The Department of Art’s 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 community arts organizers, user experience designers, medical imagists, technical assistants for major film companies, jewelry designers and fabricators, book designers, 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 Department of Art 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 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 five ways to complete a degree:
- The Bachelor of Science in Art degree
- The Bachelor of Science in Art degree with Graphic Design option
- The Bachelor of Fine Arts degree
- The Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with Graphic Design option
- The Bachelor of Science in Art Education degree
The Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree differs from the B.S.–Art degree by requiring a larger number of studio and aesthetic courses. 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 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 Undergraduate Admissions page for 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. Students planning on declaring the Art-B.S.: Graphic Design named option should first declare Art-B.S. The successful completion of ART 102 Two-Dimensional Design and ART 107 Introduction to Digital Forms is required to declare the named option. 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 pursuing 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 advisor in the School of Education Student Services office 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 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.
Application and Admission
On-campus students should contact an undergraduate advisor in the Department of Art to discuss their interest in pursuing the Art–B.S. degree program. This meeting is required and can be scheduled using Starfish, or by contacting the Department of Art at 608-262-1660. An application to the Art–B.S. degree program will be completed after this meeting.
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).
- If applying for named option in Graphic Design, successful completion of ART 102 Two-Dimensional Design and ART 107 Introduction to Digital Forms.
- 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
- School of Education Liberal Studies Requirements
- Program Structure
- Art Foundations Program
- Aesthetics Requirements
- Major Requirements
- Elective Coursework
- GPA and other Graduation Requirements
- University Degree Requirements
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|| |
* 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:
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
|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|
|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.
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 Design||3|
|ART 104||Three-Dimensional Design||3|
|ART 107||Introduction to Digital Forms||3|
|ART 212||Drawing Methods & Concepts||3|
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 one discipline.
Select one of the following:
|ART 222||Introduction to Painting||3-4|
|ART 232||Life Drawing I||4|
|ART 242||Watercolor I||3-4|
|ART 312||Intermediate Drawing I||3-4|
Select one of the following:
|ART 214||Sculpture I||4|
|ART 224||Ceramics I||4|
|ART 244||Art Metal I||3-4|
|ART 334||Wood Working||3-4|
|ART 343||Metal Fabrication and Welding in Sculpture||3-4|
Select one of the following:
|ART 309||Digital Art and Code||4|
|ART 318||Introduction to Video, Performance & Installation Art||4|
|ART 338||Service Learning in Art||2|
|ART 409||Digital Fabrication Studio||4|
|ART 428||Digital Imaging Studio||4|
|ART 429||3D Digital Studio I||4|
|ART 470||Special Topics in 4D Art||3-4|
|ART 521||Installations and Environments||4|
|ART 531||Screen Performance||3-4|
Select one of the following:
|ART 306||Relief Printmaking||3-4|
|ART 346||Basic Graphic Design||4|
|ART 348||Introduction to Digital Printmaking||4|
|ART 446||Artists' Books||4|
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
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 multi-media, 2D studio, 3D studio, and printmaking are just some of the concentrations listed on the art department's website. Students wishing to concentrate in graphic design should declare the Graphic Design Named Option when eligible..
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 advisor in the School of Education Student Services office. Students may be referred to the associate dean for additional consultation and approvals.
GPA and other 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 and ART 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)
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.|
- 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.
- Develop skills in research, creative problem solving, and professional practices.
- Expand knowledge of historical, thematic, critical, and theoretical issues as a means of strengthening verbal and visual vocabulary.
- Demonstrate a broad understanding of distinct concepts and practices in two-dimensional media, three-dimensional media, four-dimensional media, and in a choice of printmaking, photography, or graphic design media.
- Demonstrate competency at an advanced level in at least one discipline of student's choice. (Graphic design named option: Generate advanced level competency in graphic design.)
Bachelor of Science in 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.
|Communication A (fall or spring)||3||Communication A (fall or spring)||3|
|ART 108||3||ART 208||3|
|ART 102||3||ART 104||3|
|ART 212||3||ART 107||3|
|ART 508||1||ART 508 (recommended)||1|
|Liberal Studies course work||2-5||Liberal Studies course work||2-5|
|Aesthetics Elective||3-4||Aesthetics Elective||3-4|
|Two Art Studio Breadth courses from 2D, 3D, 4D or GR categories||8||Art Studio Breadth course from 2D, 3D, 4D or GR categories||4|
|Quantitative Reasoning A||3||Communication B||3|
|Liberal Studies or General Elective course work||4-6|
|Art Studio Breadth course from 2D, 3D, 4D or GR categories||4||Art Studio Elective course work||4|
|Art Studio Elective course work||4||Quantitative Reasoning B||3|
|Ethnic Studies||3||Liberal Studies or General Elective course work||8|
|Liberal Studies or General Elective course work||4|
|Studio Elective course work||3-4||Advanced Studio Elective||4|
|Liberal Studies, Studio or General Elective course work1||11-12||Liberal Studies, Studio or General Elective course work||11|
|Total Credits 120|
At least 62 “non-studio” credits must be taken to complete the B.S. Art degree. Aesthetics courses are considered to be non-studio. No more than 58 studio credits can be applied toward the 120 credits.
Art Department Advising
Prospective freshmen and art/design certificate students will meet with undergraduate art program advisor Matthew Mauk, email@example.com. Students declared in the B.S.–Art or BFA–Art major, as well as potential transfers into art, will meet with undergraduate art program advisor Julie Ganser, firstname.lastname@example.org. Both advisors are located at 6241 Humanities Building, 455 North Park Street. Appointments can be made by calling 608-262-1660; current students can schedule an appointment online through the Starfish app in MyUW. Students are also strongly encouraged to confer with an advisor in the School of Education Student Services office on a regular basis, see below.
General School of Education Advising
Dedicated to supporting and promoting student success, the School of Education Student Services office coordinates a number of student-related services for prospective and current School of Education students in all programs. Student Services staff offer support in academic advising, career advising, mentoring and advocacy for underrepresented and international students, requirements monitoring, interpreting academic policy, and more. Students in the School of Education are encouraged to make Student Services a vital part of their academic and employment journey.
To schedule and appointment: Call 608-262-2651 or stop by 139 Education Building. Current students can schedule an appointment online through the Starfish app in MyUW.
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.
Accreditation status: Accredited. Next accreditation review: 2025-2026.