BA Visual Studies

We are confronted with the visual everywhere: on billboards, TV screens and the internet, and in cinemas, magazines, newspapers, fashion, architecture and malls. We do not necessarily see more than previous generations (although there is probably more to see), but the questions we ask about what we see and experience have changed.

Visual Studies as a programme and Visual culture studies as the main subject enable students to explore the various exciting forms of visual images that surround them every day. The aim is to promote critical skills by offering direction in the analysis, interpretation and evaluation of various aspects of visual culture, in both a historical and a contemporary context. The programme deals with theoretical issues, and candidates for this programme do not need artistic talent.

The programme is lectured by academics who are nationally and internationally recognised for their contributions to the debates and developments of visual culture, art history, cultural history and digital humanities. Several of the staff are NRF rated professors and have been awarded numerous research grants.

The BA (Visual Studies) programme is internationally recognised, and our graduates have been admitted to postgraduate degrees at Columbia University (USA), New York University (USA), Groningen (the Netherlands), University of Toronto (Canada), London School of Economics (UK), and the University of Potsdam (Germany).

Image & Text is an online and open-access journal that is edited and published by the visual studies staff. The journal is accredited by the South African Department of Higher Education and Training.

The ideal candidate is a problem-solver, interested in persuasive communication, and inspired by the visual world that surrounds them. Students who excel in the programme are self-motivated and passionate about interpreting and understanding digital and social media and art, film and advertising.

For more information, please consult the Faculty webpage.

Career Opportunities

Art and film critics, visual culture specialists, arts and culture educators, academics, art historians, curators, visual analysts, visual consultants, media and communication analysts, social media coordinators, gallery managers

Programme Code


Closing Dates

  • SA – 05/07/2022
  • Non-SA – 05/07/2022

Admission Requirements

Important information for all prospective students for 2023

The admission requirements below apply to all who apply for admission to the University of Pretoria with a National Senior Certificate (NSC) and Independent Examination Board (IEB) qualifications. Click here for this Faculty Brochure.

Minimum requirements

Achievement level

English Home Language or English First Additional Language


(Grade 11)


(NSC/IEB completed)




* To retain admission, candidates must obtain an APS of at least 28 in the NSC/IEB.

Life Orientation is excluded when calculating the APS. 

You will be considered for final admission to degree studies if space allows, and if you have a National Senior Certificate (NSC) or equivalent qualification with admission to bachelor’s degree studies, and comply with the minimum subject requirements as well as the APS requirements of your chosen programme.

Applicants with qualifications other than the abovementioned should refer to the Brochure: Undergraduate Programme Information 2023: Qualifications other than the NSC and IEB, available at click here.

International students: Click here.

Transferring students

A transferring student is a student who, at the time of applying at the University of Pretoria (UP) is/was a registered student at another tertiary institution. A transferring student will be considered for admission based on NSC or equivalent qualification and previous academic performance. Students who have been dismissed from other institutions due to poor academic performance will not be considered for admission to UP.

Closing dates: Same as above.

Returning students

A returning student is a student who, at the time of application for a degree programme is/was a registered student at UP, and wants to transfer to another degree at UP. A returning student will be considered for admission based on NSC or equivalent qualification and previous academic performance.


  • Students who have been excluded/dismissed from a faculty due to poor academic performance may be considered for admission to another programme at UP, as per faculty-specific requirements.
  • Only ONE transfer between UP faculties and TWO transfers within a faculty will be allowed.
  • Admission of returning students will always depend on the faculty concerned and the availability of space in the programmes for which they apply.

Closing date for applications from returning students

Unless capacity allows for an extension of the closing date, applications from returning students must be submitted before the end of August via your UP Student Centre.

Selection Process

Students will be required to complete a short questionnaire to assess their academic readiness. Students will also be required to show by means of a guided assessment essay, structured through self-reflective narrative, why they are interested in the programme, as well as establishing their prior knowledge of the subject field.

Minimum duration of study

3 years, full-time

Faculty Notes

All modules (excluding foreign language modules) will only be presented in English, as English is the language of tuition, communication and correspondence at the University of Pretoria.

Faculty Yearbooks: click here

The University of Pretoria has decided not to set a specific closing date for applications to non-selection programmes for 2023. Applications will close when the available study spaces are filled (close on availability of space). Once the available number of study places for a specific programme are filled, no further applications for that particular programme will be considered. All applicants are therefore strongly advised and encouraged to submit their applications as soon as possible after 1 April 2022 and to check the application site (UP Student Portal) regularly. 

The Faculty of Humanities provides a holistic education, transferable skills, critical thinking, and communication and problem-solving that will help you develop to your full potential. You will be entering a stimulating environment that will broaden your intellectual horizons and help you achieve personal and professional success through the best possible learning experience.

As the most diverse Faculty of the University of Pretoria, we offer an exciting and comprehensive range of programmes and discipline-based majors, including studies in languages, social sciences and visual and performing arts.

  • Disclaimer: This publication contains information about regulations and programmes of the University of Pretoria. Amendments to or updating of the information may be effected from time to time without prior notification. The accuracy, correctness or validity of the information contained here is therefore not guaranteed by the University at any given time and is always subject to verification. The user is kindly requested to verify the correctness of the information with the University at all times. Failure to do so will not give rise to any claim or action of any nature against the University by any party whatsoever.

Enquiries about the programme

Click Here
How to apply

Copyright © University of Pretoria 2024. All rights reserved.

FAQ's Email Us Virtual Campus Share Cookie Preferences