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Creative Technologies (BFA)

Creative Technologies

The Creative Technologies program mission is to create a supportive and rigorous learning environment that encourages the development of critically engaged, technically agile change agents who leverage their curiosity and passions for video games, animation, computer graphics, video, and sound into meaningful cultural contributions.

By affirming the inherent power and dignity of all human stories and how those experiences are communicated through new technologies, we help our students build resilient, culturally-informed communities prepared to thrive and lead in an era of rapid ecological, economic, and technological change. Our faculty and students vocally support and embrace diverse perspectives and backgrounds as being critically important to our emotional and artistic growth.

As a Creative Technologies (CT) major you will take 120 credit hours for a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree, including Virginia Tech's Pathways General Education. During the first year, all CT students complete a series of Foundations Studio courses alongside the studio art BFA majors; foundations classes teach students the principles of drawing and 2D, 3D and 4D design. Students begin their required introductory Creative Technologies courses in their second semester and continue throughout year two; these introduce video, sound, 3D modeling, creative coding, media theory, and creative techniques and collaboration. Students plot out their junior and senior years, in collaboration with their advisors, by selecting a sequence of upper level program electives; possibilities include advanced 3D and 2D digital animation and rendering (character design and world building) stop motion animation, virtual and augmented reality, visual programming, game design and development, sound design, and laser scanning.

During their final year, our majors take Senior Studio, a two-course capstone experience in which students prepare a coherent body of studio work under faculty supervision, culminating in a professional public exhibition. Our students all take a minimum of 12 credits in art history, as well as a course in professional practice. Students also take 24 credits in SOVA electives (including art history and studio art), and 9 credits in open electives that can be any courses offered at Virginia Tech.

Our award-winning faculty are artists with ongoing professional practices. Faculty artworks, including projection-mapping, installations, animation, and virtual and augmented reality experiences are regularly exhibited at galleries and film festivals around the world and their creative research is presented at a range of academic symposia and conferences internationally. Faculty are committed to developing our students’ technical, creative, and collaborative skills both in the classroom and through experiential learning opportunities.

Facilities where BFA students may work are located in several different buildings on the Virginia Tech Blacksburg Campus. The spaces that support BFA courses and student work include the following:

  • The Armory Building (203 Draper Rd. NW) is home to the school's main office, exhibition venue, and classrooms utilized for undergraduate programs. Located downtown, the Armory provides a lively intersection of the town and campus, and also holds some SOVA faculty offices. 

  • The Armory Art Gallery, located in the Armory Building, is operated as an educational and outreach service of the University. Its exhibition calendar includes work by visiting artists, faculty, BFA senior exhibitions. 

  • The Media Annex, adjacent to the Armory Building downtown, offers pop-up art installation space upon request.

  • The Media Building, located centrally downtown, is occasionally utilized for School of Visual Arts classrooms, as well as some SOVA faculty offices.   

  • The Creativity and Innovation District LLC Building is centrally located and adjacent to numerous other School of Visual Arts spaces. This building offers state-of-the-art seminar and studio classrooms for studio art courses (such as painting, drawing, and sculpture) as well as graduate critique events, and unique opportunities for performances and screenings in its large venues. 

  • The Digital Arts and Animation Lab (DAAS) is located on the first floor of the Newman Library. The lab contains 21 Mac computers configured with professional software (including Autodesk Maya, ZBrush, Adobe Suite) to facilitate creative production across digital arts and media technologies. 

  • ICAT Box, (CTBOX) located immediately adjacent to DAAS on the first floor of the Newman Library, contains 18 PC computers and software (such as Unity and Unreal Engine) as well as VR headsets and tracking systems, and other equipment for immersive and interactive media development. 

  • Henderson Hall houses the offices of numerous SOVA faculty, classrooms for the Graphic Design program (undergraduate), Art History (serving undergraduate and graduate students), as well as classrooms utilized by the Creative Technologies program. Our equipment check-out storage space is additionally located in this building.

  • Render System can be accessed remotely by our students 24 hours a day; the system allows students to render complex 3D digital animations using one of the high performance computing clusters within the university’s Advanced Research Computing center.

  • Senior Studio Space is a shared space for BFA students in their senior year

Our students additionally have access to fantastic public digital laboratories facilitated by the University Libraries, including the various Media Design Studios, which are spaces for all members of the Virginia Tech campus community to create various types of media, including video, audio, and other multimedia, and access or check out high-end technology. This suite of options includes:

  • The Media Recording Studio (recording videos, audio, and music)

  • Students can also request access to immersive video and audio environments such as the Cube, an immersive video and audio black box theater, and the Perform Studio.

Equipment and Tools accessible to MFAs who have received permission and requisite training include items such as the following: 

  • Digital Production

    • VR Headsets and Tracking Systems 

    • VR-Ready Computers

    • Plasma, HD and 4K Monitors 

    • Wacom Tablets

  • Capturing and Recording

    • 3D Laser Scanner

    • Flatbed Scanners

    • Azure Kinect depth-sensor cameras

    • DSLR and Digital Video Cameras

    • GoPros

    • Multiplane Camera

    • Digital Audio Recorders

    • Microphones

    • 6mm Cameras, 16mm editing 

    • Tripods, Lighting Kits, Projector Stands 

  • Multimedia Installation

    • Benq Projectors, Short Throw, 4K and HD 

    • iPads

    • Mac Minis

    • Media Players 

    • PA System and other audio equipment

    • Water Vapor Fog Machine

    • Arduino boards, Raspberry Pi’s, sensors

  • Fabrication

    • CNC Router

    • Welding

    • 3D Printers 

    • Plasma Cutters

    • Laser Cutters

    • Vinyl Cutters

    • Soldering Stations

    • HAAS 6 Axis Milling Machine

    • ABB 6 Axis Robotic Arms

    • Metal Cutters and Curling Rollers

    • Metal Lathe Machine

    • Laser and Inkjet Printers

    • Comprehensive woodshop tools

    • Ceramic 3D printer 

    • Kilns

    • Pottery Wheels 

    • Soldering supplies

Outside of the School of Visual Arts, all of our students are welcome to use tech studios in the University Library such as the motion capture system and the prototyping studio. And they also have access to an incredible array of media equipment through the Library’s lending desk


Typically 4 years.

Applicants do not need a portfolio to apply directly to the school of Visual Arts, but do have to be accepted into the University. 

Adobe Creative Suite, Autodesk Maya, Unreal Engine, Unity, ZBrush, Substance Painter, Blender, Processing

While the Creative Technologies program is operating system agnostic, it is recommended that students meet SOVA’s minimum technology recommendations.

Yes, our students work across disciplines with students and faculty in the performing arts (music, theatre, cinema), computer science, architecture, creative writing, and more.

Yes, many of our students work on faculty research projects. They are hired directly by the School of Visual Arts or through other University entities such as ICAT (Institute for Creativity, Arts and Technology), ARIES (Applied Research in Immersive Experiences), or as part of unique grant-based initiatives such as a program scanning the University Library’s extensive insect collection.

Our students are allowed and encouraged to minor in a wide variety of disciplines across the University. Past students have completed minors in Cinema, Creative Writing, Computer Science, Human-Computer Interaction, Geographic Information Systems, Math, Art History, Communications, Sustainability, etc.

The School of Visual Arts offers several study abroad opportunities that are open to all of our majors. There are also study abroad opportunities open to all Virginia Tech students.

Students have the opportunity to attend the New Orleans Film Festival and network with film, animation, and TV professionals. Creative Technologies participates in the Accelerate Creativity and Innovation Festival held at the Smithsonian. Professors and students co-organize regional and national pop up art exhibitions.

The SOVA Study abroad in Iceland offers an interdisciplinary approach to creative practice by immersing students in a themed residency program bridging the arts to other areas of inquiry. Past programs interfaced with biotechnology and food science, culminating in an exhibition at the end.

Most 3 credit hour Studio Art classes meet for 4 contact hours each week. For each of these courses, there is the expectation of at least an equal amount of time spent in the studio outside of designated class time.

Yes, but Creative Technologies is a restricted major. For more information, start here.

Where are our alumni?

Creative Technologies BFA alumni hold a range of positions including Virtual Environment Designer at Keywords Studios; Motion Capture Pipeline Specialist for Bungie; Quality Assurance at Epic; Art Director at Schell Games; GIS Specialist at FEMA; Animator at Serenity Forge; 3D Modeler for various government agencies; Motion Graphics Artist for a range of creative agencies. Some alumni pursue professional lives as independent artists, filmmakers and producers. Others pursue graduate degrees in art, game design, animation, computer science, interdisciplinary studies, human computer interaction, and other fields.