About the College
B. Stephen Carpenter II, Dean, College of Arts and Architecture
Do you want to become an architect? We can help. Considering a career as an art teacher? We’ve got you covered. Are you interested in graphic design…or acting…or painting? No problem—we offer programs in all those areas, and more, in the College of Arts and Architecture. We are a close-knit community where students experience the best of both worlds—small class sizes, with all the resources of a Big 10 university. Our majors span the performing, visual, and design arts, preparing you for careers where your creativity and curiosity shine through. As a student in the college, you will have additional educational opportunities—master classes, workshops, and more—through our outreach units, the Center for the Performing Arts and the Palmer Museum of Art. The College of Arts and Architecture is a dynamic and vibrant place, propelled by the energy and initiative of students like you.
Mission and Goals
The College of Arts and Architecture is committed to providing the highest quality training for artists, designers, scholars, teachers, and arts professionals, and to advancing research and creative activity in our disciplines. Our goals are to create transformative experiences for students; maximize visibility of the arts and design at Penn State; engage communities through research, curricula, and arts presentation; and lead in technology in the arts and design.
Our schools and programs are accredited by the top bodies in their fields, including the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB), the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), the Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board (LAAB), National Association of Schools of Music (NASM), National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST), and more.
Departments and Schools
Department of Art History
The Department of Art History offers lecture/discussion courses and seminars on a broad range of topics, from ancient to contemporary art and architecture in Europe, the Americas, Asia, Africa, and Oceania. Courses are also offered in museum studies, historiography, iconology, criticism, connoisseurship, and research methods. The department maintains a close relationship with the Palmer Museum of Art through courses in museum studies, assistantships, and other hands-on experiences for students.
The Integrative Arts program is a multidisciplinary, student-designed degree program. Students who major in Integrative Arts focus their programs of study on personal interests in the arts and design, and they have the opportunity to build their course of study both within and across the boundaries of existing majors in the College of Arts and Architecture.
School of Music
With approximately 325 students enrolled, the School of Music offers degrees that help develop students as performers, teachers, and scholars. The school hosts more than 400 public events each year, providing students with ample opportunities to perform, from small chamber groups to large ensembles (including the Penn State Marching Blue Band!).
H. Campbell and Eleanor R. Stuckeman School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture
The Stuckeman School is home to the departments of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, and the Graphic Design program.
Department of Architecture
The architecture department offers focused opportunities for inquiry, research, and study in key areas of culture, space, and society; design computing; material matters; and sustainability.
Department of Landscape Architecture
The landscape architecture program is consistently ranked among the best in the country. The department is guided by its bold mission: Great work grounded in commitment to environmental and social good.
The graphic design program offers a close-knit community and individualized through small class sizes. Graduates of the graphic design program hold leadership positions in design studios, advertising agencies, and corporate in-house design offices throughout the United States and abroad.
School of Theatre
The School of Theatre offers undergraduate degrees in acting, musical theatre, dance, design and technology, stage management, and theatre studies, and graduate degrees in acting, design and technology, directing and music directing, and voice pedagogy. Students study, perform, and produce classics, musicals, and new and devised theatre works, while developing skills that will help them sustain full lives and careers in theatre.
School of Visual Arts
The School of Visual Arts (SoVA) offers degree programs in three areas of study: studio art, art education, and digital arts and design. SoVA’s visual arts and design programs offer students opportunities to respond imaginatively to social and cultural change through exploration, expression, and communication in visual art and design forms.
- Acting, B.F.A.
- Architecture, B.Arch.
- Architecture, B.S.
- Art Education, B.S.
- Art History, B.A.
- Art, B.A. (Arts and Architecture)
- Art, B.F.A.
- Digital Arts and Media Design, B.Des.
- Digital Multimedia Design, B.Des.
- Graphic Design, B.Des.
- Integrative Arts, B.A. (Arts and Architecture)
- Landscape Architecture, B.L.A.
- Music Education, B.M.E.
- Music, B.A.
- Music, B.M.
- Musical Arts, B.M.A.
- Musical Theatre, B.F.A.
- Professional Photography, B.Des.
- Theatre, B.A.
- Theatre, B.F.A.
Change of Campus and Change of Major
Students interested in changing their campus or major should review directions on the college’s how to apply page, which includes information on portfolio submissions and auditions. If you have questions, contact the Academic Affairs Office. Most majors are fall only, direct admit, and require submissions in spring semester.
A Concurrent Majors Program is one in which students take courses to concurrently meet the requirements of at least two majors, with graduation for all majors in the program occurring during the same semester. Arts and Architecture students considering concurrent majors should contact the college academic adviser at University Park or the advising center at another Penn State campus for specific information.
A student who fails to earn a 2.00 cumulative grade-point average will be placed on academic warning. A student placed on academic warning will have a hold placed on registration and will be required to meet with a program adviser and the college academic adviser to remove the hold. To remove academic warning, the cumulative grade-point average must be 2.00 or higher. All notifications concerning the hold will be sent to the student’s campus email address.
A student in academic warning who fails to maintain a semester grade-point average of 2.00 or higher will be academically suspended. A student who has been academically suspended may not schedule courses at the University for two consecutive semesters. (Note: Summer session is equal to one semester.) Suspended students should contact the college academic adviser upon learning of their status. All notifications concerning the suspension will be sent to the student’s campus email address.
All students in the College of Arts and Architecture are assigned an academic adviser. These faculty and professional advisers empower students to make choices that will help them achieve academic, personal, and professional success, while pursuing individual interests, as well.
International study goes hand in hand with study of the arts and design. The college is committed to providing international education opportunities, and all students are encouraged to study abroad! We work closely with Global Penn State to offer full semester and summer experiences all over the world.
The arts and design fields have always valued diversity and inclusion, and our college is no different. We are committed to developing and maintaining a student body, faculty, and staff that represent our diverse society. Learn more about how we create space where all individuals are valued on our college website.
In our college, learning doesn't just take place in the classroom or studio. Your experiences outside the typical academic environment are crucial to your success. We are committed to providing learning opportunities that both complement your coursework and help you find personal fulfillment.
University and College Awards
We want the best possible student candidates from our college to be considered for college and University-level awards. There are a number of awards in research, service, leadership, and performance—a full listing is on our college website. Take a look!
Schreyer Honors College
The Schreyer Honors College, regarded as one of the nation’s top programs of its kind, promotes achieving academic excellence with integrity, building a global perspective, and creating opportunities for leadership and civic engagement. Schreyer Scholars, including those admitted after their first or second year of enrollment, are a diverse and motivated group of approximately 2,000 students at University Park and 20 Commonwealth campuses. The College strives to educate students who will have an important and ethical influence in the world, to improve educational practice, and to continue to be recognized as a leading force in honors education nationwide.
Honors in the College of Arts and Architecture
The Schreyer Honors College gives you the opportunity to work closely with faculty to identify interests related to your academic, professional, and personal goals. All majors in the college can be pursued with an honors option. The option culminates with the completion of a thesis, which can be completed in many different formats on topics relevant to design, the performing arts, and the visual arts. Examples? A mixed media exhibition exploring global experiences, a study on the impact of hospital design on wellness, and a short documentary on healthcare reform. First-year students applying to the University as an Arts and Architecture major may apply to the Schreyer Honors College at the same time. The application has a supplemental area where students can submit examples of creative work and accomplishments. Please visit the Schreyer website for more information on eligibility and application procedures.