Art & Art History

Studio Art

The studio art curriculum offers art, design, and architecture as expressive media with contemporary cultural relevance. Because art is inherently interdisciplinary, the major in Studio Art is offered as a pre-professional program within a liberal arts context; it intends that each student should produce artworks with technical proficiency in a principal medium, supported by knowledge of a variety of media processes, as well as liberal arts breadth in critical thinking and verbal skills. In advanced classes, students focus on a body of related creative works, locating their ideas and artworks within a contemporary cultural and theoretical context. The major is preparation both for students intending to apply to Master of Fine Arts programs and go on to professional work as artists; and for students who wish to acquire a liberal arts degree which can lead to work in a wide variety of fields in graduate school both inside and outside the world of art (such as art history, architecture, commercial art, design, arts administration, teaching art in elementary and secondary schools, etc.)

In the visual arts it is important for the undergraduate studio art major to build a strong knowledge base over a wide variety of media, as well as become proficient in one medium. Students are encouraged to use their electives to develop skills in a number of media other than their focus medium. Students also have the option of creating a “double focus” by using their department electives.

Students interested in graduate work in fields such as arts administration, arts conservation, or medical illustration should consider combining a major in art with a minor or second major in other fields such as business, chemistry, and biology, or developing an interdisciplinary “area of concentration.”

Upon invitation of the department, an honors project is available to students. An honors project requires at least six semester hours of Senior Research on one project starting spring junior year or fall senior year. Students who are interested in pursuing honors are encouraged to contact the professor who is most likely to act as adviser to the honors work. Honors are awarded on the basis of portfolio review and the vote of the studio art faculty. (Hours count as University electives.)

Studio Art majors may be eligible to receive Merit Scholarships.  Follow the link for more information.

“In a state where everything tends to be huge and overwhelming, Southwestern proves that good things can – and do – come in small packages.” –Fiske Guide to Colleges (2010)
Since 2006 the Fiske Guide to Colleges has listed Southwestern University as among the top 25 small colleges and universities strong in art or design.


2010-2011 Catalog:

Major in Studio Art: see BA and BFA pages for specific requirements.

Minor in Studio Art

Five courses (Minors consist of a Minimum of 18 Credits.

One course from: ART69-214 Ceramics: Hand-forming, ART69-224 Ceramics: Wheel-Forming.

One course from: ART69-314 Painting: Representational, ART69-324 Painting-Abstract

One course from: ART69-414 Sculpture: Figurative, ART69-424 Sculpture: Abstract

Two additional courses in any studio medium offered in the department.


Pre 2010 Catalog Requirements:

Major in Studio Art

30 semester hours, including Art 70-203; 70-403 or 413; 70-463 or 473; and 70-503 or 513 in the first three semesters; as soon as possible, 70-213 and one additional course from 70-403, 413, 463, 473, 503, 513; two semesters of studio seminar in the focus medium (offered once a year, and may be taken a third time as a University elective), creating a four-course sequence in one studio area; six additional hours of Studio Art electives.

Additional Requirements for the Studio Art major: (1) Minor in Art History: 18 semester hours, including Art History 71-103, 123; 71-623 or 633; nine additional hours of Art History above the introductory level (three of these hours may be in Studio Art). (2) Portfolio Review: graduating seniors must present a portfolio of their work for review by the sponsoring faculty member in the appropriate focus area. A slide portfolio and a resume are required and will be retained by the department for its permanent records. Works for the portfolio are usually produced in studio seminars in a student’s focus medium. (Capstone)

Minor in Studio Art

18 semester hours, including Art 70-403 or 413; 70-463 or 473; 70-503 or 513;one additional course from 70-403, 413, 463, 473, 503, 513; six additional hours of Studio Art (three of these hours may be in Art History).

Art & Art History

  • Contact

    Chair of Art History
    Thomas Howe, Ph.D.
    Professor of Art History

    Chair of Studio Art
    Victoria Star Varner, MFA
    Professor of Art

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