School Of Visual Arts, New York

Beginning as a trade school with three instructors and 35 students, the School of Visual Arts has grown into a dynamic multi-disciplinary institution with a faculty of more than 800 and a student body of over 3,500.

In 1947, Silas H. Rhodes and illustrator (Tarzan) Burne Hogarth co-founded the Cartoonists and Illustrators School, with New York City-based professionals working in the arts as faculty, a practice that continues to this day. In 1956, the institution was renamed School of Visual Arts (SVA), reflecting a belief that there is more to art than technique, and that learning to become an artist is not the same as learning a trade. In 1972, the New York State Board of Regents authorized SVA to confer the degree of Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film, Fine Arts, Media Arts and Photography, the first proprietary school in the state to be so recognized. Today, the College offers 11 undergraduate degrees, ranging from graphic design to computer art to fine arts.
David Rhodes was installed as the second president of SVA in 1978, and he continues
to lead the College today.

In 1983, SVA opened i... [ Read All ]

New York

United States

209 East 23rd Street
Phone: 212.592.2000 or 888.220.5782
Fax: 212.725.3587

College Photos (5)

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Our Aims

School of Visual Arts is a college of art and design whose mission is to educate students who aspire to become professional artists.
This mission is the foundation upon which are built:
• undergraduate degree programs in art and design that prepare students for entry into an array of professional fields in or related to the visual arts, while also equipping students with the skills necessary to become productive and thoughtful members of society
• rigorous and practice-based graduate programs in the visual arts and its allied fields; a continuing education program intended to meet the diverse needs of New York City’s professional art and design community and the larger community within which the College resides
• and a commitment to serving the greater good through community service  

Sample Student Art Work (8)

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Location and Getting there

School of Visual Arts has a number of buildings throughout Manhattan, located primarily in Gramercy Park and Chelsea neighborhoods. To see a map of our campus go to:  

Department and information about the department

SVA grants Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in Advertising, Animation, Cartooning, Computer Art, Film & Video, Fine Arts, Graphic Design, Illustration, Interior Design, Photography, and Visual and Critical Studies. Master of Fine Arts degrees are granted in Art Criticism and Writing; Computer Art; Design; Design Criticism (beginning fall 2008); Fine Arts; Illustration as Visual Essay; and Photography, Video and Related Media. Master of Professional Studies degrees are offered in Art Therapy and Digital Photography and a Master of Art in Teaching in Art Education.  

Academic Staff and Description

SVA has a faculty of over 800 artists, writers, designers, filmmakers and photographers representing many fields of the fine and applied arts, computer technology, and the humanities and sciences, who come to class straight from their studios and workplaces, bringing an array of experiences to the College. They are guided by department chairs, who oversee the faculty and the administration of the department. To see a list of all the department chairs go to:  

News and Events

There are a variety of events and exhibitions that take place on campus. The College operates three galleries, the SVA Gallery at 209 East 23rd Street, the Westside Gallery at 141 West 21st Street and the Visual Arts Gallery at 601 West 26th Street in the Chelsea arts district. To find out more about our events, visit .To find out more about SVA News, visit .You can also sign up for our weekly e-newsletter or monthly e-calendar at  

Information For  Undergraduates

SVA offers undergraduate programs in Advertising, Animation, Cartooning, Computer Art, Film & Video, Fine Arts, Graphic Design, Illustration, Interior Design, Photography, and Visual & Critical Studies. The undergraduate program is a four-year, full-time Bachelor of Fine Arts degree program with courses offered throughout the day and evening. Identifying which college will prepare an aspiring artist to meet the demands and challenges that await tomorrow's professionals can be a difficult task. The outcome will vary for each individual, based on his or her interests, needs, abilities and focus. Students who choose SVA are often attracted by the breadth and professional standing of our faculty, the passion of our student body, the rigors of our curriculum, the industry standards within our studio facilities, and the energy and excitement that is New York City.  

Information For  Postgraduates

SVA offers rigorous and practice-based graduate arts programs in 10 different areas of study: Art Criticism and Writing; Computer Art; Design; Design Criticism (beginning fall 2008); Fine Arts; Illustration as Visual Essay; and Photography, Video and Related Media. Master of Professional Studies degrees are offered in Art Therapy and Digital Photography, and a Master of Art in Teaching in Art Education.

All of SVA’s innovative graduate art school programs are taught by top professionals in their discipline with the aim of helping students further advance their careers as working artists. Each of these highly individual professional degree programs shares certain important characteristics that reflect the School of Visual Arts' unique approach to the education of artists. Each of the graduate programs is innovative.

While many universities offer graduate studies in the fine arts, most programs are oriented toward training students as teachers. Our program in Fine Arts focuses on training students whose primary interest is the making of art. The Master of Fine Arts in Art Criticism and Writing examines the visual arts within ...  [ Read All ]

Information For  International Students

The College is authorized under federal law to enroll non-immigrant students. Any applicant who is not a citizen or legal permanent resident of the United Sates will be considered an international applicant. Due to the time involved in fulfilling legal requirements, it is recommended that international applications requiring a student visa submit all application materials at least four months prior to the start of the semester. The recommended deadline to submit all application materials for international applicants requiring a student visa is May 1, 2007 for the fall 2007 semester and October 1, 2007 for the spring 2008 semester.

To find out more information and specific requirements for international students go to:
You can also contact the International Students Office at or 212.592.2236.  


School of Visual Arts is proud to boast some of the world's greatest artists among its alumni. Many thousands of them constitute the core of the cultural capital of the world: New York City; thousands of others can be found throughout the United States and in over thirty countries around the world. Some notable alumni include: fine artists Inka Essenhigh, Rodney Alan Greenblat, Keith Haring, Suzanne McClelland, Elizabeth Peyton, Alexis Rockman, Kenny Scharf, Gary Simmons and Sarah Sze; photographers Guy Aroch, Renée Cox, Justine Kurland and Lorna Simpson. Others include Paul Davis, principal, Paul Davis Studio; Sal DeVito, creative director, DeVito/Verdi; Pete Hamill, author and journalist; Patrick McDonnell, creator, Mutts comic strip; Bill Plympton, Academy-Award nominee, Guard Dog; Bryan Singer, director, X-Men, Usual Suspects; Carlos Saldanha, co-director, Ice Age and Robots; Harris Savides, cinematographer, Birth and Last Days.

For more information, contact the Office of Alumni Affairs, 212.592.2300 or e-mail or visit  

Student Testimonials

Shawn Gooden (BFA 2006 Fine Arts)
“I realize that this experience is coming soon to an end, but I know that I am going to be leaving with a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience under my belt. From art history classes taught by historians that are close colleagues of successful artists, to having my school being located in the epicenter of the contemporary art world, I am being provided with the best of information from both perspectives in the art community. As a growing artist, I could not ask for a better location, access to information and networking. I feel I am truly being taught valuable knowledge. ”

Aaron Weber (BFA 2005 Computer Art)
“At SVA I have not only had the opportunity to learn from an outstanding faculty, but I have also been able to collaborate with students from other departments to create something bigger than any one person could do alone.”

Sung Yoon Choi (MFA 2006 Illustration as Visual Essay)
“What I love the most about my program is...  [ Read All ]


SVA currently offers three housing options, and accommodates approximately 900 students per year; the George Washington Residence, the Gramercy Women’s Residence and the New Residence. Each residence is furnished with a twin bed, a desk, a chair, and a chest of drawers. There are 24-hour security and laundry facilities in all residence buildings. For more information on residence life policies and other related information, contact the Office of Residence Life at 212.5392.2140 or or visit  

How To Apply

Undergraduate applicants can apply online at or fill out the application included in the catalog. SVA operates on a rolling admissions basis. Applications will be reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis as space in each program remains available. First time freshman must submit all admissions and scholarship materials postmarked by February 1.

Graduate school applicants are strongly encouraged to apply online at . Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university or equivalent diploma from a four-year professional art school. To learn more about the application requirements, go to  

Visit us (open days)

The Office of Admissions is open Monday through Friday 9am to 5pm. To find out more about campus tours, personal interviews and open houses go to  

Request a prospectus (Number, e-mail or follow link)

You can request a catalogue by calling 800.436.4204 or 212.592.2100, e-mailing You can also visit our Web site and click on “Send me a catalog.”