Undergraduate Programs

BA Curriculum

The BA in Art & Design is an appropriate course of study for students whose educational goal is a major in art and design that incorporates more substantive study in the liberal arts than the BFA allows.

Like the BFA program, the BA focuses on creativity, critical thinking, project development, community engagement and collaboration, and mastery of technique and craftsmanship.

The BA degree is well-suited to students who anticipate graduate or professional school not directly related to art and design; to students whose interests in art and design and other educational pursuits are equally strong; or to those students who wish to integrate other educational pursuits with their visually creative work.


This chart represents basic credit distributions for a sample plan of study. Schedules will vary for each student.

Studio Courses 42 credits
Foundation Studio Courses 18
Elective Studio Courses 24
Non-Studio Courses 86 Credits
Lecture Series 8
Stamps Academic Courses 16 - 18
University Academic Courses 60 - 62
Milestone Requirements no credit
Sophomore Review
International Experience
BA in Art & Design - Total 128 credits

Foundation Studio Courses

During the first year, BA students complete a series of required Foundation Studio courses. These courses provide a foundation of skills in a wide variety of physical materials and processes. To view more information about Foundation Studio Courses for upcoming semesters, visit our course guide and choose "The First Year".

Course Title Course # Credits
Studio: Drawing 1 ARTDES 100 3
Studio: Drawing 2 ARTDES 105 3
Studio: 2D ARTDES 115 3
Studio: 3D ARTDES 120 3
Studio: 4D ARTDES 125 3
Methods of Inquiry ARTDES 130 3

Elective Studio Courses

Students begin taking Elective Studio courses during their second year. These courses allow students to explore and develop specific areas of interest.

BA students take eight Elective Studio courses (24 credits). Two of the courses must be at the 200 level, up to five courses may be chosen from 200-400 level studios, and one must be an engagement studio, in which students interact with a segment of the local community. Three credits (one course) of elective studio work may be taken in another UM school or department.

Elective Studio courses vary each semester; visit our course guide to learn more.

Penny Stamps Lecture Series

The Penny Stamps Lecture Series brings respected emerging and established artists/designers to the School to conduct a public lecture and engage with students. Students must enroll in the 1-credit/semester Lecture Series and attend the weekly lecture each semester through all four years of the program.

Course Title Course # Credits
Penny Stamps Lecture Series (8 Semesters) ARTDES 160 8 total

Stamps Academic Courses

Stamps academic and experiential requirements are designed to engage students in both the history of art and design and the current practice of emerging artists.

Students in the BA program must take five required Stamps Academic courses (16 - 18 credits).

To view more information about Stamps Academic Courses for upcoming semesters, visit our course guide and choose "The First Year" or "Required Academic Courses".

Stamps Academic Required Courses credits
First Year Writing (FYRW) 3-4
Art & Design in Context (ARTDES 150) 3
Art and Design History (ARTDES 151) 3
Intersections (ARTDES 155) 3
Two Art or Design History/Theory/Criticism electives 6-8

University Academic Courses

Students in the Stamps School participate in the rich intellectual and academic life of a top tier university by taking University Academic courses. The Stamps School requires liberal arts coursework, but also allows for elective choices. Students may undertake coursework to complete a minor in an academic area or they may tailor their academic selections to complement their studio practice or other career goals.

Liberal Arts Requirements are designed to develop basic familiarity with the three traditional components of liberal arts - humanities, social sciences and natural sciences; to enhance analytical reasoning; to encourage empathy with other cultures; and to understand contemporary environmental issues. Students must earn at least three credits in each specific area of the liberal arts, but may use one course to meet two or even three requirements. Students may use required and elective courses in their pursuit of a minor. Students may use AP/IB credit to fulfill any of the academic requirements with the exception of First Year Writing. Questions about specific requirements need to be directed to the Smucker • Wagstaff Academic Programs Center staff.

Use the code next to the title (SS, NS, MSA, QR/1, QR/2, ENVIRON, RE, FYWR, ULWR) to locate courses that satisfy Liberal Arts Requirements on Wolverine Access.

Liberal Arts Requirement Credits
First Year Writing (FYWR) 3-4
Social Science (SS) 3
Natural Science (NS) 3
Analytical Reasoning (MSA, QR/1, QR/2) 3
Environmental Studies (ENVIRON) 3
Race and Ethnicity (RE) 3
Upper-Level Writing (ULWR) 3-4

Sophomore Review

At the end of their second year students present their work to date before a committee of three faculty members. In preparation for the sophomore review, students supply faculty committee members with résumés, statements about their work, and reflections on their development to date. Special meetings for sophomores are held prior to the reviews in order to help them prepare.

A successful Sophomore Review is required for continuation in the program. Students who perform unsatisfactorily on their Sophomore Reviews may be asked to re-review at a designated date; some may be asked to take time off or improve deficiencies prior to advancing; and a small minority may be directed to leave the program. These reviews are a significant assessment component of the program.

International Experience

The international experience prepares Stamps graduates to enter the globalized economy, makes them more competitive for graduate study, fellowship opportunities, and employment, and helps them to become informed global citizens. International study provides first-hand knowledge of other cultures, fosters creative insights and new life experiences, encourages independence and flexibility, and prepares students to negotiate difference, adapt to changing situations, and to solve problems from a new perspective.

Students are required to participate in a Stamps School approved international experience during their undergraduate study. The experience need not be credit bearing, but must occur after the student has matriculated. Students whose permanent address is not in the United States are exempt from this requirement. Requests for an exception to this policy should be directed to the International Engagement Coordinator.

Learn more about the BA International Experience Requirement.