B.F.A. Curriculum and Requirements
Within the departmental curriculum, the first three semesters provide six introductory, medium-specific studio classes (drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, print media, and digital media) along with an intensive art seminar.
Following this, students select from advanced studios in which medium specificity accommodates and encourages developing student material and intellectual interests. In the second and third years, students may apply for semester programs at both AAP NYC and Cornell in Rome, which combine studio classes with seminars, studio visits, field trips, and internship possibilities aimed at providing added exposure to professional and global art worlds. All three campuses run robust visiting artist lecture series.
Upon return to Ithaca, the final three semesters focus on studios and seminar work based on strengthening self-directed practice while preparing for a thesis project.
Students matriculating in fall 2018 should follow this curriculum:
|Requirement area and number of classes||Specific classes||Credits|
|6 classes of studio practice: Introductory 2000-level studios. To be completed by the end of the third semester.||ART 2201 Introduction to PaintingStudies the language of painting through color, form, materials, and techniques. Aspects of traditional and modern pictorial composition are studied including proportion, space, and color theory through the representation of a variety of subjects.
ART 2301 Introduction to Print MediaThis is an inclusive course that offers an expanded study of traditional printmaking processes through experimental print media. Print media is a critical practice grounded in the history of all printed matter and the printed form as a social medium. Students will participate in a comprehensive range of technical and aesthetic approaches centered in a range of strategies including the art work as multiple, digital and cultural production. These issues of critical discourse will challenge traditional definitions of intaglio, lithography, relief, screen-printing, digital printmaking, and laser cutting technology.
ART 2401 Introduction to SculptureThis course introduces students to artistic practice in three dimensions using a variety of materials and approaches. Problems require the student to address materials in terms of cultural and historical context. Assumes no prior knowledge of sculpture.
ART 2501 Contemporary Art Practice Through DrawingThis course provides students entering the B.F.A. program a gateway to contemporary art practice through drawing. Drawing here is conceived both as a self-sufficient medium and as a tool useful for the conceptual and practical development of ideas in other media. A wide range of technically and conceptually conceived assignments will introduce students to the breadth of contemporary practice and drawing itself. (first fall semester)
ART 2601 Introduction to PhotographyThis course explores camera and lens as devices that frame and translate three-dimensional space to a two-dimensional surface. Through assignments and individual investigation, students acquire a deeper understanding of visual perception and photography as medium for personal expression. This course introduces students to photographic processes and assumes no prior knowledge of photography.
ART 2701 Introduction to Digital MediaThis course explores the use of digital technology in contemporary art making. Students approach software programs by researching historical and contemporary art issues, with emphasis on how to differentiate between analog and digital forms. Through the investigation of the history of digital technology students will gain an understanding of digital culture and its correlation to social, aesthetic and theoretical issues. Topics explored include time-based art, network culture, image resolution, computational techniques, virtuality, and interactivity.
|4 classes of studio practice: Elective 3000-level studios||
B.F.A. students are required to successfully complete four 3000-level studios from any of the six different studio practice areas. Students may enroll in a 3000-level studio if they have successfully completed the 2000-level studio in that same studio practice area. Successful completion of all four 3000-level studios is a pre-requisite for ART 4004. Sample classes include:
|1 class of studio practice: Pre-thesis||ART 3006 Advanced PracticeThis class will concentrate on the development, through research and material experimentation, of a studio practice informed by historical and social context. Different research and production methodologies will be encouraged to develop a practice that is critical, self-sustaining, and flexible. This course is conceived as an introduction to the concentrated studio practice developed further in the following two thesis semesters. (spring only; 4 credits; prerequisite for ART 4003)||4 credits|
|2 classes of studio practice: Thesis year||ART 4003 Thesis IThis course continues the independent studio research and production of the Advanced Practice course to prepare students for ART 4002: Thesis II. During Thesis I, students begin to research, develop, and clarify their thesis proposals through dialogues, readings, and critiques with members of the Core Thesis Faculty. Emphasis is on deepening awareness of the intention and reading of the work and situating individual interests within and against historical, theoretical, and conceptual contexts.
ART 4004 Thesis IIThis course is the final B.F.A. studio semester in which students develop and present an independent body of work that may take the form of an exhibition or some other project. Students will work with members of the Core Thesis Faculty to define and refine the positions formulated within each work and to foster the ability to speak about one's own work as well as the work of others. Emphasis is placed on developing strategies of productive self-criticality to inform their work both during and beyond the thesis semester.
All required 3000-level studios and ART 3006 must be completed before ART 4003 Thesis I, and all elective 3000-level studios must be completed before ART 4004 Thesis II.
|1 class of shop instruction||ART 2900 Shop+TechThis course gives undergraduate B.F.A. students introductory experience in the usage and safe practices of Cornell AAP's machine fabrication and digital media facilities. At the end of this semester B.F.A. students will be able to apply basic shop and technology knowledge and skills into their classwork and individual creative work.
This 1-credit class provides instruction in the use of AAP's machine fabrication and digital media facilities.
|1 class of Intro to B.F.A. Program & Advising||
ART 2910 Ask Olive
The mission of the class is an introduction to the BFA Program, curriculum and advising, and to learn about the possibilities that Cornell offers for student’s artistic and curricular development.
|3 classes of theory and criticism||ART 2103 First-Year Studio Research WorkshopThis course considers the social, cultural, economic, political, and art historical influences that define and redefine contemporary art and artists in the twenty-first century. First year BFA students will be introduced to art as a dynamic aesthetic, analytical, subjective and social form of expression, communication, thought and material production. A wide range of works and ideas and approaches will be explored taking a non-hierarchal approach. (first fall)
ART 4100 Senior SeminarThis advanced seminar is designed to accompany the first semester of Thesis studio. The class fosters investigation of artistic intentionality and its relation to visual expression and its discursive treatment. It begins with assignments structured to identify the conceptual, social, historical, and formal considerations relevant to each student's artistic practice. Once identified, these become the basis for rigorous research and consideration.This undertaking is designed to support advanced thesis projects and art practices going forward. (final fall), and one additional theory and criticism elective.
|11 - 12 credits|
|3 classes of art history||One modern/contemporary, one global/underrepresented, and one additional art history elective||9 -12 credits|
|1 class Diversity & Inclusion||One diversity and inclusion elective from a list of approved courses||3-4 credits|
|2 writing classes||Any two writing classes from the following: First-Year Writing Seminars (FWS), ENGL 2880, ENGL 2890||6 credits|
|Elective Plan||Any academic class at Cornell chosen in consultation with faculty advisor.||32 - 37 credits|
|2 physical education classes||Any PE class at Cornell||0**|
**PE classes and the swim test do not count as academic credit.
Students matriculating before fall 2018 should visit Courses of Study for the appropriate curriculum.