This is a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree program versus a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) program. The BFA programs (Graphic Design, Ceramics, Drawing, Art + Technology, Creative Photography, Printmaking, Painting, and Sculpture) are more studio-rigorous and are generally considered the more "professional" art degree. Students wishing to have a career at all related to the arts should select a BFA degree program.
The BA in Visual Art Studies allows students to still focus on art, but in a much more flexible, and less studio-rigorous fashion. The BA in Visual Art Studies much more easily allows students to possibly double major, or finish pre-professional requirements for non-arts related programs. Many students majoring in the BA in Visual Art Studies program go on to medical school (or other professional health schools), law school, and other graduate programs in non-arts related disciplines.
Sometimes students believe that the Visual Art Studies major is the only art major that allows taking studios across several different media; however, all of our art majors (BFA and BA alike) allow this. In fact the BFA programs (while emphasising a particular media) will mandate that students take studio coursework from a wide array of media, and actually encourage students to engage in cross-media or multi-media art-making.
Deciding between the BFA or BA degree programs can be challenging. We recommend you speak with the undergraduate advisor to help you select the degree program that will work best for your educational goals.