Painting (BFA in Fine Arts)

With a Painting emphasis in the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree program, you’ll build strong painting skills with hands-on studio time. You will also develop problem-solving and decision-making skills for all artistic disciplines in a classroom setting.

This is an intense and immersive studio experience, coupled with inspiration from world-class art museums in the city and exposure to a wide range of visiting artists and critics.

The structure of our curriculum allows you to focus on painting while also exploring and collaborating across other fine arts disciplines, such as Sculpture. You'll expand your cultural and intellectual understanding of the world, and prepare to navigate the complexities of being an artist in today's world.

Why Zakiyah Stewart chose UArts


UArts Fine Arts Thesis Works

Explore the thesis works produced by graduates of the UArts Fine Arts program

Explore past thesis works

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Student Spotlight

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


Art BFA (interdisciplinary)
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)
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)
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)

In the Fine Arts major, you’ll study with professional working artists who exhibit nationally and internationally.

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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
Rebecca Sack headshot
Rebecca Saylor Sack

Painting (BFA in Fine Arts)
Program Director; artist whose paintings court the extremities of stability and riot, growth and decay
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

Adjunct Professor

Fine Arts (BFA)
Artist who uses Greco-Roman symbols and Renaissance techniques to connect personal narratives with Greco-Roman ideologies and philosophies
A tight headshot of Charles Browning in a blue shirt against a rust backdrop
Charles Browning

Painting (BFA in Fine Arts)
A painter who has exhibited nationally who creates “new“ history paintings
Marcelino Stuhmer looking at the camera and smiling in front of a beige brick wall and a window
Marcelino Stuhmer

Art BFA (interdisciplinary)
Award-winning artist whose work includes painting, drawing, written fiction, video and immersive art installations
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

Adjunct Professor

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

Adjunct Professor

Fine Arts (BFA)
Painter whose work investigates the facilitation of American landscapes mythologies through infrastructure and architecture
Lauren Whearty wearing a bright blue shirt with a print of white flowers on it and standing in front of a number of her colorful paintings that are both on the wall and stacked behind her
Lauren Whearty

Adjunct Professor

Painting (BFA in Fine Arts)
Award-winning painter and co-director of Ortega y Gasset Projects, an artist-run curatorial collective

Rebecca Sack: Shadow Fliers


The curriculum of the Fine Arts bachelor's program with an emphasis in Painting is based on a framework of research, studio experimentation, artistic invention and daily practice. Personal vision and artistic innovation anchor the development of work for significant cultural contributions and dialogue, gallery and museum exhibitions, and creating work for diverse communities and public spaces. To that end, you will be given assignments designed to develop conceptual skills and become proficient in the necessary processes and techniques appropriate to your artistic vision and intention.

Students who complete the Fine Arts bachelor's program with an emphasis in Painting will

  • 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 toward the production of critically informed artworks.

  • acquire and demonstrate the professional skills needed to be successful as practicing artists, entrepreneurs and productive citizens, including further 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 individual studio practice, including a deep familiarity with materials and processes.

Sample Curriculum

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First Year

Drawing: Objects & Space
Art History Survey I
Writing I Placement
Free elective (your choice)
Body as Form or Found & Fabricated
Drawing: Natural Forms & the Human Figure or Drawing: Ideation
Art History Survey II
Writing II Placement

Second Year

Painting course*
Sophomore Projects
Critical Studies (your choice)
Thinking Through Science
Free elective (your choice)
Digital Requirement**
Expanded Materials
Painting Course***
Discipline history (your choice)
Contemporary Issues

Third Year

Concepts in Painting 
Painting Strategies
Junior Projects/Discourse
Contemporary Issues 

Fourth Year

Fine Arts Thesis Groundwork
Painting course†
Critical Studies (your choice)
Free elective (your choice)
The Artists' Manifesto
Professional Practices
Fine Arts Thesis Studio

Explore the Full Curriculum

UArts Painting alumni are carving out successful and fulfilling careers in their specific disciplines and across many creative fields.

Alumni & Careers

Samantha Morris headshot
Samantha Morris

BFA '17

Painting (BFA in Fine Arts)
Residencies in Norway & Iceland, work has been published in FreshPaint Magazine, Opción Magazine, ArtMaze Magazine
Jonathan Lyndon Chase
Jonathan Lyndon Chase

BFA '13 (Painting)

Painting (BFA in Fine Arts)
Exhibitions include Green Hall Gallery at Yale University, The California African American Museum, Los Angeles
rush jackson headshot
Rush Jackson


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)
Artist, and Media Relations Coordinator for the Fabric Workshop and Museum
Jessica Dowicz headshot in painting studio
Jessica Dowicz


Painting (BFA in Fine Arts)
Heet Lee headshot
Heet Lee

BFA '16

Painting (BFA in Fine Arts)
Solo exhibition at Museum der bildenden Kunst in Leipzig, Germany
Dan Walsh in gray suit in front of artwork pointing to painting
Dan Walsh

BFA '83

Painting (BFA in Fine Arts)
Internationally recognized painter featured in the prestigious Whitney Biennial.
portrait of olivia jia in painting studio
Olivia Jia

BFA ‘17

Painting (BFA in Fine Arts)
headshot of Sarena Johnson
Sarena Johnson


Painting (BFA in Fine Arts)


Frequently asked questions about the Painting BFA program.

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Is painting a good career?

Painting can be a fulfilling career for those passionate about artistic expression and visual communication. Though the field of painting may be competitive, success can be achieved through talent, dedication and building a strong body of work. Many professional painters work as independent artists, exhibiting their artwork in galleries, participating in art fairs, selling artwork directly to collectors and even receiving commissions for custom pieces.

What can you do with a degree in Painting?
With a degree in Painting, you get the immediate exposure to the artistic medium of painting, as well as entry to the professional art world at large. Some possibilities include working as a professional painter, participating in art residencies or fellowships, becoming an art teacher or instructor or working as an art therapist, art curator, art critic, or pursuing further specialization in a specific painting style or technique.
Which different painting styles and techniques are explored in this program?

Through the 4-year curriculum, students will be exposed to many different painting styles and techniques ranging across historical eras and artistic capacities. These will primarily include:

  • Painting with acrylic, oil, watercolor, charcoal, and pastel
  • Portraits, landscapes, still life, and abstract
  • Renaissance, Baroque, Romanticism, Realism, Impressionism, and beyond.

Styles and techniques will be explored technically and in historical context. 

How long does it take to become a painter?

It can take as many years to become highly skilled in painting and becoming proficient to point where one can pursue the art form professionally. Beyond developing baseline skills and experience, moving successfully into painting as a profession will require:

  • Establishing your style and artistic preferences
  • Assembling a portfolio of your best work that you can share with potential vendors or partners
  • Making professional connections with other artists, as well as galleries and other professional artistic organizations

Fortunately, all of the above can be achieved by completing the Painting BFA program at UArts. By the time you have graduated, you will have everything you need to step into the professional field in full confidence.

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.

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

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

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.
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

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.

About the School of Art

Learn More

Terra Hall
211 S. Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107 

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