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Visualization

The visualization program at Texas A&M University focuses on the creation, design and development of the visual experience. You’ll learn to create digital and electronic visualizations as a technical artist.

As an undergraduate, you’ll take a sequence of studio classes to grow in your area of interest. These project-based studios are supported by courses that teach programming, art theory and other technical skills.

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About the Visualization Program

The Bachelor of Science in Visualization program fosters students’ artistic, scientific and technical abilities. Students develop a breadth and depth of knowledge and skills needed to be successful in the field. Each student chooses a concentration in which they develop a focused expertise. Interdisciplinary coursework complements their focus to provide a broad foundation of knowledge.

Areas of Emphasis


Careers

Visualization graduates are prepared for a range of careers, including:

FAQs about Visualization

Do I need to have an artistic background to succeed in this program?

Yes. The visualization program combines artistic skills with technological prowess. Having an artistic background and an understanding of new or traditional arts will help you be successful in this major.

What kind of technical skills will I need in this program?

Comfort with technology is important. Skills in coding, 3D applications and/or 2D applications are helpful.

What kind of resources and facilities are available through your program?

We have a maker space, print lab, open access computer lab, and cintiques.

Are there any technology requirements to participate in this program?

Yes. The College of Architecture requires that all incoming students (freshmen, change of majors and transfer students) have a serviceable laptop computer and suggests a minimum system configuration (PDF). A PC is preferred at this time for animation and gaming areas of interest.


Curriculum

The four-year visualization undergraduate degree requires a minimum of 120 credit hours. The curriculum integrates aspects of fine arts, three-dimensional design, and digital technology into the studio experience.

Degree Plan | Catalog 144 (2021 – 2022)*

For more details about each course, view the listings in the Texas A&M Course Catalog.

Year 1 34 credit hours

Fall Semester – 16 credit hours

ARTS 115 Drawing for Visualization 3 credit hours
Investigation of and practice with media, methods and techniques in communication of design; observational drawing; proportion, form, line and value.
ENGL 104 Composition and Rhetoric 3 credit hours
Focus on referential and persuasive researched essays through the development of analytical reading ability, critical thinking and library research skills.
MATH 151 Engineering Mathematics 1 4 credit hours
Rectangular coordinates, vectors, analytic geometry, functions, limits, derivatives of functions, applications, integration, computer algebra.
VIST 105 Principles of Design 1 3 credit hours
Principles and theory of design and visual communication; elements and organizational structure of the visual language; sign, symbol and meaning; visual perception; problem solving and the creative process; introduction to color theory; emphasis on two-dimensional design.
VIST 131 First Year Seminar 1 credit hour
Seminar on contemporary topics related to Visualization; introduction to college instruction and experiences; focus on writing, exploration, discussion and research.
VIST 170 Introduction to Visualization Computing Environments 1 credit hour
Procedures, practices and environments useful for visual problem solving using programmatic languages; setup and use of the computing environment; useful system tools and commands; basic programming concepts and constructs.
VIST 282 2D Visualization Techniques 1 credit hour
Introduction to software used in the visual arts including 2D raster and vector images for motion graphics, animation, illustration and design. Specific course content will vary based upon curriculum requirements. May be taken for credit up to two hours.

Spring Semester – 18 credit hours

MATH 152 Engineering Mathematics II 4 credit hours
Differentiation and integration techniques and their applications (area, volumes, work), improper integrals, approximate integration, analytic geometry, vectors, infinite series, power series, Taylor series, computer algebra.
VIST 106 Principles of Design 2 3 credit hours
Fundamentals of spatial design; theory of form; transformations, additive/subtractive techniques as process; 3D composition; traditional modeling and construction techniques; formal visual analysis and critique.
VIST 270 Computing for Visualization I 4 credit hours
Theory and practice of visual computer based problem solving; system tools; scripting; software design principles and practice; basics of interactive programming and interface design; development concepts and principles useful in digital art and visualization production.
VIST 283 3D Visualization Techniques 1 credit hour
Introduction to software used in the visual arts including 3D modeling, gaming and animation; applicable to 3D printing and rendering. Specific course content will vary based upon curriculum requirements.
Art History Class 3 credit hours
Refer to the course catalog for information about art history courses.
POLS 206 Government/Political Science 3 credit hours
Survey of American national government, politics, and constitutional development; also taught at Galveston and Qatar campuses.
Year 2 31 credit hours

Fall Semester – 17 credit hours

ARTS 212 Life Drawing 3 credit hours
Study of the form, volume, structure and movement of the human figure; emphasis on proportion and anatomy.
PHYS 201 College Physics 4 credit hours
Fundamentals of classical mechanics, heat, and sound. Primarily for architecture, education, premedical, predental, and preveterinary medical students.
VIST 205 Principles of Design 3 3 credit hours
Introduction to the creative processes, workflows and methodologies used in the field of visualization including interactive design, game design and development and animation.
Visualization Directed Elective 3 credit hours
Select from an 300 or 400 level ARTS or VIST courses.
VIST 271 Computing for Visualization II 4 credit hours
Continuation of Computing for Visualization I; concepts of object oriented programming; emphasis on principles and techniques useful for three dimensional visualization and real time graphic display.

Spring Semester – 14 credit hours

Art History 3 credit hours
Refer to the course catalog for art history courses.
VIST 206 Visual Studies Studio 1 3 credit hours
Theory and practice of visual communication methodologies and processes used in interactive media, game design and development, or animation; visual storytelling.
VIST 235 Theory and Practice in Visualization 2 credit hours
Professional material development, media theory and trends, copyright law and common business practices; professional practice in pursuit of career paths for creative fields in Visualization.
VIST 375 Foundations in Visualization 3 credit hours
Visualization concepts, techniques and applications; major topic areas include cultural context, application areas, visual perception, the digital image, visual language, coordinate systems, geometric representation, modeling animation, image synthesis, image composing, ethics and the future of visualization.
Traditional Arts 3 credit hours
Select from ARTS 305, ARTS 308, ARTS 311, ARTS 312, ARTS 315, ARTS 325, ARTS 328, ARTS 353, VIST 310, VIST 465.
Year 3 29 credit hours

Fall Semester – 13 credit hours

Art History 3 credit hours
Refer to the course catalog for information about art history courses.
VIST 305 Visual Studies Studio 2 3 credit hours
Theory and practice of visual communication employing digital and conventional media; development of artistic concepts, proposal development and related implementation techniques; introduction to digital painting, 3D modeling, animatics and post production.
VIST 339 Research Techniques in Visualization 3 credit hours
Research techniques used in visualization and creative fields; qualitative and quantitative methods, formulating research questions; determining appropriate methods, research planning and designing, data collection, testing and assessment; data analysis and interpretation.
Visualization Techniques 1 credit hour
HIST 105 History of the United States 3 credit hours
Colonial heritage; Revolution; adoption of Constitution; growth of nationalism and sectionalism; Civil War; Reconstruction; also taught at Galveston and Qatar campuses.

Spring Semester – 6 or 12 credit hours

CARC 301 or VIST 494 Field Studies in Innovation or internship 6 credit hours
Semester away: may be satisfied by study abroad, at another university, internship, or special arrangement by advisor or instructor. Electives may be taken during summer, online, distance education, at another university or college, or at study abroad university.
Language, Philosophy, and Culture 3 credit hours
Refer to the course catalog for information about language, philosophy, and culture courses.
Free Elective 3 credit hours
Semester away may be satisfied through study abroad, at another university, internship, or special arrangement made by advisor or instructor. Select from any 300-499 course not used elsewhere. If you do not participate in study abroad, 3 hours will come from ICD.
Year 4 30 credit hours

Fall Semester – 15 credit hours

VIST 405 Visual Studies Studio 3 3 credit hours
Theory and practice in the art and science of the visual image; scientific and mathematical principles as process; information theory and sensorial design; interactivity and user integration; integration of real and virtual environments including lighting design and material definition.
VIST 432 or VIST 441 Applied Perception or Scientific and Technological Developments in Visual Arts 3 credit hours
Topics in perceptual science useful for Visualization; cognitive, neural and evolutionary processes that undergird perceptual systems; perceptual factors that influence design decision OR Advanced level course focusing on the relationship between art, science and technology; visual arts before the digital revolution; the development of computer graphic arts.
VIST 439 Capstone Proposal Development 1 credit hour
Individual proposal development for capstone studio; demonstration of ideation and concept development, drawing and design, art history, aesthetics, research, methodology and processes, scripting or programming and digital communication.
Digital Media 3 credit hours
Select from ARTS 303, ARTS 304, ARTS 403, VIST 357, VIST 370, VIST 372, VIST 374, VIST 470, VIST 472, VIST 476/CSCE 447, VIST 477/CSCE 446, VIST 486, VIST 487/CSCE 443.
Life and Physical Sciences 5 credit hour
Refer to the course catalog for information about life and physical sciences courses.

Spring Semester – 15 credit hours

HIST 106 History of the United States 3 credit hours
Since reconstruction; new social and industrial problems; rise of progressivism; U.S. emergence as a world power; World War I; reaction and New Deal; World War II; contemporary America; also taught at Galveston and Qatar campuses.
VIST 409 Capstone Studio 3 credit hours
Completion of the proposed capstone project; integration of core methodologies, concept development, drawing and design, art history, aesthetics, research, methodology and processes, scripting and programming and digital communication; required peer reviewed publication or other appropriate venue.
POLS 207 State and Local Government 3 credit hours
Survey of state and local government and politics with special reference to the constitution and politics of Texas; also taught at Galveston and Qatar campuses.
Communication 3 credit hours
Refer to the course catalog for information about communication courses.
Social and Behavioral Sciences 3 credit hours
Refer to the course catalog for information about social and behavior sciences courses.

A grade of C or better must be made in all College of Architecture courses (ARCH, ARTS, CARC, COSC, ENDS, LAND, LDEV, VIST, URPN, and VIZA). Students must also make a grade of C or better in any course used as an equivalent substitution for College of Architecture courses that satisfy degree requirements.

*Subject to change


Preparing for the Visualization Program

High school students can take art, design, and coding courses to prepare for the visualization program. These courses are not required, but help prepare students for our program.

Students wishing to transfer into our program should work on developing their portfolio. While first-time-in-college freshmen do not need a portfolio to apply, transfer students do.

FAQ about preparing for the program

How much does it cost to attend?

The cost to attend varies depending on a variety of factors, including semester of admission, student type, how many hours you take per semester, and rate type. Use the Texas A&M Tuition Calculator to get the best estimate of your tuition cost per semester.

Additional costs to consider include course materials, housing, meal plans, parking, and fees.

What financial aid and scholarships are available to students?

Numerous scholarships and financial aid are available through Texas A&M University, the College of Architecture, and the Department of Visualization. Incoming freshmen applicants are considered for university scholarships through the ApplyTexas Application or the Coalition Application. Continuing students can apply for additional scholarships through the University Scholarship Application for Continuing Students. For more information about university scholarships, visit scholarships.tamu.edu.

Can I transfer into this program?

Yes, you can transfer in the visualization program (or change your major to visualization). In order to apply, you will need to provide a portfolio that demonstrates your best work. The portfolio link should be included in the essay portion of your application.

  • An ideal portfolio:
    • Represents how you see the world
    • Includes 10+ pieces of your BEST work made within the last three years
    • Can contain any medium, including photography, coding, graphic arts, traditional art, robotics, interactive art, or any other work you feel helps display your ability to see the world as an artist
    • Describes each work in the format “Title, Medium, Year”
    • Contains at least one traditional artwork piece

If you don’t already have a traditional artwork piece to include in your portfolio, please follow the instructions for a still life exercise (PDF).

Who can I go to with questions?

For more information about the B.S. in Visualization program, please contact Jill Raupe, academic advisor, at jill-d-raupe@tamu.edu.


Intern or Study Abroad

All visualization students are required by the college to spend one semester away from the university. They may choose between studying abroad, studying at another university, or serving an approved internship in an industry related to the student’s area of interest. Visualization students should spend their semester away during the fall or spring of their junior year, after taking VIST 206 and before taking VIST 405.

In the fall, students and faculty from the visualization department travel to Italy for an artistically-focused semester abroad. In the spring, we offer a semester abroad in Germany with a technical focus. Students also have the option to participate in reciprocal exchanges to Australia (technical/animation), England (technical), or Singapore (technical/coding).


Helpful Resources

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Computer Requirements

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Visualization Laptop Requirements

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Get Involved with Research

Apply what you’re learning in the classroom in a different way. As an undergraduate, you can conduct interdisciplinary research with faculty and research labs. Expand your college experience by investigating new visualization techniques and presenting at conferences. Participating in undergraduate research will help you stand out in job interviews or prepare you for graduate school.