About the Major
The Bachelor of Fine Arts degree program combines a liberal arts education with professional preparation for a career in art or design. Through courses in the humanities and sciences, students gain an understanding of the nature of art, humankind and society, which is essential to developing creative potential. Special attention is given to the major visual disciplines as a foundation for art specializations.
Students are prepared for graduate study in studio art; entry-level positions in numerous art occupations connected with business and industry, government and social agencies; and future possibilities for careers as exhibiting artists.
During the freshman and sophomore years, all B.F.A. students take a major in Art and a common set of courses in the basic art disciplines, including Art History. In the junior and senior years, students select one of the studio concentrations described below, with the permission of their advisers:
Required Concentrations in Studio Art
Ceramics: As a metaphorical vehicle, ceramics can express a wide range of views and concepts, from high technological development to expressive personal statements. Clay is a material with implications and manifestations as plastic as its own unique characteristics. Ceramic history is implicitly tied to technology, labor, art, utility, culture, and human survival. In an age when contemporary art can no longer be constrained by traditional media-specific categorizations, the Ceramics curriculum is considered in the broader context of contemporary art. A diversity of approaches is encouraged, and an experimental approach is essential.
Graphic Design: This concentration prepares students to enter the rapidly changing field of visual communication through exposure to historical and contemporary technical and theoretical issues. Coursework emphasizes the analysis, discussion and understanding of idiosyncratic student needs balanced with the dual obligations to message and receiver. Students are offered exposure to extracurricular opportunities ranging from participation in the AIGA Student Chapter, a national organization of visual communication, to various applied projects for the University and the greater community. Students gain exposure through open critiques and public exhibitions designed to reinforce their identities as communicators who are responsible to and involved with an audience.
Illustration: Illustration is the art of communicating concise ideas with images using formats including picture books, graphic novels, animation, magazines, newspapers, and other media. The Illustration concentration cultivates each student’s unique vision while preparing him or her to translate it into a wide range of traditional and emerging media.
Individualized: The Individualized concentration provides students with the opportunity to design a program of study that is not readily attained through one of the other concentrations. An Individualized concentration typically combines related courses from different disciplines, or even from different departments at the University. Advisers from each academic department or concentration are involved in the design and implementation of the concentration. Criteria for acceptance include the coherence of the program and its purpose, such as a career goal or plans for graduate study in an interdisciplinary area, and conformity to the overall B.F.A. studio art standards. An example of an individualized concentration would be one in Digital Fabrication: students can elect a combination of 3D Fabrication, Graphic Design, Digital Imaging, Computer Science, Mathematics, and Metals and Jewelry courses to create an individualized concentration in Digital Fabrication.
Metals and Jewelry: This concentration provides creative opportunities to discover the possibilities available in working with metal and reinforces understanding of 3-D design, drawing and related studio work. Students can develop skills leading to the production of professional work. The program incorporates the history of art and craft with experience in the media. The studios are well equipped and provide an excellent opportunity for experimentation in a variety of areas.
Painting: Building on a foundation of perceptual work, students develop a working understanding of the material and painting as visual language. Students examine the nature of seeing and consider painting as a vehicle for both visual and personal inquiry. Students grow to explore expressive possibilities through increased personal involvement and critical and theoretical awareness. For the senior thesis, a student works independently to produce a cohesive body of work borne from personal experimentation along with historical and theoretical understanding.
Photography: This concentration emphasizes the exploration of the medium of fine art photography. Courses integrate the examination of art historical precedent, contemporary criticism, technical process, and the development of individual style. Individual responsibility increases as students advance. The senior thesis provides the opportunity to define and refine essential characteristics of the creative self.
Printmaking: This concentration provides a thorough knowledge of major printmaking techniques (intaglio, silk screen and relief) and emphasizes aesthetics and use of the medium to express personal style and image. Seniors work with considerable independence at a highly sophisticated technical and aesthetic level.
Internships are strongly recommended and are required for some concentrations. Each B.F.A., B.A. studio, and Scientific Illustration student is required to complete a senior thesis, including an exhibition and written thesis, in his or her major area. An exceptional student, with permission of the Department Chair and additional course work, may complete a thesis in two major areas.
Internships and Apprenticeships
- Internships and apprenticeships are strongly recommended or are required for some concentrations.
Each B.F.A., B.A. in Studio Art or Art Therapy, and Scientific Illustration student is required to complete a senior thesis, including an exhibition and written thesis, in his or her major area.