Degrees


The Visual Art degrees allow students to design an academic experience tailored to their interests and goals. By choosing and combining courses from across a variety of studio areas, students direct their own educational path. Additionally they can choose to pursue an immersive academic experience in Ceramics, Metalsmithing/Jewelry, Textiles, or Art History.

BFA in Visual Art

The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Art is a four-year, 120 credit hour degree program. The first year is spent in Foundations where students focus on the development of their creative and technical skills.

After the foundation year, students select five introductory courses from across the seven studio areas; Ceramics, Expanded Media, Metalsmithing/Jewelry, Painting/Drawing, Printmaking, Sculpture, and Textiles/Fibers.

The intent is for students to explore a variety of mediums in order to determine how they would like to focus their advanced studies. In addition, fundamental concepts and strategies of artmaking are reinforced, even as new techniques and approaches from various disciplines are introduced.

Students are required to take 15 hours of Art History, one additional drawing course beyond foundations, as well as the Professional Activities Seminar.

The remaining studio art credit hours can be formed in any way to allow opportunities for students to focus intensely in any one specific studio area or more broadly to work inter-disciplinarily across media. Ten credit hours are capstone courses (normally taken both semesters of senior year): Directed Study I and II in which students work independently on the development of a cohesive portfolio of work that is strong in technique and concept.

BA in Visual Art

The Bachelor of Arts in Visual Art is a four-year, 120 credit hour degree program. The B.A. in Visual Art is a more traditional liberal arts undergraduate degree, requiring only 24 credit hours in Visual Art beyond the Foundations, as opposed to the 49 required by the more art intensive B.F.A. Because of this, students interested in pursuing a double major may find it easier to pair the B.A. with other more traditional undergraduate degrees. Popular double majors in Visual Art include: Visual Art/Psychology; Visual Art/Chemistry; Visual Art/Museum Studies. 

The first year is spent in Foundations where students focus on the development of their creative and technical skills.

After the foundation year, students take their remaining studio courses from Photomedia (in the Dept. of Design) and the Visual Art seven studio areas; Ceramics, Expanded Media, Metalsmithing/Jewelry, Painting/Drawing, Printmaking, Sculpture, and Textiles/Fibers. Students also take 12 hours of Art History and a foreign language. 

BFA in Ceramics

The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Ceramics is a four-year, 120 credit hour immersive course of study of the Ceramics medium. 

The first year is spent in Foundations where students focus on the development of their creative and technical skills.

After the foundation year, Ceramics students will pursue instruction on a broad range of approaches and techniques including handbuilding, throwing, slip casting and mould making. Specialized surfaces, like earthenware low temperature majolica, decals, as well as stoneware and porcelain high temperature glazes, and atmospheric firings, such as gas reduction, salt, and wood are fundamental elements of the curriculum. Courses are also available in kiln building, as well as clay and glaze formulation.  

Ten of the major studio credit hours are capstone courses (normally taken both semesters of senior year) in which students work independently on the development of a cohesive portfolio of work that is strong in technique and concept. Students are also required to take 15 hours of Art History. 

BFA in Metalsmithing/Jewelry

The BFA degree is 120 credit hours, 39 required hours in the major. The program is structured around concentrations in progressive skill building, intermixed with conceptual development and knowledge of the history of the discipline. Required courses in the major include introductory jewelry construction, casting, enameling, hollowware, advanced casting and construction, stone setting, and professional practices. Recommended courses are gemology and digital jewelry design I and II. These courses prepare students for their final two semesters of senior studio, where students develop an individual body of work culminating in a BFA exhibition. The BFA program prepares students for various professional directions in the jewelry industry and as independent artists/designers.

BFA in Textiles/Fibers

The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Textiles/Fibers is a four-year, 120 credit hour immersive course of study of the Textiles/Fibers medium.

The first year is spent in Foundations where students focus on the development of their creative and technical skills.

After the foundation year, Textiles/Fibers students will pursue instruction on a broad range of textile approaches and techniques including complex weave structures, textile design software and technology skills, sewing, screen printing, fabric and yarn dyeing, felting, quilting, knitting, knotting, bound resist, transfer printing, embroidery, and other techniques depending on interests and coursework. 

Ten of these hours are capstone courses (normally taken both semesters of senior year) in which students work independently on the development of a cohesive portfolio of work that is strong in technique and concept. The textiles/fibers Senior Studio is a designated workspace in which seniors are the only occupants. The department furnishes the studio with the tools and equipment each senior needs for their individual projects (loom, print table, sewing machine). Each student is also required to take 15 hours of Art History. 

BFA in Art History

The Bachelor of Fine Arts in History of Art is a four-year, 120 credit hour degree program combining a 30-hour concentration in the history of art with 30 hours of studio art training to serve students interested in both the history and the making of art.

History of Art BFA. majors learn how to investigate and analyze the aesthetic characteristics, meaning, and function of works of art, and to place works in historical, cultural, and stylistic contexts. Students gain a general knowledge of the monuments and principal artists of all major periods of the past, with an emphasis on the art of the 20th- and 21st- centuries and gain a sophisticated understanding of what can be learned about different cultures and time periods through the study of art.

Of the 30 History of Art credit hours, students must enroll in the introductory, year-long survey; at least one course in either ancient or Medieval art history; one in either Renaissance or Baroque art history; one in modern art history (19th- or 20th-century European or American art, or the History of Photography); and two courses in non-western art history, at least one of which must be in East Asian Art.

Of the 30 Visual Art credit hours, students must enroll in 12 credit hours of Foundations. The remaining studio art credit hours may be taken from across the seven studio areas; Ceramics, Expanded Media, Metalsmithing/Jewelry, Painting/Drawing, Printmaking, Sculpture, and Textiles/Fibers.

Minor in Fine Arts

The Department of Visual Art offers a minor in Fine Arts. This track creates a space for non-major students who wish to explore their artistic interests alongside their academic pursuits and professional goals within the stimulating and creative climate of the School of the Arts.  Visual Art minors are not required to submit a portfolio for admission. 

Because studio courses are sequential, students are advised to declare a minor by the first semester of their junior year to allow for adequate time to complete the Visual Art minor.

The Visual Art minor is 18 hours or 6 courses, (12 hours at the JR/SR level).  Students complete a foundations course, such as, ART 101: Drawing I, and an introductory concentration course out of the 8 art areas we offer (Drawing, Painting, Ceramics, Expanded Media, Metalsmithing/Jewelry, Printmaking, Sculpture, or Textiles).  After taking a foundations and concentration course, students will complete the minor by taking 12 hours of studio elective at the 300+ level within their concentration area.  Students are encouraged to concentrate in one art area to attain the proper number of JR/SR hours.

Minor Requirements

  • 18 Hours required, 12 Hours at the JR/SR level Only 1 course (3 hours) can overlap with major

How to Declare:

  • To declare the Visual Art minor students should make an appointment with academic advisor, Krystle Perkins, by calling CLAS Student Academic Services at 785-864-3500 or emailing krystle@ku.edu.

Minor in Visual Art

Visual Art Education Program

Visual Art Education (VAE) is a high quality program emphasizing a balance of studio, art history, and education courses taught by experts in their fields. 

In collaboration with the School of Education, VAE provides advanced level students with classroom and teaching experiences in area schools and community settings. Visual Art Education graduates are well prepared to be successful art educators and have a very high job placement rate.

The BAE in Visual Art Education is an interdisciplinary degree that provides students with the knowledge, skills, and experience to become either licensed preK-12 art teachers to teach in a public/ private school or qualified candidates for teaching in a community setting. To prepare for the art education profession, students complete a combination of coursework in visual art, education, and art education. The program culminates in either an internship in a community organization or a semester-long student teaching assignment in a school setting that gives a crucial background in what it means to be an art educator. Here artistic and intellectual training is balanced with professional preparation leading to careers in arts education.

In the first three semesters of study, art education majors complete prerequisite courses in Visual Art. Once complete VAE majors apply for admission to the VAE Professional Sequence during their sophomore year, and transfer students bringing in over 45 hours of credit must apply during their first semester at KU. Before applying, students must satisfy the following requirements: (1) Successfully complete all prerequisite courses, with a prerequisite GPA ≥ 2.75 and no prerequisite grade below C. (2) Earn a cumulative GPA ≥ 2.75. 

The Visual Art Education M.A. Program includes advanced professional and scholarly study for art educators.  Individuals with a baccalaureate degree in art education or in art-related fields, who wish to advance their knowledge and skills for teaching in the public schools or in other settings such as community arts organizations can apply.

The VAE Graduate Licensure Program (GLP) combines graduate and undergraduate courses including a semester-long student teaching experience that help students obtain their initial teaching license (PreK-12). The GLP is for individuals who have completed baccalaureate degrees in studio art, design, art history, or other art-related fields.  Students must apply and be admitted to the Visual Art M.A. Program to be eligible to obtain their teaching license.  Graduate level courses taken as part of the GLP count towards completion of the M.A. degree.   

BAE in Visual Art Education

MA in Visual Art Education

MFA in Visual Art

The Master of Fine Arts in Visual Art is a three-year, 60 credit hour degree program emphasizing individual growth through independent work in an atmosphere of ongoing critical discussion. As a graduate student, you receive a rigorous studio and academic experience. Each week you meet with your fellow graduate students and faculty from a variety of studio areas in Graduate Seminar to participate in critiques, discussions and presentations.

Students frequently take independent studies with a number of Visual Art faculty offering a diverse and specialized learning experience. Each student receives their own studio space conducive to the creation of work in their area(s) of specialization; Ceramics, Expanded Media, Metalsmithing/Jewelry, Painting/Drawing, Printmaking, Sculpture or Textiles/Fibers

Students gain teaching experience, as well as financial support, through graduate teaching assistantships that are often available. Graduate students are eligible for numerous annual scholarships given to exemplary students at all levels of study through the Department of Visual Art.

The final departmental requirements to complete thesis work are a general oral examination, an exhibition, and a thesis folio of the exhibition. The thesis folio shall include a statement written by the candidate concerning the work, which has been approved by their Thesis Committee, and a visual record of the exhibition. The department reserves the option of selecting and retaining one example of each graduate student’s work. Upon enrolling, the student automatically accepts these requirements and conditions.