Art BFA (interdisciplinary)

University of the Arts’ BFA program in Art in the School of Art is a flexible, interdisciplinary major that allows you to push traditional boundaries of artistic practice, determine your own path and prepare for a career in the arts. You may keep creative avenues open as you explore visual media, creative writing, immersive installation methods or technical processes. Courses in drawing, printmaking, painting, photography, sculpture, ceramics, woodworking, fibers, jewelry, poetry and fiction writing, among others, provide a locus for your unique skill- and concept-based inquiries. In addition, you may take advantage of the courses offered in the university’s new Makerspace, such as Digital Fabrication

Alongside a robust studio practice, you will have the opportunity to immerse yourself in art history courses, like African American Art or Women Artists, as well as classes in Critical Studies that tackle subjects like gender theory and ecocriticism. You may study a diverse range of  lesser-known artists as well as some familiar favorites and broaden your arts education.

By prioritizing your interests and critical thinking, the BFA in Art gives you the freedom to shape your distinct artistic voice and helps you strengthen your self-expression, establish a meaningful interdisciplinary creative practice, and enter the contemporary art world where many artists draw from a mix of media and influences. You may also take advantage of UArts’ 20 minors, such as Art History, Animation, Art Education or Business, that enhance your practice and further your career aspirations. 

The BFA in Art ultimately prepares you to begin your professional life ready to make significant cultural contributions: become an independent artist, exhibit work in art institutions and galleries, join a museum or arts-institution staff or pursue graduate school.


About the Curriculum

The BFA in Art Program prepares students to

  • lead impactful practices as artists grounded in self-directed research that allows them to adapt to an evolving landscape.

  • generate work that draws from art-historical influences and global perspectives.  

  • forge an artistic path using a breadth of contemporary art practices.

  • cultivate an awareness of historical and contemporary trends across creative writing and visual-arts based disciplines to inform diverse, equitable, and inclusive approaches to creation, collaboration and discussion.

  • employ a critically informed writing practice to articulate a creative enterprise, research or a unique point of view.

  • engage in further studies in a graduate program, positions in arts institutions or entrepreneurial and collaborative projects.

Required courses include studio and lecture courses that allow you to build a research-based practice rooted in a foundation that aligns to your personal artistic vision.

Additionally, you’ll have many opportunities to explore studio practices across UArts’ other schools and/or declare a minor.

Sample Curriculum

Four years, full time
120 credits
Major Requirements (required and open choices in the School of Art): 60 credits 
Open Studio Choice (Any courses/any School): 18 credits 
Discipline history: 12 credits 
Critical Studies: 30 credits 

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First-Year Major Requirements

Creative Explorations 1.5 credits 
Writing 1: 3
Writing 2: 3 credits 
Art Design & Moving Image I: 3
Art Design & Moving Image II: 3
Self-Selected Studio (in the School of Art): 15 credits 
Photo Field Trip: Welcome to Philadelphia: 1.5 credits
Total credits: 30

Second-Year Major Requirements

Self-Selected Studio (in the School of Art): 9
Sophomore Projects: 3
General studio elective (any school): 6
Contemporary Issues: 3 credits 
Critical Studies or minor courses: 9
Total credits: 30 

Third-Year Major Requirements

Self-Selected Studio (in the School of Art): 6
Junior Projects/Discourse I Fall: 3
Junior Projects/Discourse II Spring: 3
General Studio Elective (Any School): 6
Discipline history: 3
Critical Studies or minor courses: 9
Total credits: 30

Fourth-Year Major Requirements

Professional Practices or Internship or Business: 3
Thesis Studio: Choose Fine Arts, Photography, Creative Writing: 6
Self-Selected Studio (in the School of Art): 9
Critical Studies or minor courses: 6
General elective (any school): 6
Total credits: 30

Common Courses

Though you will end up on your own educational course, you and your BFA in Art classmates will share some courses throughout your time at UArts. 

Creative Exploration will introduce you to the broad range of contemporary creative visual arts and  writing disciplines available within the School of Art. You’ll explore the practices and ideas that are common and distinct to ceramics, creative writing, drawing, fibers, painting, photography, printmaking, small and large metals, and sculpture in varying media. 

In Photo Field Trip: Welcome to Philadelphia, you will tour the city, examine art forms and visit different venues to encourage you to begin thinking about creating your own work and exercise your critical thinking skills. 
In Art History I and II, you will study visual arts and architecture throughout time and take research trips to local museums and galleries to develop understanding of the material and enhance your ability to place, evaluate and comprehend the history of the world.

Contemporary Issues addresses theories and critical ideas visual artists should know. Issues include traditional investigations of aesthetics, the history of art movements like Modernism and Postmodernism, as well as media and visual popular culture. You’ll focus on how philosophy, art history, art criticism, and cultural studies can be used to understand the contemporary climate in the world at large and in your personal artistic world. 

In Sophomore Projects, you will learn to find, develop and use information that can both generate and enhance your work. Personal inquiry will cover historical, cultural, social, and material based contexts for art ideas and making. In the studio, you’ll delve into the relationship among material, form and process.

Junior Project Discourse helps you continue to develop your studio practice and unique perspective in assignments paired with research and writing, readings, trips to galleries, studios and museums, lectures by visiting artists, and critiques. You’ll also discuss professional and educational opportunities including employment, entrepreneurship, graduate study, internships, grants and residencies.

In addition to the education you design, you’ll have elective classes, which can be used to

  • take additional classes in your primary area of interest;

  • pursue or explore other creative interests in the arts; or

  • minor in one of the 21 programs that are open to all undergraduate students. Popular minors include Art Therapy and Art Education, the latter of which can lead to an MAT in Art Education in only one additional year. 

Faculty Spotlight

Portrait of Sheryl Oring. Sheryl is wearing a crimson blouse with matching nails and looks straight at the viewer through rounded square glasses. She is seated at a small desk occupied by a dark typewriter. Behind her are panels on the wall, each with a note pertaining to contemporary political issues.
Sheryl Oring

Dean, School of Art
Christa DiMarco dressed in a gray blazer and a black striped shirt and surrounded by bookcaes
Christa DiMarco

Art BFA (interdisciplinary)
Program Director, Art History; Associate Professor
Marcelino Stuhmer looking at the camera and smiling in front of a beige brick wall and a window
Marcelino Stuhmer

Art BFA (interdisciplinary)
Associate professor of Fine Arts in Painting
A waist-up black-and-white headshot of Julianna Foster.
Julianna Foster

MFA '06 (Book Arts & Printmaking)

Photography (BFA)
A photographer who has exhibited her work in Paris, Chicago and other cities, and has been published widely
A close up of Michael Grothusen in a blue jacket standing in front of a beige, large abstract sculpture
Michael Grothusen

Sculpture (BFA in Fine Arts)
A mixed-media sculptor and installation artist who has exhibited at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Kimmel Center for Performing Arts and elsewhere
A closeup of Amy Haavik-MacKinnon in front of a softly focused gray and blue painting
Amy Haavik-MacKinnon

Art BFA (interdisciplinary)
Art historian whose research specialty is modern and contemporary art
Elise Juska
Elise Juska

Creative Writing (BFA)
Novelist and short story writer
Rahul Mehta headshot
Rahul Mehta

Creative Writing (BFA)
Winner of the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Debut Fiction and the Asian American Literary Award for Fiction
Sarina Miller
Sarina Miller

Art BFA (interdisciplinary)
Art historian


Your own studio space

As a BFA in Art student, you will have your own studio space in your third and fourth years to make a mess, stage an exhibition or collaborate with classmates. These studio spaces are open laboratories that offer opportunities for focused development of your ideas and images in your artistic practice.

The Albert M Greenfield Makerspace

The Makerspace is a 3,500-square-foot digital and traditional fabrication studio that brings together the entire university community and serves as a catalyst for the collaboration, experimentation and innovation that are characteristic of UArts. The space houses state-of-the-art digital and analog equipment that allows students to create virtually anything they can imagine. 

It is outfitted with  

  • a ShopBot PRSAlpha9648 CNC Router;

  • a Roland MDX540A four axis CNC Mill with ATC;

  • a printed circuit board (PCB) and decal printers;

  • two NextEngine 3-D scanners for small objects;

  • two laser cutters/engravers, which can cut wood, acrylic, leather, fabric, paper, etc.;

  • four Ultimaker 3, 3-D printers, with both PLA and ABS plastics, which are able to build up to 7.5 x 8.5 x 8 in.;

  • a ProtoMax waterjet cutter with a 12 x 12 in. working area that can cut any material up to 1 in. thick (even steel);

  • a four-color Janome digital embroidery machine;

  • four electronic soldering stations and a PCB printer; and

  • four Windows-based workstations that are available for anyone to use.

Learn more about the Makerspace.

Center for Immersive Media

The Center for Immersive Media (CIM) is a 5,600-square-foot facility dedicated to exploring the fields of virtual and mixed reality, performance motion-capture, and human-computer interaction. As a student at UArts, you can take elective courses that utilize CIM. The space includes

  • an optical motion-capture system for full-body performance capture and location-based VR applications;

  • a four-channel audio system, multiple video projectors and lighting, and a control station;

  • 16 Genelec speakers for a 3rd Order Ambisonic system; 

  • a 16-station computing classroom with PCs that are optimized for real-time graphics rendering; and

  • two large project rooms with ceiling grids for the development of installations and virtual environments.

Learn more about CIM.


UArts features nine gallery spaces—including the acclaimed Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery and the historic Philadelphia Art Alliance—that exhibit work by the UArts community, visiting artists and other groundbreaking creators throughout campus,

Explore UArts’ gallery spaces.

Professional Opportunities & Internships

Professional practices and internships are cornerstones of the upper-level curriculum and teach you how to lead a professional life before you graduate. In cooperation with UArts’ Career Services, faculty and staff work one-on-one with you to help you develop materials for competitive internships, artist residencies or graduate-school applications. 

School of Art students have held internships at world-renowned museums and arts institutions, such as the Barnes Foundation, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Fabric Workshop and Museum, and the Center for Emerging Visual Artists. Through these opportunities, students gain valuable workforce experience to meet their goals of a professional life in the arts.   

Studying in the City

Philadelphia is a vibrant city with creators of all kinds—and UArts is in the middle of it all. Located on the Avenue of the Arts in Center City, UArts’ campus connects you with local art organizations, museums, theaters, galleries, creative businesses, design studios and much more. Philly also features more than 1,500 murals, approximately 700 other works of public art and nearly 100 museums. At UArts, you will be steeped in creative inspiration on and off campus around the clock. 

Accomplished working artists comprise our creative faculty, and our visiting artist and speaker series bring renowned artists, curators, writers and other makers to UArts.

Field Trips

You will have every opportunity to visit Philadelphia’s world-renowned museums and connect with your professors and classmates during regular field trips. Both studio and art-history courses use the city’s arts institutions as an integral part of the learning environment. 

How to Apply

How to Apply

UArts offers recommended priority deadlines; students who apply and submit all required materials by the priority deadline will receive first consideration for scholarship aid from UArts. Applications received after the priority deadline will be reviewed on a rolling, space-available basis.

International students requiring an F-1 visa for study in the U.S. might be subject to earlier deadlines to provide time for completion of the visa process. Contact Admissions for guidance if you are an international student who wishes to apply after the priority deadline.

Spring 2024 priority deadline: Oct. 15, 2023

Fall 2024 priority deadline: Feb. 15, 2024

We cannot accept spring 2024 applications after Jan. 8, 2024, and cannot accept fall 2024 applications after Aug. 16, 2024.

The following materials are required for your application.

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A completed application for admission

Start or resume your application. 

The application includes two required short-answer questions: What excites you about UArts? What inspires you?

A nonrefundable $60 application fee

If you qualify for a fee waiver from NACAC, CollegeBoard, UArts or another source, indicate that on your application. If the cost of the application fee is a barrier, contact Admissions to request a fee waiver code.

Official high school transcript
  • Official transcripts must be sent directly from your school by mail, email or a secure electronic document-delivery service. 

  • International transcript requirements 

  • Transfer student transcript requirements

    • High school transcripts may be waived for transfer applicants who have completed a minimum of 24 credits of college-level coursework, including a minimum of 18 academic, non-studio credits.

    • Official college transcript(s)

      • Official transcripts must be sent directly from all the colleges you have attended by mail, email or a secure electronic document-delivery service.

      • If you’ve attended college outside the U.S., you are required to have an official course-by-course evaluation of your college coursework sent to UArts. Additional guidelines for international transcripts are available.

International applicants must submit proof of English proficiency
Audition or portfolio
  • A portfolio is required for all Art, Design, Film and Writing programs. Your portfolio may be uploaded during the application process or via your applicant status portal after submission. You must confirm when your submission is complete via the linked electronic form before your portfolio can be reviewed for admission. View a full list of portfolio requirements by program.

  • Auditions or interviews are required for all Dance, Music and Theater programs. After submitting your application, go to your applicant status portal to register for your virtual or on-campus audition day. View a full list of audition requirements by program.

Optional letters of recommendation

Letters of recommendation from teachers or mentors are optional and may be submitted by the recommender via email to or by your high school through a secure electronic document-delivery service.

Scholarships and Financial Aid

UArts recognizes the extraordinary talent of our students through a range of merit-based scholarships. All applicants are automatically considered for such scholarships—no special application is necessary.

Nearly 98 percent of UArts’ undergraduate students enrolled on a full-time basis are eligible for some type of need-based aid. Additionally, some scholarship opportunities take need-based criteria into account. All students who are U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens and are enrolled in a degree program are encouraged to apply by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

We encourage students to complete the FAFSA by March 15, if possible.

Many students and families have encountered technical challenges while trying to complete the FAFSA this year. If this is the case for you, continue to utilize the FAFSA support resources until your issue is resolved. UArts will ensure that all admitted students who file the FAFSA are eligible for the same institutional funding to support your costs.

About the School of Art

The School of Art at University of the Arts deeply values and celebrates creative curiosity, interdisciplinary collaboration and exploration of numerous media and practices. You will be professionally prepared for a creative practice that emphasizes critical thinking and technical skill. You can create your own education through interdisciplinary learning and mixed media, or focus on a chosen discipline. No matter your path, you’ll learn to express your personal vision and innovate your chosen artforms.

Learn more about the School of Art.


Frequently asked questions about the Art BFA program

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What can you do with an Art degree?

There are many professional paths available to graduates of the Art BFA program, including professional art, illustration, art education, gallery curation, or art-related fields like graphic design, advertising, and animation.

What degree do you need to become an art therapist?

Many art therapists begin with a general undergraduate art degree, such as the Art BFA. There is also an Creative Arts Therapy minor that can be included in conjunction with any BFA program. Additionally, obtaining a professional credential such as the Registered Art Therapist (ATR) or Board Certified Art Therapist (ATR-BC) is often necessary for practicing art therapy.

What degree do you need to become an art director?

To become an art director, a bachelor’s degree in fine arts, graphic design, visual arts or a related field is typically required. However, gaining relevant work experience and building a strong portfolio are equally important for success in this field.

Are there online options for completing this Art degree?
There are no online options for earning an Art BFA at UArts.

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