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Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences

Major in Studio Art

boston college fine arts department

Student painting


In our increasingly image-laden society, visual intelligence and visual literacy are paramount skills. The studio major addresses this prerequisite and provides students with exciting, opportunities for creative exploration in painting, drawing, photography, video, ceramics and digital media. After gaining a broad, hands-on grasp of the foundations of studio work, students then pursue their particular medium in depth. They are encouraged to connect their interests, experience, and other fields of study with their studio practice. The studio major emphasizes the importance of linking a skillful handling of materials with an understanding of the conceptual issues at stake, and an ability to view their own work in an art historical context. It is about having the hand, eyes, brain, and heart working in unison.

Our studio faculty is comprised of professional artists who are fully engaged with their work. They represent a variety of points of view, as well as different approaches to art-making. As teachers they bring their expertise and passion for their practice to the campus studios. Studio classes are moderate in size and one-on-one exchanges with the professors are the norm.


Students intending to major in studio art are encouraged to begin the major in their freshman year; the major must be declared before the beginning of a student’s junior year. Majors 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:

  • ARTS1103 – Issues and Approaches to Studio Art (three credits)
  • Two of the following courses, for a total of six credits:
    • ARTS1101 – Drawing I (three credits)
    • ARTS1102 – Painting I (three credits) or ARTS1150 – Painting Plus Collage (three credits)
    • ARTS1141 – Ceramics I (three credits)
    • ARTS1161 – Photography I (three credits)

To be taken sophomore or junior year:

  • ARTH3356 – Art Since 1945 (three credits) or ARTS2211 – Hot Off The Shelf (three credits)

Additional Course Requirements

Six courses (18 credits) in electives at the 1000 level or above; two of those courses (six credits) must be must be at the 2000 level or above, and an additional two courses (six credits) must be at the 3000 level.

To be taken senior year:

  • ARTS4498 – Senior Project I (three credits)
  • ARTS4473 – Senior Project II (three credits)

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

Recommended Courses

The following courses are strongly recommended to give majors a strong historical grounding:

  • ARTH1101 – Art: Prehistoric to Middle Ages (three credits)
  • ARTH1102 – Art: Renaissance to Modern (three credits)
  • ARTH1109 – Clues to Seeing (three credits)
  • ARTH2257 – Nineteenth-Century Art (three credits)
  • ARTH2258 – Modern Art: 19th-20th Century
  • ARTH3356 – 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 studies in the field of concentration.
  • No more than two courses taken during the junior year 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 a grade (no pass/fail grades).


Professor of the Practice 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.