Art, Architecture, & Art History
Visit the Art, Architecture, & Art History website, or choose from the following sections:
The Department of Art, Architecture, and Art History at the UMass Amherst is one of the largest departments within the HFA. Founded in 1958, the Department of Art brings together thirty faculty in three widely respected academic programs: Studio Arts, Architecture + Design, and Art History. UMass art faculty are leaders in their fields, numbering recipients of such prestigious awards as the Joan Mitchell Prize, the Rome Prize, and Guggenheim, Smithsonian, I Tatti, and Howard Foundation fellowships. Department of Art, Architecture, and Art History graduates are professional artists and architects, teachers, gallery and museum professionals, conservators, filmmakers, writers, and creative people throughout the region, the nation, and beyond.
The University is a driving force in the region¹s creative economy, and the Department of Art, Architecture, and Art History does its part. Many graduates have settled in central and western Massachusetts and established careers in the arts. The Department maintains close relationships with many private studios, galleries, museums, historic sites, and architectural firms in the area, enabling students to gain professional experience as well as academic credit through internships. On campus, the Department coordinates events with the University Art Gallery, the Student Union Gallery, Hampden Gallery, and our own Herter Art Gallery. Museums and galleries at other colleges within the Five-College Consortium - Amherst, Smith, Mount Holyoke, and Hampshire - are essential resources as well.
The Department offers a range of academic degrees: the Bachelor of Arts in Art, Art Education, and Art History; the Bachelor of Fine Arts in both Studio Arts and Design (with a concentration in Architectural Studies); the Master of Fine Arts; the Master of Science in Design; the Master of Architecture; and the Master of Arts in Art Education and Art History.
Studio Arts Building 128
- The Studio Arts Program provides an approach to contemporary art that is broad, innovative, and experimental. For undergraduates, the sequence of core courses called Foundations provides rigorous grounding in interdisciplinary art-making. Faculty work closely with students during the second year to develop a focused expertise and a plan of study in one of eight disciplines. While sequences of courses are recommended, undergraduates are encouraged to diversify their educational experience through open electives. The degree program culminates in a thesis exhibition in the final semester.
The Disciplines in the Studio Arts Program are:
• ANIMATION: Courses center upon contemporary production processes and principles in animation, narrative and design, and filmmaking.
• ART EDUCATION: Provides a strong background in studio work and the courses in education necessary for certification as an art teacher at the elementary and secondary school levels. The curriculum includes a full semester of student teaching, usually in schools near Amherst. Through reciprocal arrangements, students who become certified to teach in Massachusetts may also be qualified to teach in several other states.
• CERAMICS: Closely tied to Sculpture, the curriculum in Ceramics stresses rigorous investigation of the medium, building skill sets in throwing, molding, hand-building, glazing, and firing within the contexts of personal expression and broad exposure to artists who work with clay.
• DIGITAL IMAGING: Courses invite exploration of digital applications, from captured image-making to digital video and sound, as well as abstract concepts of duration, speed, and rhythm in relation to narrative.
• PAINTING: The curriculum in Painting, as in all the disciplines, intersects with drawing studio courses that explore both objective and subjective visual representations and a variety of mark-making media. Painting courses develop a high level of technical skill in a broad range of media, creative independence, and challenges to both conventional and current practices.
• PHOTOGRAPHY: Courses build a solid foundation in technical practice, as students learn both black and white and color photography, and both darkroom and digital processes. Photography is emphasized within the larger framework of visual culture, and students are encouraged to broaden the definitions of photography within the context of art-making.
• PRINTMAKING: The curriculum provides instruction in intaglio, lithography, monotype, serigraphy, and relief, as well as photographic and digital processes. Courses encourage experimentation.
• SCULPTURE: Courses in wood, welding, mold-making, plaster, and clay enable exploration of object-making, site and environmental practices, installation, performance, and new genres.
Three new disciplines soon will join the curriculum: Digital Media: Still; Digital Media: Time Based; and Interdisciplinary Studies. The revised curriculum will place more emphasis on emerging technologies. It will also place more emphasis on the theoretical and methodological issues that drive contemporary art-making and on the crossovers among disciplines that enable new forms.
A student interested in applying to the undergraduate programs in Studio Arts must submit both a standard application to Undergraduate Admissions and a portfolio directly to the Portfolio Review Committee of the Studio Arts Program, Department of Art, Architecture, and Art History. The Undergraduate Admissions Office must accept the application and the Department must accept the portfolio before the student is admitted to the Studio Arts Program. For more information about admissions, please call 413-545-1902 or email the Undergraduate Program Director. Applicants
to the graduate program should call 413-545-1902 for more information.
125 Studio Arts Building
Graduate Program Director:
Young Min Moon
223 Studio Arts Building
Fine Arts Center, room 457
Undergraduate and graduate students of design and architecture gain broad exposure to building and material science, as well as to a variety of cultural, environmental, and historical perspectives. The curriculum challenges students to develop critical and imaginative approaches in negotiating the shifting relationships among the arts, technology, and society.
The Design major is an interdisciplinary pre-professional program that leads to the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. Students take courses in architecture as well as the departments of Building Materials and Wood Technology, Civil Engineering, and Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning. The Design major offers concentrations in both Architectural Studies and Interior Design. Students completing the Architectural Studies track qualify for advanced standing in the Master of Architecture program. The Master of Architecture (MArch) is the professional degree for practicing architects, and is accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). UMass Amherst is the only public institution in New England that offers the degree.
A student interested in applying to the undergraduate major in Design must submit both a standard application to Undergraduate Admissions and a portfolio and letter of interest directly to the Architecture + Design Program, Department of Art, Architecture, and Art History. The Undergraduate Admissions Office must accept the application and the Department must accept the portfolio before the student is admitted to the Design major. For more information about admissions, please call 413-577-0943 or email the Undergraduate Program Director. Applicants to the graduate program should call 413-577-0943 for more information.
457 Fine Arts Center
Graduate Program Director:
360 Fine Arts Center
317 Bartlett Hall
The discipline of Art History examines visual culture and the built environment within their social and historical contexts. The Art History Program provides students with a solid foundation in the history of western art and architecture from the ancient world to the present, as well as a background in non-Western artistic traditions. Students learn not only how to analyze works of art as objects or monuments, but also to understand and interpret them in relation to the historical circumstances, endeavors, and conflicts of the culture and region in which they were made. With its broad emphasis on culture and history and its focus on writing, analysis, and research, Art History is an excellent liberal arts major for students seeking flexible but rigorous training for a variety of careers. The Art History major not only prepares students to work in arts-related fields, but also fosters the kinds of skills necessary in any profession involving visual culture in its broadest sense, historical and cultural understanding, critical analysis, persuasive argumentation, thorough research, and effective writing.
The Art History Program was established in 1970. It is one of only two programs at public institutions in New England that offer both undergraduate and graduate degrees. Its emphasis is on the cultures of Western Europe, North America, and Islam. Opportunities to take classes at other of the Five Colleges expand credited coursework to include the arts of Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The University¹s location in the heart of New England enables easy access to a wide variety of collections, monuments, and historical sites. Visits to and research at institutions from Boston to New York are an integral part of the Program. Students are actively encouraged to study abroad and seek internships in related fields.
Students wishing to major in Art History should consult with the Undergraduate Program Director, Art History Program, Department of Art, Architecture, and Art History. Students are encouraged to take two survey courses before declaring the major, but exceptions are made, especially for transfer students. Each major selects or is assigned a faculty advisor. The Program also offers two-year Master of Arts in Art History, providing advanced students a course of study that will allow them to develop a high degree of professional competence and a broad foundation for further work in the discipline.
Applicants to the M.A. Program in Art History submit an application form, two letters of recommendation, transcripts of academic work, and GRE scores. A faculty committee evaluates this information, giving priority to the candidate¹s overall academic background in the humanities, foreign language competency, letters of recommendation, and motivation and interest. Applicants should contact 413-545-3995 for more information.
Laetitia La Follette
323A Bartlett Hall
Graduate Program Director:
Timothy R. Rohan
323B Bartlett Hall