadership roles on multi–disciplinary teams. Students act on a commitment to revitalize communities through cultural interventions in forms and processes at the scale of sites, neighborhoods, urban infrastructure systems, and metropolitan watersheds.

The core of each semester is the design studio (6 credit hours). The studio sequence exposes students to the range of scales and topical issues in landscape architecture. In emphasizing the ability to read and interpret a site within its context and shape its future based on those findings, the initial studios are based locally and emphasize on-site experience and documentation of place. Studios in the second and third years offer students opportunities to participate in interdisciplinary studios in cities and locations around the country and abroad. These advanced studios are research based, which encourages students to investigate the broader issues beyond a specific design problem and arrive at innovative and bold proposals.

Some highlighted courses from the curriculum include:

  • Cultural Landscapes
  • Movement and Built Environment
  • Design Research Methods
  • Sites and Systems
  • Professional Practice

Urban and Environmental Planning

The Urban and Environmental Planning degree is for students who want to serve communities facing social, economic, environmental, and cultural challenges by working with residents to:

  • Enhance a sustainable quality of life
  • Protect the natural environment
  • Preserve historic buildings and landscapes
  • Promote social justice for disadvantaged groups and
  • Deal effectively with population growth or decline

The curriculum integrates professional courses, both theoretical and technical, with a liberal arts education focused on understanding our cities and environments. In particular the Program introduces students to the theories of planning, methods of analysis, effective means of communication, planning processes, and creative strategies for implementation. Some key areas of study include:

  • Sustainable community development
  • Environmental impacts
  • Public and private costs of development
  • Neighborhood planning and community development

Some highlighted courses from the curriculum include:

  • Introduction to Environmental Planning
  • Law, Land and the Environment
  • Neighborhoods, Community and Regions
  • Global Sustainability


The Architecture pre-professional program focuses on architecture as the critical step towards a high level architectural practice, but also as the holistic education that prepares students for intellectual and ethical success in any possible direction of his or her professional life. With the Bachelor of Science Architecture, graduates receive advance placement in the professional Masters degree program, a typical 4+2 years education sequence.

The Bachelor of Architecture program attracts a diverse range of students with a wide range of interests that are bound together by an overriding desire to consider and construct environments of enduring value. Two different concentrations are offered: the Pre-Professional concentration and the Architectural Design-Thinking concentration.

Undergraduate students entering the School of Architecture share a common first year curriculum. Students take core courses in Architectural History, Architecture and Urban and Environmental Planning to provide a framework for the study of contemporary culture through observation, analysis, and considered design of our ongoing constructed occupation of the earth. The prime objective of the curricular core of second year is to provide a framework for the study of contemporary culture through observation, analysis, and considered design of our built environment.

During the third and fourth years, students begin to focus on their concentration. This may be either a pre-professional track, for students intent on pursuing a career as a practicing architect, or architectural design thinking, for students interested in interdisciplinary problem solving through exploratory design processes.

In addition, the minor in architecture provides students with an opportunity to develop a basic understanding of, and appreciation for architecture as an important component of culture and the built environment. The Minor in Architecture is offered to all students at the University. Students who complete the minor range from those whose major is in a related field and who wish to expand the boundaries of that endeavor, to those considering graduate study in architecture.

Some highlighted courses from the curriculum include:

  • Introduction to Urban And Environmental Planning
  • World Contemporary Architecture
  • Building Matters
  • Foundations in Design Thinking

Arts Administration

Arts Administration is an interdisciplinary field which studies the practical management of arts, cultural, and entertainment organizations and businesses. It combines the practical skills of artistic and cultural management and those of community building with more theoretical ideas of the role of the arts in society.

Some highlighted courses from the curriculum include:

  • Principles and Practices of Arts Administration
  • Marketing in the Arts
  • Arts Development and Board Management

Top Employers

Some recent employers of our alums include:

  • Alton Lane
  • Jennifer Eisenstadt Decoration & Design LLC
  • Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
  • Huntington Theatre Company

Student Experiences

Contracted Independent Organizations (CIOs)

There are nearly 1,000 different student organizations at the University of Virginia. Among them include these specifically geared towards the arts and entertainment:

  • Arts Board- The Arts Board of the University of Virginia presents an artist, attraction, performance, or exhibition each year in a three-year rotation which includes music, visual arts, and drama.
  • American Institute of Architecture Students- The purpose of the University Virginia's chapter of the American Institute of Architecture Students is to promote excellence in architecture education, training, and practice & to foster the appreciation of architecture and related disciplines.
  • Student Association of Landscape Architecture and Design- Dedicated to supporting graduate students in the Department of Landscape Architecture through educational programing, social activities, professional development activities and supporting departmental activities.
  • The Declaration- The Declaration is a forty-year-old newsmagazine at UVA that serves the community by providing a weekly showcase for student-run news coverage, humor, arts and culture reviews, personal essays, interviews, and creative non-fiction pieces.
  • Media, Entertainment and Sports Club- The Media, Entertainment & Sports Club’s (“MESC”) mission is to provide firts-year and second-year students with career opportunities and professional connections within these industries.

Student Research

The following are examples of research opporunities provided through the Center for Undergraduate Excellence:

  • Arts Award- The University Award for Projects in the Arts is intended to expand students’ opportunities for creative expression and showcase significant accomplishments in the arts. The program funds outstanding undergraduate projects to be carried out in the summer of 2016 and the 2016-2017 academic year. Eligible projects might include: plays or films; poetry or short stories; costume design; choreography; sculpture; painting; music composition or performance; creative design projects/explorations; or environmental or other installations.
  • The Madison Lane and Rugby Road Charitable Trust Visual Arts Prize- The annual Madison Lane and Rugby Road Charitable Trust Visual Arts Prize is intended to expand students’ opportunities for creative expression and to showcase significant accomplishments in the Arts. Eligible media include: drawing, painting, water color, film/ video, photography & sculpture.
  • DAAD Study Scholarship for Fine Arts, Architecture, Music, Dance- Study Scholarships for Fine Arts, Architecture, Music, Dance are awarded to highly qualified graduate students in these fields to provide the opportunity to study in Germany, or complete a postgraduate degree course and obtain a degree from a German higher education institution.
  • William R. Kenan Endowment Fund of the Academical Village- The William R. Kenan Endowment Fund of the Academical Village has established an endowment to fund educational outreach programs that further the educational mission of Jefferson’s Academical Village. The summer grants will support educational opportunities for students to conduct research projects that increase public understanding of the Academical Village. These research projects may include architectural or field internships; development of exhibitions and other educational opportunities to inform and engage the public (of all ages) in the history, evolution, and restoration of this World Heritage site; preparation of materials on historic preservation for publication and public distribution; and other educational outreach initiatives.

Capabilities and Skills


Majors acquire essential artistic skills as well as experience in the handling of a wide variety of ideas, materials and methods, putting student in touch with the problems of creation and with the ideas and practice of artists in the contemporary world. The Studio major requires a concentration in one of the areas of Cinematography, New Media, Painting, Photography, Printmaking, or Sculpture, and it culminates in a thesis exhibition.

Art History

The undergraduate program in art history equips students with the fundamental skills and perspectives of the liberal arts: to think clearly and critically, to write well, and to find, analyze, evaluate, and present facts and ideas. Students become exceptional thinkers and writers, as well as sophisticated interpreters of visual evidence.


Students are expected to participate in the production program from different standpoints, allowing them to become exposed to work as directors, actors, designers, stage managers, technologists, and playwrights.

Architectural History

Architectural historians engage the past and shape the future. At UVA, srudents understand architecture as the broadest possible expression of the built environment- including vernacular, landscape, and urban form. As practitioners and scholars they interpret, preserve, and curate built environment at all scales.

Constructed Environment

Constructed Environment supports advanced research in topics that engage one or more of the School’s four disciplines: architecture, landscape architecture, urban and environmental planning, and architectural history. Students learn to respond to the wide range of problems and potentials of emerging phenomena across the constructed environment.

Landscape Architecture

Students are supported by a wide range of interdisciplinary explorations in Architecture, Architectural History, Urban and Environmental Planning, Art, Engineering, Environmental Sciences, Law and Commerce. The emphasis is on understanding the international context for trends and insights in our discipline, so that students can make significant contributions outside the US as well as nationally.

Urban & Environmental Planning

The Urban and Environmental Planning program prepares students to become responsible practitioners in a variety of public, private, and non-profit settings. Course work emphasizes theories of planning, methods of analysis, effective means of communication, planning processes, and creative strategies for implementation. The concept of sustainability is incorporated throughout the curriculum.


The architectural content of the liberal education, in the pre-professional program at UVA, synthesizes the ambition of educating open minds, responsible citizens, innovative explorers and cultivated intellects. The pre-professional program focuses in architecture as the critical step towards a high level architectural practice, but also as the holistic education that prepares the student for intellectual and ethical success in any possible direction of his or her professional life.

Arts Administration

Students in Arts Administration develop skills that fall into three areas: business, community building, and creativity.

Tools of business:

  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Financial Accounting
  • Operations

Tools of community building:

  • Development
  • Advocacy
  • Education
  • Volunteerism
  • Public Policy

Tools of creativity:

  • Design Thinking
  • Trans-Disciplinary Research
  • Empathy

How to Recruit

Employers in the arts and entertainment space looking to recruit students have a variety of opportunities to engage.

The signature events are our annual job and internship fairs that occur every semester! The University of Virginia Job and Fairs are an opportunity for organizations and institutional members to meet with students from the university who are interested in arts and entertainment careers. The programs consist of panels, presentations, and exhibitor showcases. There are several opportunities for organizations and institutional members to participate in this event as a sponsor or as an exhibitor. This is the information from this year's event.

Engagement is not limited to these events, however. Organizations are encouraged to post their jobs and internships year round through our Handshake job portal.

Handshake is UVA's online recruiting portal that allows you to:

  • Post jobs or internships
  • Register for Career Fairs
  • Manage your On-Grounds Interviewing
  • Advertise your presentations
  • and more!

Log in or register for Handshake here.

More to Explore

David Lapinski, Director of Employer Relations and Experiential Education

UVA offers a wide variety of large career events to meet the needs of organizations recruiting UVA students. 

Handshake is UVA's online recruiting portal. Post jobs or internships, register for Career Fairs, manage your On-Grounds Interviewing, and more!