College of Fine Arts Art

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Unique in South Dakota

We offer the only Bachelor of Fine Arts degree for the State of South Dakota. We seek to encourage personal and creative growth and to prepare the student for a career in the visual arts. The programs of study include, but are not limited to, aesthetic, scholarly, historical and technical instruction. Visual art processes, application and methods are practiced in studio courses, leading to professional preparedness in the visual arts or design. Exploration of interdisciplinary possibilities and new technologies is encouraged. It is the goal of each program of study and specialization to guide students toward understanding of the creation and analysis of visual art and design.

Do What You Love for a Living

art supplies A degree in art can prepare students for a graduate program in art and for careers in art education, in graphic design, as a practicing artist, and in related fields including arts management, art therapy and museology. 


We offer:

  • B.F.A. Studio Art
  • B.F.A. Art Education
B.F.A. Studio Art

The B.F.A. degree is considered the professional undergraduate degree in the field of visual arts. The four-year program at USD focuses on intensive work in art or design, supported by a program of general studies. The B.F.A. is designed for students who desire a thorough, specialized and rigorous training to develop skills, concepts and sensitivities essential to a career as a professional artist or designer. Candidates select one of the following studio areas to earn their B.F.A. with an emphasis in:  

  • Ceramics                                       
  • Graphic Design/Multimedia                                       
  • Painting                                       
  • Photography                                       
  • Printmaking                                       
  • Sculpture

Candidates will work on their chosen emphasis after participating in the Foundation Program.


B.F.A. Art Education

The B.F.A. degree in Art Education (with K-12 certification in art) is a four and one-half to five-year professional undergraduate degree program intended for students who desire to teach at the primary or secondary levels (grades K-12), and who desire professional training as a visual artist in one of the above listed studio emphasis areas. This degree is cooperatively offered between the Department of Art and the School of Education, so students will develop competencies in professional education and in specific studio areas.


Requirements of the B.F.A. program

In addition to the specific curricular requirements established by the Department of Art, the system-wide Regental General Educational (Core) Requirements are the foundation requirements for every student all students in any baccalaureate degree program at USD. Additionally, students must meet all major/minor requirements and the proficiency exam in order to graduate. All degree programs require the completion of at least 128 semester credit hours for graduation. 

Although most advising is done through WebAdvisor, we maintain a CORE curriculum worksheet and Departmental Requirements worksheet on file for each art major. These worksheets outline the specific course requirements for each of the degree programs and are used as an ongoing record of each student's enrollment, completed courses, grades and grade point averages. The worksheets are updated during advisement each semester and are used for course advising and planning for each student.

  • Students who wish to enter the BFA Art or Art Education programs must complete a portfolio admissions review.  The requirement can be met through Scholarship Review Day, or by setting up an individual appointment through the Department of Art Chair.


Options in Visual Art Studies

  • Double Major
    Students may double major between visual art and other degree programs, but must meet all the requirements of both programs (excluding the Art Education program). 
  • Art Minor 
    We offers a single minor to students majoring in disciplines outside of the art program, on an individualized basis and arranged in consultation with the Chair of the Art Department. A minimum of 24 semester hours are required for an art department minor. Non-art majors may specialize exclusively in a single studio emphasis area after first completing one course in drawing (ART 111) and one course in basic design (ART 121).
  • B.F.A. Transfer Program
    The B.F.A.T. Program allows capable and highly motivated transfer students, especially those who have earned a B.A. or B.S. degree in Art from an accredited institution in South Dakota, to complete a B.F.A. degree at USD in three semesters. Most students will need to complete about 30 semester hours in art, with most of the coursework within an emphasis area. Details of the credit transfer program are available by Contacting Us.


General Department of Art Requirements

  • Credits
    Generally, for a three-credit studio course, six hours of in-class instruction and a minimum of three hours of additional studio work are required per week, plus preparation time for assignments.
  • Materials Fees
    In many studio courses, students are required to pay a materials fee covering the cost of supplies used directly by that class. Other than materials and supplies covered by the fee, students are responsible for providing the majority of their personal materials, supplies and equipment, at additional cost, as specified for each course. All Graphic Design students on the Vermillion campus must purchase this required Apple MacBook Pro Laptop.
  • Non-Art Student Enrollment
    Non-art majors may enroll in any art department course with the approval of the instructor and Department Chair. It is advisable that all non-majors consult with the Department Chair before enrolling in any art course.