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The University of Tennessee

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Art - Studio Art (B.F.A) Major Guide for 2009-2010

What is Art - Studio Art (B.F.A)

The School of Art offers a professional degree in the visual arts where the majority of course work is concentrated in studio art. Students choose a concentration in one of the following areas: ceramics, drawing, media arts, painting, printmaking, and sculpture.
The ceramics program provides instruction and training for students interested in clay as an art form.  The curriculum in ceramics addresses functional and sculptural work, new technologies and ceramic history.  In upper division work, the emphasis is on ideation, individual aesthetics and growth.  Drawing offers a wide range of experiences in both traditional and contemporary concepts and materials, including a strong live drawing component. Media arts provides instruction and training for students interested in media as an art form. With an emphasis on creativity, as well as technical virtuosity, students produce works of art using such media forms as cinematography, multi-image programming, time-based installation and performance, photography, and video art. The curriculum in the painting concentration is fundamentally responsive to the plurality of ideas evident in the art world today. The painting and drawing area supports a different artist-in-residence each semester, deliberately chosen to ensure that students have access to a wide range of contemporary sensibilities. The printmaking concentration provides a complete studio experience with courses in intaglio, lithography, relief and monotype, papermaking and screen-prints. Emphasis is placed on both traditional and exploratory techniques and concepts, including mono-print, combination of print and non-print methods and photo-print processes. The curriculum in the sculpture concentration consists of a variety of courses. Some are media-specific such as steel sculpture (welding) or metal casting; some are thematic such as figure modeling; and other courses are for general development of sculptural ideas. In upper-division work, the emphasis is on personal expression and growth.

Career Opportunities in Art - Studio Art (B.F.A)

As in any fine arts field, students pursue a visual arts degree because of a strong philosophical commitment to a life of productive creativity. The skills and training in arts courses, however, can be applied to specific fields of commercial endeavor. Ceramicists often apply their art to the creation of utilitarian vessels. Drawing and painting majors may practice in such fields as advertising, animation, fashion, cartoon art, medical illustration, courtroom sketching, or as a professional artist. The technology training in media courses allows students to learn skills and techniques such as computer-based, non-linear editing, digital imaging, film production and sound manipulation that may lead to positions in professional production studios and other related businesses. Photography may lead to other opportunities. More than half of the photographers whose income derives from photography are self-employed. They specialize in commercial, portrait photography or photojournalism. Because of the social nature of the printshop, many printmaking graduates gain their teaching certification to be art instructors. Some students combine printmaking skills to pursue a career as a freelance illustrator. Other career paths include fine arts printing or operating a letterpress shop. Those trained in sculpture have found employment as furniture designers, architectural model builder, product designer, theater set designer, jewelry designer and product designer.

Salary Trends in Art - Studio Art (B.F.A)

Students who gain teaching certification following a B.F.A. in studio art are paid an average of $33,000 at the entry level.  If one is employed in the media industry, entry level salaries may range from $21,000 to $25,000, depending on the skill level of the employee. Those who pursue M.F.A degrees and become professors have starting salaries ranging from $38,000 to $48,000. Salaries for free-lance artists vary widely depending upon their work and the art market.

High School Preparation

Work on a well-rounded curriculum in math, science, history, language and literature. Take a variety of art courses offered in school but also take advantage of other resources in your community: art classes at workshops offered by museums, arts organizations, educational enrichment programs. Make a habit of seeing exhibitions in your community and while traveling. Organize an art club; invite speakers to your school. Work on the yearbook and newspaper in your school. Competing on the debate team or being involved in student political organizations will prepare you not only to work with visual arts materials, but will give you opportunities to work with others on collaborative projects. Subscribe to art journals such as Art in America or Art Papers. Artists are concerned about the relationship of art to society, so social studies and history classes should be a priority for your academic work. Additionally, creative writing and the study of literature can play a central role in the development of your art.

How to Major in Art - Studio Art (B.F.A)

Before you may progress into the program as a major, you must take Art 101 and 103 (a two-course sequence in two- and three-dimensional design) and an art history survey (Art History 172, 173, 183, or 162).  Students are then admitted in rank order of cumulative average as space allows.  During the first year, students also usually take Art 102, a course in four-dimensional design, and a second art history survey.  During the second year, you will progress to  200-level classes and choose a concentration.  Students must pass all progression requirements in their area, which may vary. 

Special Programs, Co-ops, and Internships

Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts is affiliated with UT. Forty miles east of the UT campus and two miles from the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, Arrowmont is an internationally known visual arts complex renowned for its intensive one-and two-week spring and summer workshops in many media. Weekend and week-long workshops are available in October. Courses may be taken in the spring and summer for UT credit. Internship opportunities are available for graphic design majors, museum studies students and printmaking students. Print Club UTK is an active student printmaking organization. A highlight of each year is a club sponsored printshop open house and fundraiser to help students attend the annual Southern Graphics Council Conference. The UT Potters Club holds a sale each semester, some profits of which help students attend the annual conference of the National Council on Education in the Ceramic Arts.  The AIGA Student Group of American Institute of Graphic Arts invites guest speakers, arranges field trips and community outreach.  The Sculpture Club works with other organizations to bring visiting artists to campus, facilitates workshops, attends conferences, plans field trips and maintains the Reese Sculpture Collection on campus.  The club also organizes community outreach events such as iron pours. 

The School encourages students to have experiences beyond the University, preferably prior to portfolio review.  Opportunities include national and international student exchange programs, artist residencies, internships, and the many study abroad programs offered through the School of Art and other departments. 

Highlights of Art - Studio Art (B.F.A)

We are housed in the expansive Art and Architecture Building, four floors dedicated to architecture and the fine arts. There are lecture spaces and classrooms with multimedia capability, well-equipped design labs, film and video labs, spacious sculpture and ceramic spaces, accommodating painting and drawing studios, and one of the finest printmaking facilities in the nation. The Ewing Gallery, located in Art and Architecture Building, and the Downtown Gallery, recently opened in downtown Knoxville, schedule approximately twenty-four exhibitions each year.  These support the galleries' mission to sponsor exhibitions representative of current attitudes in art, to support the academic goals of the various disciplines taught in the School of Art, and to serve as a resource for the university and regional communities. Gallery 1010, a student gallery curated by students, is located in downtown Knoxville. Exhibitions are scheduled by a School of Art student advisory committee. Our Visiting Artist program introduces diverse and important artists to students. In addition, Painting and Drawing’s artist-in-residence program brings an important painter to the UT campus each semester.

Ready for the World logoReady for the World

"Ready for the World” is part of a long-range plan to transform the UTK campus into a culture of diversity that best prepares students for working and competing in the 21st century.  Thus students are encouraged to actively participate in the diverse cultural programs offered on campus.  Some of these events include the guest lecture series, cultural nights at the International House, and international film screenings.  Visit the Center for International Education web site ( or the Ready for the World web site ( for more information on upcoming cultural programs and activities. 
Students are also encouraged to develop a global perspective within their academic program through study abroad.  Visit the Programs Abroad Office web site ( for information on study abroad opportunities.

Learn more about UT's Ready for the World initiative to help students gain the international and intercultural knowledge they need to succeed in today's world.

Sample Curriculum

Freshman Year Credit Hours
English Composition 6
Art 101 3
Art 103 3
Art 102 3
Social Science
Art History 172 and 173 6
Quantitative Reasoning 6

Sophomore Year Credit Hours
Drawing 211 3
Two-Dimensional Arts
Three-Dimensional Arts
Four-Dimensional Arts 3
Studio Elective 200-level 3
*200-level studio in concentration 3
Art History 162 or 183 3
Natural Science 7
Communicating Orally 3

Junior Year Credit Hours
*300-400 level studio in concentration 8
300-400 level Art History
300-400 level Studio Electives
Social Science 3
Cultures and Civilizations (Foreign Language) 6
Communicating through Writing 3

Senior Year Credit Hours
*300-400 level studio courses in concentration 8
300-400 level studio electives 8
Capstone 6
Non-Art Elective
300-400 level Art History 3

GRAND TOTAL (minimum) 120

*See School of Art Handbook for specific concentration requirements

For More Information

School of Art Handbook
School of Art Office
213 Art & Architecture Building



The information on this page should be considered general information only. For more specific information on this and other programs refer to the UT catalog or contact the department and/or college directly.