Welcome New B.F.A. Students

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Welcome to the Department of Art

portrait with greenery in the backRenate Ferro

We will be working enthusiastically throughout the spring and summer to prepare for your arrival at Cornell. A new bachelor of fine arts (B.F.A.) curriculum was launched in the fall of 2018. You will be the second class to experience the new program and we could not be more excited. This program is designed to combine intensive studio culture in art enhanced with electives from across the university so that students will be able to form interdisciplinary relationships. The program will allow you to map a highly individualized curriculum consisting of 65 credits of art and 55 open credits from other areas. During your first year you will immerse yourself in the production of art, and at the same time, you will learn to contextualize your art practice through research, reading, writing, and discussion with your peers. We anticipate that through mentoring during your first and second year, you will begin to make meaningful links between art and the important research areas that emerge for you.

To prepare for our first meeting, make sure you carefully review the first-year informational links on this page that are specifically designed to acquaint you with our program and college. It is in this information that you will find details about first-year studios and classes, computer and software recommendations, and other important information.

You will be introduced to the B.F.A. Workspace, an online platform that you will use throughout your four years at Cornell to organize and plan your individualized curriculum. A link will be sent to you in early summer. Once you receive this link you will be asked to add a photo and submit an introductory biography so that our faculty will get to know a bit about you before you arrive.

Congratulations on being accepted to our program. We look forward to meeting you and wish you a warm and restful summer.


Renate Ferro
Director of undergraduate studies
Visiting associate professor

Fall 2019 Student Schedule

All first-year B.F.A. students will enroll in the following classes, totaling a minimum of 16 academic credits, plus 1 non-academic physical education (PE) credit, in the fall semester:

  • ART 2103 First-Year Studio Research WorkshopThis course considers the social, cultural, economic, political, and art historical influences that define and re-define contemporary art and artists in the twenty-first century. First-year B.F.A. 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.   (4 credits)
  • ART 2501 Drawing: 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. (4 credits)
  • One of the following art studio classes (4 credits total):
    • 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. (4 credits)
    • 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. (4 credits)
    • 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. (4 credits)
    • 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. (4 credits)
    • 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 credits)
  • ART 2900 Shop/Tech (1 credit)
  • One to two additional classes of your choice (3 to 8 credits)
  • Physical Education (1 non-academic credit)

Class Enrollment Procedures

ART 2103, ART 2501, ART 2900: AAP's Office of Student Services will enroll all B.F.A. students in ART 2103, ART 2501, and ART 2900 by July 1. After that date, students can confirm their enrollment in Student Center.

Additional Art Studio: B.F.A. students are required to enroll in one additional studio in the fall semester. To secure a space in your preferred studio practice area, please submit your studio ballot request by June 1. Further instructions are available on the B.F.A. Studio Ballot Form. Students can confirm their art studio enrollment after July 1 in Student Center.

Electives: B.F.A. students have the opportunity to enroll in one or two additional electives classes. These classes are a chance for you to take advantage of the academic breadth of the university, to take a class you know you'll love, or find something new to try. You can also choose to take a third studio instead of one of your electives. Students will enroll in electives using Student Center from Monday, July 8, through Tuesday, July 16. A complete listing of classes is available in the fall 2019 course and time roster. Be sure to enroll in an elective that does not conflict with required classes.

Physical Education (PE): All Cornell students are required to complete two PE classes in the first year of study. Students will enroll in PE using Student Center from Monday, July 8, through Tuesday, July 16. A complete listing of PE classes is available in the fall 2019 course and time roster. Be sure to enroll in a PE class that does not conflict with required classes.

How to enroll in classes:

Step-by-step enrollment instructions, including tutorials, are available online. Please review this information before the enrollment period begins.