The School of Visual Arts aims to foster professional artists who can meet the generational and social demands of a quickly changing cultural environment. It aims to foster ‘renaissance artists’ who expand unrealized artistic potential across disciplines based on an inclusive recognition of humans and the world. The school strives to create an experience that pushes the boundaries of traditional art education, supporting inclusive views and practical knowledge in various mediums. With technical education focusing on each genre, the school pursues experimental, avant-garde art based on creative and free thinking.
The studio system is an educational method based on apprenticeship art education often found in European art universities. In this system, a student learns both generally and intensively through an experienced advisor. The school has found art universities across the country teaching students in large groups with many professors, making it difficult for students to obtain an intensive education under an advisor who shares their specific interests. Because of this, the school decided to adopt the studio system as an alternative method to art education.
Within the Department Design, third year students can select an advisor to take an individual, major intensive course through graduation utilizing the studio system. In the architecture department, classes are divided among a few advisors studios for all students.
The studio system differs from ordinary educational methods in that it makes it possible for students to choose their advisors, and the advisor assumes responsibility for the student’s development.
Since its establishment, the School of Visual Arts has pursued an alternative methodology, through discussion and presentation, to cross over the limitations of national art education that often neglect both language and criticism. These presentation and discussion skills have been emphasized due to their importance in the Department of Architecture and Design. However, the school also adopted the criticism as a requirement for classes in the plastic arts department. Each department has systemized final presentations each semester, mid-term critiques, and evaluation of graduation work. Each department also invites experts from their respective fields for critique and evaluation in order to raise the objectivity and apply professional standards to students’ work. This approach is the product of professors who have experienced western art education, which strongly highlights both discussion and presentation skills. These skills are considered essential in the training of contemporary artists.
All students of the School should take Foundation courses. Drawing, Two Dimensional Space, Object & Space, and Two & Four Dimensional Space courses are provided to students of all majors so that they learn the fundamentals of fine arts.
The courses, the basics of its curriculum, are designed as a model based on the idea of how the concept and value of novelty and creativity in arts should be reflected in art education. It is an attempt to understand the value of arts and create a desirable educational form, focusing on balanced theoretical and practical courses.
Students take Drawing, Two Dimensional Space, Object & Space, and Two & Four Dimensional Space courses in their first semester of freshman year so as to build a "foundation" to become artists. As most part of courses, except Drawing 1, are dedicated to presentations, discussions, and critiques, students produce their art works mostly after class. Such circumstances help them better manage their time.
Drawing, Creative Process, and Three & Four Dimensional Concepts are provided for the second semester of the first year to help students expand their thinking: they raise questions on issues and seek solutions for themselves. The curriculum helps students find their potential to serve as the fundamentals of creativity: the criteria in evaluating students' performance are mostly the level of their experience, not techniques, sophisticated composition or execution.
The 21st century requires leading artists who actively respond to a rapidly changing environment. The goal of the Department is to nurture students as artists who take the initiative and are not afraid of taking experiments for a new horizon of visual arts based on the ability to: transcend the boundaries of conventional genres; utilize various mediums such as painting, sculpture, photography, 3D laser holography, Video, interactivity, pottery and glass, and techniques; and have a critical mind with an insight into social and cultural phenomena.
Students learn various genres and techniques while their creativity, experimental spirit, and open-mindedness are promoted. The curriculum goes beyond the conventional education in which the depth of emotion is explored through the skills in certain mediums. Instead, it focuses on rational communication through discussions and presentations.
Students are encouraged to create unique art works based on their individuality while embracing the trends of contemporary arts and other art genres.
Exhibiting the art works of the students is part of the curriculum, which gives them an opportunity to actively consider the issues of acceptance, exhibition space and audience.
Based on the idea "the cultural industry never blooms without a strong cultural root and foundation", the Department regards a main role of design as coming up with a new value and culture in a continuously changing environment. It aims to nurture students as professionals who take design issues from more fundamental and conceptual aspects and create innovative values.
There are four majors under the Department: transportation, interaction, visual communication, and product design. The curriculum takes both integrated and individual approaches; seeks future-oriented alternatives by exploring the reality; and promote cooperation and exchanges among majors so as to maximize the educational benefits for the students.
The Department aims at nurturing a design capability not only in building design but also in interior, gardening, environment, complex, and city design. It is uniquely under the School of Visual Arts, not the school or college of engineering. The curriculum places a greater importance on the aspect of creativity based on the engineering part of architecture. In addition, a series of Studio courses help students explore new ways of expressions and thinking.
The unique five-year curriculum offers theoretical design and practical theoretic courses by putting architecture design and theory at its center. The Department is the first of its kind in Korea and other non-English-speaking countries in getting the validation from Royal Institutes of British Architects (RIBA) in 2006, followed by the re-validation in 2011 for the next five years. In 2015, it achieved the 5-year validation from Korea Architectural Accrediting Board (KAAB).
Various design studio courses provided every year and theoretical courses consisting of an optimal number of students show the depth and intensiveness of the curriculum. In spring and autumn, all students and faculty members go to field trips to get new perspectives on architecture and reflect on the relations between architecture and human beings. Exhibitions for graduation and others at the end of the year serve as an opportunity to evaluate the progress and capability of students. During vacations, workshops are held and open to the public with the themes which are difficult to deal with during semesters.
The goal of the Department is to produce professionals with an ability to make an in-depth and objective analysis on various visual arts culture. Students, based on the understanding of Eastern, Western and Korean art histories, have discussions from the perspective of contemporary aesthetics and learn about the whole concepts of the arts. Students evaluate the visual arts of the past and the present in a fair and appropriate way and develop a "critical eye" to indentify the social and cultural meaning of the arts.
For undergraduate programs, freshman and sophomore years are for students to enhance their proficiency in foreign languages and learn about the fundamentals of humanities and the basic concepts of art history. Junior and senior years cover courses on various types of contemporary arts, new art theories, and methodologies. Practical courses in museums or in the field and in-depth discussions help students have individual and creative viewpoints. In addition, students take courses on form practice and criticism from other Schools to complete an insufficient part of learning. School trips every year give them a chance to check what they have learned in classes. Many opportunities to access a variety of art genres and theories from the six Schools also help students develop broad perspectives.