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Art (Studio) Major

BFA in Fine Arts
College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences

Degree Plan

The Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree is offered in four studio areas: Painting, Photography/Digital Media, Graphic Communications and Sculpture. Two Bachelor of Arts (BA) majors are offered: Art History and Art (which leads to all-level teaching certification).

The Bachelor of Fine Arts degree (with concentrations in painting, photography/digital media, sculpture and graphic communications) emphasizes the development of the student as a working artist or designer, with the critical thinking, technical skills and creativity required for professional practice. No portfolio is required of incoming freshmen. In addition to the University-wide core curriculum, the degree requirements follow this progression: four studio fundamentals courses, various studio courses at the "related arts" level, followed by a competitive portfolio review. Students who are selected based on this portfolio review advance to the final semesters of major concentration at the junior and senior level. Bachelor of Fine Arts students are also required to take twelve semester hours of art history. Information on specific course selection is available for each studio major.


The intention of the School of Art’s Studio Art – Painting degree is simple - to facilitate intellectual development and the practical making of work, as defined by the needs, interests and affinities of each individual student. The diverse practice within the program mirrors both the definition of what painting "is" and what it can be. The School of Art’s approach is resolutely pluralistic. The structural backbone of the BFA program is intensive, self-motivated studio investigation, faculty mentoring, rigorous critique and peer-group support. Classroom instruction at every level includes the introduction and use of tools, techniques, vocabulary, and concepts of contemporary painting and drawing. The Coursework is supplemented by visiting artist lectures and critiques, and internships in Houston's world-class institutions, alternative spaces and galleries. 


The Sculpture Program is an open laboratory for the investigation and manipulation of the world around us. The exploration begins with the physical world of objects and materials and extends through the conceptual realm of ideas and cultural dialogue throughout its degree plan. An inter-disciplinary approach allows for all forms of creative expression and encourages collaboration and hybridization in the practice of art. The school’s well-equipped facility, a diverse faculty of reputable artists, an active visiting artist program and strong connections with Houston's vibrant art community provide a lens into the world of contemporary sculpture. Sculpture majors with a studio art GPA of 3.0 or higher are eligible for internships in area museums, alternative spaces and galleries including Diverse Works Art space, Lawndale Art Center, the Contemporary Arts Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the Houston Center for Contemporary Crafts. Interns learn about the operation of for-profit and non-profit institutions by working as gallery assistants, curatorial and research assistants, and in educational programming and preparations departments. Students generally earn three Related Arts credits for the successful completion of an internship.



The Graphic Communications program has a wide range of career choices including work in print (producing identity systems, magazines, posters, brochures, annual reports, menus, books, and other print material), motion (on-air graphics, video, animation, web motion) and web design (web site development and design). Specific job titles may include: Junior/Senior Graphic Designer, Creative Director, Design Director, and Art Director.

Students that enter the Painting program enjoy vibrant and dynamic careers making and exhibiting art. For these artists, the BFA degree is only the beginning of a lifetime of dedication to the profession and to their education. The learning environment shifts to private studios in cities across the country. Graduates become part of the tradition of art, contributing to the cultural vitality of Houston and other great art centers. Many find employment in fine art related fields in institutions such as museums, galleries, and non-profit spaces; and in support industries including art handling, documentation, and preservation. Others complete teaching certification requirements through the College of Education and teach in public school systems. Students who are interested in teaching at the college level must earn an MA or MFA degree.

Students that enter the Photography / Digital Media program have many choices of career paths because of the very comprehensive range of instruction, skills and experiences offered by the program. Career descriptions might include: Exhibiting Photographer, Video or Multi-media Artist, Freelance or Staff Photographer, Web Designer, Multi-media 2-D Animator and Programmer, Digital Technician, Picture Editor.

Students that enter the Sculpture program have career opportunities for all areas including the exhibition and sale of artwork and private and public commissions. Additionally, teaching certification is available through the College of Education for those interested in teaching in the public school system. In order to teach at the college level, a Masters of Fine Arts degree is generally required. Additional career opportunities for the sculptor include working on a larger scale through art foundries, steel fabrication, theatre prop and design, and museum exhibitions. Additionally, percent-for-art programs in major U.S. cities have created a market for intelligent, well-made site-specific public art that integrates into the landscapes of cities.

More information regarding job titles, salary information of Cougar Alumni as well as national salary information can be found at Cougar Careers. For assistance in career planning and development, please visit University Career Services.

Contact Information

School of Art
100 Fine Arts Building
Houston, TX 77204
Phone: 713-743-3997

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