Art and Design

Requirements & Courses

  • Three major programs are offered by the Art and Design Department. The Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) degree is a pre-professional program in studio art or design. The B.F.A. is offered in the areas of ceramics, drawing, graphic design, digital art, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture and three-dimensional design. The Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree program provides a more general study suitable for those wishing to combine their study of art with other liberal arts disciplines. The teaching major (B.A. with LQ comprehensive K-12 certification) is combined with a major in Secondary Education to prepare those planning to teach in the public schools. Graduates of Alma’s Art and Design programs find career opportunities in such fields as advertising, design, illustration, museum work, photography, printing and teaching, and many continue to exhibit their work as producing studio artists.

  • Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree Requirements
    1. Seventy-two credits in Art which must include ART 101, 121, 122, 220 or 223, 226, 227, and 500. An upper level quill course in the major is required for graduation.
    2. Twelve credits of drawing studio including ART 101, 227 and an advanced drawing course from the 390-490 series or its equivalent.
    3. A coherent area of concentration of at least 20 credits in Art made up of courses at the 200-400 level.
    4. Twelve credits of Art History including ART 112, four credits of Art History from ancient art (Art Before 1300) and at least one four-credit, upper level Art History course.
    5. Students must retain their portfolio of artwork created throughout their college career in order to participate in ART 500A/500B and the senior exhibition.
    6. The capstone experience, composed of three essential consecutive components, is to be completed during the thesis exhibition year: ART 500A/500B; a senior exhibition acceptable to the Department; and a successful completion of your Advisory Board Review.
    7. A 3.0 GPA in Art courses.
    8. Acceptance to this program requires the candidate to submit a portfolio after completing 24 studio credits and to have it approved by the Department. This should be done no later than December of the junior year. The Department reserves the right to review your portfolio for acceptance into the program if the major is declared during the junior year or the overall GPA is less than 3.0.
    9. A total of 148 credits.
    10. A B.F.A. in a design field must include ART 230 in addition to the courses listed above.
  • Program Considerations for Bachelor of Fine Arts Major

    It is strongly recommended that each major take at least four credits in a digitally based course appropriate to his/her area of emphasis.

  • Bachelor of Arts (Art Major) Degree Requirements
    1. Thirty-six credits in Art which must include ART 101, 121, 122, 220 or 223, 226, and 500; eight credits of Art History including ART 112 and at least one four-credit upper level Art History course. An upper level quill course in the major is required for graduation.
    2. Students must retain their portfolio of artwork created throughout their college career in order to participate in ART 500A/500B and the senior exhibition.
    3. The capstone experience, composed of three essential consecutive components, is to be completed during the thesis exhibition year: ART 500A/500B; a senior exhibition acceptable to the Department; and a successful completion of your Advisory Board Review.
    4. The Department reserves the right to review your portfolio for acceptance into the program if the major is declared during the junior year or the overall GPA is less than 2.5.
  • Art Minor Requirements

    Twenty-four credits including two courses from ART 101, 121, or 122; two courses from Art History; and two studio courses from the 200-400 level.

  • Art History Minor Requirements

    Twenty-four credits of Art History, which must include:

    1. ART 111 and 112.
    2. Four upper-level Art History courses chosen from ART 250, 280 (which may be taken more than once for credit if under different topics), 341, 342, 343, 344, 345, 346, 348, 349, 385, 399, 400 or other approved course. Students may substitute up to four upper-level credits from other related disciplines with prior departmental approval.
  • Program Considerations for Art History Minor

    Students who have had little or no studio experience are strongly encouraged to complete at least one studio course from the 100-200 level series.

    Because graduate programs in Art History typically require proficiency in at least two foreign languages, students who are considering advanced studies in this discipline should plan to include at least four semesters of foreign language coursework in their curriculum.

    B.A. or B.F.A candidates in ART may count up to eight credits toward both the major and the Art History minor requirements.

    Completion of a senior thesis is strongly encouraged for students considering graduate school.

  • Teacher Certification Requirements
    1. Forty-eight credits in Art which must include ART 101, 121, 122, 220 or 223, 226 and 500; three upper level studio courses in one studio area (these may include 220, 223, or 226); 111, 112, 345, and 346. Note: Candidates for the 72-credit B.F.A. in Art and Design will follow the requirements listed for that degree with the addition of a fourth course in Art History, which will be substituted for one studio elective outside the student’s area of concentration. For Teacher Certification, there can be no substitutions for required courses.
    2. Fourteen credits in Art Education which must include EDC 306, 345, 354 and 445a. Art majors will student teach in a secondary, grade 7-12 classroom and must take EDC 445a either in the term prior to, or in their student teaching term.
    3. A second major in Secondary Education which includes other professional education courses specified by the Department of Education in the requirements for secondary certification. Note: Professional education course requirements reflect Michigan Department of Education standards for teacher education and are subject to change.
  • Transfer Credits in Studio Art
    Up to three studio art courses may be included in the major by transfer from an accredited institution. Transfer of upper level studio work will require Departmental review.
  • Four credits from ART, with the exception of practicum or independent study courses, count towards the Distributive Requirements in the Humanities.
  • ART
    101
    .
    Drawing Studio
    4 credits
    $75
    Exploration of graphic media with emphasis on developing drawing skills.
  • ART
    111
    .
    Art History I
    4 credits
    $30
    Survey of human artistic achievement from its earliest visual record to the Medieval Period.
  • ART
    112
    .
    Art History II
    4 credits
    $30
    Survey of art from the Renaissance to the 20th century.
  • ART
    121
    .
    Two Dimensional Design Studio
    4 credits
    $100
    Introduction to the elements and principles of design as the foundation needed to create conceptually and aesthetically resolved visual problems in the plastic, graphic and media arts.
  • ART
    122
    .
    Tools and Materials (Studio)
    4 credits
    $100
    ART Major or Permission
    Introduction to studio work with emphasis on three-dimensional theory and the use of basic tools and techniques. Art majors are given first preference for enrollment.
  • ART
    180
    .
    Topics in Studio Art
    4 credits
    TBA
    Topics in studio art. Subject varies according to instructor’s field. Course content and artist announced in advance. May be repeated for credit if course content covers a different topic.
  • ART
    *
    220
    .
    Sculpture Studio
    4 credits
    $165
    Exploration of sculptural form through the processes of modeling, carving and assemblage. Consideration of sculptural ideas and imagery from various times and cultures with emphasis on contemporary practices. Day trip to Meijer Sculpture Gardens, Grand Rapids.
  • ART
    *
    222
    .
    Printmaking Studio
    4 credits
    $150
    Exploration of relief, intaglio and planographic techniques with emphasis on works of art in multiples. Some attention to the history of the print as art, the craft of printing, and print preservation and connoisseurship.
  • ART
    *
    223
    .
    Ceramics Studio
    4 credits
    $125
    Introduction to direct forming processes; hand building and wheel-throwing. Investigation of the uses of slips, glazes and other methods of surface enrichment. Participation in class kiln firings. Fee for clay and glaze supplies.
  • ART
    *
    224
    .
    Photography Studio
    4 credits
    $155
    Introduction to basic 35mm traditional and digital photography techniques. Students will develop and print using traditional black and white film. Scanning and Digital Asset Management techniques are used as means to edit, manage and archive photographic work. All final images are gelatin silver prints created using traditional wet darkroom methods. A 35mm SLR film camera is required.
  • ART
    *
    226
    .
    Painting Studio
    4 credits
    $125
    ART 101 or 121 recommended
    Introduction to basic procedures, tools and materials for oil and acrylic painting. Emphasis on composition, form and color. Discussion of historical development of all painting media.
  • ART
    *
    227
    .
    Life Drawing Studio
    4 credits
    $160
    ART 101 recommended
    Introduction to expressive drawing of the human figure including some study of anatomy. Students are charged a fee to cover the cost of models.
  • ART
    *
    230
    .
    Graphic Design Studio
    4 credits
    $125
    ART 121; or ART 101, 224, or 232
    Development of communication skills through the organization of image and text to inform, persuade, identify, or clarify an idea to a specific audience. Students will design works for printed media and Web-based communications.
  • ART
    *
    231
    .
    Raku Ceramics
    4 credits
    TBA
    ART 223 or Permission
    An introduction to the history, aesthetics and techniques of raku-fired ceramics.
  • ART
    *
    232
    .
    Digital Imaging Studio
    4 credits
    $125
    ART 101, 121 or 224 recommended
    Exploration of aesthetic and technical relationships between still images, multiple prints and montage as they are presented in the form of the digital straight print, narratives, and/or series.
  • ART
    *
    250
    .
    Contemporary Art in New York
    4 credits
    TBA
    Permission
    Introduction to the major artistic movements and critical theory in the last two decades. Students spend a week in New York City exploring galleries, museums and artists’ studios. Seminar includes readings, discussion and a research paper on a special topic.
  • ART
    *
    280
    .
    Topics in Art History
    4 credits
    $30
    Selected topics in the history of art. Subject varies according to instructor’s field. Course content and instructor announced in advance. May be repeated for credit if course content covers a different topic. (Past courses include women in art, history of prints, art history in Rome, and world ceramics: London).
  • ART
    *
    290
    .
    Intermediate Directed Studio Projects
    4 credits
    TBA
    Permission
    Exploration at the intermediate level through a studio project in a selected medium. Open to majors and non-majors. Utilizes a directed studio format. (Past courses have included bookarts, jewelry, digital photography, watercolor, wheel-thrown ceramics, etc.)
  • ART
    *
    299
    .
    Independent Studies
    4 credits
    TBA
    Permission
    Individual study of a subject in Art or Art History.
  • ART
    *
    341
    .
    Survey of Ancient Art
    4 credits
    $30
    Introduction to the arts of ancient Greece and Rome with emphasis on the context in which they were produced. Survey of ancient history, literature and mythology are included to enrich students’ comprehension of the artworks.
  • ART
    *
    342
    .
    Medieval Art
    4 credits
    $25
    Introduction to the arts of Medieval Europe, with an emphasis on the context in which they were produced. Survey of Medieval history, literature and religion are included to enrich students’ comprehension of the artworks.
  • ART
    *
    343
    .
    Renaissance Art
    4 credits
    $30
    Introduction to the arts of the Renaissance in Northern and Southern Europe, with an emphasis on the context in which they were produced. Surveys of Renaissance history, literature and religion are included to enrich students’ comprehension of the artworks.
  • ART
    *
    345
    .
    Survey of Non-Western Art
    4 credits
    $30
    Sophomore Standing
    An introduction to the visual arts of India and Southeast Asia, China, Japan and Korea, the Pacific, and the Americas with emphasis on the historical and cultural contexts in which they were created.
  • ART
    *
    346
    .
    Modern American Art
    4 credits
    $25
    Survey of American artists, architects and craftsmen from the Civil War period to the present day. Consideration is given to the influence of technology, women and minority artists in the development of American art.
  • ART
    *
    380
    .
    Topics in Studio Art
    4 credits
    TBA
    ART 101, 121, 122, 220, 223 or Permission
    Selected topics in studio art. Subject varies according to instructor’s field. Course content and artist announced in advance. May be repeated for credit if course content covers a different topic. Past courses have included advanced illustration, landscape photography and architectural ceramics as well as studio courses that may be taught overseas during Spring Term.
  • ART
    *
    385
    .
    Practicum
    4 credits
    ART 101, 111, 112, 121, 122 or Permission
    Designed to provide on-site working experiences in the student’s area of interest. Examples of typical practica include: apprenticeships with professional artists, internships with museums or art centers, internships with community art councils, or short-term employment in firms specializing in an art-related area. Practicum arranged with assistance of faculty advisor. Departmental approval is required.
  • ART
    *
    390-*490
    .
    Advanced Directed Studio Projects
    4 credits each
    $50
    Permission
    In-depth study in the student’s area of interest under direction of a faculty member in that area. Designed for junior and senior Art and Design majors who have completed 12 credits of studio work. Exceptions to this policy made only with Departmental permission.
    Subject matter arranged through close consultation with advisor according to individual needs or to specified curricula available. Advanced Directed Studio Projects have been offered in, but are not limited to, the following:
    1. Series in Ceramics
      • Wheel-thrown ceramics
      • Ceramic sculpture
      • Glaze chemistry
      • Mold making and casting
      • Advanced projects in ceramics
    2. Series in Digital Art
      • Advanced digital art
      • Book structures
      • Time-based media
      • Digital comic layout
      • Special projects
    3. Series in Drawing
      • Advanced drawing
      • Advanced life drawing
      • Mixed media drawing
      • Color media
      • Special projects in drawing
    4. Series in Graphic Design
      • Logo and visual design
      • Corporate identity
      • Web design
      • Time-based media
    5. Series in Illustration
      • Advanced drawing
      • Commercial illustration
      • Scientific illustration
      • Children’s book illustration
      • Color media
    6. Series in Painting
      • Advanced painting
      • Watercolor
      • Advanced watercolor
      • Airbrush painting
    7. Series in Photography
      • Intermediate photography
      • Digital photography
      • Platinum/palladium printing
      • Gum printing
      • Special projects
    8. Series in Printmaking
      • Intaglio printing
      • Lithography
      • Relief printing
      • Collagraphy
      • Monotypes
      • Mixed Media
    9. Series in Sculpture
      • Installation art
      • Mixed media sculpture
      • Welded metal sculpture
      • Mold making and casting
      • Ceramic sculpture
    10. Series in Three-Dimensional Design
      • Furniture design
      • Jewelry and small metals
      • Papermaking
      • Advanced 3D design projects
    Students may take up to six Advanced Directed Studio Project courses.
  • ART
    *
    399-*499
    .
    Independent Studies
    4 credits
    TBA
    Permission
    Individual study of a subject in Art or Art History.
  • ART
    *
    400
    .
    Senior Thesis in Art History
    4 credits
    $25
    Permission
    Readings, discussion and research paper on special topics in Art History.
  • ART
    *
    500A/*500B
    .
    Senior Show/Thesis Exhibition
    2 credits each
    $50 each
    Permission
    Explores all aspects of show preparation, including emphasis on selection and presentation of creative work, publicity, gallery installation, reception and the production of an electronic portfolio. The capstone experience ends with participation in the Senior Exhibit and Advisory Board Critique in the winter semester. All three components (ART 500A/500B, Senior Exhibit and Advisory Board) must be approved and passed for completion of the BA or BFA. Students must consecutively take this course for 2 credits in the fall semester and 2 credits in the winter semester of their thesis exhibition year for a total of 4 credits.