The Honors Program at the School of Visual Arts

SVA’s Honors Program serves students who seek a challenging curriculum in which academic enrichment goes hand-in-hand with studio practice. An interdisciplinary program that unites the undergraduate majors, the Honors Program brings talented ambitious and intellectually curious students together to explore the historical and thematic connections that unite the humanities to the arts. The Honors Program thereby enhances the dual abilities of the visually and academically gifted by integrating academic courses on the interplay between liberal and visual arts.

Community and collaboration are integral to the program, as students develop a capacity for critical thinking and visual literacy through group discussion, presentations, in-class lectures and fields trips to New York City’s cultural institutions. Students are encouraged to relate literature, history, philosophy and art history to their own fields, while understanding the influences and impacts of their disciplines, and work, within a variety of contexts.

Core Curriculum

The core curriculum replaces the foundation courses in Art History and Writing & Literature that all freshmen must complete, and is supplemented by studio courses as required by each specific major.

Completion of the first two years of the program fulfills the majority of humanities and sciences and art history requirements, giving Honors students additional elective choices in their junior and senior years.

Selected courses include History and Theory of Modern Art, Modern Philosophy, Scientific Subjectivity: Psychology, Sociology, and Anthropology, and Environmental Economics.

View the Complete Curriculum

Library & Events

The Honors Program boasts a small, but comprehensive library that includes books and periodicals on art history, philosophy, political history, literature and literary criticism. Shared with the Visual & Critical Studies Department, the library includes a private kitchen, computers and printers, and an inviting atmosphere for students to read, write, and study.

Honors study is augmented by public and private lectures, museum visits, events at artist’ studios and New York City’s many cultural venues.

View Our Collection


As a culmination of the Honors Program’s interdisplinary and academic goals, third year Honors students are given the opportunity to participate in a trip over Spring Break. Past destinations have included: Cusco, Peru; Lisbon, Portugal; Warsaw and Krakow, Poland; Oaxaca, Mexico; Florence, Italy; Mumbai, India; and Palermo, Italy. Flights, hotels, museum and event tickets are covered by the College.

How to Apply

First-time freshmen in Advertising, Animation, Cartooning, Computer Art, Design, Film, Fine Arts, Illustration and Photograpghy and Video who seek academic enrichment and challenge as an adjunct to their study are invited to apply to the SVA Honors Program.

Applicants should submit an Honors Application Form and a 500 word essay on the theme: WHY ART?

For additional information, please email the Admissions department at

Download the Honors Program Application