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BFA in Art & Design

The Stamps BFA program focuses on creativity: critical thinking, project development, community engagement and collaboration, as well as mastery of technique and craftsmanship.

In addi­tion to stu­dio course­work, stu­dents have the oppor­tu­nity to take part in and inte­grate the wide range of areas of study avail­able at the Uni­ver­sity of Michigan.

Dur­ing the first year, stu­dents com­plete a foun­da­tion of stu­dio courses and begin to explore their aca­d­e­mic inter­ests. In the sec­ond year, stu­dents begin tak­ing elec­tive stu­dio courses and con­tinue to pur­sue aca­d­e­mic courses beyond the Stamps School, and are encour­aged to make inter­dis­ci­pli­nary con­nec­tions that will inform their work for the next three years. Year three and four are extra­or­di­nar­ily flex­i­ble, as stu­dents con­tinue with elec­tive stu­dios and inter­dis­ci­pli­nary courses out­side of the Stamps School, cul­mi­nat­ing with advanced, 400-level stu­dio work.

Stu­dio Courses66 – 72 credits
Required Stu­dio Courses21
Elec­tive Stu­dio Courses45 – 51
Non-Stu­dio Courses56 – 62 Credits
Required Aca­d­e­mic Courses17
Elec­tive Aca­d­e­mic Courses39 – 45
Mile­stone Require­mentsno credit
Sopho­more Review
Inter­na­tional Experience

Total Cred­its: 128

IP2019 Install 5573

Required Stu­dio Courses

Foun­da­tion Studios

Dur­ing the first and sec­ond years, BFA 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
Meth­ods of InquiryART­DES 1303
Sec­ond Year StudioART­DES 2203

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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. Stu­dents will take a min­i­mum of fif­teen Elec­tive Stu­dios (45 cred­its) at the 200- to 400-level, from their sec­ond through their fourth years of study, dis­trib­uted in the fol­low­ing way:

  • One stu­dio must be an Engage­ment Studio
  • Four stu­dios (12 cred­its) must be at the 200-level
  • Four stu­dios (12 cred­its) must be at the 300-level
  • Five stu­dios (15 cred­its) must be at the 400-level. Stu­dents may choose to take the 9‑credit 400-level Inte­gra­tive Project course, a 2‑semester stu­dio, which cul­mi­nates in a senior project
  • One stu­dio (3 cred­its) is to be taken at any level (200400). It is also pos­si­ble to take three stu­dio mini-courses (for a total of 3 credits)

Stu­dents have the choice of tak­ing two addi­tional stu­dios at any level (for a total of 51 elec­tive stu­dio cred­its), or they can choose to put those 6 cred­its toward aca­d­e­mic courses.

Six cred­its (2 courses) 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.

UM AD students8

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 lead­ers and inno­va­tors from a broad spec­trum of cre­ative fields to Ann Arbor to con­duct week­ly pub­lic lec­tures and engage­ments with students.

Stu­dents in the BFA pro­gram must take four required Stamps Aca­d­e­mic courses. 

SVB 7574

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. The BFA requires 39 Aca­d­e­m­ic Elec­tive Credits.

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
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, FYRW) to locate courses that sat­isfy Lib­eral Arts Require­ments on Wolver­ine Access.

Ana studio

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 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.

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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 Inter­na­tional Expe­ri­ence Requirement.