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The program in studio art at UNC-Chapel Hill focuses on fine arts. Students may choose from a range of studio course work designed to develop both skill acquisition and a personal creative vision. For the non-major, study in studio art goes beyond art appreciation. Whatever discipline students eventually choose to pursue, whether the arts, humanities or sciences, medicine or law, success will depend on two abilities: the ability to find creative solutions to problems and the ability to express individuality. Art, by its very nature, gives these skills to those who study the discipline. We have the opportunity to provide all students, regardless of major, the keys to success. We develop two critical skills: the means of self-expression and techniques for creative thinking. Our added responsibility to the studio art major is to develop a sense of professional standards and future career potential. While the undergraduate program focuses on the fine arts, the course of study nonetheless offers a sound foundation for students to move into the art education, applied arts, and other art-related careers as well as preparing for further study or careers in the fine arts.

Teaching Philosophy & Learning Outcomes

Students choosing a studio art major begin with a series of foundation courses that are designed to develop their understanding and application of visual language across a range of media. In these courses, students address both skill development and the nature of artistic inquiry. Believing that technique serves the visual idea, we stress the integration of media skill and concept. Conventional issues of artisanship, technique, and skill acquisition are taught as part of a larger concept of art making. The goal is to equip students with a variety of skills and visual strategies that they will be able to apply in meaningful contexts. In the final analysis, we expect students to become technically competent, conceptually independent, critically aware, and dedicated to their passion of art-making.

This philosophy encompasses our contextualization in an institution of higher education. We embrace the notion that being an artist today requires an intellectual curiosity and broad base of knowledge that, in turn, informs studio work. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill provides limitless resources to the studio artists in our program.

Degree Offerings in Studio Art

The Department of Art & Art History offers two undergraduate degrees in Studio Art: the Bachelor of Arts (36 credit hours) and the Bachelor of Fine Arts (60 credit hours).

**Studio Courses & Non-Majors

Studio Art courses, especially foundation-level courses, are extremely popular. Because these are required courses for Studio Art majors, registration is limited to majors during the first part of the pre-registration period. Remaining spaces are made available to non-majors during the registration time for freshmen. Because the department gives this preference to Studio Art majors, non-majors, undeclared students, or continuing studies students often find it difficult to enroll in these courses. Individuals seriously considering a Studio Art major who experience such difficulty should see the Undergraduate Advisor for Studio Art. We reserve a small number of spaces for such students. Students may be asked to demonstrate commitment to Studio Art with some examples of artwork.

Click here for the UNC Catalog.


Independent Study in Studio Art (ARTS 596) allows students to pursue additional media or thematic study after completing substantial work in studio courses. Students work at an advanced level and, with one-on-one faculty guidance, set an individual program of study. Although not required, it is typical for students to have worked with the faculty member in prior contexts. This course will vary with each faculty member and student according to defined objectives.

Application Procedures

It is imperative to contact the faculty member you wish to work with before the semester starts. You will be asked to demonstrate your ability to work independently. You should be prepared to provide work samples (portfolio) as part of this request process. You should also expect to discuss a preliminary proposal for the semester. If the faculty member does not agree, the process stops here. (Although you may seek permission from another faculty member)

If the faculty member agrees to do independent study with you, you will need to submit a written proposal outlining the guiding principles and work you propose to do. See details governing the proposal in the requirements section of the downloadable syllabus (below).

Independent study contracts are required by the College of Arts and Sciences. This document describes your plan of interaction with the faculty member. The contract must be signed by the faculty member and approved by the Director of Undergraduate Studies. Submit the contract and proposal for approval to the DUS during the registration period but no later than the second day of classes for the semester. Please note that if you wait until the beginning of the semester for approval, that the timeframe for approval is very tight. It is the student’s responsibility to set the whole process in motion in a timely manner. Students may not enroll without a contract signed by all parties: student, supervising faculty and Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Submit the completed and approved contract as an email attachment to, and await a confirmation email. You should receive confirmation of enrollment within three business days.

Download Application Forms

ARTS 596 Independent Study Syllabus
ARTS 596 Independent Study Contract


All majors and minors have two advisors; a primary academic advisor from the Academic Advising Program and departmental advisors for program-specific planning. Students are strongly encouraged to meet regularly with both advisors and review their Tar Heel Tracker each semester. The undergraduate advisor in studio art works with current and prospective majors and minors by appointment. Departmental academic advising is particularly important for those majors who are considering honors thesis work or graduate school.

Academic Advising Program

The mission of the University-wide Academic Advising Program is to assist students of all disciplines with their academic planning while providing a foundation for appropriate academic decisions throughout their undergraduate studies. Visit their website to schedule an appointment, declare a major/minor, or explore additional resources.

Departmental Advising for Studio Art

The Director of Undergraduate Studies and Advisor for Studio Art is available to provide degree planning assistance and academic advising specific to Studio Art Majors and Minors. For answers to quick administrative questions, especially in regard to course enrollment, please contact the Student Services Specialist. Visit the Administration and Staff portion of our website for a current listing of Departmental faculty and staff members filling these roles.

Degree Planning Worksheets
It is helpful if you can fill out a worksheet prior to meeting with the Undergraduate Advisor. Download the worksheet that corresponds to the requirement term indicated in your Tar Heel Tracker. If you prefer to satisfy the requirements of the most current term, we will work with you so that you are not penalized based on coursework completed to satisfy a different term.

  • Studio Art BA, requirement terms: 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
  • Studio Art BFA, requirement terms: 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
  • Studio Art BFA w/ Art History Emphasis, requirement terms: 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
  • Studio Art Minor, requirement terms: 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018