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Photo of GVSU studio art student working with his professor in a sculpting class.

Studio Art, B.A., B.S., B.F.A.

Each studio art degree integrates the values of a liberal education while preparing graduates for intensive engagement with the production and examination of the visual arts.

Visit the program website for more information.

Students are admitted directly into this program.

National Job Growth

Studio art opportunities are projected to grow 8% in the U.S. by 2025.

Small Class Sizes

Students receive individualized attention from faculty members.

West Michigan Job Growth

Studio art opportunities are projected to grow 7% in West Michigan by 2025.

Source: EMSI, 2021
Available as a minor.

Program Overview

The B.A. and B.S. programs emphasize breadth of experience over specialization in a single medium. Students complete a more diverse curriculum including coursework in two- and three-dimensional disciplines.

The B.F.A. prepares students for a professional career in studio art. Students must select one of the eight emphases: ceramics, graphic design, illustration, jewelry and metalsmithing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, or visual studies.

In addition to specific emphasis requirements, students seeking a B.F.A. degree must complete a minimum of 81 credits across the Department of Visual and Media Arts.

A studio art minor is also offered, requiring the completion of eight courses. The program is fully accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design.

Students do not need a portfolio of works to pursue a major or minor in studio art.

Why Study the Visual Arts at Grand Valley?

  • Incorporate creativity with the consideration of broader ethical, historical, scientific, and cultural ideas, fostering work that contributes to the public dialogue about those ideas.
  • Work in small classes that ensure individualized attention from faculty at all levels of the program.
  • Complete coursework in state-of-the-art facilities that ensure students acquire the skills essential for their chosen media.
  • Benefit from a program that encourages collaboration across emphasis areas to support students' individual interests.
  • Acquire the expertise necessary for participation in arts communities and for self-advocacy after graduation.
  • Learn from practicing artists and designers with national and international recognition for their creative practice.

Location & Format

Undergraduate students in this major study at the Grand Valley Allendale Campus.

  • Face To Face


Studio art majors are introduced to the technical and conceptual approaches to the visual arts through a suite of foundation courses. As students continue in the program, they create a personal body of work under the supervision of faculty in their emphases areas.

Career Options

Students may pursue a variety of career paths, including:

  • Entrepreneur
  • Jewelry designer
  • Printmaker/screen printer
  • Painter/muralist
  • Sculptor/installation artist
  • Performance artist
  • Graphic/web designer
  • User experience designer
  • Ceramist
  • Illustrator/cartoonist
  • Exhibition planner
  • Arts organization leader
  • Gallery/museum work
  • Community/public art

Majors also build the transferable skills of entrepreneurship, creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving, innovation, digital literacy, and communication, all necessary for professional careers outside of the arts.

Combined Degree Programs

Many GVSU undergraduate programs can be combined with an existing master’s degree program to save on tuition and get you into the workforce sooner. On average, you can save $8,500 by pursuing a combined degree and take up to four fewer courses than if earning the degrees separately.

Talk with an advisor about how you can build your combined degree from existing programs to further personalize your education and create your own niche area of expertise.


Hands-on learning and other fieldwork not only deepen your mastery of your discipline but also give you the edge employers seek. Visit our experience matters page to see the work GVSU students are doing in their co-ops and internships.

For More Information

Department of Visual and Media Arts
1105 Alexander Calder Art Center
(616) 331-3486

Admissions and Recruitment Office


“Grand Valley really gave me the essential foundations of art making...The faculty gave me key knowledge of what it is to be an artist and how to survive outside the educational environment. I really had an idea of what to do once I left school.”