Fine Arts (BFA)

In University of the Arts’ Bachelor of Fine Arts degree program in Fine Arts, your personal vision and artistic innovation anchor the development of your work. You’ll be exposed to a wide range of historical and contemporary art and encouraged to choose techniques, processes and formats that are necessary for your artistic vision. You’ll develop a personal studio practice based on conceptual interests, expanding your technical skills, and integrating cultural and historical context into your perspective.

The Fine Arts curriculum is based on a framework of research, studio experimentation, artistic invention and daily practice. You’ll be prepared to produce significant cultural contributions and dialogue, exhibit art in galleries and museums, and create work for diverse communities and public spaces. You’ll complete assignments that will develop your conceptual skills, so you can master the processes and techniques you need to achieve your artistic vision.

As a student in the Fine Arts program, you can choose an emphasis in PaintingExpanded Drawing and Print Media or Sculpture. Each has five required classes designed to impart advanced technical skills and an understanding of art historical and contemporary practice. You can choose to use your electives to acquire deep knowledge of your chosen discipline, or expand your field of study to include the breadth of creative practice, such as dance, performance or virtual reality. You will learn to express your unique artistic voice in multiple facets, through a combination of technical skills and critical thinking.

Critical thinking and visual analysis is combined with research into culturally important areas outside of the arts, such as, philosophy, psychology, history, sociology and science. Upon graduation, you’ll be prepared to add something of value to the human experience and make a mark on history.

Your senior thesis project/exhibition prepares you for successful entry into graduate-level programs or a variety of professional careers, as well as preparing you to be competitive in gaining other forms of support such as grants, residencies and gallery exhibitions.

Quick Facts

As a Fine Arts student:

See the full curriculum


Studying in the City

Philadelphia Skyline

Living and working in the heart of Philadelphia, you’ll get to know local art organizations, museums, theaters, venues and the other spaces that make Philadelphia culturally and artistically inspiring. Our accomplished faculty are deeply embedded in the vibrant Philadelphia contemporary art scene and fabrication studios, which provides networking opportunities and behind-the-scenes experiences for UArts students. Our visiting artist and speaker series brings renowned artists, curators, writers, industry professionals and gallery directors to UArts, providing you with the opportunity for one-on-one meetings with the most important professionals in the field. Beyond Philadelphia, you’ll explore New York City and Washington D.C. through program-organized visits to museums, galleries and major contemporary art sites.

Philadelphia is an aspiring artist's extended classroom. The city's vibrant gallery scene, artist cooperatives and world-class museums showcase the work of national, international and local artists.

Fine Arts at UArts

Learn about Fine Arts at UArts from Program Director Rebecca Sack

Why Zakiyah Stewart chose UArts


Student Spotlight

portrait of Zeinab Diomande, wearing a pink long-sleed shirt with a black corset-like garment, standing against a metal mesh window. Zeinab has several large gauge earrings and septum piercing and her buzzed hair is dyed yellow and red
Zeinab Diomande


Painting (BFA in Fine Arts)
Portrait of Logan Smith in protective gear while working on sculpture. Smith is holding a corkscrew-like tool, is wearing a yellow apron, and has a visor on head
Logan Smith


Fine Arts (BFA)
photo of lola smith. smith is wearing a dark grey knit sweater and has a yellow and pink scarf tucked into the sweater
Lola Smith


Fine Arts (BFA)
headshot of Nevaeh Ryals, with slim gold glasses, lark sparkling hoop earrings, and a glittering butterfly pendant on a small chain. Nevaeh is posed against a bright clear blue sky
Nevaeh Ryals


Fine Arts (BFA)
picture of keshawna logan wearing a stripped turtleneck and with a large dangling circular gold earring
Keshawna Logan


Fine Arts (BFA)
photo of prince de leon standing against a lush leafy background of plants and ferns while wearing gold chains on a warped checkered sweater vest and a navy beanie.
Prince De León


Fine Arts (BFA)
portrait photo of alexander medlin, looking directly into the camera with a neatly trimmed beard, a reflective zippered top, and a wispy tattoo on his neck
Alexander Medlin II


Fine Arts (BFA)

Program Curriculum

Program Outcomes

After completing the Fine Arts program, students will be able to

  • Demonstrate independent, creative problem solving and original thinking through the development of a distinct and personal approach to art-making informed by contemporary issues and historical precedents.
  • Demonstrate critical and conceptual development through research and analysis, applying readings, theories and methodologies to the production of critically informed artworks.
  • Acquire and demonstrate the professional skills needed to be successful as practicing artists, entrepreneurs and productive citizens, including study at the graduate level.
  • Effectively communicate, orally and in writing, the thoughts behind their choices and decisions concerning content and strategies.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in a number of advanced techniques in their individual studio practice, including a deep familiarity with materials and processes.
  • Share a rich portfolio of personal work demonstrating exploration and mastery of their chosen media.
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First year

Fall semester: 16.5 credits

Image/Time 3 credits
Object/Environment 3 credits
Drawing: Objects & Space 3 credits
Art, Design & the Moving Image 3 credits
Writing Composition 3 credits
Free elective (your choice) (1.5 credits)

Spring semester: 16.5 credits

Color 3 credits
Body as Form 3 credits
Drawing: Natural Form & Human Figure 3 credits
Art, Design & the Moving Image II 3 credits
Writing Composition 3 credits
Free elective (your choice) (1.5 credits)

During your first year in the Fine Arts program, you’ll learn fundamental skills of art making and the development of critical thinking while connecting with art history and contemporary art. You’ll have a broad introduction to 2D and 3D digital and traditional practices, orient yourself in our many shops and facilities and gain a strong foundation upon which to build your practice. You will be able to explore courses in your chosen emphasis and broaden your creative scope through coursework in other programs. You’ll have the opportunity to collaborate with other students from the School of Art and use the city as a resource to expand your creative pursuits.

Second year

Fall semester: 15 credits

Sophomore Projects 3 credits
Contemporary Issues 3 credits
200 level emphasis course 3 credits (this could include Painting Materials & Processes)
Critical Studies 3 credits
Free elective (your choice) 3 credits

Spring semester: 15 of credits

Expanded Materials 3 credits
200 level emphasis course (this could include Drawing into Painting)
Art History (your choice) 3 credits
Science (your choice) 3 credits
Digital Requirement 3 credits (this could include Artmaking in VR, Stop Motion Animation, Digital Illustration)

Your second year will focus on developing your skills and expanding your practice. You will have the opportunity to take a deep dive of the materials, processes and techniques in your chosen emphasis studio courses. You will be introduced to key writings, concepts, artists and practitioners of contemporary Art in Contemporary Issues, and you will explore working across disciplines in Expanded Materials. In Sophomore Projects, you’ll work with students across the School of Art to learn how to combine research with your studio-based practices to effectively communicate your artistic voice and convey your vision visually, verbally and in writing. Additional electives and requirements empower you to customize your learning experience by taking further coursework within the Fine Arts program, the School of Art or across the University!

Third year

Fall semester: 15 credits

Junior Projects I 3 credits
300 level emphasis course 3 credits
Critical Studies 3 credits
Critical Studies (your choice) 3 credits
Free Elective (your choice) 3 credits

Spring semester 13.5 credits

Junior Projects II 3 credits
300 level emphasis course 3 credits
Critical Studies 3 credits
Internship (1.5 credits)
Free electives 3 credits

During your third year, you will refine your technical skills and research practices. Studio courses will take you on a deep exploration of the historic traditions and techniques of your chosen discipline. Electives offer the opportunity to expand your scope with ventures into animation, film, business, dance, photography, among others. During your third year, you will also develop critical professional skills and have opportunities to develop a professional network through your internship. Internships will place you in an artist’s studio, a museum, non-profit or into another facet of Philadelphia's creative economy.

Fourth year

Fall semester: 15 credits

Fine Arts Thesis Groundwork 3 credits
Professional Practice 3 credits
400 level emphasis studio 3 credits
Critical Studies (your choice) 3 credits
Critical Studies (your choice)

Spring semester: 13.5 credits

Fine Art Thesis Studio 3 credits
The Artist Manifesto 3 credits
Critical Studies (your choice) 3 credits
Free electives (your choice) 3 credits
Free electives (your choice) 3 credits

The fourth year is focused on your development of an individually motivated, conceptually and materially rigorous body of work that stems from your own interest. This culminates in the Fine Arts capstone, a thesis exhibition and accompanying thesis paper. You will learn critical skills to prepare you for succeeding in the creative economy; including the development of your professional materials, grant writing, preparation of taxes and more.

Major Requirements (61.5 credits)

Explore the Full Curriculum

Areas of Emphasis

Expanded Drawing & Print Media

In the Expanded Drawing & Print Media program, you’ll draw from the history and techniques of printmaking and contemporary drawing practices to create works that push the boundaries of traditional classification.

Explore the emphasis


In the Painting program, you will be immersed in a strong material understanding of paint and Painting. You will learn to connect your work to art historical, contemporary practices and the larger world in order to build upon or challenge the nature of the discipline.

Explore Painting


In the Sculpture program you will be exposed to the full breadth of 3D materials and practices; from handbuilding to digital fabrication. You will have the opportunity to study multiple disciplines and collaborate with students across the university.

Explore Sculpture


Students at UArts have access to a broad selection of well-equipped facilities. As a student in the Fine Arts Program, you will be able to take classes, create art, explore mediums and refine your skills in UArts’ state of the art spaces, including spaces, including

  • Sculpture studios
  • Painting studios
  • Drawing studios
  • Print studios
  • Metal shop with cold and hot processes
  • Multiple well equipped woodshops
  • Foundry for creating bronze and aluminum casting
  • Makerspace, offering facilities dedicated to mold making and casting
  • Extensive printmaking facilities including etching, screen printing and lithography
  • A letterpress studio with one of the largest movable type collections in an art school in the US
  • Bindery for book arts and book binding Facilities dedicated to non-silver and alternative print and photographic processes Photography studios and dark rooms Fibers facilities Ceramic facilities

The Albert M. Greenfield Makerspace is a 3,500-square-foot digital and traditional fabrication studio that houses state-of-the-art digital and analog equipment that helps you create virtually anything you can imagine. It is outfitted with

  • 3-D printers and scanners;
  • a router and a mill;
  • laser,
  • vinyl and substrate cutters;
  • printed circuit board (PCB) and decal printers;
  • and more.

The Center for Immersive Media (CIM) helps you explore and create with augmented and virtual reality, performance motion-capture and human-computer interaction. At 5,600 square feet, CIM is the largest such facility in the region.

The Borowsky Center for Publication Arts offers the UArts community the opportunity to explore offset process as a creative medium. Students in Printmaking, Graphic Design, Illustration, and other disciplines can utilize this commercial process to create a variety of projects, from show posters and promotional postcards to fine prints and artists’ books. The Borowsky Center additionally acts as a research facility within the university.

Students at UArts as well as members of the public can use the Print Center in Terra Hall to produce all manner of works. The Print Center’s Print Shop is a full-service printing facility specializing in archival Inkjet printing, laser printing, vinyl cutting and laminating. The Print Center also acts as an educational facility, providing guidance on file preparation and print media.

UArts’ studios and facilities center the social environment of creativity and embrace the peer-to-peer learning that’s fostered as in comfortable, well-equipped spaces where creatives and creators can work side by side and share knowledge, inspiration and techniques.


Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery

Beyond spaces for creating art, UArts offers extensive facilities for exhibiting and experiencing art. UArts is home to 12 galleries, including the storied Philadelphia Art Alliance and the critically acclaimed Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery.

The Fine Arts program specifically maintains three galleries at UArts, including

  • The Painting Gallery, located on the 8th floor of Anderson Hall. This gallery is a model venue for exhibiting two-dimensional artwork, focusing on painting, drawing and interdisciplinary work. The gallery runs three shows per semester of art by internationally recognized visiting artists, as well as that of students, alumni and faculty.
  • The Fine Arts Gallery, located on the 6th floor of Anderson hall. This gallery focuses on print-based media with exhibitions of work from students, alumni and faculty, as well as from internationally recognized printmakers and book artists.
  • Hybrid installation studios.

Visiting Artists

Throughout your studies in the Fine Arts program, you will be exposed to a variety of internationally recognized guest artists and speakers, in order to introduce you to the limitless possibilities for your future.

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Recent Fine Arts visiting artists include:
  • Rina Banerjee
  • William Villalongo
  • Eric Fischl
  • Nicola Lopez
  • Jules de Balincourt
  • Daniel Gordon
  • Jennifer Packer
  • Nadia Hironaka & Matt Suib
  • Angela Dufresne
  • Rachel Frank
  • Katrina Andry
  • Miguel Antonio
  • Horn Bethany
  • Collins Odili
  • Donald Odita
  • Stacy Levy
  • Martha Colburn
  • Mary Mattingly
  • KaKyoung Lee
  • Bev Semmes
  • Jordan Kasey
  • Catehrine Bebout
  • Carrie Moyer
  • Peter Krashes
  • Anthony Giocolea
  • Yoonmi Nam
  • Midred Beltre
  • Wardell Milan
  • Lee Stoetzel
  • Jonathan Van Dyke
  • Spiral Q Puppet Theater

Careers & Internships

Your creative and technical studies in the Fine Arts program will intersect with critical professional competencies, setting you up to take successful next steps after graduating.

Careers in Fine Art

By the time they graduate, Fine Arts students will have developed an extensive portfolio of works and honed a breadth and depth of skill in fine arts practices, as well as developed sharp critical thinking and problem solving skills. As a graduate of the Fine Arts program, you will be able to apply your creativity to many different positions in a variety of career paths, including:

  • Arts educator
  • Art director
  • Industrial designer
  • Product designer
  • Mural Artist Museum or Gallery Administrator
  • Studio Artist
  • Studio Manager/Artist assistant
  • Special effects fabricator
  • Business owners
  • Art outreach program developer
  • Textile designer
  • Art therapist


As a student in the Fine Arts program, you will gain hands-on professional experience during your Professional Practices course and a required internship. Fine Arts students have the opportunity to exhibit work in numerous galleries and exhibition spaces, on campus and beyond. Such opportunities provide professional experiences and introduce your work to an audience that includes peers, faculty and the greater Philadelphia arts community.

Organizations that have hosted prior internships include

Alumni Spotlight

Our alumni work as artists and leaders across many creative industries. Their artwork has been exhibited nationally and internationally and featured at institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, Brookyln Museum, Philadelphia Museum of Art among others.

They’ve collaborated on projects like the Mars rover, exhibited their artwork in museums internationally, founded special effects companies, and worked in the biomedical field. They have created ecologically focused sustainable businesses, worked with theater set design, constructed large-scale commercial displays for companies such as Anthopologie and have been awarded prestigious fellowships like the Guggenheim Fellowship, and Pew Fellowship for the Arts.

portrait of olivia jia in painting studio
Olivia Jia

BFA ‘17

Painting (BFA in Fine Arts)
justin rubich headshot wearing cardigan and against the background of a painting
Justin Rubich

BFA '10

Painting (BFA in Fine Arts)
Alex Da Corte in black and white looks off to the left. He is playing with a necklace with what looks like a plastic spider in his fingers.
Alex Da Corte

BFA ’05 (Printmaking)

Jonathan Lyndon Chase sitting in front of their paintings
Jonathan Lyndon Chase

BFA '13

Painting (BFA in Fine Arts)

Fine Arts Leadership and Faculty

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
Rebecca Sack headshot
Rebecca Saylor Sack

Painting (BFA in Fine Arts)
Fine Arts program director and Painting emphasis coordinator
Pap Souleye Fall in a black tee shirt standing on a street in front of a red brick building
Pap Souleye Fall

Sculpture (BFA in Fine Arts)
Artist who explores the transmedia potentials of sculpture, installation, performance, cosplay, digital media and comics
A headshot of Laura Frazure
Laura Frazure

Sculpture (BFA in Fine Arts)
Sculpture emphasis coordinator
Darryl Babatunde Smith wearing a white blazer and a black shirt and standing in front of two pieces of ancient art in a room with yellow walls
Darryl Babatunde Smith

Fine Arts (BFA)
Artist who uses Greco-Roman symbols and Renaissance techniques to connect personal narratives with Greco-Roman ideologies and philosophies
Patricia Renee Thomas wearing a brown blouse standing in front of a white wall with the edge of a painting on one border
Patricia Renee’ Thomas

Fine Arts (BFA)
Philadelphia-based painter, drawer and art educator who has shown her work in cities all over the U.S.
A black-and-white headshot of Dave Walsh
Dave Walsh

Fine Arts (BFA)
Painter whose work investigates the facilitation of American landscapes mythologies through infrastructure and architecture

Rebecca Sack: Shadow Fliers

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

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

Your 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.

Learn more about portfolio requirements. 

International applicants must submit proof of English proficiency

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.

Learn more about portfolio requirements. 

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. 

Apply Now

Scholarships & 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.

Learn more


Frequently asked questions about the Fine Arts BFA program.

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What is a Fine Arts degree?

A Fine Arts degree is an undergraduate program that focuses on developing artistic skills, creative expression and conceptual thinking. It encompasses various disciplines, such as painting, sculpture, drawing, printmaking, ceramics, and more.

What is a Fine Arts degree good for?

A Fine Arts degree is good for individuals seeking to pursue a career in the arts and creative fields. It provides a foundation in artistic techniques, critical thinking and visual communication skills, which can be applied to careers as professional artists, gallery curators, art educators, designers, illustrators or other art-related professions.

What can I do with a Fine Arts degree?
With a Fine Arts degree, you can pursue a wide range of career paths. You can work as a professional artist, exhibiting your work in galleries and museums, or sell your art independently. You can also explore opportunities in art education, art therapy, art administration, illustration, graphic design, multimedia arts or pursue further specialization in a specific medium or artistic discipline. Some students also choose to pursue graduate studies in Fine Arts to further enhance their skills.

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. The School of Art breaks with traditional, medium- and discipline-specific art education by making it possible for you to explore working and building skills in different media throughout the school.

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 how you focus your exploration at the School of Art, you’ll learn to express your personal vision and innovate your chosen artforms.

Learn more about the School of Art.

Related Programs


Creative Writing

The Creative Writing BFA degree program utilizes the workshop model, which is a working session for your writing that includes a judgment-free discussion with your peers and faculty. While studying at UArts, you’ll be able to take advantage of a huge variety of minors and arts courses including music, theater and dance, and you’ll be able to collaborate with your peers in an inspiring, artistic environment.

Explore Creative Writing


Our photography program is designed to help you express your unique artistic voice in multiple modalities through a combination of technical skills, critical thinking and a fine art aesthetic. You’ll use the incredible media resources and remarkable facilities at UArts to master techniques in a variety of disciplines, including contemporary digital imaging.

Explore Photography


Housed in the School of Design, the Illustration program encourages experimentation and collaboration with students in other majors, including those in Animation, Fine Arts, Graphic Design, Interaction Design and Product Design. You’ll receive training in industry standard digital illustration tools, as well as in the fundamentals of anatomy, integrating typography, experimenting with traditional painting methods, and developing narratives

Explore Illustration

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