Studio Arts BA

College of Liberal Arts
Undergraduate major / Bachelor of Arts

About this program

The Bachelor of Arts in studio arts at Metropolitan State University gives students the opportunity to cultivate their creativity while developing marketable skills.

A core curriculum in drawing, painting, and digitally-based arts is supplemented by other media and techniques, community-based internships, and coursework in related disciplines.

Under the guidance of accomplished arts faculty with national and international exhibition histories, students will prepare for graduate school and/or careers in the visual arts.

Student outcomes

Program Student Learning Outcome 1: apply language common to the visual arts. More specifically, students will be able to: a. demonstrate comprehension of art vocabulary b. produce various types of written documents that support their ideas Program Student Learning Outcome 2: produce a cohesive body of art or craft. More specifically, students will be able to: a. compile a suite of works that have formal and/or conceptual similarities b. assemble a digital portfolio Program Student Learning Outcome 3: generate documents designed for the creative arts industry. More specifically, students will be able to: a. write artists’ statement that address the form and content of their work b. create exhibition resumes that highlight their creative achievements

Related minors

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Enrolling in this program

Current students: Declare this program

Once you’re admitted as an undergraduate student and have met any further admission requirements your chosen program may have, you may declare a major or declare an optional minor.

Future students: Apply now

Apply to Metropolitan State: Start the journey toward your Studio Arts BA now. Learn about the steps to enroll or, if you have questions about what Metropolitan State can offer you, request information, visit campus or chat with an admissions counselor.

Get started on your Studio Arts BA

More ways to earn your degree: Metropolitan State offers the flexibility you need to finish your degree. Through programs at our partner institutions, you can find a path to getting your Studio Arts BA that works best for you.

About your enrollment options

Program eligibility requirements

To be eligible for acceptance to the Studio Arts major, students must submit a College of Liberal Arts Undergraduate Declaration form.

Course requirements


Requirements (120 credits)

Studio Arts Required (20 credits)

ARTS 106 Introduction to Drawing

4 credits

This class focuses on the principles and practices of drawing, through an exploration of space, shading, volume, perspective and composition. Class discussions and projects include use of materials, color, artists and movements of the past, and contemporary trends in drawing and painting. Emphasis is placed on the development of hand-eye coordination skills.

Full course description for Introduction to Drawing

ARTS 300 Museums and Galleries

4 credits

As students visit local museums and galleries, they become familiar with many of the Twin Cities' exhibition facilities and reflect on the experience of viewing art. This course offers an approach to understanding and appreciating the visual arts as one develops critical thinking skills. Emphasis is placed on the articulation of ideas through written and spoken words. Note: Students are responsible for their own transportation.

Full course description for Museums and Galleries

ARTS 307 Painting

4 credits

This course explores principles and practices related to color, shading, volume, perspective and composition. Class discussion and projects include color theory, application techniques, artists and movements of the past and contemporary trends in painting. Students complete original paintings using acrylics.

Full course description for Painting

ARTS 400 Capstone Seminar

4 credits

In this course students learn about the documents, practices and resources necessary to pursue a career in the visual arts. Some pragmatic assignments will demonstrate the artist's talents and accomplishments (such as resumes, statements and portfolios). Other logistical exercises will explore the expectations for the field (like exhibition protocols, employment opportunities, grant proposals, residencies and applications for graduate school). This course is required for all Studio Arts majors and should be executed in the student's final year of study.

Full course description for Capstone Seminar

Choose one

ARTS 203 Introduction to Digital Arts

4 credits

This course explores computer based image-making and printing technologies. Through the investigation of various printing materials, students will have the opportunity to produce two and three-dimensional projects using contemporary methods. Students will gain hands-on experience with digital drawing tools, photographic and graphic designs using image based software while learning about the formal elements and principles of design. Art theory and practice will be presented in conversation with lectures and peer review. Professional artists and designers using these processes in their work will be highlighted in the course.

Full course description for Introduction to Digital Arts

Studio Arts Electives (18 credits)

Choose 18 credits.ARTS 304 has various subtitles.ARTS 301, 304, 320 and 360I can be repeated twice for credit if topic is different.

ARTS 301 Current Topics: Variable Subtitles

2 credits

Current Topics is a course designation that is used to identify timely themes and various media that supplement and enrich a student's art education. Topics will change from semester to semester. If more than one topics course is taken in fulfillment of the major, they must be different course titles. Topics may include, but are not limited to: book arts, relief printmaking, mosaic sculptures, street photography and assemblage.

Full course description for Current Topics: Variable Subtitles

ARTS 302 Exhibition Practices

2 credits

This internship is designed to give students an opportunity to learn about the basic functions and day to day operations of an educational art gallery. Students will assist in the installation and dismantling of various exhibitions, featuring numerous forms of art. In doing so, students will gather practical knowledge about handling and lighting artwork, creating didactics, generating and distributing publicity, working with artists and creating corresponding programming. This knowledge should qualify a student to apply for entry level positions at other exhibition facilities, create groundwork for additional coursework in Museum Studies, and/or prepare students to mount exhibitions of their own in a professional manner. Variable meeting times. Contact instructor for details prior to registering. S/N grading only.

Full course description for Exhibition Practices

ARTS 304 Topics in Fibers

4 credits

This studio course explores historical and contemporary approaches to fiber arts as well as examination of significant figures and movements. Traditional techniques and contemporary applications of paper and fabric bridge the gap between crafts and fine arts. Students should consult the Class Schedule for particular topics (such as papermaking, wearable art and surface design.) Note: This course may be taken three times for credit as long as the topic is different.

Full course description for Topics in Fibers

ARTS 309 Photography: History of a Visual Artform

4 credits

This course presents a historical survey of photography within the context of scientific, cultural and artistic forces. From the camera obscura and daguerreotypes to Surrealism and Social Realism, this course addresses the broad and expressive nature of photographic imagery. In addition to exploring the technical history of the medium, the class is designed to promote formal articulation, genre identification and evaluation of meaning within diverse cultural contexts. Students will leave this course with a stronger sense of the ways in which photography has contributed to the global artistic landscape and our conception of reality. Activities include slide lectures, videos, visiting artist presentations and field trips to local collections and studios. No lab component.

Full course description for Photography: History of a Visual Artform

ARTS 311 Watercolors

4 credits

This course explores the fundamental principles and techniques associated with the medium of watercolor paints, The coursework includes color theory, application techniques, and traditional/contemporary trends in painting. Once rudimentary skills are established through representational compositions, students will have the opportunity to investigate the expressive nature of watercolors through abstract imagery. Two field trips are schedules outdoors.

Full course description for Watercolors

ARTS 316 Intermediate Photography

4 credits

Intermediate photographic techniques and approaches to image making using digital cameras, editing, software, printers, and lighting equipment. Class projects and discussions include image manipulation, composition, lighting, and film/analog photography, as well as artist movements of the past and contemporary trends in photography. Students explore photography as a creative form.

Full course description for Intermediate Photography

ARTS 320 Topics in Clay: Variable Subtitles

3 credits

Topics in Clay is a course that explores the artistic possibilities of working with ceramics. Functional and sculptural approaches are addressed. These twelve-week, three credit courses are taught at Northern Clay Center in Minneapolis. Topics will change from semester to semester. If more than one topics course is taken in fulfillment of the major, they must be different course titles. Topics may include, but are not limited to: Wheel Throwing, Hand Building, Surface/Imagery Technique and Firing Methods.

Full course description for Topics in Clay: Variable Subtitles

ARTS 350I Arts Individualized Internship

1-8 credits

Students obtain internships in selected areas of study to gain deeper understand of knowledge, skills and the context of a given field. Faculty members serve as liaisons and evaluator between the internship sites and the university, providing information to students and potential supervisors and supervising the learning experience. Internships normally earn between one and four credits, required 40 work hours per credit, and may be served through a standard hours/work schedule or with flexible work hours scheduling, depending on the nature of the internship and site preferences.

Full course description for Arts Individualized Internship

ARTS 360I Studio Arts Student Designed Independent Study

2-4 credits

Student-designed independent studies give Metropolitan State students the opportunity to plan their own study. This type of learning strategy can be useful because it allows students to focus on particular media or techniques; to pursue a unique project that requires specialized study; refine skills and ideas that may not be covered in existing curriculum. Note: This course may be taken a number of times up to a total of 16 credits under the supervision of any CAS/CWA studio arts faculty member. Students should contact the instructor to make arrangements prior to registration.

Full course description for Studio Arts Student Designed Independent Study

HUM 333 The Photo and the Other

4 credits

This course introduces students to visual culture theory with an emphasis on the photographic image. The course examines how photography has shaped Western culture's understanding of how to "read" images of people and their spaces for their status, meaning and utility within a community. Contemporary theories debate the place of the photo in distinguishing and contesting our representations of people in terms of race, ability, class, gender, sexuality and size. Students will learn how modern views of photography as both an art and a science create an often contradictory set of beliefs about what a photo shows that is "real" or "true."

Full course description for The Photo and the Other

SCRW 315 Film Production and Editing I

4 credits

The course introduces the principles and practices of electronic filmmaking as a personal and creative art form. Students will engage in exercises and projects to explore and understand editing, camera work, light, composition, and sound. A variety of cinematic forms will be examined. Student screenplays may be produced. Students will film and edit individual creative projects.

Full course description for Film Production and Editing I

WRIT 377 Writing Proposals and Grants

4 credits

This course offers a rhetorically-based, process-oriented approach to strategic, effective writing of proposals and grants for individuals and organizations. The course is designed primarily for writers, artists and technical communicators who expect to find themselves, as freelancers or as employees, seeking funding for a variety of programs and projects in academic, nonprofit or corporate situations. This course provides a systematic process for analyzing audiences, writing needs statements and finding sponsors all within an electronic context.

Full course description for Writing Proposals and Grants