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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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
Studio Art Practicum/Internship (ARTS 493, Section XX/specific to faculty member)
Students MUST have a faculty sponsor to enroll for ARTS 493.
The Studio Art Practicum is a vehicle for Studio Art majors to pursue an unpaid practicum or internship for credit. Internships can be undertaken in any art or art-related endeavor, including working as a studio assistant or working with individuals or companies in art or art-related fields, such as galleries, photo agencies, design firms, architectural firms, or non-profit arts organizations. Work undertaken during any internship must comply with both the College of Arts and Sciences guidelines and Federal criteria governing unpaid internships:
- The internship, even though it includes the actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training that would be given in an educational environment.
- The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern.
- The intern does not displace regular employees but works under the close supervision of existing staff.
- The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern, and on occasion, its operations may actually be impeded.
- The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship.
- The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.
If you have an idea for an internship and are not sure whether it would be admissible as a Studio Art Practicum, contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies to discuss the possibility.
The Studio Art Practicum is restricted to Studio Art majors, preferably in their junior or senior year.
To set up a practicum or internship, follow these steps:
- Establish Contact. It is imperative to secure a faculty sponsor well before the semester starts. Note: Faculty members are limited to only two independent study students per semester and sponsored internships are included in this count.
- Find an Internship. It is the student’s responsibility to find and/or apply for the internship context. It is probably a good idea to do this in parallel with contacting the faculty member who will sponsor your work.
- Complete a Contract. Internship agreements are required by the College of Arts and Sciences. Download this contract to use: ARTS 493 Internship Agreement This document describes the scope of the work and learning objectives to be undertaken in the internship. The contract must be signed by the faculty member, sponsoring individual, or agency, and approved by the Director of Undergraduate Studies.
Submit the contract and proposal for approval to the DUS within the first two days of classes. Please note that this is a tight timeframe. 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, sponsoring agency and Director of Undergraduate Studies (or Department Chair)
- Bring the approved contract to the Student Services Representative to enroll.
A department contract as described above is required before enrollment.
Studio Art Practicum is a 3-credit-hour course. University standards require a minimum of 3 hours per week per credit hour, thus representing a minimum of 9 hours of supervised work per week (135 hours) during a normal 15-week semester[*].
The College of Arts and Sciences requires that internships carry a minimum of 750 minutes of direct 1:1 contact (12.5 hours or 45 minutes/week) with the individual or supervisor from the sponsoring organization and/or the faculty adviser. Much of this occurs seamlessly in the normal operations of the business. The nature of this interaction with the supervisor(s) in the internship context must be part of the weekly documentation (see below). Weekly[†] check-ins with the faculty adviser can also contribute to this required time.
Students must keep a record of the hours worked and the activities/tasks performed for the sponsoring agency. This record is shared with the supervising faculty during regular check-ins. Check-in/documentation can be communicated face-to-face, via email, an online blog or other mutually agreed upon format.
This record of work serves not only to document meeting minimum requirements but to also maintain focus on the learning objectives for the duration of the internship. Occasionally it may signal a need to revise learning objectives. In rare instances, it may indicate the need to conclude the internship if time spent has exceeded the recommended maximum of 165 hours of unpaid work. Should this occur, students and sponsoring agencies are encouraged to negotiate a paid affiliation should both parties wish to continue the working relationship.
Both the student intern and the sponsoring organization must provide a summative assessment of the semester’s internship work.
The student’s assessment takes the form of a self-evaluation and reflection on what was learned and its value/impact on the student’s future. Remarks should refer to the goals outlined in the internship agreement (contract). Should there be any work done that substantially deviates from what was outlined in the contract, it is important to address this aspect of the internship in the self-evaluation. Note…this is not necessarily negative; worthwhile digressions just need to be noted and evaluated. This summative report is in lieu of a final examination.
The sponsoring agency will submit a final evaluation by report or Art Department questionnaire provided by the student. This assessment can be submitted electronically directly to the faculty adviser.
The grade for the Studio Practicum is determined at the discretion of the faculty adviser. It is based on the quality of the learning experience as evidenced by the weekly check-in reports, summative assessments, and demonstration of adequately meeting the objectives stated in the contract.
[*] Summer internships may take place in a compressed amount of time, but the minimum number of 135 hours is still required.
[†] This is more frequent during summer internships-2 times per week, minimum. Some faculty request daily reports.
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.