art-bfa

The Department of Art’s three degree programs provide students with the critical and artistic skills needed to excel in contemporary, multidisciplinary art and design practices. Degree programs are highly ranked at both the national and the international level, attracting talented students with excellent academic credentials and a passion for art and design.

UW–Madison art graduates are experts in creative problem solving, visual communication, teamwork and collaboration, and project management. These acquired skills and experiences can lead to fascinating and rewarding careers in animation, ceramics, glassblowing, metal fabrication, graphic and multi-media design, illustration, videography, photography, teaching and, of course, as a gallery artist.

Our graduates also work as iPhone and iPad app designers, medical imagists, technical assistants for major film companies, book designers, costume and float designers, jewelry fabricators and more. The Department of Art believes that hardworking students who learn to harness and nurture their creative energies today will be the people influencing progress tomorrow.

The art curriculum fosters positive collaboration and innovative art production while encouraging diverse points-of-view. Students develop unique, creative voices while enjoying the close-knit atmosphere of a department that prides itself on having a very low teacher-to-student ratio, with an average class size of 10–12 students.

Degree programs feature a rigorous foundation program, a set of six courses that students often complete by participating in the popular Contemporary Art & Artists First Year Interest Group (FIG), before branching out into one or more specialized areas such as ceramics, drawing, glass and neon, graphic design, papermaking, performance, photography, etc.

The art department has a remarkable history. UW–Madison was the first university to create a glass-blowing laboratory for art students. The printmaking programs are consistently ranked first in the country and the art metals program is currently ranked third. A large number of undergraduates go on to study in some of the most prestigious MFA programs in the country, and to exhibit their art in regional, national, and also international venues. The school's large faculty of world-class artists is committed to the development of their undergraduate students.

The new Art Lofts Building is the home of state-of-the-art ceramics, glass, papermaking and bronze foundry facilities and a large art performance space. The Humanities Building houses a student gallery and printmaking, painting, drawing, design, comics, photography, multi-media/digital, video/performance, metals, wood, and sculpture facilities, as well as art education classrooms.

The department offers three degree programs: the Bachelor of Science in Art, the Bachelor of Fine Arts, or the Bachelor of Science in Art Education. The bachelor of fine arts (BFA) degree program in art differs from the B.S.–Art degree by requiring a larger number of studio and aesthetic courses. This degree program is often selected by students wishing to develop a refined visual art portfolio in preparation for a career as a professional artist and/or for graduate study. The bachelor of science in art education degree program certifies students to teach in both elementary and secondary schools.

Program Admission Overview

The Art–B.S. degree program currently admits on-campus students to begin in the fall, spring, and summer. Requirements and selection criteria may be modified from one application/admission period to the next. Potential applicants should consult the School of Education's Apply to a Program page for updates to eligibility requirements prior to submitting an application.

Entering the School of Education

PROSPECTIVE UW–MADISON APPLICANTS

Prospective applicants to UW–Madison are strongly encouraged to submit a portfolio to the Department of Art for review. Though a portfolio is not required, it does provide the art department an opportunity to make a recommendation on the applicant's behalf to UW–Madison's Office of Admissions and Recruitment. The Office of Admissions and Recruitment makes final determinations regarding the admission status of all applicants. Additional information, including submission guidelines, is available on the How to Apply page of the art department's website.

NEW and CURRENT UW–MADISON STUDENTS

New freshmen and off-campus transfers are admitted directly to the Art–B.S. degree program. All other on-campus students interested in becoming Art students must follow the application procedures outlined below.

PROSPECTIVE TRANSFER STUDENTS

Applicants not already enrolled on the UW–Madison campus must be admissible to the university to enroll in a School of Education program. Admission to UW–Madison requires a separate application and admission process. See UW–Madison Office of Admissions and Recruitment for application information. BFA candidates cannot transfer directly into the Art–BFA degree program; instead, they will be admitted to campus as if pursing the Art–B.S. degree program (ART classification) and can apply for the BFA program once enrolled on campus. Transfer students are strongly encouraged to meet with the art department advisor prior to coming to campus; call 608-262-1660 to schedule an appointment. Prospective transfer students are strongly advised to meet with an Education Academic Services advisor in advance of their application; to schedule, call 608-262-1651.

STUDENTS WITH A PREVIOUS DEGREE

Prospective applicants who already hold an undergraduate degree are strongly encouraged to meet with an Education Academic Services advisor in advance of their application. Consultations with advisors are available in person or via telephone; to schedule, call 608-262-1651.

Applicants who already hold an undergraduate degree are admitted to the School of Education as either an Education Special student or a second degree student, depending on their interests and academic background. Admission as an Education Special student indicates that that the student has an interest in pursuing certification in a subject area studied during the initial degree; another degree is not awarded for this "certification only" coursework. Second degree students are seeking a second, unrelated degree from the School of Education, which may, or may not, include teacher certification. Candidates for limited enrollment programs must meet all admission eligibility requirements for the program and must compete with the eligible applicants for program admission. More information is available here.

Application and Admission

On-campus students interested in becoming art students must first apply to the Art–B.S. degree program. These students should complete and submit the application, as well as transcripts from all other colleges or universities attended, to Education Academic Services, Room 139 Education Building, 1000 Bascom Mall, at any time during the academic year. Applications cannot be processed without a complete academic record. (A transfer credit evaluation cannot be accepted in place of a transcript.) The program application must be signed by the undergraduate advisor in the Department of Art; call 608-262-1660 to schedule an appointment.

Criteria for Admission

  • Cumulative grade point average of at least a 2.5 based on UW–Madison campus coursework, as modified by the Last 60 Credits Rule (detailed below).
  • Filing of all required paperwork, including professional program application and transcripts. Application must be signed by the art department advisor.

Last 60 Credits Rule

Two grade point averages will be calculated to determine candidates' eligibility to programs. GPAs will be calculated using

  • all transferable college level coursework attempted, and
  • the last 60 credits attempted.

The higher GPA of these two will be used for purposes of determining eligibility. If fewer than 60 credits have been attempted, all credits will be used to calculate the GPA. Graded graduate coursework will also be used in all GPA calculations. ("Attempted" coursework indicates coursework for which a grade has been earned.) For more information on this rule, see this link.

University General Education Requirements

All undergraduate students at the University of Wisconsin–Madison are required to fulfill a minimum set of common university general education requirements to ensure that every graduate acquires the essential core of an undergraduate education. This core establishes a foundation for living a productive life, being a citizen of the world, appreciating aesthetic values, and engaging in lifelong learning in a continually changing world. Various schools and colleges will have requirements in addition to the requirements listed below. Consult your advisor for assistance, as needed. For additional information, see the university Undergraduate General Education Requirements section of the Guide.

General Education
  • Breadth—Humanities/Literature/Arts: 6 credits
  • Breadth—Natural Science: 4 to 6 credits, consisting of one 4- or 5-credit course with a laboratory component; or two courses providing a total of 6 credits
  • Breadth—Social Studies: 3 credits
  • Communication Part A & Part B *
  • Ethnic Studies *
  • Quantitative Reasoning Part A & Part B *

* The mortarboard symbol appears before the title of any course that fulfills one of the Communication Part A or Part B, Ethnic Studies, or Quantitative Reasoning Part A or Part B requirements.

Program Structure

The bachelor of science (B.S.) degree program in art has five components: 

  • Liberal studies courses expose students to a broad range of academic disciplines. The university-wide General Education requirements also encourage this breadth of study.
  • The Foundations Program requires six interrelated studio and aesthetics courses designed to prepare first-year students for further study in studio art and design.
  • Aesthetics coursework gives students an opportunity to study both the history of art and contemporary developments in the visual arts.
  • Major requirements permit in-depth studies of studio art. After taking courses in the Foundations area, students complete coursework in each of the four studio areas: 2D, 3D, 4D, and Graphics. B.S.–Art majors are required to reach an advanced level in at least one studio discipline.
  • Elective credits to pursue individual areas of interest, such as a second major or additional studio credits. Many B.S.–Art students complete an additional major from the College of Letters & Science. Some use this major to complement their art preparation (e.g., focusing on written communication for an eventual career in advertising), or a subject that complements their interest in art. Students interested in medical illustration, for example, may wish to take courses in the biological sciences. Others select majors that reflect interests completely unrelated to art.

School of Education Liberal Studies Requirements

All students are required to complete a minimum of 40 credits of Liberal Studies coursework. This requirement provides an opportunity to do some academic exploration beyond the scope of the major. Students take courses in areas of particular interest and also have an opportunity to sample the wide selection of courses offered across the university. Coursework is required in humanities, social studies, science, and cultural and historical studies. Some elective coursework is also needed to reach the required number of credits.

The School of Education’s Liberal Studies Requirements automatically satisfy most of the University General Education Requirements outlined above, including ethnic studies, humanities/literature, social studies, and science. Students pursuing most School of Education degree programs may also complete Communication Part B, Quantitative Reasoning Part A, and Quantitative Reasoning Part B through courses required by their degree program. If a student cannot complete a General Education Requirement within the curriculum of their chosen School of Education program, academic advisors can offer suggestions for courses that meet the requirement and augment the student’s primary area of study.

A basic outline of the liberal studies is included below. Students must consult the detailed version of the requirements for information about course selection and approved course options.

Humanities, 9 credits

All students must complete a minimum of 9 credits to include:

  • Literature
  • Fine Arts
  • Humanities Electives

Social Studies (Social Science)

All students must complete a minimum of 9 credits. Teacher certification programs, Athletic Training, and Kinesiology; Exercise and Movement Science have unique requirements in this category.

Science

All students must complete a minimum of 9 credits to include:

  • Biological Science
  • Physical Science
  • Laboratory Science
  • Science Electives

Cultural and Historical Studies

All students must complete three requirements (9 credits) met by separate courses. Any of these courses can also be used to meet the Humanities or Social Studies (Social Sciences) requirements if it has the relevant breadth designation.

  • Ethnic Studies
  • U.S./European History
  • Global Perspectives

Complete Liberal Studies Electives to total 40 Credits.

Art Foundations Program

The Art Foundations Program is a series of interrelated studio and lecture courses to be taken by art and art education majors in their first year as preparation for further study in studio art and design. The program addresses the fundamentals of art through investigation of formal, technical and conceptual issues. The drawing, 2D and 3D design, digital media, and art historical lecture classes are designed to expose, broaden, and challenge students' understanding of contemporary art production.

Art foundations classes are meant to be taken concurrently and the information covered in them is interrelated. Students completing the Foundations Program should enroll in ART 102 Two-Dimensional Design, ART 212 Drawing Methods & Concepts, and ART 108 Foundations of Contemporary Art for the fall semester and complete ART 104 Three-Dimensional Design, ART 107 Introduction to Digital Forms, and ART 208 Current Directions in Art in the spring. 

Most freshman art majors complete their foundations courses through participation in the very popular Contemporary Art and Artists First-Year Interest Group (FIG), which also creates a network of corresponding experiences and a peer community that will continue throughout the program and often beyond graduation. Students in FIGs enjoy studying with instructors dedicated to serving first year students, the opportunity to integrate related ideas from all three classes, and the ready-made opportunities to form support networks and lasting friendships.

Additional information about the Foundations Program is available on the departmental website.

Aesthetics Requirements

ART 108 Foundations of Contemporary Art (component of the Foundations Program)3
ART 208 Current Directions in Art (component of the Foundations Program)3
Select two additional courses from the following:8
History of Western Art I: From Pyramids to Cathedrals
History of Western Art II: From Renaissance to Contemporary
Global Arts
Cultural Context of Graphic Design and Typography 1
1

 Only Graphic Design students may count ART 438 toward either the aesthetics or studio requirements.

Major Requirements

The requirements listed here are effective for students admitted to the program effective summer 2016. Students admitted prior to this time can find their major requirements listed in previous editions of the Undergraduate Catalog and on their DARS reports.

Complete a minimum of 45 studio credits, including the specific coursework below. No more than 58 studio credits will be counted toward the minimum 120 credits required for the B.S. degree. Thus, if a student wishes to graduate with the minimum of 120 credits, 62 of these credits must be "non-studio" coursework.

Major residency requirement—Students completing the B.S. degree must complete at least 24 credits of major studio coursework in residence on the UW–Madison campus.

Art and BFA degree students have priority access to studio courses. Note: Some courses are offered for 3 or 4 credits; it is preferred that the course be taken for 4 credits.

Required Studio Foundations Courses

Complete the following:

ART 102 Two-Dimensional Design3
ART 104 Three-Dimensional Design3
ART 107 Introduction to Digital Forms3
ART 212 Drawing Methods & Concepts3

Required Studio Breadth Courses

Select one course in each of the 2D, 3D, 4D, and Graphics areas. Students will also take ART 508 Colloquium in Art at least once and complete a 500-level or 600-level art studio course in at least one discipline.

2D Studio

Select one of the following:

ART 222 Introduction to Painting3-4
ART 232 Life Drawing I4
ART 242 Watercolor I3-4
ART 302 Color4
ART 312 Intermediate Drawing I3-4

 3D Studio

Select one of the following:

ART 214 Sculpture I4
ART 224 Ceramics I4
ART 244 Art Metal I3-4
ART 334 Wood Working3-4
ART 343 Metal Fabrication and Welding in Sculpture3-4
ART 354 Glassworking4

4D Studio

Select one of the following:

ART 309 Digital Art and Code4
ART 318 Introduction to Video, Performance & Installation Art4
ART 338 Service Learning in Art2
ART 409 Digital Fabrication Studio4
ART 428 Digital Imaging Studio4
ART 429 3D Digital Studio I4
ART 470 Special Topics in 4D Art3-4
ART 521 Installations and Environments4
ART 531 Screen Performance3-4

Graphics

Select one of the following:

ART 306 Relief Printmaking3-4
ART 316 Lithography4
ART 326 Etching4
ART 336 Serigraphy3-4
ART 346 Basic Graphic Design4
ART 348 Introduction to Digital Printmaking4
ART 376 Photography3-4
ART 446 Artists' Books4

Art Colloquium

Complete the following:

ART 508 Colloquium in Art (Students are encouraged to enroll in this visiting artist lecture series multiple times)1

Advanced Studio Requirement

Complete a 500-level or 600-level art studio course in at least one discipline. ART 508 Colloquium in Art, ART 608 Interdisciplinary Critique in the Visual Arts, and ART 699 Independent Study will not fulfill this requirement.

Elective Studio Courses

Select elective studio courses to reach the minimum of 45 credits.

Areas of Concentration

Although a concentration is not required, students may wish to select a sequence of related courses to develop an area of interest. Concentrations in graphic design, multi-media, 2D studio, 3D studio, and printmaking are just some of the concentrations listed on the Art department's website.

Elective Coursework

B.S.–Art students must complete additional coursework to reach the minimum 120 credits required for the degree. These students must complete a minimum of 62 non-studio credits. Another way of describing this requirement is that only 13 additional studio credits beyond the required 45 credits can count toward the 120 credits. Students interested in completing more than 58 total studio credits may wish to consider the BFA degree program, which requires at least 72 studio credits.

Completing an additional major. Students choosing the B.S.–Art option often also choose to complete an additional major in the College of Letters & Science. Review Academic Policies and Procedures to find detailed information about declaring an additional L&S major while a student in the School of Education.

Completing two degree programs. Students also occasionally choose a second degree in another campus school or college. For instance, students may choose an Art degree program as well as a science degree program in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. See Academic Policies and Procedures for more detailed information about the requirements and the approvals necessary to be permitted to complete dual degrees. Important note: Some campus schools/colleges do not permit dual degrees; at the present time this includes the College of Letters & Science and the College of Engineering. These policies do not permit students to complete, for example, an Art degree program and a Journalism degree program.

Students interested in additional majors or dual degrees should consult carefully with an Education Academic Services advisor. Students may be referred to Associate Dean Jeffrey Hamm for additional consultation and approvals.

GPA and other Graduation Requirements

Graduation Requirements

Requirements are based on UW–Madison coursework..

  • 2.5 minimum cumulative grade point average. This may be modified by the Last 60 Credits Rule.
  • Cumulative major grade point average: 2.5 cumulative grade point average in all major studio coursework.
  • Upper-level major coursework: 2.5 cumulative grade point average in all upper-level major coursework (Art courses numbered 214 and above, excluding Art 236, 246, and 338).
  • Major Residency: Must complete at least 24 credits of major coursework in residence on the UW–Madison campus.
  • Senior Residency: Degree candidates must complete their last 30 credits in residence on the UW–Madison campus, excluding retroactive credits and credits granted by examination.
  • Total Credits: A minimum of 120 credits to include at least 62 non-studio credits are required for graduation in the Art–B.S. degree program.

Degree Audit (DARS)

At UW–Madison, a DARS report is used to document a student's progress toward the completion of their degree. This degree audit identifies the requirements that have already been completed, and also those that remain unsatisfied. A DARS report can offer suggestions about appropriate courses that may be taken to meet specific requirements and can assist in the academic planning process. 

Students can access DARS reports through their Student Center in My UW–Madison. Go to the Academics tab and find DARS on the dropdown menu.

DARS also has a "what-if" function. This feature makes it possible to request a DARS report as if pursuing another program or major on campus. It is an excellent tool if considering a new or additional area of study. School of Education students in a pre-professional classification such as Pre-Elementary (PRE) should request a "what if" DARS report of their professional program of interest.

DARS is not intended to replace student contact with academic advisers. It creates more time in an advising appointment to discuss course options, research opportunities, graduate school, or issues of personal interest or concern to students.

DARS is the document of record, i.e., certifying document of degree completion, for program areas in the School of Education.

University Degree Requirements

Total Degree To receive a bachelor's degree from UW–Madison, students must earn a minimum of 120 degree credits. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 degree credits. Students should consult with their college or department advisor for information on specific credit requirements.
Residency Degree candidates are required to earn a minimum of 30 credits in residence at UW–Madison. "In residence" means on the UW–Madison campus with an undergraduate degree classification. “In residence” credit also includes UW–Madison courses offered in distance or online formats and credits earned in UW–Madison Study Abroad/Study Away programs.
Quality of Work Undergraduate students must maintain the minimum grade point average specified by the school, college, or academic program to remain in good academic standing. Students whose academic performance drops below these minimum thresholds will be placed on academic probation.

Learning Outcomes

  1. To expose, broaden, and challenge students' understanding of past and present art production and provide knowledge of historical, thematic, critical and theoretical issues.
  2. To contextualize studio assignments and expand their verbal and visual vocabulary, supporting the development of critical thinking and writing skills.
  3. To learn the fundamental elements of art through investigation of formal, technical and conceptual issues and to increase skills in researching and creative problem solving.
  4. To introduce students in the Bachelor of Science in Art and Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree Programs to art-making in four areas of practice, including two-dimensional, three-dimensional, graphic art, and interactive art. To  broaden  student understanding  of the concepts and practices distinct to each area of discipline.
  5. To facilitate a peer community among a like-minded and diverse cohort of students.
  6. To facilitate advanced level competencies in at least one discipline for BS-Art majors and at least two disciplines for BFA majors.
  7. To develop a skill set through professional practice experience in the context of an undergraduate art curriculum.

Advising

Art Department Advising

Prospective off-campus and on-campus B.S.–Art and BFA–Art majors will meet with the undergraduate art program advisors, Julie Ganser, julie.ganser@wisc.edu, and Branden Martz, branden.martz@wisc.edu, located at 6241 Humanities Building, 455 North Park Street. Appointments can be made by calling 608-262-1660. Students are also strongly encouraged to confer with an Education Academic Services advisor on a regular basis, see below.

General School of Education Advising

All undergraduate students in the School of Education are served by three offices devoted to academic and/or career advising. Each student in the School of Education is assigned at least one advisor and is encouraged to meet with the advisor on a regular basis. Students will also be assigned a faculty or staff advisor when admitted to the professional component of their degree program. Departmental advisors provide more in-depth knowledge of the major and of courses offered by the department.

Undergraduate Advising and Academic Dean's Office—Education Academic Services (EAS)

139 Education Building, 1000 Bascom Mall; 608-262-1651
www.education.wisc.edu/soe/academics/undergraduate-students/academic-advising

Education Academic Services (EAS) is the undergraduate dean's office for students in the School of Education. Staff members interpret school regulations, policies, and program requirements; take exceptions around requirements and deadlines; advise current and prospective students; monitor students having academic difficulties; coordinate field placements; facilitate the program admissions process; and maintain the official files of students in the school.

Students should meet with an advisor during their first semester on campus (if not before) and are encouraged to meet with an advisor at least once a semester. This is particularly important during the freshman and sophomore years. Appointments may be arranged by calling or visiting the office.

EAS advisors answer questions and provide guidance to current and prospective students. They consult with and refer students to faculty members and departmental advisors. Once a student is admitted to a professional program within the School of Education, he or she will also be assigned a faculty or staff advisor. Advising then becomes a partnership, with EAS and OURR advisors continuing to help students with course selection, degree progress monitoring, academic difficulties, and interpretation of policies and procedures.

Program advisors help students select and plan a program of study in the major, negotiate issues within the department, and, in the case of certification programs, follow the students' progress through their professional courses. These divisions are flexible, and students are encouraged to consult with all advisors who can help with a situation or answer a question.

OURR: Office of Undergraduate Recruitment and Retention (Student Diversity Programs)

105 Education Building, 1000 Bascom Mall, 608-262-8427 or 608-262-1651
www.education.wisc.edu/sdp

The UW–Madison School of Education is committed to promoting equity and increasing diversity in its programs. OURR staff work collaboratively with Education Academic Services and campus and community partners to support underrepresented students interested in majors in the School of Education.

OURR staff perform outreach, recruitment, and advising on behalf of the School. OURR staff also support current students with their personal and professional growth, their transition from high school to college, financial aid, and career exploration.  

OURR works to build a network of students and graduates who may strengthen, transform, and lead their communities through education, service, and other contributions. Students are invited to visit OURR staff at 105 Education Building—stop in, or call one of the numbers listed above to set up an appointment.

School of Education Career Center

L107 Education Building, 1000 Bascom Mall, 608-262-1755
http://careercenter.education.wisc.edu/

Need assistance with any of the following? 

  • Exploring career options linked to School of Education majors
  • Seeking a major that incorporates individual passions, interests, and values that will help one reach specific career goals
  • Researching graduate schools and preparing application materials
  • Beginning a job search and learning where to start and what to do
  • Seeking assistance with developing a résumé, a cover letter, or interviewing skills
  • Networking and connecting with potential employers

The Career Center provides resources and individual consultations to assist students in reaching their career goals.  A plethora of resources can be found on the Career Center website:

  • Explore career possibilities for specific majors in Investigate Career Options. This section of the website provides tools for clarifying a student’s personal criteria for success, linking specific career options to majors, and identifying steps for career/major selection.  It includes strategies for making the most of a student’s academic and student experience.
  • Confirm major and career decisions.  Gain hands-on experience in the career field of study.  Assess the perceptions of selected career and major options for accuracy.  Develop professional and soft skills.  The Test Drive and Confirm Career Choice section provides strategies for acquiring real-world experience.
  • Preparation is critical for entering one’s next career phase.  Learn about graduate school requirements and the application process.  Develop promotional materials for employers and/or graduate schools and obtain feedback and suggestions for enhancing them.  Acquire materials that support one’s applications.  The Prepare and Connect section provides offers additional details.
  • Implement helps students plan for the future.  Attend recruiting events.  Apply for graduate school or for job opportunities.  Practice interviewing skills.  Interview.  Negotiate job and graduate school offers.

Personalized career assistance is available through individual appointments with consultants in the Career Center.  To schedule an appointment visit, http://bit.ly/CCAppt.

Informational workshops and career-related events are conducted each semester.  The schedule of these events can be found on the center’s website.

The Career Center coordinates teacher recruitment fairs each fall and spring semester and collaborates with career centers across campus to provide campus-wide career fairs at the beginning of each semester. 

Information about faculty, staff, and other contributors to the Department of Art can be found on the department's website.

Information about scholarships, academic and career advising, study abroad opportunities, student diversity services, and other resources for students in the School of Education can be found on the school's Resources page.