Fine Arts Studio
Create interdisciplinary work that transcends traditional artistic categories by customizing your program with courses in any media you choose.
The Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree
The fine arts studio major is offered in the four-year bachelor of fine arts degree program. Our BFA curriculum is rooted by the
Core Four curriculum—fundamental courses that are structured to enrich each student's professional development over four years. Course Descriptions
varying Introduction-level studio course (select one) 3
Select any introduction-level studio course not taken in first-year studio foundation.
varying 3000-level studio course (select two) 6
Select any two 3000-level studio courses, in any medium you choose.
FAS 3020 Installation 3
This course explores space and site as a means of aesthetic communication. Object-based installations, interventionist strategies, and designed environments are explored. Topics include systems approach, audience, interactive and experiential work, and documentation as art. Image, sound, and language may all be incorporated. A variety of presentation techniques are covered, including traditional maquettes, photo-collage site proposals, and presentation drawings.
Prerequisites: Foundation: 3D
FAS 3010 Art in Community 3
Students plan and implement service projects related to the arts in partnership with Whittier International School and other community partners. Topics covered include contemporary and historical public art projects, cultural diversity, human behavior in the social environment, and grant writing. This is an exciting way to earn credit and serve the community through art and design.
Prerequisites: Sophomore standing
FAS 3090 Critical Studies 3
Critical Studies examines the relationship between art, culture, and students' work. This examination is related to many forms, including the aesthetic, political, social, and philosophic components that exist within works of art. The focus is on making work in the context of issues from the culture. The cross-disciplinary composition of this course increases the depth of discussion and critiques. (May be repeated for elective credit with a different instructor.)
FA 4000 Professional Practice 3
This course addresses processes needed to succeed in the contemporary professional art world. Topics include grant writing, approaching galleries and graduate schools, and documenting and marketing work. Guest lecturers and course faculty will cover establishing a studio, copyright issues, tax and legal documents, and general professional business startup and concerns. Visiting artist presentations connect abstract information with real-world experience.
Prerequisites: Junior standing
FAS 4010 Internship 3
Internships provide an opportunity for students to gain practical experience in a particular career area and valuable on-the-job skills. Internships may be arranged by the Director of Career Services or initiated by students. All internships must be pre-approved through the Career Services Office. For an internship to be approved, a mentor relationship and learning experience should exist beyond a simple employment opportunity. Three-credit internships require working 135 hours at the internship site and keeping a journal of hours and activities.
Prerequisites: Professional Practice
FAS 5010 Advanced Fine Arts Studio Seminar 3
In this course, students with a working understanding of the relationships among a variety of disciplines develop imagery and content through studio work and discussions on contemporary issues. Examining their own studio practice in relation to current topics in contemporary interdisciplinary studio practice, students expand their perspectives while developing a self-motivated, sustained body of work. Studio practice is supported by developing critical thinking skills, individual and group critiques, guest critiques, writing exercises, and readings on artists, criticism, and theory.
Prerequisites: three 3000-level courses in any major, successful junior review
FAS 5100 Senior Project 6
During senior year, each Fine Arts Studio major is required to develop and complete a substantial body of work in a specific field. This course provides a forum for the critical evaluation of this work and curatorial guidance in preparation for the Commencement Exhibition. Course content includes critical readings, position paper, individual and group discussion, and informational meetings.
Prerequisites: successful Junior Review, Senior standing
Select two of: 6 FAS 3030 The Body Eclectic 3
This is an interdisciplinary problem-solving course based on the body, rather than the figure, as a conceptual starting point. Topics include the body disguised, extension of physical self, mapping the body, and other open-ended themes. Students are encouraged to solve the presented problem in their primary medium, resulting in a wide range of approaches and solutions. Readings, discussions, and presentations of artists' work explore the subject and inform the assignments.
Prerequisites: Sophomore standing FAS 3040 Working with the Collection 3
Working with the Collection is an interdisciplinary studio course that concentrates on the holdings of an individual museum and the artist's response to it. In the first half of the course, students visit with the curators and exhibition designers to understand the process of collecting, and then proceed to work with the study and exhibition collections. The second half of the semester concentrates on studio work in response to the collection, culminating in an exhibition.
Prerequisites: completion of all Foundation-level courses, one 3000-level Fine Arts course (3000-level Fine Arts course may be taken concurrently) FAS 3050 Siteworks 3
This course explores interdisciplinary connections between studio art production and the design process for site-specific opportunities. Projects are client-driven and may be permanent or longer-term temporary works. Students work as a team to consult with the client, research the site, and produce proposals that reflect these influences. Students work individually and collaboratively to execute the final work. This course is offered when a client opportunity is available.
Prerequisites: Sophomore standing FAS 3060 Public Art/Art in Public Places 3
This studio course covers contemporary and historical issues pertaining to art in public places, public art, public process, and multidisciplinary collaboration. Individual and collaborative course projects include drawing for design, scale model building, site planning, and final works. The course includes field trips to public art sites and discussions with public art administrators. This course is offered when a site opportunity is available.
Prerequisites: Foundation: 3D FAS 3070 Quotation: The Art of Appropriation 3
This interdisciplinary studio course focuses on the use of appropriated imagery as both a source of inspiration and as material incorporated into artworks. Within this context, students develop imagery and content in their own work while exploring introductory semiotics and multiple approaches to organizing the two-dimensional picture plane. Contemporary art since 1980 is presented and discussed as a frame of reference for class projects, critiques, and reading assignments.
Prerequisites: Sophomore standing FAS 3080 Storytelling: Narrative Studio 3
Ideas of visual storytelling are explored in this interdisciplinary course. Students examine a wide range of narrative approaches, from genre painting and figurative sculpture to contemporary mixed-media works that refer to political or social issues. Personal, historical, and allegorical themes are developed through studio assignments, writing exercises, and readings. Topics such as tall tales, visual puns, and objects as metaphor are explored through a wide range of traditional and experimental materials.
Prerequisites: Sophomore standing
varying History of major course 3
Select one history course from another major.
First-Year Studio Foundation 15 FDN 1111 Foundation: 2D 3
This course is an introduction to creative thinking that develops skills in research, observation, interpretation, and self-expression. There is an emphasis on learning new ways to read and see the world and how to report on it. Students learn basic two-dimensional principles through the use of various media, tools, materials, and processes. As a result, students develop a visual and verbal language for analyzing, organizing, shaping, and communicating two-dimensional form and meaning.
FDN 1112 Foundation: 3D 3
This course is an introduction to understanding of visual creation for the development of knowledge, imagination, and perception. Students are introduced to basic three-dimensional concepts as well as materials and technical production processes. Classroom activities include shop demonstrations of tools and techniques, information, lectures, and discussions appropriate to promote the balanced fusion of practice and theory.
FDN 1211 Foundation: Drawing 1 3
This course is an introductory drawing course designed to prepare students for study in all majors of the College. Students develop basic drawing skills, including the ability to perceive and express visual relationships, organize a two-dimensional composition, and depict and manipulate form, space, and light. Students work from direct observation of still life, interior spaces, and landscape.
FDN 1311 Foundation: Media 1 3
Students are introduced to the digital resources at MCAD while exploring digital media and laptop computing. Areas covered include the Service Bureau, student servers, Media Center, and digital resources. Students discuss media and media artists as well as study various software applications including Adobe Photoshop and web-development tools.
FDN 1212 Foundation: Drawing 2 3
This course is an observationally based drawing course designed to reinforce and develop the basic drawing skills established in Foundation: Drawing 1. Students work with a variety of subjects, including a substantial amount of drawing from the figure. In addition to working from direct observation, students explore drawing as a tool for invention, conceptualization, and idea development. The course also affords students an opportunity to investigate drawing materials in more breadth and depth than in Foundation: Drawing 1.
Prerequisites: Foundation: Drawing 1
First-Year Liberal Arts Foundation 12 AH 1701 Introduction to Art and Design History 1 3
The objective of this course is to familiarize students with the major stylistic, thematic, and historical trends in Western art history from prehistoric times through the nineteenth century. This course is designed to encourage a critical understanding of the meaning and function of art objects, architecture, and design artifacts within their original historical contexts. The final section of this course deals with the emergence of modernity in art. Class sessions consist primarily of lecture with some discussion. Students will take in-class examinations and complete short essay assignments.
AH 1702 Introduction to Art and Design History 2 3
This course introduces students to issues in contemporary cultural theory, popular culture, and contemporary art and design. Topics include anti-aesthetic challenges to modernist aesthetics, the rise of consumerism, the proliferation of the designed object, and the transition from source-oriented media to user oriented media, among others. The course is a roughly equal mix of lecture and discussion. Students will produce short writing assignments and will complete written exams consisting of identification and essay questions.
EN 1100 Reading and Writing 1 3
Effective writing requires innovative thinking and creative engagement. Students in this course focus on building a writing portfolio by developing college-level writing skills and using these skills to produce a variety of assignments. Regular writing workshops will allow students to concentrate on experiential and practical approaches to writing. Assigned course materials will explore a variety of texts and objects. By the end of the course students will have the foundational skills to be reflective and eloquent writers. Class sessions are composed of seminar discussions, group work, and writing workshops. Course requirements include participation, presentations, directed group work and research assignments, and a portfolio of seven essays.
EN 1200 Reading and Writing 2 3
Key to the creative and critical nature of college-level writing is the idea that students explore a topic by developing a thesis that changes as they ask questions, explore ideas, and conduct research. To that end, this course extends and concentrates the thinking and communication skills introduced in Reading and Writing 1. The foci of this course are developing a thesis; engaging in critical and sustained research; and drafting, revising, editing, and proofreading a finished research project. As a result, students will become increasingly adept at utilizing a wide variety of research tools, from published books to online search engines. The final project will be a completed research paper and a visual presentation using programs such as PowerPoint. Class sessions are composed of seminar discussions, research exercises, presentations and debates, and writing workshops. Course requirements include participation, presentations, a research journal, a major research paper and a final research presentation.
Second-Year Studio Foundation 4 FDN 1411 Ideation and Process 3
Everything we make has its beginning as an idea, which takes form as the artist/designer makes a series of decisions to guide its creative evolution. This course is designed to help students explore the development of new ideas and their own process of making. Students also create visual tools to track their creative process from idea through construction and then to post-production analysis. The course consists of discussions, critiques, exercises, and visual logs.
Prerequisites: Sophomore standing FDN 1412 Sophomore Seminar: Contemporary Practice 1
Practice is more than working methods: it’s the context, marketing, and creative space that maintain creative work. This course is designed to introduce students to the variety, tools, and foundations of a professional practice. Students upgrade websites and documentation, enter contests, and create a professional presentation of their work as well as hear from guest speakers from a wide range of disciplines. Classes consist of lectures, student presentations, and guest speakers.
Prerequisites: Sophomore standing
varying Studio Electives 23
Fine Art Studio majors take 26 elective studio credits in any media they choose.
Liberal Arts Electives
varying Liberal Arts Electives 24
Select 24 elective liberal arts credits.
On-site internships at organizations such as galleries and cultural institutions—both local and international—allow students to l
earn about the industry, enhance their skills, network, and build their portfolios. Previous students have interned at the following organizations, among many others:
Art Shanties ▪ Bockley Gallery ▪ Futurefarmers, California ▪ Intermedia Arts ▪ Kinji Akagawa Studio ▪ Kulture Club Collaborative ▪ MN Center for Book Arts ▪ Poor Farm, Wisconsin ▪ Urban Outfitters ▪ Walker Art Center