Fine Arts Major and Minor

Students pursue a rigorous program designed to develop the technical and analytical skills necessary to create art in one of five disciplines: drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, or sculpture. Our vibrant program is further enriched by Haverford’s liberal arts environment; our studios and classrooms are colored by the diverse academic experiences our students possess and by campus-wide programming that brings art into dialogue with an array of other subjects.

Curriculum & Courses

Majors and minors build a strong foundation in a range of disciplines then move on to focus on one area. With each semester, they deepen their understanding of their chosen medium and create an increasingly refined body of work.

  • Major Requirements

    Fine Arts majors are required to concentrate in one of the following: drawing, painting, photography, printmaking, and sculpture, as detailed here:

    • Four 100-level foundation courses in each discipline.
    • Two different 200-level courses outside the area of concentration in the major.
    • Two 200-level courses and one 300-level course within the students chosen focal area within Fine Arts.
    • Three art history/theory/criticism or visual studies courses (as approved by major advisor).
    • Senior Departmental Studies (ARTS H499).
    • For majors intending to do graduate work, we strongly recommend that they take an additional 300-level studio course within their area of concentration and an additional art history course at Bryn Mawr.

    Senior Project

    In preparation for the senior thesis exhibition students attend 499 Senior Departmental Studies (ARTS H499, prerequisite 300 course in student’s concentration such as drawing, painting, photography, printmaking, or sculpture) on a weekly basis. This two-semester, two-credit course provides students with a structured environment to develop a body of work that is presented in the form of an exhibition at the Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery. The scope of the senior thesis exhibition accomplishes the process of selecting works to be included in the exhibition, determining the layout of the works, and installing the works in the Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery. Students participate in the planning of the opening reception for their thesis exhibition, which is advertised to a broad audience. During the opening, they present their work to a general audience and are available to answer questions from guests. After the gallery opening, the Fine Arts Department faculty schedules a full departmental review of the work presented by each student. During the review each student articulates a formal presentation of their work and students are asked to respond to questions and comments put forth by the faculty.

    Senior Project Learning Goals

    Seniors are expected to create a coherent body of work that demonstrates proficiency in the use of their chosen concentration, develop content and articulate ideas with a personal and effective visual language and present their work in a professionally installed gallery exhibition, e.g. in the Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery, Atrium Gallery, or Alcove Gallery. In addition to presenting visual works, majors are expected to articulate the content and context of their work in a written statement, which is on display with their work along with researches on visual art and artists that are related to their own work. These educational goals are augmented by outside speakers, visiting artists, exhibitions and non-studio courses in visual culture sponsored by the department or taught by its faculty.

    Senior Project Assessment

    Each thesis project is evaluated by the Faculty members who are also their concentration advisors using the following categories:

    • Original ideas and creativity.
    • Proficiency in their chosen concentration.
    • Quality of the project.
    • Active discussion and participation during group critiques by departmental full faculty, which forms in the beginning, mid­term, and final week, and weekly group critique and research in addition to individual meetings with the faculty members.
    • Progress in their project.
    • Research on related sources, e.g. professional artist works and digital presentation.
    • Attendance.
  • Minor Requirements

    • Minors must take four 100-level foundation courses in different disciplines.
    • Two 200-level courses and one 300-level course within the student’s chosen focal area within fine arts.
    • One art history/theory/criticism or visual culture course.

Research & Outreach

The major culminates with all seniors preparing a senior thesis exhibition. Senior Departmental Studies, our two-semester course, takes majors through the process of developing, selecting, and preparing a body of work to exhibit. As part of the course, students also install their pieces, produce a written statement that articulates the content and context of their work, and present their work to a general audience as well as to departmental faculty.

After Graduation

Our majors graduate having developed the skills and understanding to create a distinctive body of work that expresses their artistic vision and ideas. They also emerge from our program able to think creatively and independently, to give life to an idea, and to solve problems. Many go on to graduate programs in fine arts, while some pursue graduate studies in fine arts management, and still others enter arts-related careers in, for example, galleries or teaching.

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