Push traditional boundaries.
Critique work in political and cultural contexts.
Reevaluate the artist's role in society.
The Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) Degree in Fine Arts Studio
Fine arts studio majors transcend traditional categories of art—their work truly cuts across boundaries. Students are given the tools to create interdisciplinary, collaborative, and community works.
This program is fully customizable with elective courses in both studio and liberal arts areas.
Fine arts studio is a major offered in the four-year BFA degree program. Our BFA curriculum is rooted by
Core Four—foundation courses that enhance students' professional development.
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 class explores space and site as a means of aesthetic communication. Object-based installations, interventionist strategies, and designed or created environments are examined. Topics include systems approach, audience, interactive and experiential work, and documentation as art. All media are considered, including object, image, sound, and language. A variety of ideation techniques are introduced, including traditional maquettes and photo-collage site proposals.
Prerequisites: Foundation: 3D
FAS 3010 Art in Community 3
In this course students plan and implement projects in collaboration with community partners to express identity or sense of place, address concerns, and support local aspirations through the arts. Topics covered include surveying contemporary and historical arts-based community projects, classroom training in group work facilitation, theory and criticism in the field, cultural diversity and social justice issues, and grant writing. Taking this course is an exciting way to earn credit while building relationships with the greater Twin Cities community through the development of art and design works.
Prerequisites: Sophomore standing
FAS 3090 Critical Studies 3
Critical Studies examines the relationship between art, culture, and student work. This examination is related to many forms, including the aesthetic, political, social, and philosophical components that exist within works of art. Students focus on making work in the context of cultural issues. The cross-disciplinary composition of this course increases the depth of discussions and critiques. May be repeated for elective credit with a different instructor.
Prerequisites: Sophomore standing
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 preapproved 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 120 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 the development of 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 their 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 class based on the theoretical body, rather than the figure, as a conceptual starting point. Topics center around postmodern themes that concern the body as a place for ideation. Students are encouraged to experiment with medium as it relates to their particular areas of interest. Critical readings, discussions, presentations, project proposals, and statements inform 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/SC 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. Students investigate both “site-specific” and “site as venue” public works through individual and collaborative projects and proposals. All media are considered appropriate for inclusion in the public realm. Design, planning, and presentation techniques include the RFQ, RFP, preparation of proposals, proposal writing, public presentations, design and presentation drawings, scale model building and maquettes, site planning, and logistics of realization. The course includes the creation of public works, field trips to public art sites, and discussions with public art administrators and artists working in the public realm.
Prerequisites: One 3000-level course in any fine arts major or other major as deemed appropriate in consultation with course faculty
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 in the production of work based in appropriation. Contemporary art 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 and narrative are explored in this interdisciplinary course. Emphasis is placed on the deconstruction of linear storytelling devices as a way to build deeper lateral associations. Topics include personal mythology, liminal meaning, and collective storytelling. The history of allegory, folklore, fable, and myth are covered. Projects extend through personal, political, and social spheres and are developed through studio assignments, historical and contemporary image surveys, writing exercises, critical readings, and field trips.
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
Foundation: 2D is an introduction to creative thinking that develops students’ skills in research, observation, interpretation, and self-expression. An emphasis is placed on exploring new ways to read and see the world, as well as new ways 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
Foundation: Drawing 1 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 space, 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.
Prerequisites: None FDN 1212 Foundation: Drawing 2 3
Foundation: Drawing 2 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, cultural, and historical transformations in Western and non-Western art history from prehistoric times to the nineteenth century. This course helps students develop critical tools for the interpretation and understanding of the meaning and function of art objects, architecture, and design artifacts within their original historical contexts. Class sessions consist primarily of lecture with some discussion. Students 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 modern art, popular culture, and contemporary art and design. Topics might include the expanding audience for art, the transformation of the art market, the impact of new technologies, the changing status of the artist, and the role of art in society. This course is taught as a seminar with some lecture. Students take in-class examinations and complete short essay assignments.
Prerequisites: Introduction to Art and Design: History 1
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 allow students to concentrate on experiential and practical approaches to writing. Students explore a variety of texts and objects through class assignments. By the end of the course students 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 I. 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 become increasingly adept at utilizing a wide variety of research tools, from published books to online search engines. The final project is 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.
Prerequisites: Reading and Writing 1
Second-Year Studio Foundation 4 FDN 1411 Ideation and Process 3
Everything we make has its beginning as an idea, which takes form as an 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. Contemporary Practice introduces students to the foundations, variety, and tools of a professional practice. Students upgrade websites and documentation, enter contests, and create professional presentations of their work. Classes consist of lectures, student presentations, and guest speakers from a wide range of disciplines.
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
Fine arts studio majors take liberal arts electives in the following distribution:
Art History (6 credits)
Scientific and Economic Systems (3 credits)
Histories, Places, and Philosophies (6 credits)
Creative and Professional Writing (3 credits)
Humanities and Sciences Elective (3 credits)
Liberal Arts Capstone Course (3 credits)