Small, interactive art classes. Practical, hands-on internships and apprenticeships. Exciting study abroad opportunities. They all come together at Arcadia to give you the tools you need to think creatively and make the most of whatever career path you choose. With so many different professional options to explore, the art world is more multi-faceted now than ever before. In Arcadia’s supportive liberal arts setting, you’ll acquire the diverse skills and experience you need to thrive as an artist and a person.
About Our Program
Arcadia University is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). The visual arts program combines the intimacy and individual attention of a small school with the depth and diversity of ambitious study abroad opportunities, offering a unique and rewarding college experience. Home to an internationally known art gallery, Arcadia offers 14 different art concentrations, as well as a comprehensive liberal arts curriculum.
Located just a short drive from Philadelphia, Arcadia provides exciting opportunities for real-world art exploration and hands-on internships and apprenticeships.
The Department believes that the art and imagery of the past and present together shape an individual’s self and cultural identity, and it educates students to become artists who will develop keen powers of observation, communication and inquiry, technical and formal excellence, and a creative spirit. At Arcadia, students enjoy a strong sense of community with peers and faculty, and develop lifelong creative skills to support a variety of career pursuits.
The B.F.A. Degree
The Bachelor of Fine Arts degree programs combine a liberal arts education with professional preparation for careers in art or design. Through courses in the humanities and sciences, students gain an understanding of the nature of art, humankind and society, which is essential to developing creative potential. Special attention is given to the major visual disciplines as a foundation for art specializations.
Students are prepared for graduate study in studio art; entry-level positions in numerous art occupations connected with business and industry, government and social agencies; and future possibilities for careers as exhibiting artists.
During the freshman and sophomore years, all B.F.A. students take a major in Art and a common set of courses in the basic art disciplines, including Art History. In the junior and senior years, students select one of the studio concentrations described below, with the permission of their advisers. Internships and apprenticeships are strongly recommended and are required for some concentrations.
Field Trips, Internships, and Apprenticeships
In addition to offering a wide range of academic and studio courses, the Visual and Performing Arts Department schedules annual field trips to area museums, including New York and Washington, D.C. Each trip relates exhibits to studio and historical concerns. Internships at museums and other businesses and organizations provide students with important professional experiences.
As a metaphorical vehicle, ceramics can express a wide range of views and concepts, from high technological development to expressive personal statements. Clay is a material with implications and manifestations as plastic as its own unique characteristics. Ceramic history is implicitly tied to technology, labor, art, utility, culture, and human survival. In an age when contemporary art can no longer be constrained by traditional media-specific categorizations, the Ceramics curriculum is considered in the broader context of contemporary art. A diversity of approaches is encouraged, and an experimental approach is essential.
This concentration prepares students to enter the rapidly changing field of visual communication through exposure to historical and contemporary technical and theoretical issues. Students are offered exposure to extracurricular opportunities ranging from participation in the AIGA Student Chapter, a national organization of visual communication, to various applied projects for the University and the greater community. Students gain exposure through open critiques and public exhibitions designed to reinforce their identities as communicators who are responsible to and involved with an audience.
Illustration is the art of communicating concise ideas with images using formats including picture books, graphic novels, animation, magazines, newspapers, and other media. The Illustration concentration cultivates each student's unique vision while preparing him or her to translate it into a wide range of traditional and emerging media.
The Individualized concentration provides students with the opportunity to design a program of study that is not readily attained through one of the other concentrations. An Individualized concentration typically combines related courses from different disciplines, or even from different departments at the University. Advisers from each academic department or concentration are involved in the design and implementation of the concentration. Criteria for acceptance include the coherence of the program and its purpose, such as a career goal or plans for graduate study in an interdisciplinary area, and conformity to the overall BFA studio art standards. An example of an individualized concentration would be one in Digital Fabrication: students can elect a combination of 3D Fabrication, Graphic Design, Digital Imaging, Computer Science, Mathematics, and Metals and Jewelry courses to create an individualized concentration in Digital Fabrication.
Metals and Jewelry
The discipline of Metals and Jewelry draws on a rich history of object making and body adornment. Students are exposed to a variety of techniques, including soldering, forming, enameling, casting, stone setting and elements of digital fabrication. These skills are developed while incorporating conceptual problem-solving, allowing students to build a dynamic portfolio. Exploration of materials – both traditional and non-traditional – and how one's work has context in the field of contemporary metalsmithing are emphasized throughout the program.
Building on a foundation of perceptual work, students develop a working understanding of the material and painting as visual language. Students examine the nature of seeing and consider painting as a vehicle for both visual and personal inquiry. Students grow to explore expressive possibilities through increased personal involvement and critical and theoretical awareness. For the senior thesis, a student works independently to produce a cohesive body of work borne from personal experimentation along with historical and theoretical understanding.
This concentration emphasizes the exploration of the medium of fine art photography. Courses integrate the examination of art historical precedent, contemporary criticism, technical process, and the development of individual style. Individual responsibility increases as students advance. The senior thesis provides the opportunity to define and refine essential characteristics of the creative self.
This concentration provides a thorough knowledge of major printmaking techniques (intaglio, silk screen and relief) and emphasizes aesthetics and use of the medium to express personal style and image. Seniors work with considerable independence at a highly sophisticated technical and aesthetic level to achieve work that relates to both traditional and contemporary printmaking practices. Students are also encouraged to combine print processes with other artistic media in order to push the boundaries and possibilities of printmaking.
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art
During the freshman and sophomore years, all B.F.A. students take a common set of courses in the basic art disciplines, including Art History. In the junior and senior years, students select a studio concentration with the permission of their advisers.
Students in a B.F.A. studio degree program (with the exception of Interior Design majors) can earn certification in Art Education. This certification provides a skilled background in the technical and historical aspects of art education as a prerequisite to teaching art in grades kindergarten through 12. The program emphasizes all arts as a means of arriving at aesthetic experiences.
Teaching and professional competencies are accomplished through courses in Psychology, Education, Art Education, and student teaching. Courses provide students with an analysis of teaching and the culture of the school through observation and tutoring and through examination of current issues and topics influencing contemporary education.
Completing requirements for a B.F.A. and Art Education Certification requires an extra 20 credits. This may take longer than four years. However, some areas of competency covered by the courses listed below can be fulfilled by experiences outside the formal class structure, thus reducing the number of credits required. Since requirements for certification are subject to change, students must consult the Department Chair.
NOTE: Students must receive approval of satisfactory fulfillment of all Education courses and internship from the Dean of School of Education and approval of satisfactory performance in art, including reaching thesis-level quality in a particular art discipline, from the Art and Design Department Chair before receiving certification. It is understood that fulfillment of graduation requirements on a degree program and all coursework shall not in itself guarantee certification.
The Art and Design Department strongly encourages students to take full advantage of the study abroad opportunities that Arcadia University offers. Art and Design majors traditionally have spent a semester or more abroad. Opportunities exist in many countries including England, Ireland, Scotland, Australia and Italy.
You should meet with your adviser as freshmen to plan study abroad options. Almost all concentrations in Visual Arts have sequenced courses, which are taken in a specific order. Certain concentrations only permit study abroad during a specific semester. Careful planning is essential to avoid having to take an extra semester or year to complete the degree.
Below are some but not all of the schools at which you can study. In addition to formal classes, there are internship programs in England, Ireland, Scotland and Australia.
Specific Art Programs Abroad
The Burren College of Art (Ireland)
The Glasgow School of Art (Scotland)
Studio Art/Design Courses Abroad
Griffith University (Australia)
Victoria University (New Zealand)
The Accademia Italiana in Florence (Italy)
The Umbra Institute in Perugia (Italy)
Admission to Art and Design Programs
The Art and Design Department requires a portfolio review as part of the admissions process. Each student applying to the University as a visual arts major in a B.A. or B.F.A. degree program must submit a portfolio of work before acceptance into the program is granted.
A student who does not have a portfolio or have a limited portfolio still can apply to Arcadia University. If accepted to the University, the student can enroll as an undeclared major. During the 10th week of the second semester, the student must submit a portfolio to the Art and Design Department for evaluation and consideration for entry into the program. In addition, students must take the four visual arts foundation courses: FA 102 Studio Art Foundations I, FA 103 Studio Art Foundations II, FA 104 Drawing I, and FA 105 Drawing II. A student must meet with his or her adviser to receive guidance on how to build a portfolio. It is the student’s responsibility to submit the portfolio at the designated time. A student who fails to submit a portfolio by the required date will be denied admission to the program.
A student transferring into the University as a visual arts major is required to submit a portfolio. The contents of the portfolio should be selected to reflect the student’s abilities in the proposed area of concentration but also should contain work representing the student’s overall abilities. A transfer student without a portfolio should follow the guidelines for “Application without a Portfolio.”
Change of Major within the University
A student who wants to change his or her major to visual arts is required to submit a portfolio as part of the change of major process. A student who does not have a portfolio is required to submit a portfolio at the completion of the three (out of four) visual arts foundation courses: FA 102 and FA 103 Studio Foundations, and FA 104 Drawing I. A student must meet with his or her Art and Design Department adviser to receive guidance on how to build a portfolio. The student is responsible for submitting the portfolio to the department at the completion of the foundation courses for consideration for entry into the program. A student who fails to submit a portfolio by the required date will be denied admission to the program.