Art Major

Northwestern’s undergraduate art degree is designed to provide a strong foundation in studio art and art history. Upon graduation, you’ll be qualified to seek a vocation in art education, the broad field of graphic design, or to seek admittance to a graduate program in art studio, art history or art therapy.

Since our emphasis is on individual creative thinking and activity, you will be well prepared to deal successfully with a rapidly changing society in the future. The art major and minor programs will allow you to explore your individual ideas, feelings and approaches to life in studio courses such as drawing, printmaking, painting, ceramics, design, computer design sculpture and photography.

The Thea G. Korver Visual Arts Center has fourteen well-equipped studios in which art is made in a variety of media and processes, including a fully equipped graphic design lab, and sculpture and ceramic studios. The intaglio printmaking program has some of the better equipped studios of any small college department in the Midwest. Several thousand art history slides, videos, etc. are part of the college’s audio-visual collection. The art gallery features monthly exhibitions of works by student and professional artists. The visiting artist program allows students to work with professional artists who often conduct workshops and seminars.

Art department homepage


ART 120AE - Art History Survey, Prehistoric Through Medieval
(4 credits, alternate years, consult department)(IGE option under Aesthetic Experience) This course provides a survey of art from the Prehistoric through Medieval periods. Students will study the development of artists and artistic styles by examining key visual works and pertinent social, political, and philosophical ideas and events. Through written responses, discussions, and projects, students will explore the impact of art from this time period, and learn how to articulate thoughts clearly and tactfully.
ART 122 - Art History Survey, Renaissance Through Early 20th Century
A contextual world survey of the development and evolution of various media including architecture, sculpture, painting, prints, photography, design, film and other mediums since the Renaissance.(4 credits; alternate years, consult department)
ART 206 - Drawing
(4 credits)Drawing will emphasize learning how to perceive the three- dimensional world and render it on paper using the most simple and direct drawing media. Drawing will form the foundation of work in other media. Design fundamentals will be a significant part of the course. A fee is associated with this course(
ART 215 - Ceramics
(4 credits) The art of working with clay and other ceramic materials. Emphasis will be upon learning the fundamentals of three-dimensional design and achieving an understanding of clay as a unique art form. Techniques include hand-building sculptural and functional forms, and learning the basics of throwing on the wheel and glazing. A fee is associated with this course(
ART 217 - Sculpture
(4 credits) Three-dimensional art. Emphasis upon the basics of three- dimensional design and how creative ideas are formed using a three-dimensional approach. Degrees of depth are explored ranging from drawing and relief to works in the round. Techniques include clay modeling, woodworking, plaster casting, metal work and construction with mixed media. A fee is associated with this course(
ART 242 - Printmaking
(4 credits)(Intaglio and Relief) A course providing the student an opportunity to gain knowledge of the printmaking processes of metalplate etching and engraving, woodcut, linocut, lithography and monotype. The student will have the opportunity to give form to his/her ideas while discovering the graphic properties and potentials of each print process from drawing to the final print. A fee is associated with this course(
ART 244 - Painting
Introduces students to the techniques of oil, acrylic and water color painting. Students will learn to understand compositional form and color relationships. Historical examples of painting are examined and different methods of painting are demonstrated. Class critiques are used to learn formal vocabulary and achieve an understanding of subject style and content in painting.A fee is associated with this course( (4 credits)
ART 331WI - Art Since 1940
Choose one course: 4
ART 307 - Advanced Drawing
(4 credits) Further development in the search for a personal approach to content in the students work utilizing traditional and contemporary drawing approaches. Students will develop form and content through a series of drawings. Prerequisite: ART 206 or permission of instructor. A fee is associated with this course(
ART 315 - Advanced Ceramics
(4 credits) A continuation of the creative development of both functional and nonfunctional forms using advanced forming processes. The formulation of clay bodies, glazes, and their preparation, testing and application are introduced. Students will learn to load and fire gas and electric kilns. Prerequisite: ART215. A fee is associated with this course(
ART 317 - Advanced Sculpture
(4credits) The development of and exploration of formal and conceptual approaches to sculpture. Issues in contemporary sculpture will be explored. Wood, metal, plaster and other mediums will be used along with less traditional approaches to creating work including the use of found objects, mixed media, performance and group efforts.Prerequisite: ART217. A fee is associated with this course(
ART 342 - Advanced Printmaking
A fee is associate with this course.
ART 344 - Advanced Painting
(4 credits) This course encourages the student to develop an individualized painting style. A single theme is repeated throughout course projects in order to develop consistency and maturity. Students are expected to develop their own personal aesthetic and style.Prerequisite: ART242. Individualized courses and programs: A fee is associated with this course(

Total credits required: 36


A portfolio review by the art faculty is required of art majors in their junior and senior years. During senior year, an art major is required to present a senior exhibition in partial fulfillment of their B.A. in art.

An art major can receive a teaching endorsement in elementary education and secondary education. Students must also complete the education requirements. See education department listing for requirements.

Studio courses meet for twice the length of time as non-studio courses. Art history courses (ART120, 122 and 331) meet for the length of time as other academic courses.