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Grand Valley State University    
  Mar 21, 2018
2016-2017 Undergraduate & Graduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art

The B.F.A. degree is designed for students interested in a professional degree in art or design. It will prepare students for a career as a professional artist or designer.

Requirements for a Major in Studio Art

Students seeking a B.F.A. degree must complete a minimum of 84 credits in art and design, including completion of the foundation and art history component as well as the specific emphasis requirements as listed below. A 2.75 GPA must be maintained in the upper level studio courses for a B.F.A.

General Education

In the GVSU general education requirements, the foundations section lists ART 101 - Introduction to Art as a choice. ART 101 is not required for the B.F.A., B.A., or B.S. in studio art. Some of the material in ART 101 will be duplicated in the required coursework. Majors are advised to take one of the other classes in the general education Arts category.

Foundations Courses and Review

After completing the foundations program (ART 150, 151, 152, 153, 155, and 157), all majors are evaluated for entrance into the design and fine arts programs. All majors are required to submit their collective work for faculty review.

Foundations Credits: 18 (must be taken during the freshman year)

Secondary Admit in Graphic Design and Illustration

Students seeking either the graphic design or illustration emphasis, must participate in a secondary admit process after successful completion of the Foundations Review. Both programs prioritize admission based on a review of portfolio work from the foundations courses.

Junior Review

Two semesters before their B.F.A. exhibition, all B.F.A. students are required to submit a sample of their work, completed since the foundations program, for faculty review and comment. Based on the review, students may be asked to do remedial work and submit to a second review. If a second review is unsuccessful, the student will be asked to leave his or her current program or the department. See the Department of Art and Design Student Handbook for scheduling details and specific requirements.

B.F.A. Exhibition

Graduating seniors must have a B.F.A. show and a final acceptance of their work by art and design faculty, earning a grade of at least a C for their Senior Project (ART 498 or 415). The fine arts and illustration seniors will have a group exhibition. The graphic design seniors will have a group exhibit evaluated by graphic design faculty. See the Department of Art and Design Student Handbook for details.

Art History Credits: 12


Completion of the art history requirements of the B.F.A. program is a prerequisite for ART 495. Students register for a section taught by an art history professor.


Graphic Design Credits: 54-55

Studio electives Credits: 15
Required emphasis Credits: 39-40

Note: CPH 171 or 175: Consult advisor to make CPH course selection. Access to studio courses in the School of Communications cannot be guaranteed for art and design majors.

Business Practice courses, Credits: 3. Select one course from the following list.

Internship/Practicum: Select one course from the following list:

  • ART 417 - Practicum in Graphic Design Credits: 3  
  •   Note: If ART 491 is selected, students must register for a minimum of 3 credits. Students must substitute
  •   for one of the two art history elective courses.
  • Studio electives Credits: 15
    Studio electives may be selected in art, photography, or film and video. Electives in other areas must be approved by an advisor.

Painting Credits: 54

Printmaking or Illustration Credits: 3
Metals, Sculpture, or Ceramics Credits: 3
Studio electives Credits: 12
Required emphasis, Credits: 42

Printmaking Credits: 54

Metals, Sculpture, or Ceramics, Credits: 3
Studio Electives, Credits: 9
Required Emphasis, Credits: 45

Visual Studies Credits: 54

Studio electives 6-9 courses, 3 credits each, Credits: 18-27
Required emphasis, Credits: 27-36

Working with their advisor, undergraduates create individualized learning plans, which are evaluated every semester. Students take 5-8 courses specific to visual studies in at least four different areas (ART 391, 392, 393, 394, 395, and 396). These may be repeated once. Students complete the remaining credits in the emphasis with the studio electives they have chosen for their learning plan, for a total of 54 credits.

Suggested Order of Coursework for a B.F.A. in Studio Art

Freshman Year

Sophomore Year

Fall Semester Credits: 18

Winter Semester Credits: 18

Junior Year

Fall Semester Credits: 18

  • Emphasis requirements and electives Credits: 9
  • Art history elective Credits: 3
  • Two general education Issues courses Credits: 6


Winter Semester Credits: 18

  • Emphasis requirements and electives Credits: 9
  • Art history elective Credits: 3
  • One or two general education Issues courses Credits: 3 or 6


Senior Year

Fall Semester Credits: 12

Winter Semester Credits: 12-15

Click here for the program description.