Art, B.A. (Arts and Architecture)

Program Code: ARTBA_BA

Program Description

The B.A. degree in art provides a comprehensive liberal education coupled with professional resident instruction in art. Depending on each student's objectives and course choices, this degree provides preparation for a professional career, a foundation for graduate studies, or a liberal arts education in art. Each student must elect an area of concentration from one of the following: ceramics, drawing and painting, new media, photography, printmaking, or sculpture.

What is Art?

Art is an individual and social practice that makes an impact. When people create or respond to art, they make connections between themselves and the experiences of others. In some cases, art provides a private encounter whereby individual thoughts and feelings are expressed through art, or recognized in the art of someone else. In other cases, art gives form to ideas and issues that concern entire communities. It is because art extends personal and public awareness that it is highly valued as a cultural activity. Those who make art and write about art offer imaginative insights that challenge us to see things differently. By creating artworks yourself, and enhancing your capacity to interpret artworks made by other individuals, communities, and cultures, you contribute to one of the most important purposes of art, which is to celebrate this unique human form of social communication that shapes the way we see ourselves.

You Might Like this Program If...

You are excited and challenged by the diverse and profound impact art and culture can have in the everyday life of individuals and communities. Art and culture ‘workers’ take on many creative roles in everyday life and respond imaginatively to the continuous rush of social and cultural change around them by exploring issues, and expressing and communicating ideas using all forms of image, text, and social media.

Entrance Procedures

Incoming First Year Students

Incoming first year students must apply to Penn State. Students who are accepted to Art through the undergraduate admissions application will be admitted to the school of visual arts pre-major (AAART). Students will submit a portfolio for entrance to Art at the end of their second semester. Portfolios are reviewed on a rolling basis and should include 10-12 images of the applicant’s work and a statement (500-word max) to describe one of the artworks.

Change of Major/Change of Campus Students

Change of major/Change of Campus students must have a cumulative GPA of 2.00 or above and are required to submit a portfolio to enter the AAART pre-major. Portfolios to enter pre-major are submitted through Slideroom and are reviewed on a rolling basis. Portfolios should include 10-12 images of the applicant’s work and a statement (500-word max) to describe one of the artworks. Students will typically submit a portfolio for entrance to Art (B.A) at the end of their 2nd semester in AAART.

Transfer Students

Transfer students must apply for undergraduate admissions to Penn State. Undergraduate applications for admission to Penn State must be complete and submitted before uploading the required portfolio for entry to AAART pre-major. Portfolios are submitted through Slideroom and are reviewed on a rolling basis and should include 10-12 images of the applicant’s work and a statement (500-word max) to describe one of the artworks. Students will typically submit a portfolio for entrance to Art (B.A) at the end of their 2nd semester in AAART.

Degree Requirements

For the Bachelor of Arts degree in Art, a minimum of 120 credits is required:

Requirement Credits
General Education 45
Electives 5
Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements 24
Requirements for the Major 52

6 of the 45 credits for General Education are included in the Requirements for the Major. This includes 6 credits of General Education GA courses.

3 of the 24 credits for Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements are included in the Requirements for the Major, General Education, or Electives and 0-12 credits are included in Electives if foreign language proficiency is demonstrated by examination.

Requirements for the Major

To graduate, a student enrolled in the major must earn a grade of C or better in each course designated by the major as a C-required course, as specified by Senate Policy 82-44.

Prescribed Courses
Prescribed Courses: Require a grade of C or better
ART 11First-Year Seminar- School of Visual Arts1
ART 110Ideas as Visual Images3
ART 111Ideas as Objects3
ART 122YCommentary on Art3
ARTH 111Ancient to Medieval Art Keystone/General Education Course 13
ARTH 112Renaissance to Modern Art Keystone/General Education Course 13
Additional Courses
Additional Courses: Require a grade of C or better
Select 15 credits of the following:15
Introduction to Digital Art and Design Criticism
Figure Drawing
Drawing: Techniques, Materials, and Tools
Beginning Sculpture
Beginning Printmaking
Beginning Oil Painting
Water Media
Beginning Ceramics
Independent Studies (3 credits)
Special Topics (3 credits)
Foreign Study--Art (3 credits)
2D Digital Art & Computer Graphics
Web Design and Visual Web Development
Introduction to Photography Keystone/General Education Course
A Chronological Survey of Photography
Supporting Courses and Related Areas 2
Select 6 credits in art history6
Supporting Courses and Related Areas: Require a grade of C or better
Select 15 credits from one of the following areas of concentration: ceramics, drawing and painting, new media, photography, printmaking, and sculpture15

These credits may also be counted toward the General Education Arts requirement.


Include at least 15 credits at the 300 or 400 level.

General Education

Connecting career and curiosity, the General Education curriculum provides the opportunity for students to acquire transferable skills necessary to be successful in the future and to thrive while living in interconnected contexts. General Education aids students in developing intellectual curiosity, a strengthened ability to think, and a deeper sense of aesthetic appreciation. These are requirements for all baccalaureate students and are often partially incorporated into the requirements of a program. For additional information, see the General Education Requirements section of the Bulletin and consult your academic adviser.

The keystone symbol Keystone/General Education Course appears next to the title of any course that is designated as a General Education course. Program requirements may also satisfy General Education requirements and vary for each program.

Foundations (grade of C or better is required and Inter-Domain courses do not meet this requirement.)

  • Quantification (GQ): 6 credits
  • Writing and Speaking (GWS): 9 credits

Breadth in the Knowledge Domains (Inter-Domain courses do not meet this requirement.)

  • Arts (GA): 3 credits
  • Health and Wellness (GHW): 3 credits
  • Humanities (GH): 3 credits
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences (GS): 3 credits
  • Natural Sciences (GN): 3 credits

Integrative Studies

  • Inter-Domain Courses (Inter-Domain): 6 credits


  • GN, may be completed with Inter-Domain courses: 3 credits
  • GA, GH, GN, GS, Inter-Domain courses. This may include 3 credits of World Language course work beyond the 12th credit level or the requirements for the student’s degree program, whichever is higher: 6 credits

University Degree Requirements

First Year Engagement

All students enrolled in a college or the Division of Undergraduate Studies at University Park, and the World Campus are required to take 1 to 3 credits of the First-Year Seminar, as specified by their college First-Year Engagement Plan.

Other Penn State colleges and campuses may require the First-Year Seminar; colleges and campuses that do not require a First-Year Seminar provide students with a first-year engagement experience.

First-year baccalaureate students entering Penn State should consult their academic adviser for these requirements.

Cultures Requirement

6 credits are required and may satisfy other requirements

  • United States Cultures: 3 credits
  • International Cultures: 3 credits

Writing Across the Curriculum

3 credits required from the college of graduation and likely prescribed as part of major requirements.

Total Minimum Credits

A minimum of 120 degree credits must be earned for a baccalaureate degree. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 credits. Students should consult with their college or department adviser for information on specific credit requirements.

Quality of Work

Candidates must complete the degree requirements for their major and earn at least a 2.00 grade-point average for all courses completed within their degree program.

Limitations on Source and Time for Credit Acquisition

The college dean or campus chancellor and program faculty may require up to 24 credits of course work in the major to be taken at the location or in the college or program where the degree is earned. Credit used toward degree programs may need to be earned from a particular source or within time constraints (see Senate Policy 83-80). For more information, check the Suggested Academic Plan for your intended program.

B.A. Degree Requirements

Foreign Language (0-12 credits): Student must attain 12th credit level of proficiency in one foreign language. See the Placement Policy for Penn State Foreign Language Courses.

B.A. Fields (9 credits): Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Arts, Foreign Languages, Natural Sciences, Quantification (may not be taken in the area of the student's primary major; foreign language credits in this category must be in a second foreign language or beyond the 12th credit level of proficiency in the first language)

Other Cultures (0-3 credits): Select 3 credits from approved list. Students may count courses in this category in order to meet other major, minor, elective, or General Education requirements, except for the General Education US/IL requirement.​

Learning Outcomes

  • Receive a comprehensive liberal arts education that provides multiple learning options to support individual learning programs;  
  • Complete a series of resident studio art courses that provide a foundation visual language;   
  • Select an area of studio concentration that complements personal learning passions and proclivities;  
  • Develop core art skills, artistic knowledge and material thinking processes able to be applied to learning situations across disciplines.

Academic Advising

The objectives of the university's academic advising program are to help advisees identify and achieve their academic goals, to promote their intellectual discovery, and to encourage students to take advantage of both in-and out-of class educational opportunities in order that they become self-directed learners and decision makers.

Both advisers and advisees share responsibility for making the advising relationship succeed. By encouraging their advisees to become engaged in their education, to meet their educational goals, and to develop the habit of learning, advisers assume a significant educational role. The advisee's unit of enrollment will provide each advisee with a primary academic adviser, the information needed to plan the chosen program of study, and referrals to other specialized resources.


University Park

Liz Agler
Academic Adviser
104 Borland Building
University Park, PA 16802


Yvonne Love
Program Chair, Art
1600 Woodland Road
Abington, PA 19001

Suggested Academic Plan

The suggested academic plan(s) listed on this page are the plan(s) that are in effect during the 2023-24 academic year. To access previous years' suggested academic plans, please visit the archive to view the appropriate Undergraduate Bulletin edition (Note: the archive only contains suggested academic plans beginning with the 2018-19 edition of the Undergraduate Bulletin).

Art, B.A. at University Park Campus

The course series listed below provides only one of the many possible ways to move through this curriculum. The University may make changes in policies, procedures, educational offerings, and requirements at any time. This plan should be used in conjunction with your degree audit (accessible in LionPATH as either an Academic Requirements or What If report). Please consult with a Penn State academic adviser on a regular basis to develop and refine an academic plan that is appropriate for you.

First Year
ART 11*1ART 111*3
ART 110*3ART 122Y (W; US)*3
ARTH 111 (GA; IL)*†3ARTH 112 (GA; IL)*†3
ENGL 15, 15A, or 30H3Foreign Language4
General Education Course3General Education3
Foreign Language4 
 17 16
Second Year
Additional Course for Major (see list)*13Additional Course for Major (see list)*13
Additional Course for Major (see list)*13Additional Course for Major (see list)*13
Foreign Language4General Education Course3
General Education Course3General Education Course3
Supporting Course from Art History*23General Education Course3
 16 15
Third Year
CAS 100A, 100B, or 100C3ENGL 202A, 202B, 202C, or 202D3
Additional Course for Major (see list)*13General Education Course3
BA Knowledge Domain Course3Supporting Course for Concentration*24
General Education Course3Supporting Course for Concentration*23
Supporting Course from Art History*23 
 15 13
Fourth Year
BA Knowledge Domain3Elective Course2
General Education Course3Elective Course3
General Education Course3BA Knowledge Domain Course3
Other Cultures Course3Supporting Course for Concentration*24
Supporting Course for Concentration*24 
 16 12
Total Credits 120

Course requires a grade of C or better for the major

Course requires a grade of C or better for General Education


Course is an Entrance to Major requirement

Course satisfies General Education and degree requirement


Select 15 credits from ART 201(3), ART 203(3), ART 211 US(3), ART 217(3), ART 220(3), ART 223(3), ART 230(3), ART 240(3), ART 250(3), ART 251(3), ART 260(3), ART 280(3), ART 296(3), ART 297(3), ART 299 IL(3), PHOTO 100 GA(3), or PHOTO 201(3) (Sem: 3-8)


(Include at least 15 credits at the 300 or 400 level.)
-Select 15 credits from one of the following areas of concentration: ceramics, drawing and painting, new media, photography, printmaking, and sculpture (Sem: 3-8)
-Select 6 credits in art history (Sem: 1-8)

University Requirements and General Education Notes:

US and IL are abbreviations used to designate courses that satisfy Cultural Diversity Requirements (United States and International Cultures).

W, M, X, and Y are the suffixes at the end of a course number used to designate courses that satisfy University Writing Across the Curriculum requirement.

General Education includes Foundations (GWS and GQ), Knowledge Domains (GHW, GN, GA, GH, GS) and Integrative Studies (Inter-domain) requirements. N or Q (Honors) is the suffix at the end of a course number used to help identify an Inter-domain course, but the inter-domain attribute is used to fill audit requirements. Foundations courses (GWS and GQ) require a grade of 'C' or better.

All incoming Schreyer Honors College first-year students at University Park will take ENGL 137H/CAS 137H in the fall semester and ENGL 138T/CAS 138T in the spring semester. These courses carry the GWS designation and satisfy a portion of that General Education requirement. If the student’s program prescribes GWS these courses will replace both ENGL 15/ENGL 30H and CAS 100A/CAS 100B/CAS 100C. Each course is 3 credits.

Bachelor of Arts Requirements:

Bachelor of Arts students must take 9 credits in Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Fields (Humanities; Social and Behavioral Sciences; Arts; World Languages [2nd language or beyond the 12th credit level of proficiency in the 1st]; Natural Sciences; Quantification). The B.A. Fields courses may not be taken in the area of the student’s primary major. See your adviser and the Degree Requirements section of this Bulletin.

Bachelor of Arts students must take 3 credits in Other Cultures.
See your adviser and the full list of courses approved as Other Cultures courses.

Career Paths

As a B.A. graduate with a broad interest in the individual and collective power of the arts to enrich human understanding, you have artistic skills and critical sensibilities that can become life-long assets. Just as art can awaken us to new experience, exploring new ways to integrate knowledge from diverse sources helps make these experiences concrete and alerts us to noticing things not otherwise obvious. Broadening learning to embrace studio-based practices of making and critical reflection opens up options for linking personal and professional career interests, and these can have an enduring impact on what and how one learns.


The B.A. experience collects and collates many different modalities of thinking and knowing, re-positions them around what we know, and helps us see gaps and what we don’t know. The B.A. art experience takes these familiar and new understandings and provides an environment for helping you to discover your personal voice in the work you create. Contemporary studio art practice embraces any conceptually appropriate material and method that best articulates your artistic intention. In addition, professional practice opportunities are embedded into the program that can lead to future accomplishments after school.

Opportunities for Graduate Studies

Due to the emphasis put on developing your personal vision and distinctive artistic voice, a B.A. art graduate will have a heightened sense of individual perspective and an understanding of multiple ways of engaging with ideas, and these dispositions become foundational skills in assessing future educational and professional directions.


Professional Resources


University Park

210 Patterson Building
University Park, PA 16802


1600 Woodland Road
Abington, PA 19001