For Current Students


Let’s start with FAME!

F= First year students don’t need A Focus (a focus medium)

The first years are time to experiment with various media and approaches, so don’t pigeon-hole yourself as a painter, a potter, a sculptor, etc.  Contemporary art requires an ability to think in a wide range of media, so keep your mind open to new experiences, new ideas, and developing new intellectual and technical skills. You do need TO focus on your work, but you don’t need to declare A focus medium.

A= Advising Ahead of others

Because our art classes fill quickly, you have an opportunity mid-semester to save a place in our beginning classes by getting fully advised through an appointment with your advisor. Then, you can pre-enroll before registration begins for the seniors. This is quite early in the advising season - right off the bat when the schedules are published.  This is important, because taking the courses in a good sequence allows you graduate with an art degree in four years.  You will find various sequences that work in the Pathways document, page 2.  Just get on one (it doesn’t make much of a difference which one): the orange, magenta, or green pathway. (Easy to remember: Orange, Magenta, or Green…OMG)

M=Mailing list for Meetings

To be able to pre-enroll in our classes as mentioned above, get on the mailing list for announcements of our semi-annual meetings: the BAM! Big Art Meeting.   Write from your SU account to the Department Chair, Prof. Victoria Star Varner, at  to request being on the art majors/minors/interested parties be notified of meetings. 

E = Enroll Early!

Studio Art welcomes you to the department – in fact, we have saved some places in our beginning classes for you, our first year students! If you are an art major or minor or are just interested in trying something new, here are the classes we recommend (start with just one studio class during your first semester):

Fall course options for art majors, minors and potential majors (Register for section 01 unless you are enrolled in a music ensemble that meets during the class lab; Drawing I is an exception - you can enroll in either section 1 or 2).

We recommend Drawing I as a great place to start; or
Ceramics: Vessel Concepts; or
Painting: Representational; or
Sculpture: Figurative

Spring: course options for art majors, minors or potential majors (art majors should take the first class in ceramics, sculpture or painting) (Register for section 01 for each class unless you are enrolled in a music ensemble).

Drawing I
Ceramics: Hand-Building or
Painting: Abstract; or
Sculpture: Abstract


The basic sequencing ideas: entering art majors should take the art fundamentals: Drawing I, and one class each in ceramics, painting and sculpture in roughly the first three semesters. Drawing II is offered in the fall only as of 2021- take it as soon as possible.

After you have experience in each focus course (ceramics, painting, sculpture), choose the one in which to focus.  A “focus” is a four-course sequence in a single medium.  

Your last chance to take the second course in a focus medium and be on track to graduate in four years is as follows: Sculpture: second semester of the sophomore year; Ceramics:  first semester of the junior year; Painting: first semester of the junior year. 

For more information on how to plan your sequence of classes, see the department’s Pathways document below and use the course sequence plans on page 2.


The BAM! Big Art Meeting is held every semester several weeks before registration begins. Check back here for the date/time.  Contact Prof. Varner if you wish to be notified by email. The BAM! meeting is our time to talk about how to request pre-enrollment in studio classes before registration begins, what careers you might pursue in art, how you might join the New York Arts Program, etc.

Pre-enrollment opportunities will be on (date to be announced). See instructions below*

The 21-23 Course Catalog will reflect the following changes: Drawing II will be offered in fall semesters.  Intermedia Seminar: Painting, Drawing, Printmaking will be offered in the spring semesters.  Ceramics: Wheel Forming will change in title to Ceramics: Vessel Concepts; Ceramics: Hand Forming will change in title to Ceramics: Hand Building.  Professional Practices must be taken in the junior year as a pre-requisite to the Capstone course. Studio courses will be offered 9:30 a.m. - 6:30 p.m. in 2021-22 with no evening labs. Register for section 01 for each studio class unless you are enrolled in a music ensemble.

New in fall 2021! There will be a paired art and art history major that requires 18 courses compared to the art and art history double major that requires 20 courses.  If you wish to take the paired major, you must change to the 2021-22 Course Catalog in consultation with your advisor, because all changes in the new catalog will apply when you switch catalogs - not just the paired major.  You must consult with the Registrar’s office before switching catalogs.

 Art Class Pre-enrollment Procedures Before Registration:

Students who have declared the studio art major or minor on the Registrar’s website may request to pre-enroll in the beginning art classes in order to choose their focus based on experience in the medium and to have an opportunity to graduate in four years.  Pre-enrollment requires advance planning, because the following steps must be achieved before pre-enrollment day (announced each semester closer to the time):  

1) declaration of the studio art major or minor on the Registrar’s webpage;

2) establishing a course schedule with no conflicting classes in consultation with your assigned primary academic advisor;

3) advisors must clear the student for registration before the pre-enrollment date, so students should verify this at the end of their individual advising sessions.

4) the student must clear ALL holds for registration on WebAdvisor (handbook agreement, payment terms agreement, any other holds such as financial or library). 

5) students must be prepared to fill out a Google Form sent by Prof. Varner ( ) on the designated date and time with their student i.d. number, their acknowledgement that they have released all holds on registration, their acknowledgement that the requested courses do not conflict with each other nor their other planned courses, and finally, list their desired course(s) using the full course number and title: such as ART68-114-01 Drawing I.  

Art history courses may only be listed if they are required for the student to graduate on time, and the option to pre-enroll starts with requesting the course on Art Pre-enrollment Google Form. The final decision rests with the Chair of Art History.

Once you are pre-enrolled in a class, you cannot change that class until the add/drop period of registration begins, which is at the end of registration when many other classes are full.  

To find out if you are enrolled, go to the Course Plan tab in Self-Service, which shows your schedule, but give the Registrar’s office until after Registration starts - they must check on holds and eligibility and hand enter each student into WebAdvisor. Please do not call them to inquire.  

PRE-ENROLLMENT REQUESTS FOR THE SPRING 2022 SEMESTER IS ON (DATE TO BE ANNOUNCED):  You will receive a Google Form from Prof. Varner, and you may start filling them out on this schedule: seniors by credit hours: 5 - 5:30p.m..; juniors by credit hours 5:30 - 6:00 p.m..: sophomores 6:00 - 6:30 p.m..; first years from 6:30 - 7:00 p.m..   These requests are first-come, first served, and participating in the process does not guarantee enrollment.

Degree Plans and Planning Tools

Choose the year you entered Southwestern and stay with that year’s degree plan, which is based on the Course Catalog.  (Course catalogs do change from year-to-year, but your degree plan is based on the year you enter, unless you negotiate moving to a different catalog with the Registrar’s Office.)

DEGREE PLANS for the Bachelor of Arts degree (B.A.) and the Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) can be found on the Registrar’s page.  Both degrees start in the same way, and the B.F.A. is by application only (contact the Department Chair in the sophomore or junior year, if interested).


The Pathways document for 2021-22 is here.   Students may choose one of the defined pathways and declare the major to request saved places in the beginning courses in studio art.

Thinking about an independent study? Start here: 

Independent Study Form

Independent Studies in Studio Art

Thinking about B.F.A.?

At Southwestern, the B.F.A. degree program is by application during the sophomore and junior year, and it requires a 3.0 in combined art and art history courses.  If you are interested in applying, consult first with the professor in your focus area, followed by an e-mail to the department chair expressing your interest in applying.  The chair will give you instructions about how to apply formally.

The application process is two-step: 1) the written application; and 2) a presentation and interview with the studio faculty.  Students must be accepted into the program and meet departmental and university expectations to continue in the program and earn a BFA degree.  



Need Inspiration?

Consult Artstor , a database of 1.3 million images.

Need to Know When Things Are Happening?

Current Academic Calendar and Exam schedule can be found here .

Interested in a High Impact Experience and getting a grant for it? 

Examples of high impact experiences (not comprehensive)

Apply for a grant from the King Creativity Fund .

Apply for a Mary Visser High Impact grant.

Apply for a Sarofim School of Fine Arts travel grant.

Need to do Some Research?

Smith Library Center’s Art and Art History subject guide.

Architecture and Design Studies

  • American Institute of Architects, Austin Chapter . Good local resource.
  • Try Google Sketchup  for open-source 3D modeling experience.
  • Did you know you can find Quicktime virtual views/panoramas of famous architectural sites on Artstor ? Search ‘qtvr’ to get started.