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Why Study Art at UMass Amherst?

The Department of Art at the University of Massachusetts Amherst welcomes highly motivated students devoted to the work of creating art. Our faculty members provide expert instruction in all media: drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, ceramics, animation, and intermedia.  We know that prospective college applicants from all backgrounds expect to land in an environment offering serious preparation for professional careers, along with the best liberal arts education.

At UMass, we offer aspiring artists in all media a chance to immerse themselves in both the essentials and the complexities of art. Students pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Arts degree graduate ready to begin lives as working artists or engage in more advanced study.

Many student artists want time to explore the widest range of academics while honing their thinking and analytical skills. Our degree program leading to a Bachelor of Arts in Studio Arts provides a broad education in all facets of liberal arts as well as a solid foundation in a range of art media.

Most courses are conducted in the Studio Arts Building, constructed in 2008. This state-of-the-art facility houses, in addition to studio classrooms, shops for wood and metal work, glaze and kiln rooms, darkrooms, computer labs and a digital print center. Undergraduate majors (through an application process) are allotted individual studio space in one of thirty private studios, a highly unusual benefit, not found in many of today’s universities. Graduate students receive either private or two-person studios, depending upon their practice and need. 

As artists ourselves we recognize the need for private space as well as community to deepen the creative process. During the final year of study, most Art majors work in private studios to develop work for their senior exhibitions.

The MFA in Studio Art at UMass offers three years of vibrant, intense, work and study.  Taught, mentored, and supported by our faculty of experienced Artists, students in our 60-credit hour program Master of Fine Arts in Studio Arts combine advanced classwork with unlimited studio time, in a curriculum leading to a final-year solo exhibition and a written thesis.  Degree holders go on to work in academics and within many fields of art practice.

The MA in Art Education provides candidates opportunities to advance their practice as artists, teachers and researchers.  The 36-credit hour program Master of Art in Art Education consists of advanced and extended study in Art Education, studio arts, art history, and education.  The program emphasizes critical examination of Art Education research, curricula in schools, and professional practices.  The curriculum is developed from: studio art experience and practice; art history and criticism; and research, literature, and theory in the fields of art education and education.

The flagship University of Massachusetts at Amherst is a world-class research institution that includes a vibrant humanities and sciences undergraduate college, as well as renowned graduate and professional schools.  Located in Western Massachusetts, the college town of Amherst and the region as a whole combine a thriving arts scene with the comfort and safety of traditional New England living. Boston is less than two hours away, and New York is just three hours by car, train or bus.

Branching out beyond the campus, students at UMass can take advantage of the local consortium of the Five Colleges, opening up the opportunity for an almost limitless selection of courses, mentors, and resources.  Even further afield, the Department of Art offers programs in New York City, and UMass provides myriad other study abroad opportunities.

Read how to apply.