Many prominent Northwest artists, designers, and art historians began their professional careers by studying art at Portland State University. An even greater number of successful and productive people have used their training in the School of Art+Design as the basis for careers in commerce, industry, education, and a variety of fields limited only by imagination. Offering a broad curriculum, including undergraduate degrees in Art History, Art Practices, and Graphic Design, as well as MFA and BFA degrees in Art Practices, the school seeks a diverse student population and takes advantage of its geographical location in the heart of Portland, extending our classroom activities into the city’s vibrant cultural community.
With a dedicated faculty actively engaged in their own creative and scholarly research, our student body of aspiring artists, designers and art historians explores new avenues of expression, prepares for professional and academic careers, and builds theoretical and practical foundations for future artistic and intellectual discovery. As a general rule, the major in art requires a minimum of 88 credits in art courses. Included are extensive experiences in studio work and a comprehensive study of the history of art. Majors in art history require a minimum of 68 credits.
The BA/BS is a liberal arts degree in visual art (88 credits). The studio art program provides a comprehensive view of studio art practices, applications, theories, and history, with an emphasis on trends in contemporary art. The first and second years focus on foundation courses including art history, drawing, art theory and design. During the second year the student is encouraged to begin sampling a variety of studio courses in printmaking, painting, drawing, sculpture, digital art and art and social practices. In the third and fourth years students select a focus, further developing their knowledge of visual language, media skills and the conceptual and expressive aspects of their work. Also, during the third and fourth years critical theory and professional practices in art are investigated, aiding the student in establishing a sense of place within the visual arts community.