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College of Arts and Sciences

Major in Studio Art

boston college fine arts department

Student painting

See also Art History and Film Studies.

Classes of 2012, 2013, 2014, and Beyond

The Studio Art major provides students with a genuine opportunity to participate in the shaping of their education. At the basis of this program of study is a dependence on the students’ own perceptions, decisions, and reactions. Courses are available in many media and all involve direct experience in creative activity. The department courses are conceived as an integral part of the liberal arts curriculum, and the studio major provides a solid basis for continuing work in graduate school and in art-related fields such as teaching, conservation, art therapy, design publishing, or exhibition design. Studio courses aim at developing the techniques and visual sensibility necessary for working with various materials. An understanding and exploration of the meanings and ideas generated by the things we make and an awareness of the satisfaction inherent in the process of the making are integral parts of the program. The techniques of studio practice go hand in hand with a background in art history. We strongly encourage studio majors to consider a minor or concentration in art history.


Students intending to major in studio art are encouraged to begin the major in their freshman year. Major must be declared before the beginning of a student’s junior year. They are required to take a minimum of 12 courses for a total of 36 credits, to be distributed as indicated below. The program should be worked out in consultation with the department advisor.

To be taken Freshman or Sophomore Year:

Three credits (one course)

  • FS 103 Issues and Approaches to Studio Art (three credits)

Six credits (two courses)

  • 101 Drawing I (three credits)
  • FS 102 Painting I (three credits) or FS 150 Painting Plus Collage
  • FS 141 Ceramics I (three credits)
  • FS 161 Photography I (three credits)

To be taken Sophomore or Junior Year:

Three credits (one course)

  • FA 356 Art Since 1945 (three credits)
  • FS 211 Hot Off the Shelf (three credits)

Additional course requirements

Eighteen credits (six courses) in electives at the 200 level or above, three of these courses (nine credits) must be at the 300 level.

To be taken Senior Year:

Six credits (two courses, two semesters)

  • FS 498 Senior Project

Students must have taken at least four semesters of work relating to their Senior Project prior to their senior year.

In addition to the required courses, to give majors a strong historical grounding (added) the following courses are strongly recommended:

  • FA101 Art: Prehistoric to Middle Ages
  • FA 102 Art: Renaissance to Modern
  • FA 109 Clues to Seeing
  • FA 257 Nineteenth Century Art
  • FA 258 Modern Art: 19th-20th Century
  • FA 356 Art Since 1945

Summer travel and summer courses are recommended for enrichment. Students should consult with a departmental advisor about these opportunities.

Additional Stipulations for the Studio Major

No more than two independent study in your field of concentration.

No more than two courses taken during the Junior Abroad or at another institution may count toward the major. Transfer students should work out credits with the department major advisor.

Courses to be counted in the major must be taken for grade (no pass/fail grades)


Adjunct Professor Andrew Tavarelli, Assistant Chair, Studio Art
Fine Arts Department, Devlin Hall 414

The Undergraduate Studio Art Major: Learning Goals

The Studio Art Major offers students a course of study that includes introductory and advanced investigations in a variety of media, an exploration of the conceptual approaches inherent in artworks, and background knowledge of art history. Through a course of directed study, advanced students create a body of work equivalent to a visual thesis, which is exhibited.

The Studio Art major will be assessed on their ability to:

  • Create a body of work equivalent to a visual thesis. These artworks should display a mastery of technique, an individual visual and conceptual sensibility, and historical understanding of the issues relevant to their work.
  • Effectively communicate issues and aspects of visual experience and culture in oral and written arguments.
  • Discuss and articulate knowledge of contemporary artists and understanding of the current ideas and concepts generated by visual artworks in global cultural discourse.

They should also:

  • Develop technical abilities and fundamental knowledge with a variety of media.
  • Develop a self-reflective and critical approach in making artworks.
  • Develop creative thinking and problem solving skills.
  • Develop the ability to research ideas, and to make one’s work accessible to others thru clear, well organized visual thinking.
  • Acquire the ability to verbally express the ideas and concepts with which one works visually.
  • Acquire standards for a visually critical and contextualized practice.
  • Develop skills in the preparation and use of presentational strategies.
  • Develop documentation skills consistent with professional practice.
  • Acquire a familiarity with artists and their practice in a variety of historical periods.


Studio Art Assessment:

Learning Objectives Measurement Process Review/revision mechanism
Demonstrate ability to create a body of work for exhibition, equivalent to a visual thesis. Artworks should display a mastery of technique, an individual visual and conceptual sensibility, and historical understanding of the issues relevant to their work. Seniors Exhibition

Student work in Seniors Exhibition is evaluated by panel of 3-5 faculty.

Establish faculty committee to review and summarize evaluation forms from final reviews

Committee will discuss results of evaluations and surveys annually and recommend program improvements where necessary

Develop oral and textual communication skills relevant to visual experience and culture.

Acquire knowledge of contemporary artists and understanding of the current ideas and concepts generated by visual artworks in global cultural discourse.

Annual written test distributed to a sample of senior and junior major and minors

Senior majors make oral presentations and prepare written artist statements evaluated by panel of 3-5 faculty.

Annual faculty discussion of undergraduate program

Development of strategies / curriculum improvements

Review of written test results every year and chart progress vis-à-vis establishment of curriculum changes.