Arts Major: Studio Art Option (B.A.)

Arts Major: Studio Art Option (B.A.)
studio art student sculpting with clay

What is studio art?

Immerse yourself in the fine arts through the studio art major at UNH. You’ll have the opportunity to develop your skills practicing two- and three-dimensional art forms that range from drawing, painting and photography to ceramics, sculpture and furniture design. You’ll gain a wide breadth of studio experience while also studying art history, writing and language to build a solid foundation in the liberal arts. With a degree in studio art, you’ll be prepared for careers in the arts or further study in graduate programs as varied as architecture, business and law.

Why study studio art at UNH?

With the UNH Museum of Art and Paul Creative Arts Center right on campus, the culturally rich community of Portsmouth just minutes away, and the fine art museums of Boston within an hour’s drive, you’ll be surrounded by dynamic art events and exhibits. You’ll meet and learn from artists and historians from around the world through our Visiting Artists & Art Historians program. A double major in studio art and art history also is available.

Potential careers

  • Art teacher
  • Commercial artist
  • Designer
  • Gallery director
  • Illustrator
  • Museum director
  • Photographer
  • Professional artist
  • Visual resource librarian
  • headshot
    Studio Art Major
    As an art major, Kaitlyn Grant ’20 of Somersworth, New Hampshire, is, in some ways, learning the same things over and over — but not out of redundancy. Instead it’s part of an arts education that allows students to hone their skills and develop their personal style. It’s why art students can sometimes take the same course twice — where one professor focuses on composition and light one…
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  • headshot
    Studio Art Major | Art Instructor and Artist
    Describe what you are currently doing for work and how you got to this point. I teach art at Phillips Exeter Academy, where I have been an instructor in painting, printmaking and photography. I have been working there for almost 20 years. Prior to that, I worked at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston in the Design Department, which was my first job after graduating from UNH. I designed signage and banners before computers were used, which was very related to the hands-on project oriented major that I had just completed and fulfilled my desire to pursue graphic design in an art-centered institution.
    Learn More
  • Steve with tortoise
    Studio Art Major | Self-Employed Artist
    Matt's recent trip to Madagascar has inspired him to create artwork featuring the endangered radiated tortoise.
    Learn More

Curriculum & Requirements

The B.A. in art - studio art option provides a strong fine arts education and solid foundation that prepares students for a life in the arts, whether it be as a professional or commercial artist, a teacher, an architect, a designer or a museum director. We offer courses in painting, drawing, photography (both digital and wet lab techniques), printmaking, sculpture (all media: steel, aluminum, bronze casting, clay, and wood), furniture design and fabrication, ceramics and design.  A degree in studio art provides a foundation for diverse professional achievement.

Degree Requirements

Minimum Credit Requirement: 128 credits
Minimum Residency Requirement: 32 credits must be taken at UNH
Minimum GPA: 2.0 required for conferral*
Core Curriculum Required: Discovery & Writing Program Requirements
Foreign Language Requirement: Yes

All Major, Option and Elective Requirements as indicated.
*Major GPA requirements as indicated.

Major Requirements

Students selecting to work toward a bachelor of arts degree in studio art must complete a minimum of 14 courses (56 credits), with a minimum grade of C in each course. The following courses are required:

Core Foundation (3 courses)12
ARTS 510
Principles of Design
ARTS 532
Introductory Drawing
ARTS 567
Introductory Sculpture
Core Supplemental (3 courses)12
One additional 500/600-level 2D:
ARTS 536
Introduction Printmaking: Intaglio
ARTS 546
Painting Design I: Perceptual Painting and Color Theory
ARTS 632
Intermediate Drawing
ARTS 633
Life Drawing
One additional 500-level 3D:
ARTS 501
Introductory Ceramics
ARTS 525
Introductory Woodworking
One 500-level Photography:
ARTS 551
Introduction to Darkroom Photography
ARTS 552
Introductory Digital Photography
4 Studio courses in a concentration at 500-600-700 level (see concentration courses below)16
1 Studio Electives course (Jterm or summer course may be used):4
Select from ARTS 501, ARTS 525, ARTS 536, ARTS 546, ARTS 551, ARTS 552, ARTS 596, ARTS 598, ARTS 601, ARTS 610, ARTS 611, ARTS 612, ARTS 613, ARTS 614, ARTS 625, ARTS 632, ARTS 633, ARTS 636, ARTS 646, ARTS 651, ARTS 667, ARTS 696, ARTS 732, ARTS 746, ARTS 791, ARTS 792, ARTS 796
Core Art History (3 courses)12
ARTH 480
Introduction to Art History
or ARTH 474
Introduction to Architectural History
Two 600-level or above art history courses:
Select from ARTH 654, ARTH 655, ARTH 656, ARTH 674, ARTH 675, ARTH 677, ARTH 678, ARTH 679, ARTH 680, ARTH 681, ARTH 682, ARTH 684, ARTH 685, ARTH 686, ARTH 688, ARTH 689, ARTH 693, ARTH 694, ARTH 695, ARTH 697, ARTH 795
Total Credits56

Concentration Courses (4 courses)

Minimum of three 600-700 level studio courses. No more than one of the following: a 500-level studio course (select from ARTS 501, ARTS 525ARTS 536, ARTS 546, ARTS 551, ARTS 552, ARTS 596), ARTS 598 An Artist's Life, a 600-700 level art history (see selection of courses in art history requirement above), or ARTS 600 Internship in Studio Art (with approval). Jterm and summer online courses cannot be used.

ARTS 601
Ceramics Workshop (may be repeated)
ARTS 610
Principles of Typography
ARTS 611
Animation and Motion Design
ARTS 612
Interaction & Game Design
ARTS 613
Design and Place
ARTS 614
Design and People
ARTS 625
Wood/Furniture Design Workshop (may be repeated)
ARTS 632
Intermediate Drawing
ARTS 633
Life Drawing
ARTS 636
Printmaking Workshop (may be repeated)
ARTS 646
Painting Design II: Perceptual Painting and the Individual Artist's Vision (may be repeated, must be taken twice before advancing to 746)
ARTS 651
Photography Workshop (may be repeated)
ARTS 667
Sculpture Workshop (may be repeated)
ARTS 732
Advanced Drawing (may be repeated)
ARTS 746
Painting Design III: Perceptual Painting and Narrative Themes (may be repeated)
ARTS 796
Independent Study: Studio Art (K: Wood Design, may be repeated)

While these courses represent the minimum departmental requirements for the studio art option, students may wish to plan a program involving greater depth in one or several of the studio areas.

The Discovery Program capstone requirement will be fulfilled by completing a capstone project that reflects the training received, and personal artistic growth made, throughout the student’s years of study at UNH. The capstone project includes participation in the BA/BFA Senior Exhibition in the UNH Museum of Art in April-May. Students will submit a minimum of 5 (or the equivalent what would be the equivalent of 5) recent works for faculty to review and select for the exhibition. At the review a written artist statement and verbal explanation of the work must also be presented.

The required minimum overall GPA in major coursework is 2.0.

Candidates for a degree must satisfy all of the University Discovery Program requirements in addition to satisfying the requirements of each individual major program. Bachelor of arts candidates must also satisfy the foreign language proficiency requirement.

Studio art majors may use two major-required courses to satisfy two Discovery category requirements.

Introductory (500) Level:

  • Basic skillset in a particular arts discipline
  • Working knowledge of the tools and materials used in a particular arts discipline
  • Basic understanding of analytical thinking when making and talking about art
  • Demonstrate development of artistry

Intermediate (500/600) Level:

  • Demonstrate development of artistry and skill set in a range of artistic disciplines
  • Demonstrate knowledge of tools and materials beyond the basics
  • Deeper ability to discuss and analyze works of art
  • Ability to verbalize intent in a particular work of art
  • Ability to research particular artists
  • Ability to declare an area of concentration for advanced  in a particular arts discipline  

Advanced (600/700) Level:

  • Demonstrate a high level of artistry
  • Ability to work independently
  • Develop and Demonstrate an individual sensibility
  • Ability to understand and verbalize intent in a work of art
  • Ability to construct a professional capstone portfolio or thesis
  • Demonstrate in-depth familiarity with a range of artistic movements both historical and contemporary

Explore Program Details

The two-dimensional curriculum is the largest in the department, and its breadth and content are shaped by the variety of approaches and expertise of the faculty. The 2-D courses are based on solid basic training and on the encouragement of independent and personal expression. Figuration and still life drawing are the core of the program. After completing Introductory Drawing, students pursue a wide variety of course offerings, choosing from oil painting, water media, photography, printmaking, and advanced drawing. Students work in classroom studios and participate in group critiques and seminars. Towards the end of the four year curriculum, individual works receive increasingly detailed review and critique. Students are taught to methodically evaluate their own and other students work.

North light and clerestory windows for even light distribution throughout the day illuminate the large, open studios. Class size varies, and upper level studio enrollment is usually about 15 students per class. Easels, drawing benches, and models are provided. Student works are exhibited in the corridors of the art wing of the Paul Creative Arts Center.

The three-dimensional curriculum offers concentrations in sculpture, ceramics, woodworking, and furniture design. While each of these programs has a distinct curriculum, together they interrelate to form a comprehensive area. Teaching is highly individualized, enabling students to understand and develop their own styles while learning the aesthetic principles and technical skills involved in class projects. Assignments are based on contemporary issues but always develop from a sound historical perspective. Class size is kept small to provide structured, personal instruction. Full time technical assistants and student fellows who provide further instruction and technical help outside of class assist professors.

The sculpture studio offers a complete bronze foundry, fabrication tools, equipment for work in wood and metal, gas and electric welding, a carving facility for wood and stone, hand and pneumatic tools, and a figure modeling area which provides quality space and light for anatomic modeling.

The ceramics studio offers opportunities for hand building, mold making, and wheel thrown work. Both utilitarian and sculptural aspects are explored. The studios are equipped with kickwheels, gas, electric and raku kilns.

The woodworking and furniture design studio has a well equipped shop in which the broadest range of techniques is pursued. A full complement of hand and power tools is augmented by facilities for clamping and gluing, bending, forming, and finishing wood. The furniture program includes Arts 725 Wood Multiples, which prepares students to enter such events as the biennial National Students Furniture Design Competition. UNH has had several prizewinners in recent years.

The University offers an approved art education program that is organized into a five-year teacher education sequence. This curriculum is designed to prepare teachers of art in the public schools. The satisfactory completion of the B.A. Studio Art curriculum for art education students (note: which differs slightly from the B.A. Studio Art curriculum) and required education courses, in conjunction with the fifth-year internship, will satisfy the initial certification requirements for teachers of art in the public schools of New Hampshire and in most other states. Art education students may take accredited crafts courses at other institutions as art electives. Students considering the art education program should consult the UNH Undergraduate Catalog under the heading "Preparing for Teaching."

Students can elect to receive a B.A. in the Arts with both the Studio Art option and the Art History option. Students must complete the requirements for both options; no more than 8 credits used to satisfy one option can be used as requirements for the other option. Please contact your advisor for more information.

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