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BFA in Studio Art (Visual Communication Option)


The Visual Communication division combines authorship and artistic expression with the responsibility of communication and visual problem solving. The sequence of courses fosters a balance between theory, aesthetics, craft, conceptual development, communication, critical thinking and digital technologies. Student portfolios are reviewed for acceptance into two tracks: Design or Illustration.

Design Track: Provides a foundation in design principles and methodologies, creative problem solving and digital processes. As students advance in the program, they gain knowledge and skills in professional practice including identity systems, web design, typography, motion graphics, history, criticism, and theory. Students graduate with a professional portfolio and a broad understanding of the business of design as well as its potential as a medium of critical inquiry and community involvement.

Illustration Track: This area is known for its excellence in figurative studies as well as its focus on each student's individual visual voice. Students are involved in a rigorous sequence of coursework with an emphasis on constructive anatomy and finding a personal methodology using both traditional and digital media. Students graduate with a professional portfolio and knowledge of the history of illustration, as well as, professional and ethical business practices suited to the field.

The Bachelor of Fine Art in Studio Art is designed for students who want to focus on specific academic, artistic and career preparation in their chosen discipline. As a professional undergraduate degree, students are well prepared for graduate studies or an active career as professional studio artists/designers.

Expected Learning Outcomes: 

1. In-depth understanding of design principles, concepts, media and formats

2. Strong critical, analytical and communication skills requisite to engage in advanced academic and professional level work

3. Acquire technical skills and the resourcefullness to advance themselves as professionals in their own studios

4. Understand the contemporary critical, theoretical and art historical context that they are engaged in as working artists

Assessment Activities: 

Assessment Tool #1

In order to assess Learning Outcome #1, #2, and #4, studio art students have regular in-class critiques and written exercises, including project statements, sketchbook excercises, and research involving artists and movements that culminate in visual presentations within the class. Each Visual Communications major must pass a second portfolio review to continue in the program.

Assessment Tool #2

To assess #3, each BFA Visual Communication Studio Art student is required to enroll in a Senior capstone course: ART 469 Portfolio Preparation course and present their work in a senior exhibition on or off-campus and have their faculty mentor approve their work.

Assessment Tool #3

To assess # 4, all BFA Studio Art students are required to take a full range of Art History coursework, write research papers, complete quizes and written examinations.

Use of Assessment Tools #1, #2, #3:

Faculty in the Visual Communications BFA Studio Art division assess student outcomes of curricular objectives through a close mentorship with each student (required of all BFA students) in coursework, critiques and oversight of their final senior exhibition projects. Student work is assessed throughout the duration of the program using the College of Fine Art's online e-portfolio databank, yearly division exhibitions in the Lionel Rombach Gallery, and Scholarship portfolio assessments each April. 


Faculty discussions in the studio art areas began in 2005/06 to address a redesign of the studio art "core" foundations curriculum to better reflect contemporary practices and the growing importance of artists being able to articulate conceptual ideas and enhance their critical thinking skills.


Findings and Changes:


To strengthen and expand enrollments in the BFA degree program, Holistic Admissions standards were put into place in the fall 2006. Applicants with advanced studio art skills were now able to apply directly into their chosen division by portfolio review, instead of being admitted as a BA Studio Art major first.


In the fall of 2007, a Core Foundations faculty specialist was hired to lead the curriculum overhaul in the Foundations area, resulting in the design and implimentation of the new First Year Experience core curriculum, featuring eight conceptually themed 8-week workshops (100A, 100B, 100C, !00D, 100E, 100F, 100G and 100J) that replace ART 101, 102, 104 and include three Art History courses in a 21 unit required set of pre-requisites for entrance into any 200-level studio art course.


  • ART 469: Portfolio Preparation became a required Capstone course for portfolio development and professional practices information for all Visual Communications BFA students.

  • Core pre-requisites set: 21 unit core First Year Experience, including 9 units of Art History.

  • Course modifications for curricular clarity in the Visual Communications area include: ART 265: Design Studio I and ART 267: Animation I
  • New courses include: ART 306B: Animation I, ART 462D: Animation II, ART 462E: Letterpress and the Multiple and ART 467B: Visual Narrative and the Artists' Book



Updated date: Wed, 12/02/2015 - 10:52