A series of carving tools are spread across a Woodworking studio table; students talk in the background.

The highly ranked Department of Art’s degree programs provide creative students with the critical and artistic skills needed to excel in contemporary, multidisciplinary art and design practices. The art curriculum fosters positive collaboration, the creation of innovative and technically advanced art works, and encourages the sharing of diverse points of view. 

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:

  • 4D Digital Media
  • 4D Video and Performance
  • Ceramics
  • Drawing/Painting
  • Glass/Neon
  • Graphic Design
  • Metals/Jewelry
  • Printmaking/Book Arts
  • Photography
  • Sculpture
  • Wood/Furniture

The department offers five ways to complete a degree:

Potential Careers for Artists include: creative director, content marketing manager, arts coordinator and studio manager, ceramics, glassblowing, metal fabrication, illustration, commercial or fine arts photographer, primary/secondary school art teacher, gallerist, or studio artist. Our graduates also work as community arts organizers, user experience designers, technical assistants for major film companies, jewelry designers and fabricators, book designers, museum preparator and more!

The BFA degree is often selected by students wishing to develop a refined visual art portfolio in preparation for a career as a professional artist or designer, and/or for graduate study. The B.S.-Art degree requires 45 studio art credits, while the BFA requires 72 studio art credits.

All studio art majors begin their undergraduate career in the B.S.-Art program. After completing the foundations and studio breadth coursework, and going through the proper advising steps, students can declare one of the other art programs, such as a BFA or the BFA-Graphic Design Named Option.

The Bachelor of Science in Art Education provides essential preparation for careers in art education. Graduates of the Art Ed program earn a B.S.-Art Education degree, a Wisconsin teaching license in K-12 art education, and gain the skills, knowledge, and confidence to teach the visual arts in public and private schools, at the elementary and secondary levels, and in community settings such as art museums, maker spaces and senior centers.

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. Come join us!

Program Admission Overview

Students interested in the Art–BFA degree, or Art-BFA with the Graphic Design named option, initially enroll in the Art–B.S. degree or Art-B.S. with the Graphic Design named option while completing prerequisite coursework and establishing other criteria for BFA eligibility. A portfolio review is part of the BFA selection process. Students will typically apply to the BFA program in their junior year and must have attained a minimum of junior standing. For the BFA, an application may be submitted during the semester that the required courses will be completed. For the BFA: Graphic Design named option, an application may be submitted during the semester that the required courses will be completed, with the exception of ART 102 Two-Dimensional Design and ART 107 Introduction to Digital Forms, which must be successfully completed.

Application and Admission

New freshmen and off-campus transfers are admitted directly to the Art–B.S. degree program and receive an ART classification. All art degree programs currently admit 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 Undergraduate Admissions page for updates to eligibility requirements prior to submitting an application.


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.


On-campus students interested in pursuing the BFA must first apply to the Art–B.S. degree program. A meeting with an undergraduate advisor in the Department of Art is required, and can be scheduled using Starfish, or by contacting the Department of Art at 608-262-1660. Upon successful completion of the BFA portfolio review (see details below), students will complete an application signed by an undergraduate advisor in the Department of Art to move into the BFA program.


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. Note that off-campus transfer students will be held to the UW–Madison admission GPA requirements. BFA candidates cannot transfer directly into the BFA program; instead, they will be admitted to campus as if pursing a B.S.–Art degree (ART classification) and can apply for the BFA program once enrolled on campus. Transfer students are strongly encouraged to meet with the Department of Art advisor prior to coming to campus; call 608-262-1660 to schedule an appointment. Prospective transfer students are strongly advised to meet with an advisor in the School of Education Student Services office in advance of their application; to schedule, call 608-262-1651.


Prospective applicants who already hold an undergraduate degree are strongly encouraged to meet with an advisor in the School of Education Student Services office 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.

Criteria for Admission

  • Previous Art–B.S. or Art-B.S. Graphic Design named option degree program status.
  • 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).
  • For the BFA degree and the BFA degree with the Graphic Design named option, successful completion or concurrent enrollment in the following courses:
    ART 102 Two-Dimensional Design3
    ART 104 Three-Dimensional Design3
    ART 107 Introduction to Digital Forms3
    ART 108 Foundations of Contemporary Art3
    ART 208 Current Directions in Art3
    ART 212 Drawing Methods & Concepts3
    One course from each of the following. See Requirements section for course options:
    2D Studio
    3D Studio
    4D Studio
  • For the Graphic Design named option, must have successfully completed ART 102 Two-Dimensional Design and ART 107 Introduction to Digital Forms.
  • Minimum 3.0 Art studio course GPA.
  • Portfolio review.
    • The portfolio must be submitted only after all prerequisite coursework has been completed or during the semester the courses will be completed. The portfolio must contain images of work completed in college art courses. Specific portfolio requirements will be announced prior to scheduled reviews, held near the end of the fall and/or spring semesters. Students not accepted into the BFA program will be encouraged to continue in the B.S.–Art program and will be allowed to present their portfolio for review one additional time.

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.

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 and Kinesiology have unique requirements in this category.


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.

Program Structure

The Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree program in art has four 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. BFA students are required to reach an advanced level in two studio disciplines.

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

The BFA programs require a total of 18 aesthetics credits, including four required courses. The remaining credits will be met by selecting from a list of aesthetics electives. Liberal studies coursework in fine arts and literature can also can count as aesthetics electives. Additional courses may be approved by the art department advisor.

Required Aesthetics Courses

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
History of Graphic Design and Typography 1

 If taken prior to summer, 2018, ART 438 may count toward either the aesthetics or studio requirements, but not both. Effective summer, 2018, it may only count toward the aesthetics requirement. This course is designed for students pursuing graphic design.

Aesthetics Electives

Select from the following to complete the required 18 credits. Liberal studies coursework in fine arts and literature can also double count as aesthetics electives.

Elective Courses 

AFRICAN/​FOLKLORE  210 The African Storyteller3
AFRICAN/​AFROAMER/​ANTHRO/​GEOG/​HISTORY/​POLI SCI/​SOC  277 Africa: An Introductory Survey4
AFRICAN/​ASIAN/​RELIG ST  370 Islam: Religion and Culture4
AFROAMER 151 Introduction to Contemporary Afro-American Society3
AFROAMER 155 They: Race in American Literature3
AFROAMER/​GEN&WS  222 Introduction to Black Women Writers3
AFROAMER 231 Introduction to Afro-American History3
AFROAMER/​ART HIST  241 Introduction to African Art and Architecture3
AFROAMER/​ART HIST  242 Introduction to Afro-American Art3
AFROAMER/​GEN&WS  267 Artistic/Cultural Images of Black Women3
AFROAMER/​AFRICAN/​ANTHRO/​GEOG/​HISTORY/​POLI SCI/​SOC  277 Africa: An Introductory Survey4
AFROAMER/​GEN&WS  323 Gender, Race and Class: Women in U.S. History3
AFROAMER/​HIST SCI/​MED HIST  523 Race, American Medicine and Public Health3
AFROAMER 631 Colloquium in Afro-American History3
AFROAMER/​ENGL  672 Selected Topics in Afro-American Literature3
AFROAMER 673 Selected Topics in Afro-American Society3
ANTHRO 102 Archaeology and the Prehistoric World3
ANTHRO 104 Cultural Anthropology and Human Diversity3
ANTHRO/​AFRICAN/​AFROAMER/​GEOG/​HISTORY/​POLI SCI/​SOC  277 Africa: An Introductory Survey4
ANTHRO 300 Cultural Anthropology: Theory and Ethnography3
ANTHRO/​AMER IND  314 Indians of North America3
ANTHRO 321 The Emergence of Human Culture3
ANTHRO 391 Bones for the Archaeologist3
ANTHRO 424 Historical Anthropology3
ANTHRO/​LINGUIS  430 Language and Culture3-4
ART 236 Bascom Course3
All Art History courses
ASIAN AM 101 Introduction to Asian American Studies3
ASIAN AM/​SOC  220 Ethnic Movements in the United States3-4
ASIAN AM/​ENGL  270 A Survey of Asian American Literature3
CLASSICS 322 The Romans3
COM ARTS 250 Survey of Contemporary Media3
COM ARTS 260 Communication and Human Behavior3
COM ARTS 350 Introduction to Film3
COM ARTS 351 Television Industries3
COM ARTS 352 Film History to 19603
COM ARTS 354 Film Genres3
COM ARTS 355 Introduction to Media Production4
COM ARTS 357 History of the Animated Film3
COM ARTS 358 History of Documentary Film3
COM ARTS 450 Cultural History of Broadcasting3
COM ARTS 454 Critical Film Analysis3
COMP LIT 201 Introduction to Pre-Modern Literatures/Impact on the Modern World3
COMP LIT 202 Introduction to Modern and Contemporary Literature3
COMP LIT 203 Introduction to Cross-Cultural Literary Forms3
COMP LIT 990 Research and Thesis1-12
DANCE 255 Movement Composition for the Performing and Visual Arts2
DANCE 265 Dance History I: Dance in the Modern Era3
ENGL 207 Introduction to Creative Writing: Fiction and Poetry Workshop3
ENGL 219 Shakespearean Drama3
ENGL 236 Bascom Course3
ENGL/​ASIAN AM  270 A Survey of Asian American Literature3
ENGL/​HISTORY/​RELIG ST  360 The Anglo-Saxons3
ENGL 417 History of the English Language3
DS 221 Person and Environment Interactions3
DS 355 History of Fashion, 1400-Present3
DS 421 History of Architecture and Interiors I: Antiquity through 18th Century3
DS 422 History of Architecture & Interiors II: 19th and 20th Centuries3
FOLKLORE 100 Introduction to Folklore3
FOLKLORE/​MUSIC  103 Introduction to Music Cultures of the World3
FOLKLORE/​AFRICAN  210 The African Storyteller3
FOLKLORE 220 The Folk Tale3
FOLKLORE 230 Introduction to American Folklore3
FOLKLORE 320 Folklore of Wisconsin3
FOLKLORE/​SLAVIC  444 Slavic and East European Folklore3
FOLKLORE 460 Folk Epics3
GEN&WS 101 Gender, Women, and Cultural Representation3
GEN&WS 102 Gender, Women, and Society in Global Perspective3
GEN&WS/​AFROAMER  222 Introduction to Black Women Writers3
HISTORY 101 Amer Hist to the Civil War Era, the Origin & Growth of the U S4
HISTORY 102 American History, Civil War Era to the Present4
HISTORY/​CLASSICS  110 The Ancient Mediterranean4
HISTORY 115 Medieval Europe 410-15004
HISTORY 119 Europe and the World, 1400-18154
HISTORY 120 Europe and the Modern World 1815 to the Present4
HISTORY 142 History of South Asia to the Present3-4
HISTORY 200 Historical Studies3
HISTORY 201 The Historian's Craft3-4
HISTORY/​INTL ST/​LACIS  242 Modern Latin America4
HISTORY/​ASIAN/​GEOG/​POLI SCI/​SOC  244 Introduction to Southeast Asia: Vietnam to the Philippines4
HISTORY/​GEOG/​POLI SCI/​SLAVIC  253 Russia: An Interdisciplinary Survey4
HISTORY/​AFRICAN/​AFROAMER/​ANTHRO/​GEOG/​POLI SCI/​SOC  277 Africa: An Introductory Survey4
HISTORY 302 History of American Thought, 1859 to the Present3-4
HISTORY 303 A History of Greek Civilization3-4
HISTORY/​MEDIEVAL/​RELIG ST  309 The Crusades: Christianity and Islam3-4
HISTORY 336 Chinese Economic and Business History: From Silk to iPhones3-4
HISTORY/​ASIAN  341 History of Modern China, 1800-19493-4
HISTORY 344 The Age of the American Revolution, 1763-17893-4
HISTORY 351 Seventeenth-Century Europe3-4
HISTORY/​GEN&WS  353 Women and Gender in the U.S. to 18703-4
HISTORY 359 History of Europe Since 19453-4
HISTORY 361 The Emergence of Mod Britain: England 1485-16603-4
HISTORY/​ED POL  412 History of American Education3
HISTORY 418 History of Russia3-4
HISTORY 425 History of Poland and the Baltic Area3-4
HISTORY 434 American Foreign Relations, 1901 to the Present3-4
HISTORY/​CHICLA  435 Colony, Nation, and Minority: The Puerto Ricans' World3
HISTORY 438 3-4
HISTORY/​ECON  466 The American Economy Since 18653-4
HISTORY 500 Reading Seminar in History3
HISTORY/​HIST SCI/​MED HIST  508 Health, Disease and Healing II3-4
HISTORY/​JOURN  560 History of U.S. Media4
HISTORY 600 Advanced Seminar in History3
HISTORY 680 Honors Thesis Colloquium2
HISTORY 681 Senior Honors Thesis1-3
HISTORY 682 Senior Honors Thesis1-3
HISTORY 690 Thesis Colloquium2
HISTORY 691 Senior Thesis1-3
HISTORY 692 Senior Thesis1-3
ILS 201 Western Culture: Science, Technology, Philosophy I3
ILS 202 Western Culture: Science, Technology, Philosophy II3
ILS 204 Western Culture: Literature and the Arts II3-4
ILS 205 Western Culture: Political, Economic, and Social Thought I3
ILS 206 Western Culture: Political, Economic, and Social Thought II3
ILS 251 Contemporary Physical Sciences3
LINGUIS 101 Human Language3
LITTRANS 202 Survey of 19th and 20th Century Russian Literature in Translation II3
LITTRANS/​ENGL  223 Vladimir Nabokov: Russian and American Writings3
LITTRANS 234 Soviet Life and Culture Through Literature and Art (from 1917)3-4
LITTRANS 236 Bascom Course-In Translation3
LITTRANS 240 Soviet Literature in Translation3-4
LITTRANS/​MEDIEVAL/​RELIG ST  253 Of Demons and Angels. Dante's Divine Comedy3
LITTRANS 262 Survey of Chinese Literature in Translation3
LITTRANS 264 Survey of Japanese Literature in Translation3
LITTRANS 274 In Translation: Masterpieces of Scandinavian Literature-the 20th Century3-4
LITTRANS 275 In Translation: The Tales of Hans Christian Andersen3-4
LITTRANS/​GERMAN  276 Special Topics in German and World Literature/s3
LITTRANS/​GERMAN/​JEWISH  279 Yiddish Literature and Culture in America3
LITTRANS/​THEATRE  335 In Translation: The Drama of Henrik Ibsen3-4
LITTRANS 410 In Translation: Special Topics in Italian Literature3
LITTRANS 473 Polish Literature (in Translation) since 18633
JEWISH/​GERMAN/​LITTRANS  279 Yiddish Literature and Culture in America3
JEWISH/​HEBR-MOD  301 Introduction to Hebrew Literature3
JOURN 201 Introduction to Mass Communication4
JOURN/​HISTORY  560 History of U.S. Media4
JOURN 561 Mass Communication and Society4
MEDIEVAL/​HISTORY/​RELIG ST  309 The Crusades: Christianity and Islam3-4
MEDIEVAL/​HIST SCI  322 Ancient and Medieval Science3
MEDIEVAL/​SCAND ST  408 Intermediate Old Norse3
MEDIEVAL/​GERMAN  651 Introduction to Middle High German3
MUSIC 101 The Musical Experience3
MUSIC/​FOLKLORE  103 Introduction to Music Cultures of the World3
MUSIC 105 Storytelling on Stage: Introduction to Musical Theater and Opera3
MUSIC 106 The Symphony3
MUSIC 113 Music in Performance1
MUSIC 211 Survey of the History of Western Music3
PHILOS 101 Introduction to Philosophy3-4
PHILOS 201 Introduction to Philosophy for Juniors and Seniors3-4
PHILOS 341 Contemporary Moral Issues3-4
PHILOS 430 History of Ancient Philosophy3-4
PHILOS 432 History of Modern Philosophy3-4
PHILOS 553 Aesthetics3
PHYSICS 109 Physics in the Arts3
RELIG ST 361 Early Christian Literature: Pauline Christianity3
RELIG ST/​AFRICAN/​ASIAN  370 Islam: Religion and Culture4
RELIG ST/​ASIAN  444 Introduction to Sufism (Islamic Mysticism)3
SOC 125 American Society: How It Really Works3-4
THEATRE 327 History of Costume for the Stage3

Major Requirements

The requirements listed here are effective for students admitted to the Art or BFA 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.

Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) Program: Complete a minimum of 72 studio credits, including the specific coursework below. The BFA degree requires 126 total credits. Admission to the BFA program requires the completion of (or concurrent enrollment in) ART 102, ART 104, ART 107, ART 108, ART 208, ART 212, and one course in each of the 2D, 3D, 4D and graphics areas. Students must have a 3.0 GPA in their studio coursework to be considered for the BFA program and have attained a minimum of sophomore standing. Successful participation in a portfolio review is also part of the selection process. Application may be made during the semester that the required courses will be completed. See How to Get In for details about the application process.

Major residency requirement. The BFA program requires that at least 36 credits of major studio coursework be completed in residence at UW–Madison.

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 at least once and complete a 500-level or 600-level art studio course in at least two disciplines. BFA candidates are required to participate in an exhibit and concurrently enroll in a capstone course.

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


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 Photography4
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 two disciplines. ART 508, ART 608, and ART 699 will not fulfill this requirement.

Exhibit Participation

BFA students must participate at least once in the department-sponsored exhibit, held in the spring semester. Requires concurrent enrollment in the professional practices/capstone course.

Professional Practices/Capstone Course

BFA students must enroll in this course during the required semester of participation in the department-sponsored exhibit. Currently, offered as ART 448 section 10; a unique course number will be forthcoming.

Elective Studio Courses

Select elective studio courses to reach the minimum of 72 credits.

Areas of Concentration

Although a specific emphasis is not required, students may wish to develop an area of interest within the requirements of the BFA program. Concentrations in multi-media, 2D studio, 3D studio, and printmaking are some of the available tracks listed on the art department's website. Students wishing to concentrate in graphic design should declare the Graphic Design Named Option when eligible.

GPA and Other Graduation Requirements

Graduation Requirements

These 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: 3.0 cumulative grade point average in all major studio coursework.
  • Upper-level major coursework: 3.0 cumulative grade point average in all upper-level major coursework (Art courses numbered 214 and above, excluding ART 236 Bascom Course and ART 338 Service Learning in Art).
  • Major Residency: Students must complete at least 36 major credits while enrolled 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 126 credits are required for graduation in the Art–BFA degree program.

Degree Audit (DARS)

UW–Madison uses “DARS” to document a student's progress toward the completion of their degree, including any additional majors and certificates. A DARS (Degree Audit Reporting System) report shows all the requirements for completing a degree and, against courses that are planned or completed, shows the requirements that have been met, and those that are unmet. A report can offer suggestions about courses that may be taken to meet specific requirements and can assist in the academic planning and enrollment process. Students can access a DARS report in the Course Search & Enroll app or Student Center via My UW.

DARS also has a "what-if" function. This feature makes it possible to request a DARS report as if pursuing another program, major or certificate. 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), or Pre-Kinesiology should request a "what if" DARS report of their professional program of interest.

More information on how to request a DARS report is available on the registrar’s website.

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 used as the document of record for degree program, major and certificate completion 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.
  1. Learn the fundamentals of art and design through investigation of form, technology and concept within a cohort of like-minded and diverse artists and designers.
  2. Develop skills in research, creative problem solving, and professional practices.
  3. Expand knowledge of historical, thematic, critical, and theoretical issues as a means of strengthening verbal and visual vocabulary.
  4. Demonstrate a broad understanding of distinct concepts and practices in two-dimensional media, three-dimensional media, four-dimensional media, printmaking, photography, or graphic design media.
  5. Demonstrate competency at an advanced level in at least two disciplines of student's choice. (Graphic design named options: one of the two disciplines must be in graphic design.)

 Bachelor of Fine Arts: Art - Sample Four-Year Plan

This four-year sample graduation plan is designed to guide your course selection throughout your academic career; it does not establish a contractual agreement. Use it along with your DARS report, the Guide, and the Course Search and Enroll app to create a four-year plan reflecting your placement scores, incoming credits, and individual interests. Consult with your academic advisor(s) to develop a personalized plan of study and refer to the Guide for a complete list of requirements. You will likely revise your plan several times during your academic career here, based on your activities and changing academic interests.

A minimum of 126 credits are required. Six credits of liberal studies course work must be aesthetics-related and will count toward both liberal studies and aesthetics requirements.

Communication A (fall or spring)3Communication A (fall or spring)3
ART 1083ART 2083
ART 1023ART 1043
ART 2123ART 1073
ART 5081Additional Studio Elective (ART 508 recommended)1
Liberal Studies course work2-5Liberal Studies course work2-5
 15 15
Aesthetics Elective4Aesthetics Elective4
Two Art Studio Breadth courses from 2D, 3D, 4D or GR categories8Two Art Studio Breadth courses from 2D, 3D, 4D or GR categories8
Additional Studio Elective (ART 508 recommended)1Communication B3
Quantitative Reasoning A3Liberal Studies course work3
 16 18
BFA Application Art Studio Elective course work8
Art Studio Elective course work12Quantitative Reasoning B3
Liberal Studies course work4Ethnic Studies3
 Liberal Studies course work3
 16 17
Area 1 Advanced Studio Elective4Participate in BFA Group Exhibition
Studio Elective course work8Capstone Professional Practice Course2
Additional Studio Elective (ART 508 recommended)1Area 2 Advanced Studio Elective4
Liberal Studies course work3Additional Studio Electives2
 Liberal Studies course work5
 16 13
Total Credits 126

Art Department Advising

Students declared in the B.S.–Art or BFA–Art major (including graphic design named options), as well as potential transfers into art, will meet with Undergraduate Art Program Advisor Matthew Mauk, mmauk@wisc.edu, or through artadvising@education.wisc.edu

Prospective freshmen and art studio/graphic design certificate students will meet with Prospective Student and Certificate Advisor Mercedes Brandt, mercedes.brandt@wisc.edu, or through artadvising@education.wisc.edu

Advisors are located at 6241 Humanities Building, 455 North Park Street.

Current Art majors can schedule an appointment with Matthew online through the Starfish app in MyUW. Certificate students can also use the Starfish app to schedule an appointment with Mercedes. Appointments can also be made via email or, by calling 608-262-1660. Students are also strongly encouraged to confer with an advisor in the School of Education Student Services office on a regular basis, see below.

School of Education Advising

Academic Advising in the School of Education

Dedicated to supporting and promoting student success, Academic Advisors are here to assist students with the adjustment to college, understanding their degree and career goals, and connecting them to resources. Advisors support prospective and current School of Education students in all programs through:

  • course selection
  • mentoring and advocacy for underrepresented and international students
  • understanding degree requirements and progression
  • interpreting academic policies
  • helping students recognize their strengths and suggesting ways to expand their skills
  • expanding learning through activities such as study abroad, volunteering/work/internship, and by assuming leadership roles

To schedule an appointment: Current students can schedule an appointment online through the Starfish app in MyUW. Appointments can also be made through email at studentservices@education.wisc.edu, by calling 608-262-1651, or in person.

Career Advising in the School of Education

The School of Education Career Center provides students with the knowledge needed for connecting their classroom experiences with real-world application to develop skills needed to navigate the ever-changing world of work. Through individual appointments, events, courses, and online resources, the Career Center provides students and alumni with the tools needed to be successful in their career development. 

Career and Internship Advisors are prepared to help students with:

  • Exploration of career and academic pathways
  • Resumes
  • Cover letters
  • Job/Internship search
  • Interview preparation
  • Mock interviews
  • Graduate school search, applications and decisions
  • Negotiating job or internship offers
  • Professional networking
  • Connecting with employers

Students are encouraged to meet with their Career and Internship Advisor early in their college experience to take full advantage of the resources and support available.

To make an appointment: log into Starfish from the MyUW dashboard.

For more information, visit the School of Education Career Center website or reach out at career-center@education.wisc.edu.

Potential careers for Art majors include: animation, ceramics, glassblowing, metal fabrication, graphic and multimedia design, illustration, videography, photography, teaching, and gallery art. Our graduates also work as community arts organizers, user experience designers, medical imagists, technical assistants for major film companies, jewelry designers and fabricators, book designers, and more.

Students develop important skills that employers look for, including:

  • Diverse forms of communication, personal expression and connection
  • Collaboration
  • Creative problem solving
  • Adaptability, agility, and the ability to learn new skills quickly
  • Resilience
  • Passion for their craft
  • Empathy

Applied experiences, including paid internships, apprenticeship programs, career treks, and professional networking events, are available to UW Art students.

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

The Wisconsin Experience

UW–Madison’s vision for the total student experience, the Wisconsin Experience, combines learning in and out of the classroom. Tied to the Wisconsin Idea and steeped in long-standing institutional values—the commitment to the truth, shared participation in decision-making, and service to local and global communities—the Wisconsin Experience describes how students develop and integrate these core values across their educational experience.

UW–Madison encourages students to mindfully engage in four core concepts throughout their time on campus: Empathy & Humility, Relentless Curiosity, Intellectual Confidence, and Purposeful Action.

Since its inception the School of Education has embraced the concepts of the Wisconsin Experience, providing opportunities for students to learn in venues beyond the traditional classroom. Our students also independently seek out related activities and experiences, thus creating their own unique Wisconsin Experience.

Art and the Wisconsin Experience

The UW-Madison Art department provides a wide range of opportunities for students on campus and beyond. Available resources include courses that connect with the community, job opportunities, the chance to show work, and the ability to manage campus student organizations. 

Visiting Artists - The Art department is unique in its ability to bring in weekly visiting artists through the Art Colloquium series. A professional national or international artist comes to campus to provide an artist’s talk, studio visits, and general conversation about artmaking with students. Individual courses often bring in visiting artists throughout the semester to provide workshops on unique techniques from those who specialize in particular processes.

Career Advising and Internships - The School of Education Career Center has a designated advisor for art students who can provide connections with hourly campus employment, internships, and career options after graduation. The Art department offers courses that focus on internships in the arts and many studios hire hourly workers who learn the basics of maintaining an artist’s studio space. The BFA capstone course also provides detailed instruction in writing a resume, cover letter, grant proposals, and residency applications.

Student Organizations - Student organizations are an excellent opportunity for art majors to establish connections with working artists, host workshops for the community, and to raise funds for travel. Fresh Hot Press (printmaking), AIGA (graphic design), Mad Gaffers (glassblowing), and Art for Change (activism) are just a few of the art-related options.  Student organizations are led by undergraduates and graduate students, with several using fundraising throughout the year to attend national conferences. Overall, there are multiple ways for undergraduates to refine their professional and technical skills in relation to their future career goals in the arts through student organizations.

Exhibiting Artwork - It is important for any artist to consistently show their work, and the Art Department does its part to provide this professional development to our students. Undergraduates have the opportunity to reserve one of our three large-scale galleries to install their work for documentation and submission of future exhibitions. Students also work with faculty to submit their pieces into galleries throughout Madison, Milwaukee, and nationally. The Art Department works with students in many ways to help promote their work and develop the skills necessary to establish a thriving career in the world of art.


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.