Getting Started

College: HFA

Information below is meant to guide first year students in getting starting with this major and choosing appropriate courses. More advanced students interested in this major would also likely start with proposed foundation/pre-requisite courses. Please refer to the Major page located in the left menu bar to learn about the full major requirements.

How to Explore/Get Started in the Major

Suggested General Education Courses

All Undergraduates are required to satisfy the General Education requirements. Guidelines for students, are available at Students should choose a wide variety of Gen Ed courses, providing breadth of experience.

Suggested Major & Pre-requisite Courses

Incoming freshmen accepted by portfolio review into the Bachelor of Fine Arts Studio Program are advised to take the following first-semester Art courses as part of a year-long Foundations sequence:

ART 110 Basic Studio/Drawing (4 credits)   ART 120 Drawing Composition (3 credits)
ART 131 Foundation Studio 1 (3 credits)   ART 142 Foundation Studio 2 (3 credits)

In addition, they must take one of the following Art History sequences:

  • ART-HIST 115 Visual Arts, Artists, and Cultures: An Introduction to Looking, followed by ART-HIST 324 Modern Art, 1880-present (preferred)
  • ART-HIST 100 Ancient to Medieval, followed by ART-HIST 110 Renaissance to Modern

NOTE: A total of four Art History courses are required across the four-year studio program.

Students without portfolios or those who wish to strengthen their portfolio should register for ART 104. This is a non-major equivalent course which can be taken in lieu of ART 110.

Aspiring art majors may take ART-HIST 115 followed by ART-HIST 324 (preferred) or the 100-110 sequence.

How to Declare/Change into the Major

For current & admitted students: This major is restricted, which means students must apply through an on-campus process to be accepted into the major. The majors may have criteria for admission/acceptance into the major (e.g., specific courses, GPA)

Undergraduate application to the Department of Art is a two-part process. Applicants submit an application to the Undergraduate Admissions Office and submit a portfolio to the Department of Art via SlideRoom.

For acceptance into Art programs (both the B.A. and the B.F.A.), applicants must be accepted by both the Admissions Office and the Portfolio Review Committee of the Department of Art. For more information about this process, visit, email the Undergraduate Program at, or call the Department’s main office, tel. (413) 545-6937.

Students already attending the University should contact the Department at (413) 545-1903 for more information on application to the Department.

ASPIRING ART MAJORS SHOULD MEET WITH THE Department's Undergraduate Program Director AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE. A minimum 3.0 GPA is required in predictor courses; 2.0 overall. Although the Art Department does consider GPAs in making its decision, greater emphasis is placed on the portfolio review.

The UPD highly recommends that students meet for a portfolio critique prior to submitting their portfolio for admission to the major. Under rolling admissions, on-campus students may submit their portfolio at any time, the earlier the better, prior to registration for the semester in which they wish to enter the major.

Application forms as well as portfolio and procedural information are available online at

Transfer Students

Consult with the Department's Undergraduate Program Director before selecting courses or very early in the Add/Drop period of their first semester at UMass to be certain that they are on the right track.

Transfer students are not automatically accepted into the Art major. Interested applicants should plan to submit their portfolios to the Department, observing University application deadlines, to ensure timely review of their portfolios and avoid delay in academic progression. For more details, visit Certain local Massachusetts community colleges’ transfer students are accepted directly into the Department if they have fulfilled their Foundations requirements. Contact the University’s Admissions Office for more details.

Summary of Requirements for the Major

Refer to the Major page located in the left menu bar to learn more.

Degrees offered within the Department of Art are:

  • Bachelor of Arts Degree in Studio Arts (56-57 Art credits including Art History)
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Studio Arts (74-78 Art credits including Art History)
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Art Education (84-85 Art credits including Art History)

Specific disciplines (media-oriented focus) are chosen by students after Foundations and a sampling of 200-level courses have been completed. Application to a discipline usually takes place during the sophomore year.

The following disciplines are available in the BFA Studio Arts major: Animation, Ceramics, Intermedia, Painting, Print Media, Sculpture and Art Education.

Is there a minor? If so what are the requirements?
Yes - a minor is available. Refer to the Minor page located in the left menu bar to learn more.

For further information, contact:
Undergraduate Program Director: Department of Art
218 Studio Arts Building
call 545-1903 for appointments