Studio Art Major, Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A)

Department of Art

101 Hanes Art Center, CB# 3405

(919) 962-2015

Beth Grabowski, Director of Undergraduate Studies

Carol Magee, Chair

Yulianna Aparicio, Student Services

The B.F.A. is considered the preprofessional course of study, providing a more in-depth experience of visual concept and practice. Students intending to pursue further study in visual arts disciplines (master of fine arts, design fields, or architecture) should choose this degree option. Students considering the B.F.A. degree are advised to contact the undergraduate advisor for studio art during the first year and no later than the sophomore year.

Department Programs



Graduate Programs

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the studio art program (B.A., B.F.A.), students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate foundation skills in the visual arts
  • Demonstrate appropriate use of the techniques, processes, and materials in their chosen area of concentration
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the practices, theories, and strategies of art-making that are current today by effectively communicating that knowledge in written as well as visual form
  • Demonstrate knowledge of professional standards and practices
  • Demonstrate a working knowledge of the techniques, processes, and materials of one or more of these areas of concentration: painting, sculpture, graphic arts, photography, and digital art
  • Demonstrate control over techniques, processes, and materials in order to adequately express their ideas in works of visual art


In addition to the program requirements listed below, students must

  • attain a final cumulative GPA of at least 2.0
  • complete a minimum of 45 academic credit hours earned from UNC–Chapel Hill courses
  • take at least half of their major course requirements (courses and credit hours) at UNC–Chapel Hill
  • earn a minimum of 18 hours of C or better in the major core requirements (some majors require 21 hours).

For more information, please consult the degree requirements section of the catalog.

Core Requirements
ARTS 101Idea and Form3
Three studio art foundation courses:
ARTS 102Two-Dimensional Design3
ARTS 103Sculpture I3
ARTS 106Video I3
Two Tier I studio art courses:6
Drawing I
Photography I H
Introduction to Web Media
Color: Theory and Concept
Collage: Strategies for Thinking and Making
Beginning Painting
Ceramic I
Wood Sculpture
Metal Sculpture
Phantasmagoria: Haunted Art, History, and Installation
ARTS 300Studio 15: Art Majors Seminar3
Two Tier II studio art courses:6
Sculpture II
Photography II
Video II
Print Survey
2D Animation
Life Drawing
Screen Printing
Special Topics in Studio Art
Ceramic II
Drawing II
The Aesthetics of Junk
Abstract Painting
Narrative Drawing
The Practice of Representation: Portraiture in Photography
Three Tier III studio art course:9
Intermediate Painting
Intermediate Sculpture
Darkroom Photography
3D Animation
MAKE: Art in the (New) Age
The Walking Seminar: A Territorial Investigation
Intermediate Printmaking
Special Topics in Studio Art
Theory, History, and Practice of Contemporary Curating
Advanced Painting Projects
Advanced Sculpture
Public Art
Advanced Ceramic Sculpture
Conceptual-Experimental Photography
Video Art
Advanced Mixed Media Projects
Advanced Printmaking
Book Art
Special Topics in Studio Art
Studio Art Practicum or Internship
Senior Projects
Senior Seminar
Advanced Photography
Independent Study in Studio Art
Four studio art electives 112
Any Tier I, II, or III courses
First-year seminar
Internship (ARTS 493)
Two art history (ARTH) courses, one must have a contemporary focus chosen from:6
The Film Experience: Introduction to the Visual Study of Film
African Art and Culture
Picturing Paris: 1800-2000
Art Since 1960
Fashioning Identities
Pop Art and Its Legacy
20th-Century African American Art
Visual Arts and Culture in Modern and Contemporary China
Contemporary African Art
The Body in Social Theory and Visual Representation
Imagining Otherness in Visual Culture in the Americas
Urban Africa and Global Mobility
Cultural Politics in Contemporary Art
ARTS 499Senior Projects3
ARTS 500Senior Seminar3
Total Hours60

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.


Students can include an additional art history course in place of one studio art course. Students can count up to six hours of senior honors thesis credit.

B.F.A. students should be aware that courses taken in the Department of Art beyond the 60 credits outlined in the major will not count toward graduation.

All General Education Foundations, Approaches, and Connections requirements must be satisfied.

Honors in Studio Art

The honors program in studio art is designed to provide senior majors an opportunity to pursue serious and substantial work culminating in a senior honors project. Successful completion of the project qualifies the student to graduate with honors or with highest honors. Studio art majors with a grade point average of 3.3 or above are eligible for consideration. Admission to the studio art honors program is determined by a review of work by a designated faculty committee. For this review students must submit the following application materials:

  • A completed application form,
  • A written statement regarding the work, and
  • A digital portfolio.

The work must demonstrate a mature capability to perform visual research. Applications are reviewed each spring, in early April, for rising seniors.

If accepted as a studio art honors candidate, students enroll in the honors courses through the student services manager.

ARTS 691HSenior Honors Thesis Project in Studio Art (fall) 13
ARTS 692HSenior Honors Thesis Project in Studio Art (spring) 13

 ARTS 691H and ARTS 692H run concurrently with ARTS 499 and ARTS 500, and replace these course requirements for the B.F.A. major.

In addition to the scheduled coursework, studio honors students work with a thesis committee consisting of a thesis adviser–who must be a studio art faculty member–and two additional faculty members, typically the faculty teaching the ARTS 499 and ARTS 500 classes, but faculty from other disciplines may also serve on the honors thesis committee. In studio art, the thesis is the creative work produced. Students also must write an accompanying artist’s statement. Completed honors project work is presented to the honors committee for an oral defense. On the basis of this defense and the work presented, the committee determines whether or not a student graduates with an honors designation (honors or highest honors.) A selection of work from the senior honors thesis project is also presented in the Senior Exhibition required for B.F.A. students. Studio art honors students also join their art history peers in a departmental honors symposium in April.

Details of the application process and requirements for the honors project are available on the studio art majors’ Sakai site.

Special Opportunities in Art

Independent Study

Students may pursue independent study coursework with individual faculty members. Such work may be undertaken only with the permission of the sponsoring faculty member. Students should consult individual faculty members prior to registration to secure permission. A proposal and a contract must be approved by the director of undergraduate studies before students may enroll. The independent study syllabus and contract are available on the art majors’ Sakai site. Since faculty members are limited to supervising only two independent study students each semester, students are strongly advised to contact the faculty member with whom they wish to work early in the registration period for the upcoming semester.

Independent study work requires a minimum of three hours per week per credit hour. For example, a typical three-credit-hour class would require at least nine hours of work per week. Once the semester begins, students must meet with the faculty member initially to confirm goals, review expectations, and establish semester deadlines. Thereafter, students must meet regularly to review work in progress, with a suggested biweekly frequency. Total time spent in direct interaction with the faculty member for the semester must average 45 minutes per week. This may be in the form of face-to-face meetings, blog or e-mail exchanges, or group critiques with other independent study students and their advisors.

Departmental Involvement

Students have opportunities to see and interact with professional artists and their work through exhibitions in the Allcott Galleries, installations of sculptural works in the Alumni Sculpture Garden, artist-in-residence programs, the Visiting Artist Professional Program, and the Hanes Visiting Artist Lecture Series.

There are several undergraduate student organizations serving the visual arts at Carolina. The Undergraduate Art Association (UAA) is a campuswide social club that supports and develops undergraduate visual artists at Carolina — regardless of their enrollment in art classes — and strengthens the impact of visual art in the University community. The Studio Art Majors Association (SAMA) is aimed specifically at developing community and professional opportunities that augment the experience for studio art majors and minors. ArtHeels is a service-based organization that is passionate about bringing arts (visual, performing, and literary) to the healthcare setting. The Art History Liaisons is the undergraduate art history group. Kappa Pi is the art majors honors society which includes both studio and art history majors. These groups serve as an important link between the majors and the department’s administration. The department utilizes these organizations to facilitate communication about matters of interest, including participation in departmental initiatives or other extracurricular opportunities.


Art majors are encouraged to pursue internships at local, regional, or national arts institutions or businesses. Students have worked in many art career contexts including museums and galleries, arts programming, and local businesses specializing in art-related production (photo studios, printmaking studios, illustration, design firms, and publishing). The art majors' Sakai site has useful information, including the ARTS 493 syllabus and contract and a partial listing of organizations that have worked with our students in the past. If you would like to discuss specific ideas about a possible internship, speak to any studio art faculty member or the director of undergraduate studies. All internships taken for UNC credit are subject to governmental guidelines, and students must have internships preapproved and under contract before enrolling for ARTS 493

Study Abroad

Students are encouraged to pursue study abroad opportunities. While there are many opportunities to study art abroad, the Department of Art maintains a special affiliation with the Studio Art Centers International (SACI) and the Lorenzo di Medici — both in Florence, Italy — and the Glasgow School of Art in Scotland. Students should discuss their study abroad plans with the undergraduate advisor in studio art to obtain prior approval for courses taken abroad. Basically, courses that have an equivalent in the UNC–Chapel Hill curriculum usually are approved. Courses that fall outside the UNC–Chapel Hill curriculum must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. No guarantee exists that a course will transfer for credit unless preapproved. Contact the Study Abroad Office to discuss the procedures for approval.

Undergraduate Awards

Undergraduate Scholarship Awards in Studio Art

The studio program awards more than $24,000 annually to students. A competition each November allows studio art majors to submit up to four works to be considered for the following scholarships:

  • The Alexander Julian Prize (one award to our best student)
  • The Sharpe Scholarships (multiple awards for students receiving financial aid)
  • George Kachergis Studio Art Scholarships (multiple awards chosen by a student-designated committee)
  • The Anderson Award
  • The Penland School of Craft Scholarships (two awards cover expenses for a summer course at the Penland School of Craft)
  • A design honorarium to develop proposals for the Alumni Sculpture Garden (see below).

Individual awards range from a minimum of $500 to $3,000.

Alumni Sculpture Garden Commission

The Department of Art annually commissions new works for the Alumni Sculpture Garden. Students wishing to be considered for the commission start by applying for one of three Sculpture Garden design honorariums during the Undergraduate Studio Art Awards Competition. Students selected during the competition are paid an honorarium to develop a design proposal. These proposals are evaluated and approved by a faculty-designated panel. Selected finalists receive a commission to realize the work. Most projects are sculptural but can be experimental, temporary performative works, projections, or other projects that utilize the Alumni Sculpture Garden spaces around the Hanes Art Center.

Undergraduate Research

Opportunities for undergraduate research in the Department of Art exist in several forms. Detailed descriptions and application guidelines are available on the art majors’ Sakai site and from the department's student services manager.

Allcott Travel Fellowships support two summer research projects in studio art and/or art history.

The Pearman Fund supports special projects in both art history and studio art. Competitions for art history research funds are held in the fall and the spring. Studio art students may request funds for special projects by submitting a proposal to the director of undergraduate studies in studio art. Awards are generally $500 or less.

Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURF) are administered through the UNC Office for Undergraduate Research. These $3,000 awards support undergraduate research projects over the summer. UNC's broad definition of research includes creative practices and the James Boyd Gadson SURFs are specifically designated for studio art. SURF applications from studio art majors are automatically considered for these Gadson Fellowships. This fund typically supports at least two awards. Application deadlines (usually in February) are set by the Office for Undergraduate Research. Students interested in pursuing summer research should contact possible faculty sponsors toward the end of the fall semester.

The Jacquelyn Friedman and Marvin Saltzman Fund in Art provides supplemental monies for painting supplies for students who for economic reasons may be hindered from working to their full potential. Any undergraduate student with need, regardless of major, enrolled in a Department of Art painting class during the fall and/or spring semesters is eligible. Students should see their course instructor for further information.