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BA in Art & Design

The BA in Art & Design is an ideal 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 degree, 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.


Stamps Courses59 credits
Required Studio Courses21
Elective Studio Courses21
Required Academic Courses14
Stamps Elective Course3
Non-Stamps Courses69 credits
Elective Academic Courses69
Milestone Requirementsno credit
Sophomore Review
International Experience

Total Credits: 128

Required Studio Courses

Foundation Studios

During the first and second years, 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. 

Course TitleCourse #Credits
Studio: Drawing 1ARTDES 1003
Studio: Drawing 2ARTDES 1053
Studio: 2DARTDES 1153
Studio: 3DARTDES 1203
Studio: 4DARTDES 1253
Creative Process StrategiesARTDES 1303
Second Year StudioARTDES 2203
SVB 7502

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. The seven Elective Studios (21 credits) are 200 to 400 level courses taken from the second through the fourth years of study.

  • One course must be an Engagement Studio (ARTDES 310 – 319)
  • Two courses must be at the 200- level
  • Two courses must be at the 300- level
  • One course must be at the 400- level
  • The one remaining elective studio can be any level

Three credits (1 course) of Elective Studios may come from other UM schools or departments. Studio courses taken abroad during the required International Experience are considered as ARTDES credits.

Elective Studio courses vary each semester

SVB 7421

Required 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. The Penny Stamps Speaker Series brings respected emerging and established artists/​designers to the School to conduct a public lecture and engage with students. 

Students in the BA program must take three required Stamps Academic courses. To view more information about Stamps Academic courses for upcoming semesters, visit our course guide.

Course TitleCourse #Credits
Art & Design in ContextARTDES 1503
Art & Design HistoryARTDES 1513
Stamps Lecture SeriesARTDES 1608

Stamps Elective Course

Students choose one additional three-credit Stamps course to fulfill their BA degree requirements. This elective can be selected from any Stamps academic or studio course.

Elective 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. 

U‑M’s 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 should to be directed to the Smucker • Wagstaff Academic Programs Center staff.

First Year Writing (FYWR)3
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
2 Art or Design History/​Theory/​Criticism electives6 – 8

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.

At Stamps, writing for artists and designers is a key component of the educational experience. In this video, faculty members and students talk about the importance of two Stamps courses, First-Year Writing in Art and Design and Writing in Art and Design.

Sophomore Review

In the Sophomore Review, students present their work to date to a committee of faculty members. 

The Sophomore Review is an opportunity for students to pause and take stock of how far they have come and what they can do to become the creative practitioners they aspire to be. While the Stamps faculty is always available to offer advice and suggestions, the Sophomore Review formalizes this process. It serves as part of their professional development and prepares them for other important assessments, such as performance reviews in their careers and/​or critiques in graduate school.

Sophomore reviews create an opportunity for:

  • Students to have in-depth reflection on achievements, challenges, and risks taken within the program.

  • Students to define ideas, interests and future plans, and receive faculty feedback and advice.

  • Faculty to assess the student’s work and progress to date and provide in depth mentoring and recommendations.

Work will be evaluated by the faculty committee according to the following criteria:

  • Evidence of visual skills

  • Evidence of making skills

  • Evidence of creative and design process strategies

  • Evidence of critical reflection

  • Understanding how work fits into context

  • Articulation of future goals

  • Presentation

Participation in the Sophomore Review is required, and unless they are dual degree students, students must participate in April of their sophomore year; they will receive a copy of the Sophomore Review report by email in May. These reviews represent a significant professional and creative milestone.

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 Director of International Study Programs.

Learn more about the BA International Experience Requirement.