Art (BFA) with Studio Emphasis


Effective 1 June 2023 through 31 May 2024

Please see the Undergraduate Catalog Archives for PDF versions of past catalogs.

This program is offered by the Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts/Department of Art, Design and Art History and is only available at the St. Louis main campus.

Program Description

The BFA in art with a studio emphasis degree familiarizes students with the rich tradition of the visual arts, provides them with an understanding of the tools and materials available to the artist as a means of personal expression, shows students that there are fundamental concepts which unify all art yet which allow for infinite variation, and introduces to them alternative ways of looking, seeing, finding and discovering. BFA studio art students explore a wide variety of media, gaining extensive studio experience and learning the techniques and expressive opportunities unique to each. A primary focus of the program is on students finding their own creative and conceptual voice, and discovering ways to visually communicate their thoughts and ideas.

BFA studio art students also more thoroughly investigate such potential in a single area of emphasis, from among those listed below. Students at this level learn within a more professional framework, where the relationship between student and teacher becomes that of apprentice and master. Through this unique teaching relationship, students develop a high level of achievement in an area of expertise, while further developing personal creative abilities. In this manner they establish a sound basis for significant professional accomplishments in art.

This program is offered through the Department of Art, Design, and Art History in the Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts.  Please see the Colleges, Schools, and Departments section of this catalog for further information. 

Areas of Emphasis

  • Ceramics
  • Drawing
  • Time-Based Art
  • Painting
  • Photography
  • Printmaking
  • Sculpture

Learning Outcomes

Successful graduates of the BFA in Art with Studio Emphasis program will be able to:

  • Express an individual, creative voice through an artistic practice that engages with contemporary global art and design discourse.
  • Implement the formal vocabularies of art and design as a foundation for artistic dialogue.
  • Practice drawing as a means to develop ideas.
  • Draw upon the history of art and design as a wellspring for ideas, solutions and meanings within one's own artistic practice.
  • Analyze and discuss art and design through discipline- and emphasis-specific vocabularies and methods.
  • Exhibit the potential for practicing art as a means of engagement and discourse.

By focusing in one of the following emphases, graduates of that emphasis program will also be able to:


  • Demonstrate technical proficiency in handbuilding and wheelthrowing processes, glaze application and formulation and knowledge of kiln theory.
  • Use clay-building and three-dimensional design skills to design and construct utilitarian, functional and sculptural ceramic work.
  • Conceive and produce authentic ceramic work.


  • Demonstrate a mastery of observational drawing and experiment with techniques of non-objective drawing.
  • Address concepts of cultural significance or personal expression through drawing.
  • Practice with traditional and non-traditional media to integrate drawing with contemporary, interdisciplinary practices.

Time-Based Art

  • Define time as a material and/or process in performance, video, sound and installation art.
  • Demonstrate technical proficiency in the media of time-based art.
  • Create artworks that employ an aspect of time as a means of expression or the conveyance of ideas.


  • Demonstrate proficiency with painting mediums and materials, and their formal and expressive applications.
  • Conceive of paint-handling skills as both material and process in an individual application to content.
  • Practice an effective use of painting mediums and techniques in relationship to subject matter as an individual and relevant strategy for further development.


  • Identify and explain photographic techniques, materials, aesthetics and processes.
  • Demonstrate their photographic technical proficiency (e.g., technical control during photographing and printing).
  • Communicate their personal vision effectively through photographic images.


  • Demonstrate proficiency in the use of various printmaking techniques.
  • Distinguish between and analyze different approaches to making prints.
  • Recognize and criticize inherent qualities of prints.
  • Create a body of work of printmaking that displays mastery of the media.


  • Demonstrate sculptural technical proficiency to manipulate mediums such as wood, metal and plastic.
  • Identify social and cultural contexts in which sculptural works of art are displayed or installed, and their impact.
  • Practice the creation of sculptural works of art within multiple frameworks (e.g., gallery-based, interactive, site-specific, public).

Special Requirements

All BFA in Art with a Studio Emphasis majors must register for ART 1900: First-Year Exhibition in the spring of their first year. The First-Year Exhibition is an opportunity for students to display their work with their first-year cohort in a group exhibition with a public reception, offering an opportunity to consider their progress and direction, and celebrating their accomplishments. DADAH faculty review the work and offer feedback.  

All BFA in Art with a Studio Emphasis majors must register for ART 2900 DADAH Critique in the first semester after completing 18 studio credits. For traditional freshmen this will occur in the fall or spring of their sophomore year. For transfer students this will occur in their first semester at Webster, or when they have a combined total of 18 studio credits. The DADAH Critique is a review of student progress by DADAH full and part-time faculty held on one day during the fall and spring semesters. Following the review, students will meet with their advisor to discuss faculty concerns and recommendations as written on the evaluation form by the advisor during the review. In some cases a student may be advised to undergo a second review in the following semester. The department notifies students of portfolio review dates.

Students must apply for BFA candidacy by completing the BFA candidacy form and presenting an acceptable selection of specialized work. This must take place one year prior to graduation. Successful completion of a written application and submission of a selection of work that demonstrates a studio specialization, technical facility and conceptual sophistication are required for completion of the degree. Students receive either written notification of acceptance or a recommendation to resubmit after review of the portfolio and application are reviewed by the faculty of the Department of Art, Design and Art History.

Candidates for the BFA will designate a specific studio area of emphasis from those listed above and earn a minimum of 18 credit hours in that area.

Degree Requirements

For information on the general requirements for a degree, see Baccalaureate Degree Requirements under the Academic Policies and Information section of this catalog.

A minimum of 120 credit hours consisting of the following:

  • 79 required credit hours
  • 18 Global Citizenship Program credit hours (see distribution requirements below)
  • 23 elective credit hours

Required Courses

Core Distribution 

  • ART 1010 Creative Strategies (3 hours)
  • ART 1150 Observational Drawing (3 hours)
  • ART 1310 Materials and Making (3 hours)
  • ART 1900 First-Year Exhibition (0 hours)
  • DESN 1500 Digital Visualizations (3 hours) 
  • ARHS 2200 Current Art (3 hours)
  • ARHS 2210 Intercultural History of Art (3 hours)
  • ART 2900 DADAH Critique (0 hours)
  • ART 3900 BFA Review (0 hours)
  • ART 4020 Professional Practice for Artists (3 hours)
  • ART 4030 Senior Critique (3 hours)
  • ART 4910 DADAH BA/BFA Exhibition (1 hour)
  • Drawing electives (see below) (6 hours)
  • Studio course distribution (see below) (24 hours)
  • Studio area emphasis courses (see below) (15 hours) 
  • Art History and Criticism electives (see below) (9 hours) 

Other Program Requirements 

  • Students must complete a minimum of 9 credit hours of coursework in drawing including ART 1150 and six additional credit hours of drawing electives. 
  • Students must complete a minimum of 24 credit hours of coursework selected from the following studio areas, choosing one from each area: ceramics, fibers, graphic design, illustration, painting, printmaking, photography, sculpture, and time-based art.  At least one course must be at the 3000 level or above.
  • Students must complete 15 credit hours of coursework in a declared emphasis chose from among the following areas: ceramics, drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, sculpture, or time-based art. 
  • When the declared studio BFA area emphasis is drawing, it is necessary, due to total departmental requirements, to earn a minimum of 24 credit hours in that studio.
  • Students must complete three ARHS courses at the 3000 level or above.
  • Students must complete the following GCP Program requirements:
    • Global Cornerstone Seminar (3 hours)
    • One (1) Roots of Cultures (ROC) course (3 hours)
    • One (1) Social Systems and Human Behavior (SSHB) course (3 hours)
    • One (1) Global Understanding course (3 hours)
    • One (1) Physical and Natural World or Quantitative Literacy course (3 hours) 
    • Keystone Seminar (3 hours)
    • NOTE: Arts Appreciation and one SSHB is waived and ARHS 2200 or ARHS 2210 fulfills one ROC 
    • NOTE: One course of the above must be coded for the Ethical Reasoning skill: other GCP Skill Areas are fulfilled by DADAH Core Distribution courses.