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

Major requirements:

ART 120AE - Art History Survey, Prehistoric Through Medieval
No course description available.
ART 122AE - Art History Survey, Renaissance Through Early 20th Century
No course description available.
ART 164 - Photography I
(2 credits) Taught as a medium of creative expression or as an art form and as a journalistic tool. Film processing and printing are taught as well as camera techniques, darkroom procedures and presentation of work for exhibitions. Note: A fee is associated with this course.
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. Note: Class critiques are used to learn formal vocabulary, find content in drawings and understand fine art. 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. Note: A fee is associated with this course.
ART 244 - Painting
(4 credits) 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. Note: A fee is associated with this course.
ART 265 - Photography II
(2 credits) The fundamentals of photography as an art medium and a journalistic tool are used to develop an individual style or method of composing and printing photographs. This individual aesthetic approach will be seen in all the work presented at the end of the course. Prerequisite: ART164. Note: A fee is associated with this course.
ART 317 - Sculpture
(4 credits) Students will use a variety of three-dimensional materials and methods to explore the question: What makes good design? Stressing practice before theory, students will manipulate and construct designs that reveal and embody the principles underlying good design. Students will focus on the development of strong ideas, creativity, and problem solving skills. Work must demonstrate effective execution and conceptual clarity, and students must be able to articulate their process and concept. Note: A fee is associated with this course.
ART 331WI - Art Since 1940
(4 credits; alternate years, consult department) (Writing intensive) A survey of contemporary art and the art of the second half of the 20th century. The course will focus on studying the development of artists and their works by examining their works and identifying the artistic, social, political and philosophical ideas and events that may have been influential. In the process, artistic styles and movements will be defined and compared. Prerequisites: ART120AE and 122.
ART 342 - Printmaking
(4 credits) This course will provide an introduction to the foundational printmaking techniques of: intaglio, lithography, relief, and monotype. Demonstrations and individual assistance will help you gain technical proficiency, while in-class discussions and critiques will help you cultivate unique visual ideas. Reading assignments and responsive essays will allow you to consider questions inherent in printmaking and hone your ability to put visual phenomena into words. Note: A fee is associated with this course.

Cognate requirement:

PHI 238BR - Philosophy of the Arts
No course description available.

Total credits required: 40


A portfolio review by the art faculty is required of art majors in their junior and senior years. During the 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.