Degree Programs

Image of a students personal workspace in the Art & Visual Studies BuildingWith thirty-three full-time faculty and many highly skilled part-time support faculty the School of Art and Visual Studies offers a broad visual arts curriculum.

Art Education

Degrees Offered – B.A. and M.A.

Art Education provides students with a strong foundation in art studio and art history, along with theory and practice of art education. Graduates with B.A. degrees are prepared for careers in public school art teaching K through 12. SA/VS also offers a Master of Arts (M.A.) in Art Education, leading to a Rank I or Rank II certification depending on whether the student entered with initial certification or Rank II. We provide in-service training, professional development, and consultation services to the schools of Fayette County and the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Art History & Visual Studies: Art History

Degrees Offered – B.A. and M.A. 

This option focuses on the development of the visual arts, particularly on the histories of “high” or “fine” art within a broad liberal arts tradition. Students study artistic images, objects, and events representing diverse cultures within a global context. The program puts strong emphasis on the acquisition of skills in written and oral communication, foreign language comprehension, critical reading, and problem solving, all leading to the pursuit of independent scholarship in art history. These are skills useful for virtually any career path, but specifically, this option prepares majors to pursue post-graduate studies in art history and related humanistic disciplines, leading to careers in academia, arts administration, visual resources management, museum professions, and similar fields.

Art History & Visual Studies: Visual Studies

Degrees Offered – B.A. and M.A.

Ours is a visual culture. Workplaces today are visually saturated environments, our dominant pastimes are visual media (films, television, video, the internet, etc.); knowledge is commonly communicated visually. Visual Studies teach critical viewing to prepare us for the visually complex milieu of the 21st Century. This option offers majors a broad interdisciplinary selection of courses and methodologies from the arts, design, humanities, social sciences, and sciences to study the uses to which people put the visual and the place of the visual within the context of diverse cultures and within a global context. Students who choose this option could pursue further training leading to careers in visual resource management, law, journalism, or may pursue graduate work in visual studies, cultural studies, film studies, and art history.

Image of a curated exhibition displayed in the Bolivar Art Gallery of the School of Art and Visual Studies Building.Art History & Visual Studies: Curatorial Studies

Degrees Offered - M.F.A.

The M.F.A. in Curatorial Studies prepares students for careers in the expanding field of curatorial practice. As the first three-year hybrid M.F.A. in Curatorial Studies in the United States, this practice-based terminal degree uniquely equips graduates for positions in a wide variety of arts organizations, as well as teaching positions at the college level. Through internships, online courses, and residential seminars, students gain practical experience in exhibition development and design, art event planning, catalogue design and writing, fundraising, grant writing, conducting studio visits, promotion and marketing, community-based programming, and similar activities related to careers in visual arts organizations.

With courses in art history, art studio, art education, and arts administration, among others, the M.F.A. offers a dynamic interdisciplinary degree that prepares graduates to be highly competitive in a diverse job market.

Art Studio

Degrees Offered – B.A., B.F.A., and M.F.A.

Students wishing to major in the studio arts can choose from two undergraduate degrees. The Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) is for those who wish to create a broad foundation based on the tradition of the liberal arts, suitable for many different career paths, not just those in the visual arts. The Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) offers a more specialized curriculum, which is especially useful for those students seeking specific careers as professional artists, designers, and for graduate studies in the visual arts. Students may choose to specialize in one or more of the following areas:

  • Ceramics
  • Drawing
  • Fiber
  • New Media
  • Painting
  • Photography
  • Sculpture

Image of recently dyed items hanging in the fiber studio to dryB.A. Art Studio

The studio B.A. connects the specific study of artistic media to the University’s rich academic environment. Before graduation, students in the B.A. program exhibit their work in a group show in SA/VS’ Bolivar Art Gallery.

B.F.A. Art Studio

The B.F.A. is a pre-professional degree that permits students to specialize in one or more of several areas of study supported by the department. Students are accepted into the B.F.A. program by portfolio examination, a review that takes place after the student has completed the required foundation sequence (usually after the second year of study). This program culminates in a solo show.

M.F.A. Art Studio

The Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) degree in Art Studio is the three-year terminal degree for studio artists and the required faculty credential for most institutions of higher learning. In addition to being fully qualified to teach at the college-level, M.F.A. graduates will possess the skills to pursue careers in commercial venues or as full-time practicing fine artists. Students enrolled in the M.F.A. are encouraged to explore inter-disciplinary and cross-disciplinary mediums or concentrate upon a single media dependent upon the direction of their research.

Digital Media Design

Degree Offered – B.S.

In today’s fast-paced digital environment, you can be pulled along by external forces, or you can actively shape your experience. Our B.S. in Digital Media Design combines fundamentals of production skills in video, photography, design, and programming with the ability to understand and analyze how these skills transform our culture. Students get hands-on training in photography (camera work, lighting, large format printing, post-production), video (storyboarding, short film creation, color grading, editing), digital fabrication (3D printers, CNC, laser cutting), programming for the web and IOT (client-side and server side programming, connecting to sensors in the physical world), graphics (from layout design to illustration), among many other skill sets. This combination of technology and creativity helps students find their own aesthetic voice, preparing them for success in the fields of communication and culture creation.

Minors in Art History & Visual Studies, Art Studio, Photography, and Digital Media Design

Students from any college may choose to minor in one of the three Art Studio minors (Art Studio, Photography, and Digital Media Design), or Art History and Visual Studies. For Art Studio, they may choose between a broad-based introduction to studio arts or a more focused concentration in a specific medium such as ceramics, drawing, intermedia, fiber, painting, printmaking, or sculpture. To earn a minor in Art Studio, students must complete 20 hours.  

For Art History and Visual Studies, students must complete 21 hours. Visual Studies is a more broadly based curriculum than is covered by Art History, reaching more fully into everyday life to deal with all aspects of culture that communicate through visual means. This minor offers students a broad interdisciplinary selection of courses and methodologies from the arts, design, humanities, social sciences, and sciences within a global context.