Art : About The Program

About Our Degrees

Acceptance Criteria

Fine Arts B.F.A., Studio Art B.A.
Minimum GPA of 2.5 overall.
Minimum GPA of 2.5 in art courses.
Minimum grade of B in all transfer fine art courses.

Studio Art - Minor
Minimum GPA of 2.5 overall.
Minimum GPA of 2.5 in art courses.
All BFA and BA art majors must apply to and be accepted by the Visual Studies Art program.

The Department of Visual Studies offers two types of bachelor's degree programs in art: a focused studio program, granting the BFA; and studio/liberal arts based program, granting the BA. The BFA degree focuses on intensive work in the studio art supported by a program of general studies. The BA degree focuses on art and design in a broader context of general studies that allows students to pursue a minor or double major in another program.

Students accepted to UB select fine art or studio art as their intended major on their university application are then block registered into freshman foundation courses. During the spring semester of the freshman year, students with an Art GPA of 3.0 or above are automatically admitted to the Art program. Students with a GPA lower than 3.0 must have a portfolio review/interview to determine admittance into the Art program.

Transfer and currently enrolled UB students with a minimum GPA of 2.5 are eligible to apply to the Visual Studies Art BA or BFA program. Admission is determined by portfolio review. Freshman foundation courses are required for the BA and BFA degrees; students are encouraged to take these courses before applying to the major. An additional portfolio review is required to be admitted to the Communication Design concentration.

Portfolio Review Procedure
To schedule portfolio reviews, students must apply through the Visual Studies Academic Advisor's office; contact Lisa Hewitt, 205 Center for the Arts, for more information.

Schedule of Portfolio Reviews
Freshmen: Spring of freshman year if art GPA is below 3.0
Communication Design Reviews: Fall and spring semesters
Currently Enrolled: Fall and Spring
Transfers: Spring prior to Fall entry
Honors Scholarship: Check with Academic Advisor

Acceptance Information
Number of applicants/year: 180
Number of accepted majors/year: 40-50 freshmen; 30 transfers/currently enrolled
Total number of majors currently enrolled: 250

Sequence of Study for the Major
The Freshman Foundations Program consists of five studio courses and one contemporary theory course. These courses are required for all Art BA/BFA degrees. Admission to the BA or BFA program is automatic if the student's Art GPA is a 3.0 or above. Students with a GPA below 3.0 in their Art courses may only be admitted through a portfolio review during the spring semester of the freshman year.

During the sophomore year, all majors take introductory (200-level) studio courses, some required and some of their choice. Registration for most sophomore art courses is limited to students who have been accepted to the BA or BFA program.

Focused study in a concentration begins in the junior year. At this point, Art students may declare a concentration in the following areas: for BFA programs; Painting, Sculpture, Print Media, Photography, Emerging Media Communication Design or General Studio. For BA programs, students may declare in Photography, Communication Design or General Studio. Communication Design requires a portfolio review to be accepted into the concentration.
The junior and senior-level CD courses are reserved for students who have been accepted to the Communication Design concentration. Reviews for the CD concentration take place each spring and fall.

A two-semester Senior Thesis Project is required for the BFA degree.

Degree Requirements

Please see Degrees and Policies.

About Our Facilities

Studio art labs are spacious, well equipped and organized. Specialized studios support all major conventional, digital, and experimental processes in art and design. Highlights include: a dedicated interactive art lab for advanced work; access to high-end computing and multimedia labs; and digital photography labs, extensive printmaking labs, an audio lab and extensive sculpture facilities including a digital laser cutter and one of largest university foundries in the Eastern US.

Studio courses are small, generally ranging from fifteen to twenty students, to maximize teacher effectiveness.

Professional Staff
Our instructional support technicians keep specialized labs and equipment running throughout the academic year. The department's full-time support staff includes four technicians (digital, photo, print, sculpture labs all in the CFA, the undergraduate academic advisor, and three administrative staff, a secretary, graduate administrator and assistant to the chair.

Center for the Arts
The Center for the Arts houses these departments: visual studies, media study, and theatre & dance, along with the University Art Galleries, and 4 performance spaces.

The exhibition spaces at UB are a vital component of cultural discourse and the student's educational experience. The Visual Studies Department Gallery exhibits undergraduate and graduate student artwork and invitational exhibitions.

The UB Art Galleries are located on two floors in the Center for the Arts, and near the UB South Campus at the Anderson Gallery in North Buffalo. The University at Buffalo Art Galleries' mission is to bring current issues and practices in the visual arts to UB. The full-time director, curators and support staff of the gallery sponsor lectures, performances, symposia and publications.

About Our Courses

The typical class size for:

Freshman/introductory courses is: 16-20
Sophomore/intermediate courses is: 16-20
Upper level/advanced courses is: 15-20

Most of the courses in the visual studies program are studio lab classes which meet for 2.5 hours two times a week for a total of 5 hours per week. Several courses are in lecture, seminar or tutorial (Independent Study) format. There is a limit of two independent study (ART 499) courses per student.

In the Department of Visual Studies Art Program, what do teaching assistants (TAs) do?

TAs teach some 100- and 200-level introductory courses. Freshman foundation courses are taught either by full-time faculty, adjunct lecturers or TAs.

For course descriptions, please see Courses.

About Our Faculty

The Visual Studies art faculty are practicing artists in addition to being engaged in scholarly research and/or writing in their field. The art faculty exhibits artwork, and receives fellowships and commissions for their artistic production.

Art faculty members have received grants and awards from such organizations as the Fulbright Commission, the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Tiffany Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Andy Warhol Foundation and the Government of the Netherlands, Polaroid, and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. Their works have been exhibited in many prestigious public and private collections, including the National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto. Museum of Modern Art ,NY, the Whitney Museum of Contemporary Art, the Smithsonian Museum, the Carnegie Institute, and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, among others.

Reinhard Reitzenstein, the Director of Undergraduate Studies, is available to address student concerns.

See a list of our Undergraduate Faculty.

Practical Experience and Special Academic Opportunities

Notable Program Features

Visual Studies Speaker Series
The Visual Studies Speaker Series is a required, one credit course that is a yearly program of lectures by visiting artists, critics, historians, and designers held during the fall semester. Organized by the Department of Visual Studies, these lectures are co-sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences, the Department of Media Study and University Galleries.

Buffalo Metropolitan Area
The Visual Studies Art program extends its activities and cultural programming to off campus lacations, collaborating with area alternative media and exhibition spaces, galleries, and internationally recognized institutions.

Buffalo's diverse intellectual and cultural heritage continues to attract and sustain artists in the visual arts, performance, video/film, theater, poetry, literature, music, and architecture. Grass-roots and alternative spaces dedicated to new and experimental genres, such as CEPA, Hallwalls, Big Orbit, and Soundlab, complement such institutions as the Albright-Knox Art Gallery and the Burchfield Penney Art Center, provide opportunities and support for the production of new work in all genres. The Theater District in downtown Buffalo is home to numerous experimental theaters. Locally owned art theaters, along with Hallwalls, regularly show acclaimed films not available for widespread commercial distribution.

Toronto, a ninety-minute drive from Buffalo, is the largest metropolitan center in Canada. It has hundreds of alternative spaces and commercial art galleries including the Power Plant and the Ontario Gallery of Art.


Student Organizations
The Student Visual Art Organization (SVAO) provides leadership opportunities to university undergraduate students and organizes many exhibits and events, open figure drawing sessions, and trips to museums and galleries.

Undergraduate Research and Practical Experience

Study Abroad

Students interested in study abroad have the opportunity to participate in numerous art-oriented programs around the globe.

Semester Internships

Semester-long internships are available in prominent design and art studios in New York City and elsewhere.

Local Internships

Advanced students in all BA/BFA concentrations may enroll in an internship course, ART 496, to gain practical experience. Placements with local companies include design studios; commercial photographers; galleries; and alternative art spaces. There is a limit of two Internship courses per student.

Honors, Awards, and Scholarships

Honors scholarships and performing and creative arts scholarships are awarded by the University, not by the Department of Visual Studies. See the UB Honors College section for further information. Honors students intending to major in art are automatically accepted to the program and do not need have a portfolio review.

Departmental scholarships, available to currently enrolled art majors, range from 0 to ,000. The following annual awards are designated for art-related travel and study, art supplies, tuition help, and general support:

  • Rumsey Summer Scholarship
  • Sally Hoskins Potenza Scholarship
  • Frances Morrison Memorial Scholarship
  • Julius Bloom Scholarship
  • Philip C. and Virginia Cuthbert Elliott Painting Scholarship
  • Dennis Domkowski Memorial Scholarship
  • Eugene L. Gaier Award for Excellence in Printmaking
  • Eugene L. Gaier Award for Drawing
  • Carl E. and Virginia W. Sentz Memorial Award
  • Alan E. Cober Memorial Scholarship
  • Allentown Village Society Scholarship
  • Townsend Photography Scholarship

Extracurricular Activities

The Student Visual Art Organization is open to and provides leadership opportunities to all interested university students and is active in organizing special exhibits and events, open figure drawing sessions, and trips to museums and galleries. The director of SVAO is Jeff Sherven (716-645-0556).

See the UB Student Association.

Complementary Programs and Courses

Minors that Complement a B.A. or B.F.A.

Majors that Benefit from a Studio Art Minor

Courses Outside the Major that Could Improve Employment Opportunities

Links to Further Information About this Program

Updated: 13 Nov 2012 06:00:17 EST