In VPA, we require students in select majors to take math and language courses to fulfill a liberal arts core curriculum. These majors are communication and rhetorical studies (CRS), design studies (B.S.), drama (B.S.), music (B.S.), music composition, music education, music performance, and sound recording technology.

If your major is not listed above (i.e. acting, art photography, communications design, computer art and animation, environmental and interior design, fashion design, film, illustration, industrial and interaction design, music industry, musical theatre, stage management, studio arts (B.S. or B.F.A.), or theater design and technology), you are NOT required to take a placement exam.

However, if there is an area of interest you wish to pursue, we welcome you to take an exam. Those who are required to take a placement exam are encouraged to do so as early as possible to fulfill these requirements early in their career.

If you are a student whose primary language is not English, you will be required to take an English placement exam; this is to ensure you are placed in a writing class you will be successful in.

Important: You must register for the exam by end of day Tuesday, June 4.

The exams will be held on Thursday, June 6, and Saturday, June 8.

All students are required to take two writing courses during their time at Syracuse University: WRT 105 and 205. If you are in the honors program, the offerings are generally WRT 109 and 209.

WRT 105 is taken in the fall unless you will be earning credit through an Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), or transfer credit.

To earn credit through an AP exam, you must have earned a minimum score of 4 on either the English Language and Composition or English Literature and Composition. A full list of AP credit offerings is available. 

To earn credit through an International Baccalaureate (IB) exam, you must have earned a minimum score of 5 at the Higher Level. A full list of IB credit offerings is available.

To earn credit through transfer credit, meaning you took a college-level course in high school, please communicate with our office (VPAOSA@syr.edu). We have a database we review and will have an answer for you within two business days. We strongly encourage you to hold on to all syllabi for courses taken at other institutions.

Once it is determined you have earned credit for WRT 105, please reach out to our office (VPAOSA@syr.edu) so we can work with you to adjust your schedule.

All students are required to take FYS 101: First-Year Seminar (1cr) regardless of whether you are a new or transfer student. Below is the course description:

Students will explore the areas of Belonging, Interdependence, Health and Wellness, Development of Identity, Socialization, Prejudice, Discrimination, Bias, Stereotypes both within their FYS 101 section, in Syracuse University sponsored experiential activities, and in school/college level sponsored experiential activities.

Enrollment Information by School/Department

School of Art

Every student in the School of Art will take the following courses:

  • ARI 101, First-year Studio I (3cr): Guides the students through a series of dynamic projects to explore different media and approaches to making art. Focuses on visual language and introduces visual inquiry.
  • AIC 101, Arts in Context I (3cr): This is the first part of an introductory level course designed to acclimate students to the fundamental contexts in which the practice of making art co-exists with art’s audience, collectors, exhibitors, theorists, and historians. It unfolds many ways of seeing and thinking, opening up new perspectives on the world of contemporary visual art for both practitioners and viewers.
  • ARL 131, Observational Drawing Workshop (1cr): The focus of this course is to learn to see and allow the experience to develop into drawing.
  • ARL 150, Woodshop Art Lab I (1cr): Technical workshop. Students will learn the basics of woodworking including associated tools and equipment. Tools will be demonstrated. Students will construct 2D and 3D projects using skills learned in class. Safe work practices emphasized.
  • ARL Labs, TBD (2cr): Students will be registered for two additional five-week intensive art labs with varying topics (drawing, design tools, sculpture, color). The assignments will be at random with the goal that students try a little bit of everything. Illustration majors will have predominately drawing labs.


  • ARI 101 (3cr)
  • AIC 101 (3cr)
  • ARL 131 (1cr)
  • ARL 150 (1cr)
  • ARL Labs (x2) (2cr)
  • WRT 105* (3cr)
  • Studio Elective** (3cr)
  • FYS 101 (1cr)

17cr

* This indicates the course you will be able to select for yourself in August. More information will follow on this process. Please be on the lookout for communications from our office.

** The studio elective will be chosen for students based on availability and relevance to the major.

  • ARI 101 (3cr)
  • AIC 101 (3cr)
  • ARL 131 (1cr)
  • ARL 150 (1cr)
  • ARL Labs (x2) (2cr)
  • ILL 100, Freshmen Illustration (3cr): In this class students will begin their journey as graphic storytellers. They will build the foundational skills needed to visually communicate. Exploration will start with color and composition, all the while learning the basics of dynamic figure drawing. Appropriate for artists, thinkers, and makers.
  • WRT 105* (3cr)
  • FYS 101 (1cr)

17cr

* This indicates the course you will be able to select for yourself in August. More information will follow on this process. Please be on the lookout for communications from our office.

Department of Communication and Rhetorical Studies

Every student in the Department of Communication and Rhetorical Studies will take the following courses:

  • CRS 100, CRS Foundations - New Student Forum (1cr): This forum provides a space for conversation about acclimation to SU and in CRS, including introductions to a range of people and resources from across campus to facilitate and enrich this process, and to help provide the foundation for student success. We will explore together what it means as students and campus community members to have agency, and how to make best use of it.
  • CRS 181, Concepts & Perspectives in Communication Studies (3cr): Overview of everyday interaction and extent to which content and forms of communication shape social realities. Broad introduction to field of communication.
  • CRS 225, Public Advocacy (3cr): Principles, practice, and criticism of informative, persuasive, and ceremonial speeches. Enhances student capacity to respond appropriately to a variety of speaking situations.
  • WRT 105* (3cr)
  • FYS 101 (1cr)
  • Liberal Arts Academic Elective* (3cr)
  • Liberal Arts Academic Elective* (3cr)

17cr

* This indicates the courses you will be able to select for yourself in August. More information will follow on this process. Please be on the lookout for communications from our office.

Department of Drama

Every student in the Department of Drama will take the following courses:

  • DRA 090, Theater Lab (0-1cr): Weekly department colloquium; work in progress viewed and discussed by faculty and student body. Frequent masterclasses and presentations by a diverse group of professionals in the field.
  • DRA 115, Drama in Context I (3cr): Survey of basic principles of drama from a diverse range of cultures and periods. Application of dramatic analysis principles to an inclusive selection of introductory texts.


  • DRA 090, Theater Lab (1cr)
  • DRA 115, Drama in Context I (3cr)
  • DRA 125, Introduction to Acting (5cr): Foundational acting techniques with an emphasis on: vocal, physical, and emotional relaxation; concentration; and dramatic action. The course includes work on consent and draws heavily upon an inclusive range of work from diverse artists. Required of all first-year students majoring in acting and musical theater.
  • DRA 121, The Actor’s Speech Practicum (2cr): Developing actors’ speech skills through vocal practice and the study of phonetics for clear, strong articulation, connection to language, and effective, expressive use of the voice using text from inclusive work of diverse artists.
  • FYS 101 (1cr)
  • WRT 105* (3cr)
  • Liberal Arts Academic Elective*

18cr

* This indicates the courses you will be able to select for yourself in August. More information will follow on this process. Please be on the lookout for communications from our office.

  • DRA 090, Theater Lab (0cr)
  • DRA 115, Drama in Context I (3cr)
  • DRA 118, Vocal Technique for Musical Theater Majors (1cr): Private instruction in vocal techniques. Development of range, register balance, vocal timbre, and musicianship as required for the diverse styles of the musical theater repertoire.
  • DRA 125, Introduction to Acting (5cr): Foundational acting techniques with an emphasis on: vocal, physical, and emotional relaxation; concentration; and dramatic action. The course includes work on consent and draws heavily upon an inclusive range of work from diverse artists. Required for all first-year students majoring in acting and musical theater.
  • DRA 140, Ballet I, or DRA 240, Ballet II (2cr): Introduction to the theory and technique of ballet as applied to musical theater. Four semesters of ballet are required for musical theater majors.
  • DRA 151, Foundations of Musical Theater (2cr): Building music literacy skills (including rhythms, intervals, keys, and score reading) and applying those skills to musical theater repertoire, with an emphasis on inclusive work from diverse artists.
  • DRA 161, Musical Theater Practicum (2cr): Fundamentals of vocal physiology and function, health maintenance, and an introduction to the International Phonetic Alphabet, with application to solo song, drawing on articles, exercises, and repertoire from a diverse variety of vocal pedagogies.
  • FYS 101 (1cr)
  • WRT 105 (3cr)

19cr

  • DRA 090, Theater Lab (0cr)
  • DRA 115, Drama in Context I (3cr)
  • DRD 112, Drafting for the Theater (3cr): The theories and practices of drafting for theatrical production. Graphic solutions, focusing on the communication of design ideas through the proper use of manual drafting instruments.
  • DRD 140, Introduction to Theater Crafts I (3cr): This course provides students with both exposure to and experience in various areas of technical production, including scenery, props, scenic art, costumes, lighting, and sound; and the specific production process employed by Syracuse Stage and SU Drama.
  • DRD 141, Introduction to Design for the Theater (3cr): An introduction to the function of the visual elements in theatrical production and developing a process for exploring/creating designs for productions including analyzing plays and productions of diverse cultural perspectives.
  • DRM 251, Introduction to Stage Management (3cr): Combined classroom and practicum investigation of the stage management system. Student will be assigned as an assistant stage manager on an SU Drama production while discussing the elements of stage management in the classroom.
  • FYS 101 (1cr)
  • WRT 105 (3cr)

19cr

  • DRA 090, Theater Lab (0cr)
  • DRA 115, Drama in Context I (3cr)
  • DES 103, Analog Design Tools (3cr): This course introduces students to two and three-dimensional visualization methods for the design fields. These methods will include hand drawing as well as modeling with paper/card, wood, and plastic.
  • DES 113, History of Modern Design: 1850-Present (3cr): Lectures, readings, discussion, and written assignments develop visual literacy, critical, and communication skills integral to understanding design within its historical, social, and cultural context.
  • DRD 112, Drafting for the Theater (3cr): The theories and practices of drafting for theatrical production. Graphic solutions, focusing on the communication of design ideas through the proper use of manual drafting instruments.
  • DRD 140, Introduction to Theater Crafts I (3cr): This course provides students with both exposure to and experience in various areas of technical production, including scenery, props, scenic art, costumes, lighting, and sound; and the specific production process employed by Syracuse Stage and SU Drama.
  • DRD 141, Introduction to Design for the Theater (3cr): An introduction to the function of the visual elements in theatrical production and developing a process for exploring/creating designs for productions including analyzing plays and productions of diverse cultural perspectives.
  • FYS 101 (1cr)

19cr

  • DRA 090, Theater Lab (1cr)
  • DRA 115, Drama in Context I (3cr)
  • DRD 140, Introduction to Theater Crafts I (2cr): This course provides students with both exposure to and experience in various areas of technical production, including scenery, props, scenic art, costumes, lighting, and sound; and the specific production process employed by Syracuse Stage and SU Drama.
  • DRM 194, Introduction to Theater Management (3cr): Class lectures, discussion, and conversations with management guests from Syracuse Stage, Department of Drama, and other professional and diverse cultural organizations from central New York and across the country.
  • DRM 251, Introduction to Stage Management (3cr): Combined classroom and practicum investigation of the stage management system. Student will be assigned as an assistant stage manager on an SU Drama production while discussing the elements of stage management in the classroom.
  • FYS 101 (1cr)
  • WRT 105* (3cr)
  • Liberal Arts Academic Elective*

19 cr

* This indicates the courses you will be able to select for yourself in August. More information will follow on this process. Please be on the lookout for communications from our office.

School of Design

Every student in the School of Design will take the following courses:

  • DES 100, First Year Forum (1cr): This course introduces students to Syracuse University and to the protocols and processes that they will encounter during their university experience. In addition, this course will introduce students to available resources and support systems.
  • DES 101, Digital Tools for Designers I (3cr): Introduction to digital design software processes to create and manipulate vector and raster-based imagery and gain an understanding of publication software for layout and printed media.
  • DES 103, Analog Design Tools (3cr): This course introduces students to two and three-dimensional visualization methods for the design fields. These methods will include hand drawing as well as modeling with paper/card, wood, and plastic.
  • DES 113, History of Modern Design: 1850-Present (3cr): Lectures, readings, discussion, and written assignments develop visual literacy, critical, and communication skills integral to understanding design within its historical, social, and cultural context.


  • DES 100 (1cr)
  • DES 101 (3cr)
  • DES 103 (3cr)
  • DES 113 (3cr)
  • WRT 105* (3cr)
  • Studio Elective**
  • FYS 101 (1cr)

17cr

This indicates the course you will be able to select for yourself in August. More information will follow on this process. Please be on the lookout for communications from our office.

** The studio elective will be chosen for students based on availability and relevance to the major.

  • DES 100 (1cr)
  • DES 101 (3cr)
  • DES 103 (3cr)
  • DES 113 (3cr)
  • WRT 105* (3cr)
  • Liberal Arts Academic Elective*
  • FYS 101 (1cr)

17cr

* This indicates the courses you will be able to select for yourself in August. More information will follow on this process. Please be on the lookout for communications from our office.

  • DES 100 (1cr)
  • DES 101 (3cr)
  • DES 103 (3cr)
  • DES 113 (3cr)
  • WRT 105* (3cr)
  • Studio Elective**
  • FYS 101 (1cr)

17cr

* This indicates the course you will be able to select for yourself in August. More information will follow on this process. Please be on the lookout for communications from our office.

** The studio elective will be chosen for students based on availability and relevance to the major.

  • DES 100 (1cr)
  • DES 101 (3cr)
  • DES 103 (3cr)
  • DES 113 (3cr)
  • FAS 120, Fashion Skills, and Techniques I (3cr): Introduction to garment construction, assembly methods, and finishing techniques commonly used in the fashion industry.
  • WRT 105* (3cr)
  • FYS 101 (1cr)

17cr

This indicates the course you will be able to select for yourself in August. More information will follow on this process. Please be on the lookout for communications from our office.

  • DES 100 (1cr)
  • DES 101 (3cr)
  • DES 103 (3cr)
  • DES 113 (3cr)
  • IND 128, Design Worlds (3cr): This course provides a broad understanding of how design acts as a continuum between its traditional roots and how current design methodologies are being applied to emerging needs. Through a series of case studies and studio visits, this course looks to challenge our understanding of the scope and impact of design. 
  • WRT 105* (3cr)
  • FYS 101 (1cr)

17cr

* This indicates the course you will be able to select for yourself in August. More information will follow on this process. Please be on the lookout for communications from our office.

Department of Film and Media Arts 

Every student in the Department of Film and Media Arts will take the following course:

  • FMA 151, Conversations in Film and Media Arts I (3cr): A survey of current media arts with many guest speakers. Media explored includes film, photography, animation, contemporary art, and criticism. Issues focused on include historical and contemporary representations of underrepresented groups in media.


  • FMA 151, Conversations in Film and Media Arts I (3cr)

  • FMA 153, Making Media: Fundamentals (3cr): Introduces students to thinking critically and practically about time-based creative practices. Explores the use of digital media in concepts surrounding time/space, image/sound, interactivity/networks, and performance/movement. Students will work with photo, film, video, and computer.

  • APH 261, Art Photography – Introduction (3cr): Introductory course explores how contemporary artists use photography. Various approaches to art photography are presented to describe, critique, or mediate on modern life. Working with digital cameras, students experiment with equipment, techniques, and strategies to make their own original work.
  • WRT 105* (3cr)
  • Studio Elective** (3cr)
  • FYS 101 (1cr)

16cr

* This indicates the course you will be able to select for yourself in August. More information will follow on this process. Please be on the lookout for communications from our office.

** The studio elective will be chosen for students based on availability and relevance to the major.

  • FMA 151, Conversations in Film and Media Arts I (3cr)
  • CAR 101, Introduction to 3D Animation (3cr): The first course in this three-course series focuses on concepts, aesthetics, and practice of 3D animation and visual effects.  This course is an introduction to modeling, texturing, digital-sculpting, and shading.

  • CAR 102, Art and Craft of Animation (3cr): Introductory studio course explores animation history and practice, with a strong emphasis on practice. Students will learn important animation techniques and modalities and build a foundation for further coursework or personal exploration of animation.

  • ILL 100, Freshmen Illustration (3cr): In this class students will begin their journey as graphic storytellers. They will build the foundational skills needed to visually communicate. Exploration will start with color and composition, all the while learning the basics of dynamic figure drawing. Appropriate for artists, thinkers, and makers.
  • WRT 105* (3cr)
  • FYS 101 (1cr)

16cr

* This indicates the course you will be able to select for yourself in August. More information will follow on this process. Please be on the lookout for communications from our office.

  • FMA 151, Conversations in Film and Media Arts I (3cr)

  • FMA 153, Making Media: Fundamentals (3cr): Introduces students to thinking critically and practically about time-based creative practices. Explores the use of digital media in concepts surrounding time/space, image/sound, interactivity/networks, and performance/movement. Students will work with photo, film, video, and computer.

  • FIL 121, Filmmaking Workshop – Physical Aspects (3cr): Introduction and development of technical aspects and skills of filmmaking.
  • FIL 253, Survey of Film History 1 (3cr): Growth of film from its origin to the French New Wave (1960s). Technical, economic, and social influence on cinema; development of film as an art.
  • WRT 105* (3cr)
  • FYS 101 (1cr)

16cr

* This indicates the course you will be able to select for yourself in August. More information will follow on this process. Please be on the lookout for communications from our office.

Setnor School of Music

Every student in the School of Music will take the following courses:

  • MHL 071, Weekly Student Convocation (0cr)
  • MTC 145, Theory and Musicianship I (3cr): Music fundamentals. Elementary counterpoint. Basic principles of diatonic harmony, voice leading and analysis. All diatonic triads and their inversions.
  • MTC 147, Ear Training I (1cr): Sight singing with diatonic melodies. Rhythmic reading and dictation with simple and compound meter. Melodic and harmonic dictation using all diatonic triads and their inversions.


  • MHL 071 (0cr)
  • MTC 145 (3cr)
  • MTC 147(1cr)
  • FYS 101 (1cr)
  • Principal Performance Area (2cr)
  • Secondary Performance Area (1cr)
  • Large Ensemble* (1cr)
  • WRT 105** (3cr)
  • Liberal Arts Academic Elective**

15cr

* Following the audition cycle during Opening Weekend, you will be required to add the appropriate ensembles to your schedule.

** This indicates the courses you will be able to select for yourself in August. More information will follow on this process. Please be on the lookout for communications from our office.

  • MHL 071 (0cr)
  • MTC 145 (3cr)
  • MTC 147 (1cr)
  • FYS 101 (1cr)
  • MTC 051, Composition Seminar (0 credits): Listening and discussion of creative issues and strategies in music composition. Two and four guest presentations by visiting composers per semester.
  • Composition (2cr)
  • Principal Performance Area (2cr)
  • Secondary Performance Area (1cr)
  • Large Ensemble* (1cr)
  • WRT 105** (3cr)

14 cr

* Following the audition cycle during Opening Weekend, you will be required to add the appropriate ensembles to your schedule.

** This indicates the course you will be able to select for yourself in August. More information will follow on this process. Please be on the lookout for communications from our office.


  • MHL 071 (0cr)
  • MTC 145 (3cr)
  • MTC 147 (1cr)
  • FYS 101 (1cr)
  • MUI 010, Soyars Leadership Lecture (0cr): Features music industry leaders from the highest levels of the business. These visiting faculty members will focus, in depth, on cutting edge issues as they relate to leadership in today’s industry.
  • PSY 205, Foundations of Human Behavior (3cr): Fundamental principles of mental life and human behavior. Significance of psychology in human relationships and self-understanding.
  • Principal Performance Area (2cr)
  • Secondary Performance Area (1cr)
  • Large Ensemble* (1cr)
  • WRT 105** (3cr)

15cr

* Following the audition cycle during Opening Weekend, you will be required to add the appropriate ensembles to your schedule.

** This indicates the course you will be able to select for yourself in August. More information will follow on this process. Please be on the lookout for communications from our office.

  • MHL 071 (0cr)
  • MTC 145 (3cr)
  • MTC 147 (1cr)
  • FYS 101 (1cr)
  • AMC 545 Diction in Singing* (2cr): Basic phonetics (International Phonetic Alphabet). Enunciation in the foreign languages most frequently encountered in vocal and choral literature (Italian, French, and German). English diction in singing.
  • Principal Performance Area (2cr)
  • Secondary Performance Area** (1cr)
  • Large Ensemble*** (1cr)
  • WRT 105**** (3cr)
  • Liberal Arts Academic Elective****

15-17cr

* Required for those with voice as their primary instrument only.

** If your primary instrument is the piano or organ, you will take AMC 525, Keyboard Skills (2cr), which will count towards your Secondary Performance Area requirements. Focuses on sight reading, score reading, transposition, and basic ensemble techniques. Two-piano and four-hand repertoire emphasized.

*** Following the audition cycle during Opening Weekend, you will be required to add the appropriate ensembles to your schedule.

**** This indicates the courses you will be able to select for yourself in August. More information will follow on this process. Please be on the lookout for communications from our office.

  • MHL 071 (0cr)
  • MTC 145 (3cr)
  • MTC 147 (1cr)
  • FYS 101 (1cr)
  • MUI 010, Soyars Lecture I (0cr): Features music industry leaders from the highest levels of business. These visiting faculty members will focus, in depth, on cutting edge issues as they relate to leadership in today’s industry.
  • Principal Performance Area (2cr)
  • Secondary Performance Area (1cr)
  • Large Ensemble* (1cr)
  • Calculus Requirement**
  • WRT 105*** (3cr)

16cr

* Following the audition cycle during Opening Weekend, you will be required to add the appropriate ensembles to your schedule.

** Based on your Math Placement Score, you will be required to take your preference of either:

  • MAT 194, Precalculus (4cr): Polynomial, rational, exponential, and logarithmic functions. Analytical trigonometry and trigonometric functions.
  • MAT 295, Calculus I (4cr): Analytic geometry, limits, derivatives, maxima-minima, related rates, graphs, differentials, exponential and logarithmic functions, mean-value theorem, L’Hospital’s rule, integration.

*** This indicates the course you will be able to select for yourself in August. More information will follow on this process. Please be on the lookout for communications from our office.

Enrollment in multi-cultural ensembles is strongly recommended, with one option being ENC 560, Brazilian Ensemble (1cr). If you would be interested in taking this course, please reach out to our office.

  • MHL 071 (0cr)
  • MTC 145 (3cr)
  • MTC 147 (1cr)
  • FYS 101 (1cr)
  • SED 340, Participation in the Professional Development School (0cr): Individual involvement in research, discussion, and decision making with teachers, university faculty, and colleagues who are members of the Professional Development School Cadres and Academies.
  • AMC 545, Diction in Singing* (2cr): Basic phonetics (International Phonetic Alphabet). Enunciation in the foreign languages most frequently encountered in vocal and choral literature (Italian, French, and German). English diction in singing.
  • ENI 510, Large Band – Marching Band** (1cr)
  • Principal Performance Area (2 credits)
  • Secondary Performance Area (1 credit)
  • Large Ensemble*** (0 credit) TBD
  • WRT 105**** (3cr)

12-13 credits

* For those with primary instruments in voice, piano, guitar, or harp.

** For those with primary instruments in woodwind, brass, string, or percussion.

*** Following the audition cycle during Opening Weekend, you will be required to add the appropriate ensembles to your schedule.

**** This indicates the course you will be able to select for yourself in August. More information will follow on this process. Please be on the lookout for communications from our office.


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